Monday, January 26, 2015


At Claire's 1-year pediatrician appointment this week, my biggest stressors were making sure Benjamin didn't crawl on the dirty floor and preventing Claire from putting that bench paper roll stuff in her mouth (gag). Both of which were extremely challenging, by the way.

It was an enormous relief to visit a doctor and not worry about something related to pregnancy, childbirth or child rearing. I was (for once) confident and like the rest of moms out there (I suspect). I feel like I talk so much about this topic, but for the last 5 years of my life, I was completely centered on those very things. If I wasn't stressed about being pregnant, it was about getting pregnant or making sure I was producing enough breastmilk to provide enough calories and liquid for my baby's diet. 

At the end of this (wonderfully) dull appointment, the doctor asked if Claire was born early--which I never inquired why, because she is perfectly average on the charts. I told him 36-weeks, and he commented that she was a week early. Funny. I thought he would've said 4 weeks. I told him the short of things (only specific to her pregnancy) and he kept probing for more. So I told him about Andrew being stillborn and having complicated pregnancies.

He opened up to me about his son being born with Down Syndrome and admitted that while his son is great now, that first year was hard for them as parents.

He stood up from his computer, looked me in the eyes and said something that hit me:

"I bet all of the joy in pregnancy was lost from then on for you guys, right?"

It's like he totally understood. No, we had very different journeys (and he fully admitted that having a son with special needs and a miscarriage was different than a stillbirth), but both caused us to fear pregnancy in a way that sucked the joy from the experience that was once magical. It was really calming to have him in there and talking with me in such a candid way, despite the two monkeys we had in our presence (see paragraph one). And, it was especially nice that the appointment was truly a "routine wellness checkup" as it was intended and no red flags or alarms were triggered.

I don't quite feel like we're in the clear or anything, but I do feel relieved that the pressure of being the pregnant one or breastfeeding one who is responsible for all the weight on my shoulders has somewhat passed. My body that has failed our children before is no longer entirely responsible for sustaining the lives of them anymore. It's a huge relief.

I really want to repeat Claire's first year. Aside from the discouraging first month stares when she was gaining slow (but well), she's been a fabulous baby. I can also say that now since she's been sleeping through the night completely for a month now, just to be clear. But really, can I have another year of her babyness? Soon she'll be walking and she's already talking a wee bit. Time is a thief. But time has also provided relief.


Laura Jane said... [Reply to comment]

I'm glad you have a doctor who "Gets" it. The closest I've been is with my OBGYN who (for the most part) seems to understand though, to the best of my knowledge, has no first hand experience herself. I remember her once asking if we were going to go for a second (at my six-week postpartum appt after Grace) and she quickly corrected herself with "sorry, I mean a third, obviously". And it meant so much she recognized I had already birthed two babies. The little things, you know?

And I totally get you on the past five years of life being pregnant/birthing/grieving/pregnant/birthing/grieving, rinse and repeat.

I'm not "there" yet in so far as no longer hoping for another pregnancy, but I can imagine the relief is amazing.

Wishing Claire Bear would stay a cub for a little while longer!

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

Totally get this and am so grateful for it. How refreshing to have your doctor just get it and to make those comments. I'm glad he knows about Andrew.

Danielle said... [Reply to comment]

That. All of that. Fear sucks.

Molly said... [Reply to comment]

Time is SUCH a thief. I wish I could breathe that deep breath of relief. Alas, not yet. :/

A Few Good Eggs said... [Reply to comment]

So great that your doctor gets it. That is rare and makes visiting him or her so much easier.

And yes, the fear. I think all the time about how my body failed our first daughter and how devastating that is. Pregnancy is *never* the same.