29 Days and Heavy Thoughts

TRIGGER WARNING: This post addresses pregnancy, miscarriage, recurrent pregnancy loss, stillbirth, birth defects and secondary infertility from the perspective of someone experiencing a viable pregnancy.

I only have 29 days before my estimated due date.

I’m not naive enough to think my due date is some magical date whereupon reaching midnight my water will suddenly burst and baby boy will make his appearance soon thereafter. But, it would be nice to have such assurance.

My water may not even break until it is time to push. Lord only knows when that will be!

At a local Chinese restaurant recently, the owner’s daughter (an adult) pointed at me with a knowing smile and said, “Ah a boy”. She caught me by surprise, but I nodded and smiled back.

She said the next time I walked past her, “Only 4 or 5 more weeks”. I was 34 weeks at the time. I should have stopped to question her because my curiosity now is killing me. Instead, I just smiled and said, “Time will tell”.

We have all been guestimating when I will have the baby. My husband and I both said March 17th. I have since changed my guess to March 18th for no real reason except maybe to have my own date picked. I never did share well with others. Ask my poor brothers! Hazards of being the youngest child maybe.

My mother and a friend have guessed March 5th, while my brother guessed March 12th. I know there are other guesses but I have lost track.

I find it funny none of us have guessed past my estimated due date. We shall see.

My brother sent me a text today saying, “Are you still pregnant?”

“Yep,” was my reply.

“I will be texting daily to make sure,” he said.

“Lol ok.”

What else should I say to that?

I had planned on posting on Facebook a photo and an announcement that I am only 29 days from my due date today. Instead, I will only be posting here.

I found out that someone I consider a wonderful mother and lady just had her third miscarriage yesterday. She has a wonderful, intelligent, sweet 4-year-old daughter, but she hasn’t been able to carry a baby to term since.

She doesn’t even know that I know these things. But my heart hurts for her loss. It wasn’t so long ago that I felt my life would be forever haunted, my dreams crushed, by secondary infertility. Her mother told my mother that this woman will have to have a D&C later this week.

I know it is my Facebook and I can post whatever I want, but I just can’t bring myself to post something that may make this sweet lady or anyone else feel even more grief or pain.

Something else is weighing heavily on my mind. A family member experienced a stillbirth two years ago. She now posts articles on Facebook about kick counts frequently in an effort to promote counting the baby’s kicks in the third trimester as a way to prevent stillbirth.

Today, she posted another such article. But, she also wrote that if she had only known to do kick counts, her son’s life might have been saved. I didn’t realize she felt this way.

I’m about to describe something graphic concerning her son. Please stop reading if this might negatively affect you.

Her son had a neural tube defect. He was missing a portion of his skull. The defect wasn’t discovered until after he had died at almost full-term after she gave birth.

Her doctor had told her the missing portion of his skull was a result of decomposition, even though he died on a Monday and was delivered on a Thursday and her waters were intact until the birth.

I always assumed her doctor’s statements were untrue, because decomposition doesn’t occur in a bacteria-free environment such as the womb (when the gestational sac is intact). It was never an appropriate time or situation to bring this up previously. And, I always assumed that she had learned the truth when she began visiting her high-risk obstetrician.

Now, I’m not sure if I am mistaken or if she really lives needlessly with a mountain of guilt believing there was a way to save her son. I’m not sure if maybe this wasn’t something she discussed with her obstetrician or if I’m just wrong.

Anyone with experience and knowledge please feel free to comment. I’m not sure if I should approach her about this or not. She is more than open and willing to discuss anything and everything related to her son’s life, birth and death. I would like to ask her if she ever got a second opinion on her son’s death, but only if I am not completely wrong.

I have stillbirth listed as one of my biggest fears for my son. My mother experienced a stillbirth as did my father (they were both previously married). There are many people within my circle that have as well.

I can’t imagine living with the thought that I might have been able to prevent my child’s death. I really can’t imagine living with that thought for years only to discover later that there wasn’t a single thing anyone could have done.

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10 Replies to “29 Days and Heavy Thoughts”

  1. I am 34 weeks now, expecting my first, after 67 months of infertility. My fear is also a still born baby because I have gestational diabetes, with a family history of gestational diabetes and a still born. It breaks my heart that this mom feels guilt- but at least she has become an advocate. My season of infertility and numerous early miscarriages almost destroyed me (and my marriage) and honestly the only thing that carried us through was our faith and prayer support. However- i now advocate for other mom’s and couples to not give up and have been real and raw about how I felt during that season because when I was there I felt alone. Since being so open I have opened conversations with so many people about their infertility- the anguish, jealousy, bitterness- and provide a sense of solice in community. If she is open about it- talk to her. It is almost therapy for the person grieving to talk it out and it may help educate you through your fears as well! Praying for your friend and you as you near delivery! Here is to having boys!

    1. I need to just try to schedule a lunch date at her house or mine soon. I’m sure she would have no problems telling what she knows. I’m not sure that it is possible to not blame yourself for losing a baby. I had a miscarriage that was very early a couple of years ago, but I still wonder if it could have been prevented had I been taking folic acid prior to my surprise pregnancy. But, if I am right, I would love to be able to assuage some of that guilt for her.

      Thank you so much for your comments. I will include you in my prayers as well! Not too much longer for either of us!

  2. My heart goes out to your friend and cousin–you’re very thoughtful. No insight into your cousin’s stillbirth, but I am curious to know if you are correct. I fear stillbirth too, but that’s why I keep going to these NST tests 2x per week–my OB said that when baby “passes” the tests there’s only a 1% chance of stillbirth. So it’s worth it to me to spend 2-4 hours a week in L&D twiddling my thumbs and sipping apple juice until baby makes her appearance. I’m 38 weeks today and you are close! XOXO

    1. Thank you! I wish I knew, too. I wish I knew some experienced labor and delivery nurses that could enlighten me.

      Stillbirth is such a scary thing. I didn’t worry as much with my first pregnancy, but with my family’s history I was never naive/confident/fearless enough to be able to think it couldn’t possibly happen to me. My weekly NSTs only serve to really stress me out if he isn’t instantly moving and kicking and “passing”. But, once it’s over I can survive another week knowing everything still looks good.

      I’m so excited you are so close! And that I am as well! This morning marks 36 weeks/28 days for me. My body is showing signs of gearing up for labor already. I’m getting pretty excited!

  3. I often wonder myself if there was something I could do to prevent my losses. I do know first hand that decomposition is entirely possible in the womb. My twin brother had some problems too. He would have been born without a chest wall. He had no skin on his chest, no rib cage, nothing to protect him when he entered the world. My mom was in a car accident at 7 months, a car accident that killed my twin. 30 years ago they couldn’t take him out without having to take me out too…..so they left him in. For two months my brother decayed in the womb. Thankfully my mom was able to take most of the poisoning that came with that, but who knows how much reached me. My mom passed my brother a few days after I was born.

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