The Little Things

Last night, my husband touched my belly for the first time in this pregnancy.

Well, I’m sure he’s done it before by accident, but this was the first time he reached down and rubbed it, with clear intention and thought about our baby.  Before it happened, I hadn’t noticed that he wasn’t doing it.  But as soon as he did, all the memories of our first pregnancy came flooding back — last year, he started touching my belly early on, almost from the point of our first positive pregnancy test, thinking about our baby.  This time, it took until 9w4d for him to get to that point.

He touched my belly again as I was leaving for work this morning.  It made me so happy, and simultaneously so sad that I almost burst into tears.

We’re both having trouble believing in this pregnancy — and our parents are on eggshells as well, especially his.  Since everything is happening within a week of when it happened last year, it’s particularly poignant.  Some things are the same, and some are different, and the differences are highlighted by the samenesses.

In our first pregnancy, starting within a week or so of our first pregnancy test, we incorporated our baby into our bedtime ritual.  We have a silly thing we do as we’re falling asleep: my husband will say “good night” to our dog, and I’ll answer back in her “voice” (we talk for our dog pretty often actually — probably our friends think we’re weird, but our dog is hilarious, let me tell you!).  With our first pregnancy, long before we knew that our daughter was a girl, he’d also say good night to our baby, and I’d answer back “good night, daddy!” for her.  In this pregnancy… we just didn’t.  Maybe a week ago, we started doing it again.  Every time we do it, it makes me happy, and I also hope that this baby survives so we don’t have to go back to that empty silence before we fall asleep.

My husband’s parents made the several-day drive to visit us for a week, as they do every summer, and just left for home yesterday.  Last year they visited in August, so I was just beginning the second trimester.  His mom had brought a bunch of old baby stuff she’d been saving, plus a new blanket she crocheted for our baby.  She cooed over ultrasound pictures, and we talked about our ideas for names.  This year they hardly talked about the baby, and when they did, it was very cautiously.  I got dizzy while kneading some bread on a hot morning (occasional lightheadedness/weakness has been normal for me in both pregnancies), and his mom was solicitous then, but there was none of the hopeful and cheerful banter of the summer before.  When we came back from a prenatal visit Wednesday morning with new ultrasound pictures they hardly looked at them.  I understand that they’re hurting too, and that they want to protect our feelings and especially their son’s… but I wish we could all celebrate this pregnancy for as long as it lasts.  I miss our daughter so much, and I’m so afraid for this pregnancy… but I also know that withholding love and excitement isn’t going to make it any easier if it ends without a living baby again.

I love that my husband is starting to incorporate this baby into our lives.  It also highlights the anxiety I already have, because I don’t want him (and us) to have to go through another painful loss.  I’m counting down the hours until our next appointment with our local OB on Friday — just a check-in to make sure there’s still a heartbeat.

I will also say that as I look forward I do feel like maybe I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Don’t get me wrong — there’s plenty that I’m anxious about, and I could certainly enumerate my anxieties right up through the end of this pregnancy!  (I started to do it, and then realized that I really don’t need to drag myself or you through that again!)  But within the next six weeks or so we’ll hit some major milestones: the end of the first trimester, and along with it our first trimester screening results for chromosomal abnormalities, plus our first routine anatomy scan at 16 weeks (they’re doing it early because of my history, so I’ll probably need a repeat for the heart study at 18 or 20 weeks).  Those are some of the biggest anxiety-producers for me right now, but the good news is that they’re all coming up, so I won’t have to wait too much longer to get through them.

And with all of this going on, with the little things that remind me of my first pregnancy, with the things that are different this time, I try to keep reminding myself that for now I am pregnant, and that’s a very good thing.  For now, we have no specific cause for alarm.  For now, I am trying to trust my body to keep our baby healthy, and I’m trying to enjoy and start to bond with this new little life.  For now, I’m going to enjoy it every time my husband rubs my belly, and every time we dare to dream about this little life growing inside me.


10 thoughts on “The Little Things

  1. My Perfect Breakdown

    You, my friend, are amazing. Holding onto hope is both courageous and remarkable given everything you have been through! And you know I’m hoping with and for you every single day. It made me happy to see that you and your husband are starting to integrate this baby into your daily routines. I kind of expect that you extended family are trying, and they just don’t know what to say or do that will be supportive and not hurtful.
    P.S. we also talk for our dog on a very regular basis. She’s the most sarcastic dog you’ll ever meet! 🙂

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Aw, thank you so much! What a lovely thing to say. As you may be able to tell from the post, holding on to hope is something that I sort of can’t help doing even though I wish I could. 🙂 It’s very complicated. But I just keep telling myself that it doesn’t make sense to pretend that I’m not attached to this pregnancy, because it won’t make it any easier if it ends. One of the only things that gave me solace after our daughter died was the joy she’d brought us while she was with us. The same is true of this baby, no matter how long it hangs around.

      Our dogs should get together and have a chat sometime. 🙂 I’m sure they’d have lots to say to each other!

  2. hopingforatakehome

    That is so touching that your husband is connecting with this pregnancy (and that you are as well!). I know some husbands don’t really connect at all during the pregnancy, only after the baby is born.

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Yes, you’re right, of course. I’ve been really lucky that my husband has been a true partner through all of this. No ambivalence, and no withdrawing, even though he clearly feels things differently than I do. I don’t know what I’d do without him. He’s going to be an amazing father someday… hopefully around February or so!

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thanks so much for your kind words (and doubtless those of your dogs as well). 🙂 Wishing you the best with your pregnancy!

  3. Wifey

    I know this is so hard. I told my mom today, as she was reassuring me everything was okay when I was having another moment of anxiety, that when a dream has been “just a dream” for so long, it’s hard to believe that it will ever be real. We are trying our best to be more excited and less worried, but the worry definitely comes easier. I’m so glad that your hubby is letting his excitement shine through and giving you reassurance through simple things, like his hand on your belly, that everything will be okay. I am rooting for you and baby like you can’t even imagine.

    1. lyra211 Post author

      This is so sweet of you to say, and I hope you know that I’m rooting for you just as hard right back! I absolutely understand these moments of anxiety — just this morning I broke down in tears, convinced for no reason that the baby is dead. We have an appointment tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll get some reassurance then, but the anxiety never goes away, does it?

      1. Wifey

        I keep hoping it goes away, but so far…still there. I’m sorry you had a breakdown and are having all these fears. I found out today my thyroid is high again, higher than before I started synthroid and so now I’m freaked out. I know pregnancy can cause TSH levels to rise, but high TSH levels can also put you at risk of miscarriage. They are upping my dosage to a pill and a half so hopefully that will help, but this news doesn’t help my anxious heart. I hope we can both get to a place where we can enjoy pregnancy and not worry so much!

      2. lyra211 Post author

        Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about your increased TSH levels! That must be a lot of added stress and worry. :-/ Hopefully you can get that stabilized soon, and not worry too much in the meantime (ha ha ha, right?!). It’s funny… I always know that as anxious as I am, it’s better than not being pregnant, so that’s good. But I also wonder if there’s a point when I’ll get less anxious, and I’m dubious. Let’s hope it happens for both of us!

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