Anniversary

Today has been a little bit hard at times. I knew this day was coming and I didn’t really have any reactions building up to this day, but sitting alone in my house right now I feel… so many things. Today is the one year anniversary of losing my baby to miscarriage.

I couldn’t have imagined where I am now this time last year, but looking back over the past year, I can hardly believe it myself. I know that if the other baby had worked out, we wouldn’t have Ruby kicking away in there right now and for that, I am thankful. I still mourn the loss of the first baby, but I am so happy and thankful that we are planning for Ruby’s arrival in just over two months (TWO MONTHS. A WHOLE EXTRA PERSON WILL BE LIVING IN MY HOUSE IN JUST TWO MONTHS, Y’ALL. I CAN’T. I JUST CAN’T RIGHT NOW.)

Today has mostly been a happy one. I had a fun, delicious breakfast with Bearded Wonder. He went off to a beer festival with friends (one that I missed last year for the first time…and am now missing again for similar reasons—pregnancy—but totally different emotions behind them). I went to Mecca (Target) and found a necklace to wear to my baby shower next weekend. And now I’m straightening up Ruby’s room. I am happy.

I had to take a moment to reflect on the baby we didn’t get to keep because she (idk the actual sex, but I always leaned towards “she”) taught me a lot about myself and exactly what I can endure. I hope to be a strong, positive example for Ruby once she gets here & I honestly think I can be after what we went through this time last year. I have felt like a mom for just over a year now with no baby to hold and I can’t wait for the day that this little girl finally comes to meet us in person.

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Thinking Positive in Third Trimester

Whew, it’s been a long time since my last blog post. My nerves were getting the best of me as I was approaching the time in pregnancy when life is viable outside the womb. I started thinking too much like I always do—that nothing good ever happens for me and my family. I thought “I’ve come this far and what if. What if?” I focused on listening to pregnancy meditation youtube videos, ASMR videos, and then I finally, finally let myself start doing things to get ready for her arrival. But in that time, I couldn’t write. Not about her. Not about this pregnancy.

I allowed myself to just look at Target’s baby site. Then I let myself add a beautiful muslin swaddling blanket to a wish list. Then I allowed myself to actually make that wish list a registry. Allowing myself to plan ahead made me think that this was really going to happen and I was actually unabashedly excited for the first time during this pregnancy. I still am.

It was very difficult for me to get to this point, given my past, but also because I felt like some people who are close to me were pushing me before I was ready. I wasn’t ready to buy my own daughter so much as a pair of socks, but I was already receiving brand new clothes and toys for her without asking me if that would be okay. It’s a difficult situation for me as a future mom to be in because in no way to I want to temper anyone else’s excitement for my baby—like, how much of an asshole would I be to say “STOP SHOWING YOUR EXCITEMENT OVER MY CHILD SHE’S NOT EVEN HERE!” Seriously. I’m happy that people are excited about her and for her arrival and that they’ve always been optimistic even when I couldn’t be. But man, it was such a struggle to hide tears and keep my feelings at bay when receiving a gift for her thinking “What if…?”

That’s not to say that everyone was like that, nor do I fault people who bought her gifts without checking in first. I had plenty of friends and family who I felt at ease talking about my fears with them and they talked me off the scary ledge. I was even able to genuinely receive Ruby’s gifts from them without feeling terrible because I felt heard and reassured by them.

I totally get why these are called rainbow babies. I could make a terrible, obvious metaphor about storm clouds and rainbows that you guys already know, but it would be too on the nose and I can’t do that without losing self-respect. But I’ll just say that even though I do still think about the baby who I didn’t get to keep, I know that if things hadn’t happened the way that we did that we wouldn’t have Ruby squirming around in there right now. Things didn’t turn out the way I thought they would, but I am happy here.

I’m glad that point is behind me now. I hit my third trimester two days ago and I can’t believe I’m here! Bearded Wonder was able to start feeling her kick starting last week (it would’ve been sooner, but she reserved her kicking for when I was at work or in the morning just after he left for work). I think things became more real for him in that moment too.

We had a fancy 3D ultrasound yesterday that she, of course, wouldn’t move her hands out of her face for (or her feet—she’s apparently very flexible). But we’re going to try again next week. Fingers crossed that we get a GOOD look at her! My spirits are way lifted now and I’ve written down many ideas for my next *several* blog posts, so the hiatus between posts should only be a couple of days at most.

Thank you for reading. Thank you all for messaging me and sharing ideas with me. It means a ton and I totally took your advice for my baby registry!

rainbow

(Just because I won’t make the metaphor doesn’t mean I can’t include a rainbow-y storm cloud-y picture for you to interpret as such)

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Fat lady baby-wearing

When did y’all start to register for baby things?

I’m 23 weeks today and last night I think I finally caught the nesting bug because I inexplicably hopped online and started “just looking” at what Target recommends for their baby registries and now here I am 77 items registered later…

I brought it up on one of the mommy Facebook groups I’m in because I was feeling so overwhelmed at what to get—do I get the stroller/car seat combo? Or do I get the car seat that grows with my child until she’s, like, seven years old and get a separate stroller? All the ladies eased my fears before I huffed a hole in the paper bag I was hyperventilating into, so that was nice. I even got a stroller/car seat combo out of it as a hand-me-down!

One thing I was particularly stressed about was baby wearing. I want to be able to do that because I definitely don’t want to haul a car seat everywhere when I go to my favorite restaurant & get the maple bourbon old fashioned I’ve been dreaming about ever since the pee stick showed a plus sign (I told y’all—Momma likes a drink). I consulted my trusty plussizebirth.com website and it helped a little, but I’m interested in hearing more about what your preferred baby wearing methods were/are.

It looks like the Boba wrap might be best because it’s so much fabric so it’ll fit big me and average-sized Bearded Wonder. But what about the Baby K’tan? That looks pretty cool too, but does it fit fat women? And before you say yes, how fat are we talking? I’m also considering the Infantino carrier but that’s mainly for Bearded Wonder. I’m not sure that would fit me. Is getting all three too much? Not enough? What if my baby only likes being carried in the Infantino and I can’t carry her in that? What if I smother her under these already giant boobs that are just getting exponentially bigger as this pregnancy progresses? What if she gets lost in Bearded Wonder’s beard? These are the things I stress about.

On another note, I think I was most excited about registering for swaddling blankets because there were so many that were just downright beautiful. So if nothing else, she’ll look gorgeous while she sleeps, but we already knew that.

Photo by Roger Burkhard on Unsplash of what I only imagine life will be like once this little girl is here: me, wallowing on the ground saying “help meee” while she laughs and climbs on my back.

Being fat & miscarrying

CW: Miscarriage

Back in December of 2016, I went off my birth control pills because Bearded Wonder Husband (truly his beard is the stuff of legends) and I were ready to start trying for a baby. Imagine our shock/surprise/excitement when I got pregnant immediately.

I’d been feeling exceptionally exhausted in the first couple weeks of January. My birthday is at the end of January and Momma likes to drink (miss you, champagne), so I figured I should take a pregnancy test juuuust in case before things got lit. Yep—it was positive. I spent the celebration drinking virgin cosmos and pretend whisky ginger ales with the help of a friend who was keeping my secret.

But the whole time after the elation of seeing a “pregnant” on my digital pee stick was spent with me wondering if every twinge of even the slightest pain was the end. One of my cousins has endured some heartbreaking miscarriages, still births, and a very premature delivery that allowed her little one to live less than a week, though she does have two beautiful teenage daughters despite all the heartache. I think about her and those babies all the time and even more once I became pregnant the first time. I’ve never talked to her about any of what she’s experienced because I can barely form words about it and I don’t want to dredge up any painful memories for her, but her experiences stay with me. I couldn’t help but wonder if her story was going to become my story. At one point early in my first pregnancy, I felt a sharp pain in my side as I was climbing into bed that didn’t last more than a second and it turned me into a crumpled sobbing heap. While Bearded Wonder rubbed my back, I cried and said I couldn’t live like this in so much fear all the time.

I went to the OB/GYN for my first 10 week appointment and everything seemed fine. They said the baby was measuring a little small in the sonogram and told me to come back in two weeks. They asked me if I was sure about the date of my last period. I was. Looking back on it, I realize that they probably figured I was miscarrying but didn’t want to worry me.

When I came back two weeks later on a Friday afternoon, the sonographer asked me how I felt. Had I experienced any cramping? No. Any bleeding or spotting? No. Back pain? No. Nausea? No. Bearded Wonder hadn’t come with me because it was just a run-of-the-mill appointment and we didn’t think anything of it. He’d be able to come to the next one; no big deal. Then she squeezed the gel onto my stomach and started moving the probe around.

“Well, shoot,” she said.

I blinked. I thought she messed something up on the machine. Maybe hit a wrong button. Spilled her water bottle. Dropped her car keys. It did not occur to me that anything was wrong.

“Was this your first pregnancy?” she asked.

Was.

I started to cry. She patted my knee and got me a tissue and asked if there was someone I could call. Bearded Wonder’s workplace was a half hour drive away so while the OB/GYN met with me and said things like “silent miscarriage,” “not your fault,” “did nothing wrong,” I clasped my hands together and wished I could just go back in time even an hour to still feel that excitement and hopefulness over my baby for just a little longer.

I scheduled my D&C for the following Tuesday, but I ended up spending the weekend bleeding a lot (side note: how come nobody tells us just how much blood there is in a miscarriage? I didn’t think my body could expel that much blood and I’d still be alive) and having contractions. My D&C was moved up to Monday when I called the doctor first thing and that was it.

I’ve never felt as hollow and just empty as I did in the weeks that followed. I hope I never feel that way again.

I gained weight through the end of spring and into the summer. A lot of it. Sadness has a way of changing you mentally and physically.

From March to August, I wondered if my negative thoughts had made the miscarriage happen. If I didn’t eat right. If I didn’t want it bad enough. So many things that the logical part of my brain all says are ridiculous. I still struggle with these thoughts sometimes.

A friend mentioned that perhaps we should start exercising together, if I wanted to.

“Maybe if you got your weight down just a little, this won’t happen again,” she offered.

“What won’t happen again?”

“Another miscarriage,” she said.

I told her I would let her know about getting together to work out (I didn’t), but it was like all the blame I had been putting on myself for the miscarriage had doubled.

Before you say “But studies show…” lemme just stop you right there. I’ve read all the studies on miscarriage. All of ‘em. The ones about fat women, the ones about skinny women, the ones about what week, day, trimester, etc. that someone miscarried…all of them.

It. Just. Happens.

And can we talk about that term for a second? “Miscarriage.” Here’s the thing: I hate it.

To me, the term “miscarriage” makes me feel that blame even more because it seems to indicate that something about me or my body isn’t/wasn’t right for carrying a baby. Like if that one thing about me was a little different, it wouldn’t have happened. Like a woman’s body is surely only meant for carrying babies and if she can’t even do THAT right… Like “Whoops, my body made a mistake and oopsie! Couldn’t figure out how to carry a baby in my womb properly so byyyeee!”

When I talk about what happened, I say “miscarriage” sometimes, but it has never tasted right on my tongue. I just think “There was a baby that we didn’t get to keep.” No amount of my heart wanting it was going to let it happen. That feels more right to me than “miscarriage.”

A few months ago, I was asking my dad questions about his mother, who passed away many years ago. She had eleven children.

“Do you think she ever had a miscarriage or a stillbirth or anything like that?” I asked him.

“No,” he said. “She was healthy, so none of that.”

“But I was healthy and I miscarried,” I said.

He didn’t say anything to my point and instead pivoted back to the topic of his mother.

It stung because it made me think “Does he think what happened to me and First Baby was my fault?” While I still think about that conversation sometimes, I care less and less about whether he or anyone thinks that my weight made it my fault. My dad and I have a good relationship and though I heartily disagree with him on many things—perhaps this topic included—I still love him. But what I do care about is changing the narrative about fat pregnant women’s bodies (and women’s bodies in general). Let’s all do this together, shall we?

Hey, fat moms! I see you…

I suppose I should start this post with explaining why I’m starting this blog. Or maybe I should begin with telling you a little about myself? Or maybe I should start with a joke? Clearly I don’t know exactly where to begin, but starting with the “why?” just feels right, so here we go…
In one of my many Facebook mommy/mom-to-be groups, a woman posted something like “Are there any plus-sized pregnant ladies out there? I’m looking for ideas on…” It escapes me now what she was looking for, but when I read her post, I was relieved to see *something* on this here internet that seemed to be a glimmer of hope at a community for fat pregnant women. I was just about to post something like “Eeee! So happy to hear of other fat moms! Where can I find plus-size maternity clothes? What about baby wearing? How do your doctors react to your weight? Etc. etc. etc.” but I stopped to read a few responses because I don’t want to be the asshole who reposts something that someone has already discussed. Nearly every comment was something like “Yeah, I’m a size 10 and I hate being fat and pregnant…” or “Size 12 plus-size mommy right here!” Maaaybe there were one or two size 14 moms.
I recoiled.
I know that beauty industry standards indicate that in terms of clothing sizes, these women are plus-sized—a fact I find ridiculous. I don’t think I’ve been a size 10 since birth. I thought of Roxane Gay’s memoir, Hunger, (which if you haven’t read it yet, stop reading this blog right now and read it) when she described the difference between being “Lane Bryant fat” and “very fat.” Girl, I feel ya.
But there were no comments from women who were size 22. 24. 32. 40. Beyond. Maybe these women were sitting at their keyboards thinking the same thing I was: “I’m too embarrassed to post amongst these skinny women.” Because to me, those women are skinny (and many of them posted pictures of their bodies; none of them big women. NONE.). Or maybe it wasn’t so much embarrassment as it was thinking “I don’t belong.” Both of these thoughts—and many others like them—passed through my mind.
So I started searching for online communities and resources for fat pregnant ladies because surely I cannot be the only one. I found a few outdated blogs, some really stellar resources (hello, plussizebirth.com), and some absolute *queens* on Instagram who I started following, but then I thought “Why can’t I add my own voice to the plus-size mom world?” So here I am, hoping to connect with other fat moms-to-be.
Are you a fat mom-to-be? What do you want to talk about? Do you have questions? (I probably have them too). This is my first blog, so I’m still learning the ropes a bit. Let me know what you’re interested in!
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash