I shared on Facebook that we are expecting baby number 3 earlier this week.
I’ve been worried about sharing this news; worried in different kinds of ways. I continue to be surprised by the reactions of others. When we announced we were pregnant with Blake, some people were very kind. Other people were not. Kenley and Blake are 17 and ½ months apart. Apparently that was too soon for some who weren’t carrying or raising my children. Go figure.
We were very surprised when found out we’re pregnant for the third time, especially, during such an intense time of grief after Blake’s death.
First, I worry about the typical “Is this your first pregnancy?” questions from strangers. I’m told I look 12 often, so when I say, “No, it’s my third”, people look at me cross eyed. Then, they ask the ages of my children and when I start with “My oldest is 2”, things get even more uncomfortable. Eventually, we get to “My younger daughter would be 1.” Then, they’re feeling awkward and I want to book it.
I’m also worried about the slough of questions from people we know. “How did you get pregnant? Was it planned? What would you have done if this baby had SMA?” All questions you shouldn’t ask people, by the way. I’m not sure how it became okay to ask as many questions as you want about someone else’s reproduction. Or questions about plans, like, where will the baby sleep or will I go back to work – future questions are not my thing in this grief journey. I’m just trying to make it through today.
My biggest worry is that people will somehow think that because we’re having another child, Blake doesn’t matter or that everything is okay now. That we’re okay now or we’ve moved on (just so you know, even typing that makes me cringe). I know most people will realize how stupid that is. It’s like saying you stop caring about your first born when your second child comes.
I’ve had lots and lots of weeks to think about all of this.
I’ve come to this conclusion: I don’t give a shit what people think. If you’re out there thinking we’re trying to replace Blake with another baby, you couldn’t be more wrong. You have: A) never lost a child, and B) didn’t know Blake; there is absolutely no replacing that little girl. If you’ve been absent since Blake was diagnosed or since we lost her, just go ahead and stay absent. You can’t only be present and with our family during easier times. I considered saying all that in a nicer way, but no. I think some people out there need to be told to stop being dicks. So… stop being dicks.
This pregnancy has been very difficult. Not at all in the physical sense, either. By number three I’m pretty much a pro on what is coming and how to soothe my pregnancy discomforts. Fortunately, thus far, my pregnancies themselves have been healthy. Emotionally, I’m in a whole new crazy situation. For two straight months I was on the verge of a panic attack. We couldn’t test for SMA until 10 weeks (via CVS test – I will explain more on that later as requested). Then we had to wait for results, given over the phone. The day we were told this baby doesn’t have SMA was an amazing day. A huge weight was lifted, but others remained.
Now we just wait and wait more.
Once the worst happens to you, it opens up a whole new world. I’ve met SO many families since Blake was diagnosed, who have lost their children (sometimes multiple children) from all different kinds of things: infections, stillbirth, SIDS, viruses, heart defects, tumors, and the list is endless. While nothing in this life is guaranteed, when you lose your child, you realize anything can happen. That it could happen to us again.
For now, I try to remain as calm and as mentally healthy as I can. This is for me, baby number 3, Kenley, Jeff and because of Blake. Our recent anatomy ultrasound brought some comfort and a little bit of joy we hadn’t gotten to experience yet.
We are SO grateful, hopeful and terrified, all wrapped into one. Kenley will be as amazing a big sister to her next baby as she was to Blakey. I know Blake would follow in Kenley’s little footsteps.
Here’s to the Reid’s, soon to be family of 5.