My story is not hers


I’ve decided I’ll tuck pregnancy posts away on Fridays, when fewer people seem to read/comment anyway. Hopefully this way they will be easily avoidable for those who’d just rather not read about pregnancy right now. I have been where you are and I support you 100%! So please feel free to click away, like two sentences ago.

So we found out almost three weeks ago that we’re having a boy. I have to admit, I was surprised. I didn’t realize I thought we were having a girl until the tech was like, yep, there’s the penis. I just sat there, flummoxed, wondering how and why my second daughter had male genitals.

Turns out she has them, because she is actually a boy.

After about three days of processing this information (and I still seem to be processing it, I will admit), the fear started hitting me in waves. You see, I was always a little worried that I would have a boy, not because boys are considered to be more rambunctious, not because I worry I won’t know how to foster a son’s love of team sports (which I know nothing about), not even because boys are more likely to be interested in violent video games that I don’t want to think about, let alone making responsible decisions about (and yes I know all these examples are incredibly stereotypical, and might not apply to my son at all), no the reason I have always been so scared to have a boy is because my mother lost all of hers.

My mother gave birth to four girls, three of them were very healthy. She also lost three boys, all around 20-24 weeks. From what I can piece together, at least one was a stillbirth and the other must have been a preterm labor because the baby was alive when it was born. I haven’t really figured out what happened to the third; my mother doesn’t really like to talk about it.

My mom lost her three boys and she was never properly allowed to mourn them. She did not give them names or bury them or have memorial services in their honor. They were just unceremoniously disposed of at the hospital and she was asked to move on with her life.

She never found out why she lost all her boys. I’m sure a big part of her blames herself, her body. She says she would get these horrendous fevers and then she’d birth her dead or dying sons. There was nothing she could do to stop their coming. In her mind, her body rejected them.

Of course back then they didn’t do any genetic testing to determine what might have been wrong. There was no way, really, to know why she lost her sons. Maybe her body really did reject boys. My friend–who is now an MD–believes there may have been something wrong with my father’s X chromosome. She assures me the chances of that being the case are way higher than my mom not being able to carry boys to term. And there is always the possibility that it was just random bad luck.

But carrying four girls to term, even when one had significant health issues and losing three boys? I can’t fathom that that was just a really shitty coincidence.

So when I heard that I was carrying a boy I almost immediately started to worry that I might lose him.

I know I am not my mother. I know her story is not my own. And yet, I share so many of her reproductive issues. What if she did have some rare physical condition that makes it impossible for her to carry a male child to term? What if I share that same rare condition?

Right now I am 21.5 weeks pregnant, but really, if you go by the date of my last period I’m only 20 weeks (the baby measured 10 days ahead at both my 12 week and 20 week scans so they moved up my EDD). That means this month is the one where it may happen. If I am going to loss my son like my mother did hers, it will happen in the next four weeks. And I will admit, these four weeks will be terrifying for me.

I know there is nothing I can do to reassure myself that I will not lose my son. I try to tell myself that medicine is so much better now, that even if my body does try to reject my baby boy they may now be able to save him. I tell myself the chance of this even happening are so small, that I have no real reason to worry. I tell myself all sorts of comforting things and some of the time, they actually make me feel better. Some of the time, I’m not worried at all.

But other times, I am terrified.

Last night I lounged in bed as my little man danced and flipped inside me. For thirty minutes or more, I lay there still, cherishing each and every kick and eventually I just started sobbing with this immense gratitude. I am so incredibly thankful for having this baby inside of me, for those moments when I feel him move and my heart swells to bursting with this love I can’t quite articulate. I just can’t believe I have been given this second chance, this opportunity to experience pregnancy again, to have another baby. I know I could lose this baby at any moment–I’ve heard so many stories of those who have–but I am so overwhelmed with what I’ve been given so far, I find that this time around I am able to be truly thankful for what I have without needing a guarantee of what I WILL have. Last night, feeling my son kick inside me was enough to make me cry with happiness. I didn’t need to know he’d be okay, and that is a huge step. I hope I can hang on to that throughout this difficult month and the less difficult months that will hopefully follow.

Whenever I feel my fears tugging at me I remind myself that I truly believe this pregnancy was meant to be. I was meant to know this little boy, even if I only ever know him as playful stirrings inside me; he was meant to be a part of my life. And I take great comfort in that, despite the fear that I still might lose him.

I am carrying my son inside of me. From what the doctors can tell, he is healthy and strong. I am not my mother. Our story, my son’s and mine, is not hers. And I am so grateful for our story, no matter what the ending.

13 responses

  1. May I have your peace, calm and perspective when we conceive again? I love to hear someone, anyone, that is actively appreciating every day during pregnancy, despite the knowledge that it can all end out of our control. Big hugs to you as you carry your mother’s history within you, as you remember that her history is not your story.

  2. Crazy. Sauce. I am just blown away by this post. What your mother went through, and you went through with her. I want to sit down and pick through your experiences, how do I do this right for G? I’m so worried about how my losses are effecting G now, but I can’t even wrap my head around her future, when she’s trying to start a family. She gets to carry my issues with her. On so many levels, seeing as I still have no clue what my problem is. Just wow.
    You’re doing awesome. Sending light and love, I wish I had more than words to help you.

  3. OH E…I’m so sorry you’re worrying yourself with this….I can’t imagine the thoughts you have running through your head. I too believed I was carrying a girl. I had no idea boys were even possible. My husband’s family has no boy children. I was shocked. In fact, my response when I saw there weren’t my expected 3 lines on the ultrasound was HOLY SH!T. My mother doesn’t have had history of loss. I’m the only on in my family who has struggled with this. At least the only female.

    Here’s hoping your story is really and truly all your own and your little boy makes his happy healthy arrival come October…I’ll be thinking of you and saying special prayers for you during the next 4 weeks. HUGS!

  4. I feel so badly for your mother and also for your for having to face this fear. It doesn’t matter if logically it doesn’t make sense, the fear is real. I can only somewhat relate after having a bad scare recently and now here I am at 20 weeks. The next month really is a no man’s land. The baby is a real baby, but not able to live on is own yet. It’s terrifying. BUT, let us both hope that we can find some serenity and peace for the next month(s) and get through this. Because we will.

  5. What you say here is so important … your story is not hers, your son’s story is his own, too. And while that won’t make the next few weeks any easier, it’s something to hold on to. *hug* Keep breathing, friend.

  6. My heart just breaks for your mama. I cannot imagine the pain and grief she has experienced. I can see how her story would have such an impact on you and would increase your anxiety. Hoping that those fears dissipate as each week passes.

  7. Your story is not hers… and Mi.Vida’s story is not your father’s (maybe it was that chromosome?) In any case… regardless of the whys and wherefores, what pain… and of course that imprints a fear in your heart. I hope for peace for you in the coming weeks.

  8. Your mother is a remarkable woman- I have so much respect for her with all she has endured. And you are right- this is your story, not hers. And I pray your boy will be here, safe and healthy, in a few months. I can’t wait to meet your son 🙂

  9. Wow. It must be so hard getting through these few weeks, until you reach the 24-week milestone. I can imagine it must be scary, although I admire the attitude with which you’re approaching this time.

    Have you spoken with your ob about your mom’s history and whether there’s any cause for concern as a result?

  10. I don’t even know what to say to this. Your mother has been through so, so much. My aunt lost one baby to stillbirth and hardly speaks of it – I can’t imagine losing as many as your mom has.

  11. I cried when I read this on my phone last week and cried again when I re-read just now to post a comment (too difficult to post comments via phone). I also found pregnancy to be terrifying and I can see why it would be hard to relax with your mother’s specific history. You are doing a great job of giving over to the experience of carrying and knowing your son (and of not giving over to the fear!). I wish you continued peace and kindness as the weeks go forward and I’m glad you shared this post!

  12. Whoa. You and I have talked about this of course but to see it written down here? Like this? Makes it much more stark. Even more, I marvel at your mother’s fortitude. I don’t know how one could survive this, but she has.

    Interesting about your dad’s chromosome…

    Abiding with you during this period.

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