We got really great news during last week's doctor's appointment. Such great news, in fact, that it has taken some time to sink in. Baby A, who we call Niji, passed the NT scan with flying colors. Our little rainbow baby had all the right organs, in all the right shapes, in all the right places. Niji shows no signs of scary genetic or chromosomal issues either. At this point, our doctor felt confident in giving us a new statistic. This pregnancy now has less than a 1% chance of miscarriage. In other words, this is really going to happen.
Today, at 14 weeks, I officially enter the second trimester, and have now been pregnant for the longest time since having CC. This realization was a bit shocking - to say the least. Between my anxiety, Bebe's loss, and the subsequent depression that followed, I was pretty much convinced that this baby would be doomed. I was just waiting to see something awful on that ultrasound screen, or have my doctor come in with shitty news. I spent that whole two weeks before our appointment obsessing over every little pain or cramp - dreading each trip to the bathroom where I was certain I would discover the telltale blood to signal the end.
When Niji started to wiggle on the screen tears sprung out of my eyes and started rolling down my cheeks. I couldn't believe the baby was still there - was still OK. It seemed impossible after everything that has happened that I would actually get to have this child. But there it was, flailing its tiny arms and legs around, flipping in every direction, and confounding the poor scan tech who was trying to take Niji's picture.
The news about Niji has done a lot to lighten my spirits, but the underlying grief of Bebe's loss still remains. I have a beautiful, perfectly healthy baby growing inside me right now, but I also have a dead one. Until she fades away I'll see her at every scan, her body looking smaller and smaller in comparison to her twin. And every time the tech stops to measure our little Baby B, I'm grateful to lay eyes on her one more time. I'll never hold her, or get to know her, or watch her grow. All I have of Bebe is the dreams I had for her life. I have the hopes and the fantasies that I couldn't help but develop after finding out I was carrying twins. I'll always have them with me now - and I know that every time I look at the other I will remember that she's not there.
Losing a baby while having a baby is still losing a baby. And it's still heartbreaking. Bebe was my fifth angel baby - a number that I can barely comprehend any more. And while I know, logically, that my loved ones love me back and care about what I've lost, this loss feels different than the others when it comes to people's reactions. I wasn't sure what to expect when I shared the news, as I wasn't sure how I'd react if I were on the other end, but what I have learned from this is that there is one reaction that is pretty much always the right choice - and that is acknowledgement.
My sister in-law sent a gift. My in-laws sent me flowers. A friend took my son one afternoon to give me time to grieve (and shower). These gestures made me cry - but they also made me feel loved. Because that's what you do when someone dies. You send flowers. You say you are sorry for their loss. You give them a break from life for a minute so they can catch their breath. You can't fix it. You can't take away their pain, but you can acknowledge what happened so that they feel less alone in their grief. So, for what it's worth, I know what to do now, should I ever get the same news from someone else.
Every acknowledgement, every hand on a shoulder, every "I'm so sorry", every hug, they have helped. And I'm grateful for them all.
As for my own acknowledgement, I think I am finally ready to do something artistic to say goodbye to my angel babies. I'll share the project with you when the time comes. For now, I'm going to try my best to let go of my pain and focus on the feeling of this little baby squirming in my belly.