This past weekend was supposed to be my baby shower. It was going to be a really cool baby shower- a bit non-traditional. It would be an evening shower at a local vintage clothing shop, with dress up games. Unique. Fun. Totally me.
When we were first diagnosed with ologohydramnios, I had Chris put away all the baby stuff (what a sweet man). I told my sister and my cousin not to send out invites for the shower. Then two weeks later, after one ultrasound where the doctor said the lungs “didn’t look hypoplastic,” I started feeling a little more optimistic. There was a moment or two that I thought maybe I could still have a shower? Maybe?
After all our research and plan-making, it became clear to me that I didn’t think a baby shower was a good idea. I can’t even look at baby stuff right now without a pit in my stomach. I am so sad I’m not having a baby shower. A shower makes my pregnancy real and a time for celebration. Not having one makes me feel like my pregnancy is not valid or nonexistent even. It hurts. Its my choice not to have one, but I hope people also recognize that I’m still pregnant and this baby is real.
My sister, who lives in California, was flying in anyways for a combo work-week in NYC and what was to be my baby shower this weekend. Though no baby shower was on the agenda, she came up for the weekend anyways. And she and my cousin reclaimed the day and took me to the spa instead. If I couldn’t have a baby shower, the spa was truly the next best thing.
I felt truly spoiled- four treatments (pedicure, massage, facial, makeup) and lunch. We spent the day sitting around in our bathrobes. I seemed like I was busting out of my bathrobe, while my sister sat comfortably in hers. I figured I am just more pregnant than she is (she’s due two months after me). After my massage therapist tracked down a larger robe for me and we reassembled, we discovered that I had been in a regular bathrobe and my sister was in a 4XL. Hah!
This is a very gracious thank you to the both of them. My sister, pregnant herself, has been super supportive. She calls when she knows I have ultrasounds. She’s heard me cry over my fears- including ones from the beginning that seem small now. She was very sensitive when telling me she was pregnant. She told me in a way that allowed me to be happy for her and recognize that our experiences would be different. And that it might be hard for me at times because she is growing a healthy baby (thank goodness) and I am not. I can not express how appreciative I was of simply how she told me.
My cousin, too, has been a big source of support. From the beginning she has been unafraid to talk about whatever is happening with my pregnancy. Some people hear Down Syndrome and don’t quite know what to say. With the new diagnoses of oligohydramnios, kidney problems and potential lung problems, people are at a loss of how to respond. Many try to give words of encouragement, which are so very well intentioned but often fall flat. My cousin asks questions- which is helpful. I usually just want to talk about things, to explain how hard this all is. And she can take a step back when I’m sick of talking. She has also been my backup ultrasound buddy. My husband works an hour away from our ultrasounds, so coming to them all often entails taking a half day off of work. We try to work around his schedule but with weekly ultrasounds in addition to meetings with specialists, sometimes it’s just not doable. And I refuse to go to ultrasounds alone- just in case I get more bad news. That’s where my cousin comes in. She came for a follow-up ultrasound for the clubbed feet. She was there at the ultrasound when the oligohydramnios was first discovered and came with me to the hospital while my husband drove to meet us. She came with me last week and listened to me cry on the sidewalk afterwards. She also lets me shower at her house after bootcamp in the morning (its my latest exercise/anxiety release. And I wouldn’t be able to do it if she didn’t live so close and let me mooch her hot water). Plus she brings me ice cream (the good kind) whenever there is a new complication (did I mention how much I like ice cream?)
So ladies, thank you.