How do I bond with this baby?

How do I bond with this baby?  I’ve talked about how I want others to see this baby as a real person and maybe part of that is so I can feel like this baby is real.  I’ve felt a lot of movement in the past few days and movement is something I am so very thankful for.  Mostly because I know the baby is alive and nothing has changed.  It helps a little to think the baby is interacting with me and my body too. But it’s still so unreal.  It was unreal when I discovered I was pregnant.  At that time, I felt pretty much ok and certainly didn’t look pregnant.  It was unreal when we found out the baby has Down Syndrome.  I hadn’t even adjusted to the pregnancy yet and then I had another hurdle to adjust to.  It got a little more real when we went to the CT Congress on Downs Syndrome’s conference- meeting parents with children with Down Syndrome.  But now this.  I need another conference full of people who’s babies kidneys weren’t working and had lung issues. AND have Down Syndrome.  I just don’t know what life will be like if the baby lives.  I have no role models, no scenarios, no nothing.

 

I can’t picture what my baby will look like.  I used to have trouble just trying to morph Chris’s and my baby pictures in my head to come up with some vision of our baby.  Adding features of Down Syndrome made it more difficult to imagine the face of our baby.  And now with the low fluid, the baby may have Potter’s syndrome too- with no swimming pool to stretch out in, the baby’s limbs could be contracted and some of the facial features smooshed. Plus the baby has clubbed feet.  I worry that my baby will look funny.  I know it will be my baby, but I just can’t picture him/her.

 

I think about if we have to have a funeral- I don’t know if I’d display a photo- especially if it were a stillbirth- mostly because people are uncomfortable with seeing a photo of a dead baby.  I would keep those photos for me to remember and reflect.  So my next thought would be to display a picture of the baby’s feet, because that’s a sweet, classic, usually “safe” image.  But my baby’s feet might be rotated and contracted.  It makes me so sad that there might not be photos of my baby that people would want to see.

 

So how do I bond with this baby?  I know that this may be a typical first time mom experience.  It’s hard to envision yourself as a mother until you’ve been one, right?  But the act of breastfeeding, changing diapers, holding your baby are all things that help first time moms really get adjusted to the idea that they are really mothers.  I might not get that.  I know people will say I’m still a mom even if my baby doesn’t survive.  But how will I feel like a mom?  If my baby is in the neonatal ICU, I don’t get to do those initial mom things.  I don’t even get the first step- holding my baby skin to skin.

 

How do I bond with this baby?

 

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On another note, I came across this on one of my Down Syndrome message boards.  I can’t explain the part of my brain and heart that this touched.  I read this as not just as someone who is pregnant, but who faces pregnant women every day.

http://liferearranged.com/2014/01/why-it-matters-when-we-rub-our-bellies-and-say-so-long-as-its-healthy/

My response when people ask if its a boy or a girl. “I don’t know.  But I’m pretty sure its a baby.”  It’s a baby.

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2 thoughts on “How do I bond with this baby?

  1. Just to answer your question…You are already bonded to your baby! The moment you decided to have a baby and the millions of moments you’ve had since prove its already signed…sealed..delivered! You might not be able to have those moments right after birth but it doesn’t mean you don’t already love this baby to the moon and back. From what I see…the decisions you have already made for this baby are the decisions only a mother would do for their child. 🙂

  2. MOC – I think about you everyday and keep visiting to see how you are holding up. A few random thoughts…

    – If you end up losing the baby, I really hope you will let yourself share photos. When we went to the hospital for my crazy fetal surgery we forgot our camera — that we were planning to bring in case George died and we wanted to be able to take photos — so Matty left right as I was prepping for surgery to go back “home” and get it. It was the strangest moment of preparing for George’s death and making the biggest possible leap of faith that we could save him. Long story short, the photos we took of him that night mean more to me than I ever could have imagined. UCSF has a photographer that volunteers to take photos of stillborn babies and other infants who die, but they were impersonal and taken several hours after the ones Matty took and they were hard for me to look at. But the ones Matty took, look like how I remember George and they are so important to me. We have several framed in our house and I have shared them online. When I did, I had the same “ugh people don’t want to see a dead baby” thought. You know what, screw them. If you lose the baby and you want to share his/her photo, do it. It’s for you. It isn’t your responsibility to manage other people’s issues.

    – I’m sad for you and your shower. I had planned to have a “meet the baby” shower with George after he was born, and when that day came — even though it was months after he had died — it was a hard hard day. I’m glad you were able to have a relatively relaxing day.

    – No matter how this turns out, you will find that your answers to questions will vary depending on the person and the situation. Even now I cringe when people ask me how many kids I have or which number baby I am pregnant with. Sometimes I give the full answer and sometimes I just leave George’s story out of it. I think those questions will always be hard but it is what it is. :/

    So, that’s my dump of unsolicited advice/thoughts. Feel free to ignore all of it. Sending you so much love everyday.

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