It’s nearly impossible for me to explain the effects of losing multiple babies on the way you raise the children you get to meet on this earth.
The majority of the last three years of life have been trying to grow our family, navigate grief and multiple pregnancies, while in the middle of COVID. I’ve chosen to be very conservative in my personal response to it as that is the only thing I can control.
I birthed my first rainbow baby when the doctor’s offices looked like ghost towns and no one spoke to each other in the eerie silence of the waiting rooms. Seth and I were alone for 5 days in the hospital with Jaclyn because no one was allowed to visit.
I worried so much about Jaclyn making it into this world, I hadn’t even thought about how we would raise her as a pandemic baby. She hasn’t met many people in her two years of life in attempts to keep us as safe as can be from COVID especially when the strains were more aggressive and at its peak.
In those two years, we’ve lost 2 more babies, had 2 more D&Cs, and are now 23 weeks pregnant with twins. If I could’ve made it happen, the three of us would’ve lived in a bubble. And a lot of folks think we have. But the large majority of it is my trauma response to trying to protect my babies, whether in utero or in our home.
I’m well into the 2nd trimester and developmentally feel some peace that our babes will be okay. However, the PTSD of my other losses hits me out of nowhere and often cause me to spiral- much of it still prompted by COVID.
I’m terrified of getting COVID again, while pregnant with twins. The super illogical part of my brain goes to worst case scenarios such as losing our boys or going into super preterm labor and not knowing if they’ll make it. The more rational part of me warns those closest to me that if I catch it and become any more miserable than I already am, everyone better watch out. You see, carrying twins is not for the faint of heart- I am miserable 97% of every day.
I also don’t want to waste my sick days by actually being sick. Our country does not truly support parental leave. It is complicated and if you are granted leave through your work, you often have to use your sick or vacation days for it to be paid. I desperately want as long as possible with my boys after they’re born, and I need all of my days so that some of my leave will be paid.
So when you see me still masked wherever I go or the fact that I’m still virtually attending church, this is the context. When I don’t accept your invitation out somewhere or invite you over to our home, its because most people I know do not mask as I do and I can only control what I can control. However, we will happily entertain visitors who agree to mask in our homes.
I will likely go back to therapy in the near future to work through my PTSD of our losses and how that’s affecting my parenting, but in the meantime, I’m doubly hormonal and growing two tiny humans while raising a two-year old and working full-time. This is the best I can do for now.