Writing a blog can be a very interesting experience. You are able to share the good, the bad... really, you can share whatever you want. I happen to share a lot. But in doing so, you open yourself up to the good (which is good!) and the bad (which is just kind of weird, if you ask me) and sometimes... the ugly.
It comes with the territory, I suppose.
Back in the day, this blog was really just a small journal that I started to keep family and friends informed of Gavin's progress during an intense and long hospitalization. It grew over the years, but it was still small - and people kind of "got me."
Now... this blog has grown bigger than I ever (in my wildest dreams) could have imagined. Which means I feel I need to write differently. I feel like I have to choose my words - and describe everything in such a perfect way so as not to be misinterpreted. That's really hard to do, let me tell you.
The other day my journal entry, "What It Feels Like Seven Months Later," is a perfect example. In that entry I really vented my feelings... about, well, what it feels like seven months after losing our 5 1/2 year old son while simultaneously anticipating the surprise of a daughter while simultaneously parenting a grieving 4 year old. I also vented about those "end of pregnancy feelings" that most Moms go through. The exhaustion... the worries... the guilt... the fears. I wrote that I have been dealing with high blood pressure issues related to my pregnancy and how they are keeping an eye out for preeclampsia. It turned out that I ended up in Labor and Delivery because my blood pressures weren't responding to my medication (which has now been adjusted) the next day. The timing made a lot of people connect those two things - Kate was super stressed and emotional and ended up in the hospital. I suppose I should have expected the deluge of mail that included lectures... armchair therapists... and ridiculous comments like "go lay in bed and stop trying to do everything or your baby will die!" I could list a lot more of the ridiculous comments, but I will spare you.
So I thought I would lay out some facts so everyone is on the same page - and no one has to worry that I'm doing anything - in any way - to bring harm to myself or this baby.
1. I had high blood pressure during the end of Gavin's pregnancy. I do not have a history of high blood pressure - it was pregnancy induced. Once you have a pregnancy with blood pressure issues, your chances of it cropping up again in other pregnancies is high. So, no surprise, I had high blood pressure issues at the end of Brian's pregnancy. And here I am again... at the end with Hope. After every pregnancy, my pressures have returned back to normal. I fully expect this will be the case after Hope is born.
2. My blood pressure issues are more of a physiological response to my pregnancy and not necessarily worsened by stress. That being said - I have carried this pregnancy successfully under extremely stressful circumstances - we just lost a child. The fact that Hope is here at all is a miracle. And the fact that I am 35 weeks (and one day!) at the age of 43 is a miracle to me, too. I set it up at home so that I actually have very LITTLE stress at this stage of my pregnancy. It was the reason I set up her nursery so early... set up the equipment all over the house... washed all of her clothes and blankets and burp cloths and onesies. It was the reason why I bought, assembled, wrapped and hid all the Christmas presents so early... created, addressed and stamped all the Christmas cards so they are ready to go... put up the Christmas tree and prepared for Brian's December 16th birthday. I have nothing more to "do" or "prepare" - except grow this baby as long as I can.
3. I do not have preeclampsia. They are keeping a close eye on me for signs of preeclampsia, which means that I have excellent medical care. I go for non stress tests twice a week to monitor the baby... I check my blood pressures at home to keep track of them... I get frequent blood and urine tests to check my levels and to be sure I'm not spilling protein... and when I do have to go to the hospital, I am closely monitored there. Every single time there has been a problem - it has had NOTHING to do with Hope. She has been growing appropriately and always performs perfectly when they put her on the monitor.
4. I am not on bedrest - nor does my OB WANT me to be on bedrest. He said "try to put your feet up" to help with my swollen feet and ankles. I laughed because, well, I have a four year old. But the truth is - I drive Brian to school... come home... and I either sit on the couch or sit on my bed until pick up at noon. Yes, there are seven hours with him until bedtime - but we aren't playing tag or running up and down the stairs and you'll never catch me getting up and down off the floor. We're sitting on the couch or painting at the art table or, quite frankly, he's watching way too much TV if I can convince him. But those seven hours can be exhausting because they just are. I'm sorry, but I think they can be exhausting even if you're NOT at the end of a pregnancy.
5. Back to the bedrest thing. My OB actually prefers me walking around to keep the circulation flowing. Laying in bed for too long puts me at risk for blood clots. I take all of this seriously - please know this.
6. I've had several people tell me that I should stop my blog - that it's causing too much stress and taking too much time. That couldn't be further from the truth. These are usually the same people that tell me that I'm also trying to spend too much time with Brian and that I need to find time to rest so I'm not so stressed. And these are also people that don't know me personally. So let me explain. My Facebook page pretty much runs itself right now. Gavin's photos are scheduled until the end. The last photo will be this Friday night at 6pm, followed by a really special video at 8pm. I do go on the page and try to read and respond to all the mail and comments - but I don't have to worry about the photos. My blog, when I write an entry, takes all of 10-15 minutes of my time. I think... and I type... and I push "publish." That method of thinking and typing can get me into trouble sometimes, but that's just how I write. Let's take the venting post from the other day and use it as an example. I wrote that post because, that day, I was really feeling overwhelmed. Can you blame me? The way I cope is to get it out. I wrote about it... I posted it... I felt better... and the next day, I was back to normal. It works for me. Maybe it doesn't work for everyone, and that's okay! But it works for me. So telling me to stop writing - and then also telling me that I need to find a way to "de-stress" - doesn't make sense. My writing IS my way of de-stressing.
7. Venting like I did (and have done - and likely will do again) opens me up to a lot of advice and critiquing and criticism. I get it. But, just as in real life, when people "vent" they aren't always looking for you to "fix it." Sometimes it's okay to just be a present observer... a kind supporter... you don't even have to say anything at all! Sometimes, just like in real life, people just want to be heard.
8. It is likely that I will have to go back to the hospital - multiple times or one more time or maybe even today - and it's possible that Hope will be born early. If this happens, it is not due to me not taking care of myself. It is not due to me writing. It is not due to me playing Star Wars with Brian. Please do not infer that it is... because you will be wrong. Out of all of my pregnancies, this has been the most perfect. Can you believe that? We expected these blood pressure issues. But I've never had a more perfect pregnancy - her weight right now is great - and I wouldn't need to receive injections to mature her lungs if I went into preterm labor or if my blood pressures force an early delivery. This is all good news. And, to be honest with you, I am extremely proud of myself for how well this pregnancy has gone under the circumstances. Extremely. I have had to manage a lot and I feel like I've been handling things well. No one can make me feel differently about that.
9. It is, thankfully, not that often anymore that I get mean and hateful comments or mail. But it does happen. It just happened yesterday when someone told me, among other things, that "you are so immersed in death that you are emotionally unavailable for Brian." Listen - I have really learned to let these comments go... all they do is show the person for who they are. My method in handling them now is this: I realize that they don't know what they are talking about... or they are just plain mean and are trying to get a rise out of people... or they are projecting their own "stuff" onto my experiences... or they are possibly mentally unstable... and I delete the comment, say a prayer for them and move on.
10. I don't have a ten. So I will say this - I am so, so grateful that so many of you are concerned about me... about Hope... about our family. I know that so many of you have the best intentions and have become very invested in this little girl who, truly, is being dropped from Heaven. It warms my heart to know that she will be born into a world that already has so much love for her.
It's all going to be fine. I just know it. We are all continuing to believe Hope born when she is ready... and we will all trust that she has many, many angels surrounding her. It's all going to be fine.