November 4, 2009

I remember writing, after we found out that Teddy had CDH, that it was hard to give up having a “normal” pregnancy, and even though I used quote marks around that normal, a friend commented that there was no such thing as normal, making me cranky. I meant “normal” as in not high risk, not full of fear, not involving multiple trips out of town to see specialists.   I meant “normal” as in the kind of experiences most moms get to have, the kind of pregnancies that include such frivolous and happy things as baby showers and that end with healthy babies who get to go home. That was what I thought normal was.

After Teddy, however, there is no normal for me, not as I imagined it, anyway.  Perhaps the fear and worry are my normals now.  Even though it looks like I’m having a medically normal pregnancy, and even though I am happy and relieved and hopeful, even though I’m still giddy with relief, I know that Dot isn’t a sure thing, either.  She may not be born safe and whole and healthy.  I have another appointment tomorrow, and my anxiety levels have been rising as it draws closer.    Instead of worrying that I may have gestational diabetes and that I’ll have to give up ice cream, I worry that my belly will measure bigger than it should and we’ll have to schedule an ultrasound that will reveal more amniotic fluid than is expected and that we’ll have to go back to the perinatologist we saw with Teddy and that he’ll tell us, again, that there’s a problem.

Ice cream? Not a big deal.

Be safe, Dot.  Be healthy. Be whole.

I’ve longed for normal, I’ve ached for it.  But I’ve come to a place where I need to try to stop thinking about it.  Hankering after normalcy is just a way to make myself jealous and resentful, and right now I need to focus on how things are and how I want them to be.  So we’ve missed our stop at Normal Town, that’s okay.  It seemed like a lovely destination, but I don’t think I’d be comfortable there, not now.  I’m much better off being out in the wilds of Beyond Normal, where the vistas are wild and stark and beautiful and where the scary things are acknowledged.  Deep and wild missing of my boy? Check. Overwhelming gratitude? Check.  Raging hopes? Check. Heart pounding terror? Check.  Glimpse of something like home off in the distance? Yes, I hope so.




  1. I had as close to normal as you could get with Hope. Shame it didn’t end that way. And yes, while medically this pregnancy continues to be boring and normal, in reality, it is anything but. Pregnancy after loss is a very, very different beast.
    I’m willing you on, Erica. I’m willing Dot on. I know what you mean about anxiety rising before an appointment. Seems to happen to me, too. Which makes it hard now that I’m in the hospital at least once a week! It means the anxiety never really has time to subside. All for the greater good though, I suppose……

  2. Keep holding on to those glimpses of home in the distance. Hoping that you and Dot are both safely there soon. xo

  3. Oh Erica. I am hoping, hoping, hoping for you and little Dot.

    This time is so hard.

    ‘I’m much better off being out in the wilds of Beyond Normal, where the vistas are wild and stark and beautiful and where the scary things are acknowledged.’

    This is exactly it. Exactly how I felt with my pregnancy with Moe (and still feel really.)

  4. I know that rising anxiety before appointments. I am shocked my blood pressure wasn’t sky high throughout my pregnancy. I hope all continues to look good—no, actually be good—at your next appointment.

    I clung to the desire for normal for a long time. When Kathleen was born, things weren’t quite normal, but I was thoroughly enamored with the mundane. I hope you get that with Dot.

  5. My pregnancies were certainly not normal. That said, I don’t think I could have handled the only-one-a-month appts of the “normal” pregnant people. I wanted, needed, more attention than that, medical reasons aside.

    I hope you get to be as normal as you’re comfortable with. You deserve that, and more.

  6. I have only ever had “normal” pregnancies (Emma dying from a birth “accident”) & this pregnancy appears to be the same. Except it isn’t – not emotionally. I feel the same rising anxiety before every appointment, every scan – and yet, I couldn’t not go to them because then the anxiety would be even worse. I really like your description of Beyond Normal, I recognise it.

  7. we are no longer ‘normal’, like you said, in so many ways we cannot live in normal town. and yet here we are among women like us, in beyond normal together. and it makes me feel like even with all the anxiety there is a depth of gratitude, hope and love that can only exist when you have experienced such an enormous loss.


  8. Thinking good thoughts for you, Erica. xo

  9. well, blissfully normal didn’t work out so good for me; now I think normal is more ignorant. So, enjoy what you can, but you are now educated, the hard way. So, maybe Dot has an even better chance because you are on high alert (which is nice talk for insanely worried!)

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