I had every intention of writing a post last week, and even before that. But the gravity of my decision to continue with my pregnancy came out of nowhere and hit me hard, both emotionally and physically.
Lets just put it out there, my belly is huge. I look farther along than just 7 months. With the combination of a horrible mattress, the sudden weight gain, and no back support, my lower back was unsatiated for days. I found some relief with a pregnancy pillow, a back and belly brace, and hot showers (my belly doesn’t fully submerge in the bath). Next step is a new mattress. But the added weight and growing babes has created little room for my organs. I’ve pushed through sleepless nights, stomach issues, pressure on my organs, and breathless gasps for air. These past few days are the only days I have somewhat felt normal. I’ve discovered that the physical ups and downs has a lot to do with my emotional state. I think to myself, is this my new normal? When will it end? Will this make me go into premature labor? Is my body strong enough for this after all? There are countless more irrational thoughts, but none more debilitating than not knowing what the endgame was going to be. I have managed to lodge that thought into the deepest crevice of my brain, only to emerge after we toured the NICU at UCLA last Friday. I will talk more about that visit, along with our second echo-cardiogram, in my next entry.
Not knowing the outcome has never been a determining factor in our decision to continue with the pregnancy. But I do realize that I haven’t truly addressed “why” we made that decision. It was something my husband and I agreed upon early on when we first found out. To say the very least, it was an “easy” decision, in regards to our outlook on life. The not so easy parts are all of the unforeseen ups and downs that can’t be anticipated. Essentially, we are following through with our commitment to create life, no matter what form that life took. We aren’t devout religious people, but we do believe in a higher power and are very spiritual, so that played somewhat of a role. Life isn’t always about right and wrong with clear cut black and white situations. Things get messy and the answers are sometimes difficult to make. And when you think about it life is so short to begin with. What’s nine months, and hopefully longer, out of my life to provide a womb so two girls could experience life even just for a short time? At the very least I can do just that. I’m also not giving up or counting them out either. There is still a tiny chance they can make it and live for a few weeks or months.
And the wild part about all of this? We are not alone in our resolve. There are thousands of family’s who are continuing with their pregnancies even though their child will not make it past birth. My husband found a conjoined twin community on Facebook that has helped us connect with people who know exactly what we are going through. On that page someone recommended an amazing book called A Gift of Time: Continuing Your Pregnancy When Your Baby’s Life Is Expected to Be Brief. Pretty self explanatory title, but the book is set up in a way where parents share brief experiences about specific topics within each chapter. So depending on what you are going through, you can skip ahead to sections that are the most meaningful and helpful.
March 31st, 2019:
In the spirit of celebrating our girls, I decided to have a maternity photo shoot. I didn’t have one with my first daughter and have regretted it. I just didn’t feel that pregnancy glow and was really self conscious. But I am truly proud of my girls and how far they have come, so I thought, why not? It was a quick no fuss shoot at a park right before dusk to highlight my big belly, and to capture my whole little family. Our amazing photographer was Tiffany McCoy, www.tiffanymccoy.com, who captured wonderful pictures I will cherish forever.
Just like with my oldest daughter, these two little girls have taught me so much and have reminded me of what’s important in life. In our darkest hour, we appreciate what we have and learn to let go what we cannot change.
Please stay tuned for more about our journey.