Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Congratulations"

"I have held many things in my hands, 
and have lost them all; 
but whatever I have placed in God's hands, 
that I still possess." 
~Martin Luther 

Lately we have been busying ourselves at home enjoying the nice weather and getting ready for Sam. I think it is finally sinking in that we might actually get to bring him home. In my heart I still feel some hesitation when I think about bringing him home from the hospital. It just doesn't feel right to assume we will get to keep this baby when we are so intimately aware that not all babies get to come home...

We had another u/s with maternal Fetal Medicine this past Monday. Sam looked great! He now weighs over 3 lbs and is is the 57%. I think he will easily surpass Noah and Amelia's birth weights, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see. :)

I was caught a bit off guard when our "super" doc wrapped up our u/s appointment with a "congratulations." I wasn't sure what to think of that statement at first and it left me pondering why a statement like that would catch me so off guard...I'm not sure even now if I can explain what was so off about it to me.

In regards to pregnancy, "Congratulations" seems a term reserved for those who just shared the news of their pregnancy or for those who have just given birth. Amongst the members of my Anencephaly Mommy group we often say congratulations along with expressing our sympathy as we sit helplessly by and watch the newest members of our group grieve the death of their precious child. 

Maybe it was the words he left out that have me questioning; "Congratulations on your healthy baby." In all the times we saw him when we were pregnancy with Amelia, I don't recall him saying congratulations to us...  
I imagine being a "baby" doctor he often leaves parents with a well wish and a congrats. He probably says it so often he doesn't even think about it.

Maybe it was the sting of a wish that never came true with Amelia. Maybe it was just another product of my new normal. A reaction from the mother bear inside of me that remains guarded in my hope for a healthy baby and defensive in my love for the daughter we lost. Maybe I have prepared myself more for loss and continued heartbreak than I have for joy and hopefulness. Maybe I am so focused on preparing to lose Sam, that a simple phrase like congratulations has become unexpected and strangely unwelcome.

I am left to conclude that my unease with his kind expression, is just another reflection of the complicated mix of emotions that comes with carrying a rainbow baby.

I wish I could tell you that I have sorted through it all and emerged on the other side less confused and with a small nugget of insight that has better prepared me for the many joyful congratulations that loom in my future, but the truth is, I haven't. 

And still,  
(to borrow a favorite phrase of mine from another baby loss mommy) 
I remain in the grip of His grace,
Melissa







6 comments:

CynthiaS said...

I completely understand although I cannot put it into words myself. So many typical comments or remarks are so different when on the other side of losing a child. I am so guarded and protective of myself, Olivia and our rainbow baby that when I do have comments (although all are well intended), I find myself overthinking them. I guess it's just another part of the new "normal."
I am so happy you had a great u/s and so happy everything looks so healthy for little Sam!

Holly said...

I think every baby even if they wont live is worth congratulating for. But you notice comments more after loss. You look more into their meaning

Stacy said...

I've been sitting here trying to find something to say to shine some light on the situation.. some insight as to why he was awkward or why you were tuned in... and you're right, there really isn't an explanation other than you are a pregnant grieving mother bear who loves all your children with everything you are. But as little input I have on what you shared, all I can say is that my heart feels like it was right there with you as I read about it and I totally understand. I wish I could give you a hug.
♥ Amelia ♥

Jennifer said...

Hugs to you my sweet friend! I know...
I wish there were not triggers. Love you mama!

Kara said...

Ditto to what everyone else has commented. Yet another aspect of this hard, hard road. HUGS!!! So glad to hear that Sam is doing well though.

elena said...

I think every baby should be celebrated and is worth congratulating, but that the meaning of words definitely changes along with our view of the world after losing a child.

I love the quote, thank you for sharing. I always think trying is all we can do with anything in life and that we will always have our off and on "struggles" with emotions because they're always there. Thinking of you *hugs*