what should i buy & when should i buy it?

this is a bummer of a topic for a mom who's no longer pregnant and expected to be, a mom who has experienced or expects a loss, or a mom who is high risk and uncertain.

when should i buy stuff?
i was talking to a friend (i think i can safely call you a friend- right? :) about how we
oftentimes feel like we're "going to jinx it", or that we're getting ahead of ourselves in buying baby stuff early. (i learned from a korean friend that many other cultures consider it bad luck to have a shower before the baby is born.) well, being a high risk momma who had already lost a baby, i was certainly not rushing out to buy wallpaper for a nursery when i got pregnant with the little bird...we put off buying almost everything until the last minute. (admittedly, this was partly due to my dear husband's frugal nature. "a car seat costs WHAT?" "yes, and we have to have it dear.") i personally (and hopefully subtly) cringe when people i know are out buying cribs at 14 weeks.... it's always been fine... but what if? and then they'd have a crib? that is the crazy angel/preemie momma in me worrying for everyone.

  • from a loss perspective: with max we had only gotten a few items here and there... we lost him at around 21 weeks, and we hadn't felt a need to rush out and buy anything that early on. so we have his book, where the wild things are, and we have a football my grandparents sent to "master maximus morris"... his first little football. now, looking back, the things we have of his are so incredibly dear to us. the hospital had a fabulous bereavement program (we actually got to go and speak at a training) and they took good care of us. they took very sweet pictures of max, they did hand and footprints, they had a little hat and outfit and blanket for him, and they put it all in a sweet little box. [well ok.. now i'm crying. usually doesn't happen that i end up crying when i talk about it, but what would be his 2nd birthday is coming up.. so i think i'm a little more emotional.] whew.. anyway, the importance of having his "things" and looking back at them, especially when we first lost him, is so important. he is my son, and he lived, kicking me awake at night for months, giving his momma terrible morning sickness, and shocking his daddy with little knees and elbows that could be felt from the outside... and then he died. and for a long time he was our only child... and we didn't have

    him with us. but, i was a mother, even then. being able to go and look through his things makes the entire experience feel real... that stuff, though stuff doesn't matter, has meaning and tells everyone that i was pregnant, and we had a son. i know many parents choose not to see, or have pictures taken of their little ones that they lose early on- that is a totally personal decision- but having those pictures has been a great part of the healing, of the validation, and has given us sweet memories. after i had time to work through some of the initial shock, and enough strength to get around, i started doing some online research. i found these things called "tear bottles" and i purchased one. it was probably more than i would have spent if i wasn't in such an emotional state and feeling like i HAD TO HAVE THAT! we didn't purchase an urn, my mother in law made one. (she's a potter.) but all these little things that we purchased, that they gave us, all those things are his, and mean more than i can describe. get what you need to heal. a special frame for a picture. a stuffed animal to be buried with, or to keep. a memorial in a park, or a special place. a march of dimes donation or walking team. an outfit or blanket to cherish. a journal to write in. whatever makes you feel like parents... whatever reminds you of your baby... those are the things that will help you heal.
  • from a high risk perspective: as most of your birdies out there know i have APS, which is the reason we lost max. so, we knew in getting pregnant again that i would have a high risk pregnancy. that lead us to hold off on buying anything, except her book "oh the places you'll go" at the 20 week ultrasound when we found out she was a girl, until it was pretty late in the game. as a high risk momma i was just holding my breath.. waiting for v-day.... that's the day of viability... at our hospital they wouldn't try to save a baby before 24 weeks... and then when v-day came- it went. and we felt a sigh of relief- we were going to have a baby! but so much emotion is tied up in the prospect of bringing that little baby home. after all, what if we had the baby at 24 weeks and 3 days and we never got to bring her home? we (i) didn't want to have a full nursery with all the trimmings, toys and gear, and a box for her to put her first tooth in.. and then not be able to bring her home. that would be too much. so we waited... and waited... and waited.. and surprise! a routine visit turned into an admission and the next time i set foot outside the hospital i was no longer pregnant. this goes back to the "jinxing it" mentality. i didn't want to be too prepared for her and then something go wrong. of course, we did have 3 months in the nicu to go out and get what we needed.. so there really was no rush for most things.. but it would have been nice to have been a little more prepared. in retrospect, i think having a positive attitude, and getting a little more ready to have a baby- even if i was getting ready to have a preemie- would have been healthy for us. i definitely would have spent more time researching and finding out all about having a preemie. for some reason it didn't really cross my mind. (maybe i was a little too positive on that front? or in denial?)

  • from a preemie perspective: i've talked about this before... but as soon as i was able to move without crying i demanded a trip to target. we absolutely had to get wren "stuff". i know i was emotional, i know i was hormonal, i know i was basically suffering from PTc/sD, but while she was in the nicu her "stuff" made her seem "real". the nurses laughed at me, but some understood... controlling her bedding and her little stuffed animal were the only control i had in the WHOLE WORLD over that little girl's life. in the nicu, particularly at first, "caring" for your baby consists of pretty much not touching them, moving them, or holding them.. you can't feed them, burp them, snuggle them, pat their bottoms... you can't really talk to them... you can't show them toys, you can't take them for a ride to the park... and you can't look into their eyes and relax. letting yourself love that sweet little part of you in that plastic box is one of the hardest things that can ever be done. all you can do is wait. hope. pray. ask questions... and later, take a temperature, change a diaper, and possibly feed them- on a schedule mind you. having matching blankets, and cute signs for her isolette with her name and pictures (when she was old enough that they wouldn't

    overstimulate her) those were the things that made it feel like we really had a baby. when i would bring her laundry home and wash it i felt just a tiny bit like a mommy... and that helped me. the nicu daddy of this family thought i was pretty much looney tunes... but something about not having the baby with me to prove i was a mommy was hard enough. i needed "stuff" to validate my feelings and make it all seem real. of course, all nicus have their own regulations on items that can be brought in. when you have a preemie you have to think about so many things, and in retrospect, that made the time go by so quickly. (those of you who were reading back then are probably laughing. but you know time is a tricky devil. seemingly so slow in the present, so fast in the past.) her coming home really sort of snuck up on me in the "oh crap, i'm going to be bringing a baby home and i don't have _______". i'm here to tell you... you don't need that much at first.. but it's easier if you spend the time while your sweet one is in the nicu preparing for them to come home just like you would have if you were pregnant. (the last month or so at least.) and oh! eventually your baby will be able to wear clothes!! haha.. that is a special day! (here's wren's story.) once she was wearing clothes she seemed so "real". that was a huge turning point for me personally in bonding and in accepting that we actually were going to get to take her home someday. we only bought a couple of preemie outfits... the micro-preemie (she only had a few of those) and the preemie clothes were pretty much all gifts. we had so many preemie clothes we didn't know what to do- but hey, that's what babies have, right? and having a baby that could wear clothes was one of the biggest steps in feeling like a "real mom".

anything that validates you as a mom, that reinforces your pregnancy, or speaks to your baby and their life....their existence... is so important. you are parents. you are a family. you are pregnant. you have a child. all those things seem so much more real when our lives and our living spaces speak to them as truths.

shop on mommas.


criticalcrass said...

i'm so sorry about max, m'dear. hugs!

i found you on twitter. did you see?

wrensmommy said...

for some reason I can't seem to find you-still! dm me if you would. :)

Jessica B said...

I'll never forget how my heart bled for you when they announced at church that you lost Max. I was 21 weeks pregnant with Hayden, so it really hit home. I wasn't sure what to say or how to give you my condolences, because I knew seeing me with my healthy pregnancy would hurt, probably still does. I'm so greatful we later got to share so many memories surrounding Wren's arrival. Love ya!

wrensmommy said...

thanks jess... i know everyone felt it... and who knows what to say? there's really nothing that can be said i guess. (or i still haven't figured out what it would be! :)

you guys are great friends and hayden is PRECIOUS! we're happy to have you in our lives.