There was that rush of excitement then a heavy presence of anxiety. I hopped on the bed, "hey babe guess what?" I said. Him asleep said, nothing. "I'm pregnant". The smile. The smile that I'm glad I get to keep all to myself.
Time evenly split between fighting to stay awake and my head in a toilet. Surviving off flat sodas and simple carbs, sleeping no less than 10 hours a night. What's different is how I've had to grow a light and keep Pipers burning. It's harder this time. Being a mother to two.
A thought or more so feeling thats been difficult for me is that I wouldn't be pregnant right now if my daughter had survived. It's true but hard to fact to admit. How I survive this thought, is gently reminding myself that I am supposed to mother these two children. I was somehow meant to grow, love and survive child loss. I don't know big picture but I know me. I'm not taking this lightly.
I am thankful. I am thankful that my daughter taught me to love every sweaty second of this go around. This is easier said then done. After battling severe morning, read all day, sickness with our daughter resulting in near dehydration, missed work and countless hours in the bathroom. We (Beau, doctors and me) decided that I would accept the anti nausea meds around week 10 with Squeak. I started getting sick 3-10x a day, at week 5. We have sicked in every imaginable place. Beau just loves talking about vomit, it's his favorite. I couldn't handle the emotional aspect of it this time. It was too much. The last go around I told myself it'd be worth it because I'd get a baby. This time I couldn't balance throwing up, being a wife, working and grief all at once. Now I'm not an advocate for taking medication but it was a lot easier to sleep and function with a little help from my friend. I stopped the meds at 15 weeks but the toilet and I are still pretty tight.
The Piper pudge didn't bother me. Growing my daughter and racking up nearly 50 lbs was well fun. This time it's harder. I remember how hard I worked to get down to my pre pregnancy weight. I can recall crying after my first hurling match weighing 25 lbs more than the last time I had played. Running once down the pitch and almost collapsing. It's harder this time to watch my body grow and stretch and spend countless hours throwing up with no promise of a baby. I cry to Beau then I feel guilty for crying about stretch marks then cry harder. It's a bad cycle. If you know my Beau slap him on the back for being the world's greatest Daddy to babes he has yet to meet earth side. I made a wise choice in life. He has stood strong with the grieving, sick mama bear who worries endlessly and eats all the bagels. Ok, all the things.
I ran races aces while carrying Piper. Races, y'all. I exercised diligently and waddled around the gym well in to 8 months. This go around I'm lucky if I can manage a 30 minute walk with Karma before I crawl on the couch with my saltines. I feel guilty about that too.
There are times when I cannot distinguish what is grief and what is a symptom of back to back pregnancies. What I'm sure you hear is whining, Beau certainly has, but I'm saying while I am over the moon in love this is the hard stuff. Admitting that it's hard and giving yourself permission to go easy is challenging for me and I'm sure other mothers.
This is is a different pregnancy and a different baby. Squeak is an addition not a replacement. We want Squeak to be loved the way my daughter is celebrated, starting now.
Rest easy our Piper girl.
I never formally announced the upcoming arrival of our girl, Piper Kai. I was haughty. I thought the cutesy, done up announcements were cheesy. And I was too good for all that jazz. I told close family and friends but tried to hide it from most of the world until 21 weeks. Which leads me to a fresh round of guilt. The only thing I ever announced was her death. That guilt stabs at me and hasn't dulled. I thought it best to wait the traditional 12 weeks then got scared and moved it back and back.
The death of your child does something to you. It redefines time. There was my life before Piper and after. This deep, clear meridian in my life. My counselor said something I can't shake. She asked me if loving and planning for Piper killed her. I was instantly horrified because people tend to handle me gently then I was angry someone spoke to me so boldly. Lastly I was ashamed because she was right. Loving and celebrating her didn't cause her umbilical cord accident. We loved her even when she was just an idea and we love Squeak.
And I'm scared. The thought I whisper in horror to Beau. What if we have to tell people something bad happened to this baby? It's the heavy fear of surviving something bad, again. We have crawled out of an impossibly deep hole and I am so afraid of it's darkness. It's been hard to stay grounded these past four months. Our tribe is strong and they catch me before I even know I'm falling. We have an excellent care team that lets me see the Squeak frequently and doesn't treat me like the insane person that I am when I just pop in. I am more scared than any mother deserves to be but here it is, the next great adventure and being scared doesn't mean it's not going to happen. I am trying to not let the fear outweigh my love, excitement or JOY.
We invite you to love both our babies. To direct all your good vibes right at our growing family. We appreciate the support, space and respect as we navigate this new chapter.
Welcome me to our tribe, little Squeak. Your sister taught us how to love fiercely so we do.
Rest easy our first love.
Piper Kai Bennett
I will scream, sing and share her story may it be short. Our only child was born still at 36 weeks secondary to an umbilical cord accident. This is our journey about choosing life rather than existence.