Here is part 5 in the series. You can start from the beginning here, A birth story. Thanks again for reading.
When we returned home from vacation all I wanted was my body back. I was determined to lose the 15 pounds I had gained in pregnancy. We agreed I would get healthy and then see about “trying” again. I couldn’t fathom being pregnant again. I didn’t think I could do it. I knew I couldn’t handle another loss and neither could my husband. I found a class at the gym called Body Combat that made me sweat and laugh and feel really good when it was over. It complimented my yoga practice nicely. I had read a study about using acupuncture for weight loss and decided to use myself as a guinea pig to try it out.
After a month or so my efforts seemed in vain. Nothing seemed to be working. I thought my hormones must really be off. I went to a body combat class and looked in the mirror, my arms looked toned, my legs looked strong but my belly still looked pregnant. I had to leave that class midway through from feeling dizzy. Maybe I was dehydrated. I couldn’t seem to keep my eyes open when putting Lia down for a nap and would snooze the whole 2 hours with her. I started feeling a little queasy after dinner, maybe I was taking too many probiotics. My brother was chosen (hooray!) for adoption and I overheard my mom telling a friend she was going to be a grandma again. Her friend said, “Was I right? Is Sarah pregnant?” My jaw dropped. Did I really look that bad!? It dawned on me that it had been 2 months since the miscarriage and no return of a cycle. I thought my body was taking a break. It didn’t seem possible. I confided in a friend, feeling mostly like I was going nuts. Christian and I talked about the possibility as more and more pregnancy symptoms popped up. We were scared to take a test. Finally several days later I bought a test and there was that double line again, only I didn’t know how to feel about it. Christian said, “Don’t. tell. anyone.” I called the midwife to schedule an appointment. When we got there they were slightly skeptical that I was indeed pregnant when we recounted the story. I was just over 9 weeks. “Its a little early to hear a heartbeat, we can wait if you want so it doesn’t freak you out if we don’t hear it.” I said let’s give it a try and as soon as they put the doppler on my belly there it was thundering loud, “here I AM.”
It was the perfect anniversary present for both of us. We told my mom but felt shy about sharing the news and even now haven’t shared the news with everyone we know. (its almost become like infant sleep, don’t talk about it when its going well so you don’t jinx it) We planned to share the news at thanksgiving in a few weeks to give us some more time to let it all sink in and move past the “danger zone.” Instead all 3 of us got a nasty virus and spent the day in bed fighting fevers and achey bones. It seemed all too familiar. I waited for the next midwife appointment and the sound of the heartbeat before we shared the news with family and some friends since we could no longer deny my growing belly. Getting dresssed one day at the gym a sweet lady asked me when I was due. I looked at her like she had 3 heads completely confused. What was she talking about? How did she know? “Oh, I replied lamely, middle of June.”
After the 15 week mark I thought I would relax- but I couldn’t. I hoped at the 20 week ultrasound I’d be able to relax. Everything looked great, except a tip of the placenta was low lying. I would need another scan but no one seemed concerned that it wouldn’t move- except me. All of a sudden I was approaching the 3rd trimester. I started at the midwife in disbelief when she went over my appointment timeline. Wait, what? How did that happen? I had my second scan at 28 weeks but the tech quickly stopped and said, “I hate to tell you this but you’re going to need another scan, the placenta hasn’t moved.” I waited until he was gone and completely lost my shit. I felt so broken, so betrayed by my body. It was time to get serious. I scheduled some time with an acupuncturist that wasn’t me. I started reading Birthing From Within and contacted someone to help facilitate my processing this through music and art. I did some energy work also. All this time I hadn’t admitted to myself that I didn’t believe I would ever get to meet this child, that I was still holding onto the pain of the children I would never know. I was just holding my breath. I was so scared and angry. Its hard to live in a body I didn’t trust and was still mad at especially when I was ignoring it and here was this beautiful soul, my next teacher dancing around so close to the surface saying over and over, “I am here.” I was finally able to feel just how tensely I had been carrying myself, my belly like a rigid cage. I was able to accept it was going to be ok.
Three weeks later after another scan the placenta had completely moved out of the way. Finally I stopped holding my breath.
I realize I’m still in the middle of this story, its still being written. At 35 weeks I still can’t believe the end is almost here. The birth kit is here. The home visit is scheduled. For the first time I’m able to have a clear mind about how this birth will go, in that I don’t have any clue how it will go but I know it won’t be Lia’s birth, or my little turkey’s birth or the other miscarriage. There’s one last milestone to pass and that is the day we lost our little turkey on June 9th. We may or may not be pregnant when we pass it. But I think I’ve found some peace with all of it. It no longer feels like “my” story, it was just something to feel and I don’t need to feel it so strongly anymore. I don’t have a strong feeling one way or the other if it is a boy or a girl. I will be equally surprised either way. I do feel like I’ve been pregnant for a very long time which I have: all of this year and pretty much all of last year. I’m trying my best to honor my body as I have needed to slow down quite a bit the last week or so. I feel slightly at a loss on how to prepare for what’s next and maybe that is best. We’ve nested quite a bit, our whole house pretty much has had a makeover which feels fitting to have a fresh space for our whole family. I just cleaned out my closet, the baby has some freshly washed jammies to wear when the time is right. I have not been diligent this time slathering my belly with coconut oil and some faint stretch marks have appeared on my belly. I really like them, like a tattoo, marking my passage to motherhood. A reminder of all who dwelled and grew here.
A few weeks ago I noticed a bird would fly from the bush by our garage to the tree. I finally peaked in and found a well hidden nest with 3 baby birds, beaks peaking to the sky.
I plan to share my birth story when the time comes. I want to thank you for reading as writing this all has definitely helped me to prepare, to heal, to accept and let go. In the interest in continuing to rebuild my trust in my body I will be doing (hopefully) a 40 week series about post partum recovery as well.