Andrew's father was diagnosed at the beginning of the month with advanced gastro-intestinal cancer, and he died last Wednesday, less than two weeks later. We just got back from his funeral.
Death is a part of life, but it's a sad part, and to me in my current more-emotional-than-usual pregnant mindset, it gives rise to all sorts of strange thoughts. Both of people who gave life to my husband are now gone (Andrew's mom died 7 years ago). Along the same lines, two of the four people who gave life to Spencer and the baby I'm now carrying by originally giving life to Andrew and me are gone.
Neither of our children will know their paternal grandparents. They won't hear stories about Andrew that only his parents knew, and Andrew won't be able to watch his children interact with his parents (apart from seeing Spencer with his dad over the past two years). I feel a huge sense of loss for this -- something that should have been given the chance to happen and never was.
I also realized, as I watched Andrew and his sisters at the funeral service, that one day the service will be for me or for him, and it will be Spencer and his sibling hurting the way that Andrew and his sisters are hurting now.
The usual kicks, whacks, head butts and other movements that I feel these days from the baby have taken on a new significance over the past couple of weeks, reminding me that, as one life has ended, another is beginning -- one made possible by the life that is now over. I only wish that these movements were perceptible to Andrew, too, and hopefully this time will come soon. Feeling his second child move for the first time won't fill the hole created by the death of his father, but it will hopefully make more real this brand-new life that will joining our family in a few months.
On the medical side of things, I had a brief 12 hours of panic two nights before Spencer and I got on the plane to go over to the States for the funeral (Andrew was already over there with his dad). A friend from work called and said "I don't want to stick my nose in your business, but has your doctor okayed your taking this trip?" (I must very sheepishly confess that I had been so worried about Andrew that whether or not the trip was okay for the baby hadn't ever entered my mind.)
Normally my reaction to a question like this would be "What a worrywart!" However, this friend is a very sane, calm person whose opinions I respect, and she followed her question by telling me that she had been in a similar situation when pregnant with her second son (needing to travel with a toddler under stressful circumstances), and she had ended up bleeding and on bed rest for three months. This story made me a bit nervous, especially in light of the whole low placenta issue that our doctor had noticed the previous week, and which this friend didn't know about. So, I decided erring on the side of caution made sense and called my doctor the next morning. And of course she was on vacation so I ended up speaking to her colleague who, after hearing the situation, agreed that it made sense for me to come in so that he could check everything out and give me the all-clear to travel.
Needless to say, I was a bit stressed. All I wanted was to be with Andrew at this sad time, but I of course didn't want to do it at the risk of harming our unborn child, and I knew that he wouldn't want that either.
Fortunately, the verdict was that it was fine for me to travel, and I got the bonus of a very detailed ultrasound in the process. We counted five fingers on each hand, five toes on each foot, and could see each individual rib and vertebra. The doctor also took all sorts of measurements indicating that the baby was right on track in terms of its development, and he also confirmed my doctor's assessment that the low placenta will be pulled up as the uterus grows. So my bit of stress was rewarded with learning that our baby is absolutely fine and, as an added bonus, fit to travel.
Junior is doing some mid-afternoon gymastics right now that are definitely able to be felt from the outside -- I'm crossing my fingers that it will do a repeat performance tonight when Andrew can feel it...