It’s official, Isabelle is considered full term today. I still can’t believe how fast this pregnancy has flown by in spite of the past 4 months of adjusting to our CHD diagnosis. April felt more like a 60 day month while June felt like it was only 15 days. A diagnosis like the one we received can totally throw a person off in a variety of ways. We were robbed of the joys that a normal pregnancy brings. The excitement and hope were taken away from me. I had to shift gears from being excited to how are we going to get through this and how having a sick baby will affect our family. It’s taken me a few months to get to a place where I am no longer waking up at night terrified and full of guilt. We had an ultrasound this past Friday to check her growth and while the technician was going over her head size, abdomen and femur measurements, it occurred to me that since March 5th I have been identifying Isabelle by her disease. I completely forgot that she will also be a newborn baby who happens to have HLHS.
I have spent the past few months trying to learn more about congenital heart defects, her upcoming surgery, her care and what we can expect the first few weeks. I have been researching how and if I will be able to breastfeed Isabelle like I did my other two children. The past few weeks have been spent preparing for postpartum period, which will be in a very public place and I needed to take the necessary steps to ensure that if I do go insane, people won’t commit me. All of the focus has been on her diagnosis and how it affects me. It has taken away the most important piece of all which is she is our new addition, and will be welcomes with the same love and adoration as our other two were.
It bothers me that I have forgotten the most important piece of having a baby, which is a baby is welcomed into the family and to the world – a joyous occasion. I have not bought one diaper, onesie or anything for this baby. Not one thing. Very different from the other two where you couldn’t keep me out of stores. This time, I haven’t been able to bring myself to buy so much as a binky. I have been told that it is probably a defense mechanism of some kind, but it’s awkward when people ask me if I am ready and I have to lie.
No, I am not ready. I haven’t set our bedroom up yet because I don’t know how much equipment we are bringing home. I haven’t bought diapers because I don’t know what size she will be when we are bringing her home. We may need to order side snap onesies and special clothing so her tubes won’t get caught on anything. She may be sent home without any tubes, who knows? The Unknown has prevented me from walking into Babies R Us and as happy as my husband is that we haven’t spent more money, the reason behind it isn’t making him happy at all.
And I am still bitter. I found this out the other day when I was watching a Baby Story on TLC and found myself happy at someone getting a diagnosis they were not expecting. After the episode prior where a mom-to-be was upset that her hypnobirthing was being interrupted by inconveniently having to go to the hospital with all of their horrible intrusive care….well…I wanted to scream, frankly. And then this episode came on and the parents were in shock like we were and I was..happy. I was happy that we weren’t the only people who had to change gears with tears running down our faces. I could identify with this family, and it made me feel better for about 10 minutes.
The August Birth Club on BabyCenter is another place I don’t need to be. The trivial issues these people bring up make me want to comment with a snarky “Are you having a healthy child that will not require open-heart surgery? If you are then you need to shut the fuck up.” I haven’t yet, but I know the potential is there if I continue browsing there. I have also backed off a bit on some of the Facebook pages I normally frequent because of the desire to shut off the CHD tape, or turn the volume down. Thank goodness for my job and all of the insanity that is right around the corner.
This week at work is going to be my busiest time of the year. I am so grateful I have the distraction because without it, I think I would be much worse with all of this. Next week is our company’s National Sales Meeting and I will be working long hours getting presentations set up, making last minute changes and whatever else people need. It will also be my last week of work and what a way for me to make my exit!
My family went on vacation last week, and I am happy my husband spent one night with his family without me. He gets his strength from his family, and I get it from…somewhere. I am heading into this week with a clear focus on my job and not HLHS. It will never leave my mind completely, but I can take this as an opportunity to open my heart up to another child who I want to shower with love instead of fear. One of my favorite lessons I have learned in my adult life is living one day at a time. I would like to take the next 7 days and focus on what Isabelle will bring to this family, instead of how HLHS is going to impact it.