Thursday, June 24, 2010

Of Pink and Blue and Everything After

Here's a long story with a short ending. It starts approximately 2 and a half years ago, and who knows when it will end.

Once upon a time I was pregnant for the first time. I was nervous, excited and a little naive. Everyone asked me the same old questions, in this order: "How are you feeling?" "Is this your first?" 'What are you having?" The answers to the first two were easy--the last one drew mixed results.

You see, we never wanted to find out who was in there, until he or she came out screaming. We thought to ourselves, "Well, we have this child's WHOLE LIFE to know the gender, let's be SURPRISED when the baby is born." This thinking worked out well for us, for a while. Being the compulsive shopper that I am, it was hard to restrain myself when looking at the little blue and frilly pink things in stores, but I survived.

42 weeks later E was born screaming. Everyone surmised I was having a boy just by looking at me, and, as thrilled as I was that he was here and alive and healthy and WONDERFUL, I was a little annoyed that everyone was so RIGHT in their "knowledge." I was, by NO MEANS, disappointed that he was a boy--we were stoked, actually--but I didn't want to hear all the "Told yas!"

Moving on. Fast forward 11 months when I got pregnant the second time. Everyone told us, "Oh, it's nice not to know for your first one, but you'll want to find out what you're having for your second."

Still nope.

We held strong, but this time I knew it would be a girl. And then the shit hit the fan, and I waited and waited in the hospital to give birth to my dead, gender-still-unknown baby. And, lo and behold, she was a girl. When the dust settled and they finally told us she was a girl, I remember wailing, "I knew it! I knew it was a girl!"

So, that leads us to the third time around, meaning now. We caved this time. Well, I guess "caved" is over dramatizing things. I would love to still be that optimistic mama, knowing that I'd have "his or her whole life to know the gender." Oh, if only that were true. We actually, in our deepest hearts, did NOT want to find out what we're having. But this time around, I can't handle any more surprises. I want to know all I can know, control all I can control. I don't want to find out there's a tiny part of my brain that wishes for one gender over the other, and then be surprised or disappointed on delivery day (assuming we get there).

Believe me when I tell you I want nothing more than a living child to bring home, boy or girl. Truly, in my heart--well, I almost wrote "I don't care what it is." But that's not entirely true. I care a whole lot--just not about the gender specifically. My heart and mind and body ACHE for a living baby. I don't really care about the color of the receiving blanket.

Going into the sonogram, we weren't sure we'd even be able to find out now--I was only 16 weeks and the tech was checking out my delightful, enormous cyst rather than checking on the baby, per se. I was nervous as hell--this was new terrain for us. But the tech was lovely and kind, and was excited to show us what she could . . .

. . . and he's a boy.

I am getting tears in my eyes just writing this, because knowing there's a real live little baby boy in there wipes clean the nebulous, hazy image of a "baby." Unwillingly, I start to picture him--will he look like E, so fair and blue eyed? Or will he be curly-dark-haired like his dead sister? Or will he look like me, or C, or any one of a million family members with a great-grandfather's nose or a cousin's smile?

All the feelings I try to guard myself against, all the hopes for some unpromised future start popping up like bubbles, and it gets scary. But there's a relief in the frightened feeling, too. I remember, vividly, one day while pregnant with Calla. The realization that she was a girl--the biological, maternal, psychic realization--made me stop in my tracks and my heart start to race. Somehow, I have always had a vision of two boys.

I sound like I'm wading into wacko territory. I'll dial it back a bit.

Here's where the story pauses, for now. This little one is a boy, E will have a little brother--universe willing that this one makes it out alive. Would I be completely truthful if I said I wasn't disappointed it's not a girl? Not exactly. My heart soars at the thought of this little boy, but shatters just as equally for the little girl who will never be here, with us. It's not some 50/50 chance girl I'm sad for, it's our baby who died in January. It's her. I miss HER.

Since Calla died, I have this new thinking of pregnant mothers. We are the shepherdesses, the women who provide safe harbor for the little souls. We are the vessels in which they grow. We teach them love and life and provide passage into this realm.

Maybe that's part of why Calla's death was so incredibly painful. I failed in my duties. And here I am with another chance, to hopefully provide safe passage. For him.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kick Me When I'm Down

So, here's the rub. I've been looking towards feeling the first kicks with a mixture of excitement and dread. It's a real catch-22 for me. One one hand, those kicks signify the most amazing, physical reminder that there's a LIVE human inside my lady parts. On the other, there's someone in there who could be dead, too.

But now's when I start to really let panic seep in. I remember that day all too well when there were no kicks, no flutters, no hiccups, no nothin' at all in there. And let me tell you, that feeling was sickening.

So when this baby makes itself known, as it already has, it's amazing, and amazingly frightening all at once.

The worst part of feeling your baby move is waiting for it to happen again.

Especially in these early days of feeling, when it's little more than a fleeting flutter, a gentle nudge from the deep. One minute it's there, the next, nothing.

And waiting in between, during the nothings, is excruciating.

This weekend was overwhelmingly busy for us. E's birthday, Fathers' Day, LIFE--by Sunday afternoon C and I could barely keep our eyes open. We ate like crap, we got little sleep, we had an overly excited 2 year old wanting to play with every birthday present at once. And at every turn, I was waiting for another little flutter.


My mind was racing, a broken record skipping, "Thebabyisdeadthebabyisdeadthebabyisdead . . . " but trying not to panic. Yet. Fortunately there's still a tiny piece of rational thinking left in there. Somedays, in this early part, you can go for a good long while in between feeling anything.

Did I mention the gigantic ovarian cyst I have, too? Oh, the fun doesn't stop. This sucker is bigger than the baby--picture a 2 pound water balloon nestled snugly in my lower abdomen. Yeah, that could have something to do with the difficulty finding the heartbeat via dop-tone, and feeling anything consistently. Universe forbid anything be EASY.

Anyway. I was still in mild undertones of panic this morning, and suddenly, more bubbles. More flutters.


For now.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


C and I had been without a shredder for well over a year--actually, it had probably been closer to three years shredder-free. We found creative ways to shred our documents and receipts, but it usually meant I'd stash them in the old shredder basket until we had a ridiculous amount of paperwork. The old shredder may have died because I tried jamming too many sheets in at once. Maybe.

So a month ago we broke down and bought a shredder. It was one of those home appliances that kept dropping to the bottom of our "must-buy" list. Often, it wasn't as important as more pressing needs, such as a snowblower or dryer. Suffice it to say, after a year of living in our house, and having not shredded a single thing in that time, that basket was full to bustin.

But oh, what a rush as that basket got emptier and emptier! Old credit card statements--zip! Bank statements--zip! Phone bills, cable bills, receipts--zip! But amid all those records of day to day life were mementos of my former self, my last pregnancy. Receipts from doctor visits I'd trudged myself to. A receipt from the hotel in Montreal, a trip taken while six months pregnant. A list of girl and boy names we'd bandied about. Zip. With each paper down the chute, I felt a bittersweet remembrance of the past year.

One year ago, we were getting ready for E's first birthday. We had just found out I was pregnant again and were guarding our secret carefully--not even our families knew yet. We were settling into our new house, our forever house, our family house. We couldn't believe our good fortune. And then, the worst happened.

Sure, having all those receipts around made it much easier to return the nursing bras and baby gear I'd bought. I remember in the days after Calla died rummaging through that basket, desperately searching for Bab.ies R Us and Ta.rget receipts--get this stuff out of my house, now please. My best friend said, "I can't wait til I can laugh at you for buying all that stuff again soon." And she's right--even though I am guarded and nervous and anxious, goodness knows I'm still a shopper at heart--I'll buy it all again, and probably more.

It felt right to shred those things. Right in a I'm-really-not-a-hoarder way, but also in a cathartic way. I can hold on to my memories, and I can keep my secret hopes and dreams boxed up. But all that other crap? I gotta let it go.


In related news, a word to the wise, from the utterly stupid:

If, by chance, you find yourself 16+ weeks pregnant post-deadbaby, do not, under and circumstances, chug a can of sparkling water immediately before falling asleep. You will wake up an hour later with the most excruciating pain in your midsection. You will think you are simultaneously having a heart attack and going into labor, and then the thought of going into labor at 16+weeks will make you feel like you're having a heart attack all over again. You won't be able to breathe, lie down, stand up, or think. You will need to eat copious amount of Tums until your mouth is as arid as the Gobi. And when the pain finally starts to subside, you will, with utter clarity, realize what a long, heart-wrenching, panic-inducing road you are on.

Good luck going back to sleep.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Still Here

So, I'm still here. I've had a lot going on the past week or so, with no end in sight any time soon. I will tell you, however, several significant things have happened. Well, one significant thing. The rest is pure brain filter.

We had a sonogram today. Cut to the chase--we know the gender of our third baby. I'm not telling yet, as I'm still digesting. but suffice it to say I'm happy, and--dare I say--excited, and it turns out once again I'm correct on my gut feeling. 3 for 3 if you will.

E's 2nd birthday is this weekend. All week I've been thinking of 2 years ago, how we were waiting and waiting for him to arrive. I was 9 days overdue, hot, grumpy and READY. I was feeling elephantine--as though I'd been gestating for an unreasonably long time. In light of my new mindset, I can't help thinking, "What if it had been him?" Knowing him now, loving him more than anything in the world. Knowing, also, that carrying a baby for 42 weeks increases the chances of stillbirth. Oh, to be so naive as I was back then.

My best friend shared a sad story with me. Friends of theirs are expecting their second baby. At the 18 week sonogram, they learned this baby was not developing kidneys. The odds of this baby's survival are slim to none. They are devastated--and I feel it for them. I really do. I can't imagine how she must feel, being pregnant, waiting for the worst, and still having people ask the stupid pregnancy-buttinski questions. I think of them every day, and while I'm nowhere near religious, I send them good vibes and psychic hugs and support. I urge you to do the same, even though you don't know who they are.

At the end of my visit today, after the sono, my doctor listened on the dop-tone for a heartbeat. She couldn't find it. If I hadn't had a sonogram 20 minutes earlier, I'd have freaked the eff out. But I didn't. The tech didn't write down the heartrate--151 it was--so I just told her. She wasn't worried that she couldn't find it. Amazingly, I was OK with not hearing it again. I think.

I have arrived at a place where I have to just let go. Maybe I'm here for today, but I hope I'm here for good. I can't freak out about everything. I have to just BE. It's hard when I'm still picking up the billion pieces of my shattered trust. But what choice do I have? My new mantra: "What can I do?"

I'll share soon what we learned today. I have mixed emotions about finding out the gender anyway--we never did before. It's a strange sensation knowing who's in there before they arrive, but right now, it's working for me. And if it's afforded me a few moments of relief, happiness, comfort, control, then so be it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Somedays, It's Better to Skip the Playground All Together

I took E to the playground this morning. If you've inferred from the title of this post that it was a bad idea, you'd be 100% correct.

We dropped C off at the airport early today--E was very much under the impression that he, himself, was going on the airplane, too. Much to his dismay, he wasn't. So, to ease the disappointment, I decided a trip to the playground was a second best. It was a playground day like any other--sunny, cool, a handful of other little ones running around, moms standing in the background.

Here's where my day started to go off the rails. While pushing E on the swing, another young mom of a 2 year old boy pushed her son next to us. She asked if I was having another boy, I replied I didn't know--yadda yadda, the usual. She was super nice and friendly, and, like I've said before, to anyone else, I'm just a normal mother of a toddler with a baby on the way.

She asked how far apart they'd be. In my head I kept thinking, "Well, E is 18 months older than his dead sister, and will be, hopefully, fingers crossed, if all goes well, 29 months older than this one." I just said 29 months out loud, though.

Did I mention her son was 2, and she had a 3 month old in tow?

Anyway, later her friend joined her, also with a 2 year old boy and, ooh, looky looky, an infant GIRL this time! Great. Again, she was incredibly nice and friendly, asked if we knew what we were having--no, don't know yet, maybe next week, blah blah blah.

"Do you want a boy or a girl?"


Again, in my head all I could think was, "Well, I already have a living boy and a dead girl, so really, I don't care as long as it's alive." I stammered something about "either way we'll be happy, uhhh, yeah, um . . . " and then ran after E as he clambered up the climbing wall.

All the while we were there I'd been keeping my eye on the huge pile of dog poop some jackass left ON THE PLAYGROUND--rage for another time. As I was talking to these nice girls, I was paying more attention to: not passing out, not appearing to be an overprotective nincompoop of a parent as I made sure E didn't fall, and keeping up with the conversation than I was to the whereabouts of the poop.

Do I need to tell you I stepped right in it as I was talking? While wearing flip flops? After telling everyone else at the playground where it was?


Can I tell you that I find it impossible to be upset by these questions? Rattled, at a loss for words, saddened by the unspoken answers, yes. But I can't be mad. I don't feel hurt. I feel, truly, like a poser. Almost as though I'm having an out-of-body experience: I'll let the surface-level me answer these questions, pretend I'm who they think I am. Because that's all they can see. Its not fair that they don't know, but what can I do?

As I digest the morning, I realize more and more how much of a wallop my self-esteem has taken since Calla died. I find myself feeling like a seventh-grade wallflower in nearly every social situation. I feel inferior and incapable around other parents, introverted and shy around any adult. If you know me personally, you realize this is the complete OPPOSITE of my actual personality. I'm the kind of person who normally finds herself talking to just about anyone: vagrants, shop owners, strangers in elevators, people's pets. Now, I feel like nothing I have to say is worth listening to, anything that falls out of my mouth is sheer idiocy.

I watched as the other young mothers let their boys play. They even let them go ON THE BIG SLIDE! I follow E around that playground, waiting to catch him should he fall, shooing him from the huge slide, "helping" when he can do things himself. I need to back off.


I think the most pervasive emotion to filter its way through the fallout is fear. Fear of losing my living child. Fear of dropping into the abyss of despair. Fear of sucking as a parent. Fear of sucking as an adult. Fear of caring too much. Fear of everyone knowing who I really am.


5 months ago tonight we went to the hospital to have our lives irreversibly changed. I miss Calla so much, yet am so fearful it was all a dream.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thought Bubbles

Some thoughts from this weekend, some clarification, some reflection.

So, after reading back what I've written, I really hope I don't sound bitter, or ungrateful, or angry. If I do, it's not my intention. This space is the only one where I can let this side of my thoughts and life out. I can't walk around like a raving lunatic--all the time--so I'll save my raving for here.

Somedays I feel like Keri Russell's character in the movie "Waitress." Remember how she was so reluctant to be attached to her baby when she was pregnant? And then--SPOILER ALERT!--when she had the baby, everything else faded away and she was happier than she'd ever been? I kind of feel that way--as though I have to save all my happiness and excitement for later, for THEN, for IF and WHEN. I'll do what I have to, I'll take care of myself and this little one as best I can, I will live in my life. But . . . but.

That's not so say I don't have moments of clarity, calmness, even happiness. Those moments are, and always will be, though, tinged with sadness, melancholy, despair. And although there always will be the hint of sadness--and often, far more than a hint--my life is just my life, the same as any other life. There's good, there's bad, there's joy and sorrow. Sometimes, all in the same moment.

C and I went out on a date on Friday. There's a big fundraiser for an international humanitarian association held every year, and somehow we scored tickets from a friend. It wasn't really my kind of event--long lines to wait for samples of food, hundreds of people under tents, drinks on top of drinks on top of drinks on top of drunks. But, it was something to do anyway.

I must have the kind of demeanor that allows people to assume I want to talk to them. Sometimes I do, but often, I just don't--especially as of late. While waiting in line for some food--at that point, I didn't even care what we were waiting for, I was so stark raving hungry--I noticed a family ahead of us. Older parents and adult child with his wife. I could tell, feel the mother wanting to ask me about my pregnancy. I refused to make eye contact. But, it happened anyway. She asked the unwavering, "is this your first?" Me:" Nope, third." Her: "Oh, how nice. What do you already have?" Me: "One of each." Blah blah blah.

And then it happened again. And then we ran into an old neighbor, one who knew nothing of Calla, only E and now the current resident inside. And then I was done. I guess it was just easier to say "one of each" because, well, it is true. It's just that one's dead. One, thankfully, is not. I didn't feel the need to neither burden complete strangers with this knowledge nor get into my life story with people who may or may not be half in the bag.

C and I went out for a real dinner afterwards and I told him how that makes me feel. His point was that people are trying to be nice, and they are simply excited for us. They don't know. And I get that. It's not as though I have it tattooed on my forehead. To the blissfully unaware rest of the world, I'm any other pregnant girl on the street.

Except, as we all know, I'm really not. Which is why, among thousands of other reasons, I don't want to get into it. I'd rather get it all out HERE so I don't explode out THERE.

So today was the baptism of a new baby cousin, a little girl born a month after Calla was due. It's been on the calendar for weeks. It turns out a dear family member has been ill for nearly a week, so C and I decided it would be better for me to stay home. I felt terrible missing it, but C took E and I'm sure they had fun.


Now I panic. This is crazy, and irrational, I realize this. But even writing that I know this I worry I'm bringing bad things upon us. Whenever C takes E without me, I worry. The. Entire. Time. Not because I don't have faith in C, but because there are so many things that could happen. Things I can't bear to write but am haunted by the thought of--until the car pulls into the driveway. And they're home again, safe and sound.

Welcome to my brain.

How low can you go?

**Written 5/18/2010

As in, expectations. Mine are, in order: squeezing out a live one, bringing said live one home.

While pregnant with E two years ago, I thought a great deal about "how I wanted my labor to go." You know those ladies in the childbirth classes, the ones who roll their eyes when the mere word "EPIDURAL" is mentioned? The glassy-eyed ones during the c-section talk? The very same ones earnestly rolling on the practice birthing ball, making sure their husbands or partners or cousins or whoevers are paying the utmost attention to the breathing and visualization techniques?

Yeah, that bitch was me two years ago. I could slap the "hoohooheehee-"ing smirk off her face right about now. La-di-dah I went through weeks 38, 39, 40, then--gulp--41 of pregnancy with E. No lie, I cried at my doctor's office when I was told I'd have to be induced a few days later. I sat through that NST, sonogram, practically WILLING my body to go into labor.

Oh, the delusions didn't end there.

The night I went in for my induction, I, unbeknownst to me, was already IN early labor. So, tra la la, they started the pitocin early. The lovely young resident discussed pain relief with me, and I, so SMUG, said, "Oh, no--I'm not HAVING an epidural." But, just in case--I don't know--the very SKY OVER MY HEAD began to fall, I signed the consent forms. This was at 11PM.

I'll spare you the rest, but suffice it to say by 5:30 AM I was BEGGING on the birthing ball for that effing epidural. My best friend still recalls the text I sent her at 3AM--she'd had her first baby a month before--where I ever so delicately wrote, "These bitches HURT!" Yes, yes they do, Virginia.

So now here we are. Or rather, there we were just a few short months ago. When faced with the very immediate reality of pushing out my dead little girl, I vacillated between not even caring how much pain I endured and wanting to be completely numb. Ironically, the dastardly epidural I'd so recently villified was unavailable to me. Finally, the natural birth I'd so wanted! Lucky me. Lucky, lucky me, complete with a 12+ hour second labor, back labor, and no live baby to snuggle as a reward.

Queen Understatement says: "Man, that sucked."

So, again, here I am. I am nowhere near labor--well, at least I hope not, as I'm only 12+ weeks. Who knows how far we'll get. But this time? I don't care what it takes. C-section? Epidural plus narcotics plus a sleeping pill? Stand on my hands and shove a flaming hot poker up my ass? Sounds unorthodox, but if I get a live baby out of the bargain, I'm in. It's amazing how our expectations change, how we view the risks, the statistics, the steps necessary. I'll walk through fire for a different outcome. I'll give a speech at the childbirth classes, get in the glassy-eyed women's faces, tell them to wipe that smirk off their faces.

I went in yesterday for the NFT test and the quad screen. A nurse called me that afternoon saying she didn't like how the blood dried, and would I mind coming in to do the test again today? I practically skipped into the office today. As long as that baby's alive in there, I'll do anything, won't mind anything you ask me to do.

Turns out there are things way worse than an epidural.

Friday, June 4, 2010

At the very least, I'll have white teeth.

**Written 5/13/2010

I went to the dentist today. Hadn't been there since November, when I was happily, hugely 6+ months pregnant. Fortunately every member of my family has been going to this same dentist since forever ago, so they already knew the story. We still talked about it anyway, and I made it through.

I'm pregnant again, as you know, but I didn't mention it today. Didn't want to get into it. I can't bring myself to say it out loud--maybe it's because I can't believe it, and won't believe it until, well, possibly this baby comes out alive. And stays that way. That seems like something out of a science fiction novel at this point.

Anyway I made my bi-annual appointment as I always do--this time, it's for November. If all goes according to--well, not PLAN, but assumption, then there's no way I'll be sitting in that chair six months from now. Not if I have a newborn at home--wait, what? Six months from now. Holy shit. Six. Months. So much can happen in half a year--hell, in half a minute--that can change my life forever.

I made the appointment anyway. If my life goes to shit again, at least I'll have good oral hygiene.

I can't even think about November. It hurts my brain and my heart to look out that far. I'm happy it's nearly mid-May and I'm still here. It's strange to think of all the immediate future holds: summer, going to the beach, the pool, eating dinner outside and sitting on the porch, wearing shorts and dresses, the farmers' market. Then it's the Fall again: apple picking, Halloween, bundling up . . . and then what?

Here I am, trudging through day after day, month after month. My body and heart grow heavier with each step. I'm trying to stay positive, confident, hopeful. But really? This is hard. I go from day to day, calendar block to calendar block, slowly passing from week to week. Double digits. Out of the first tri. Into the teens, then twenties? Thirties?

Really? I feel as though I'm in some sort of perverse video game, advancing through levels, making it to the next step. Birthday parties. Recitals. Dinners. Picnics. What will happen when I get to the last calendar block--or worse, if I don't?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Supposed To

**Originally written beginning of May, 2010

I'm not supposed to be here. I'm supposed to have finished this months ago. I'm supposed to be in the swing of infanthood, balanced with toddlerhood, and a dash of sleep deprivation. I'm supposed to be back to my original weight. I'm supposed to be fast, or at least fastER again. I'm supposed to fit into everything in my closet.

But here I am. Again. I would complain to anyone who would listen while carrying Calla inside that it was THE. LAST. TIME! No WAY was I doing THIS again! I'd already given away many maternity clothes. I had the rest pegged for consignment or donation, but CERTAINLY not for future wear BY ME.

A ha. Ha ha. Hahahahaha.

As I said, here I am again. I'm not supposed to be here, but I am. What else can I do?

And here's the part that REALLY makes my brain and heart hurt: If Calla was here, neither I, nor the new one inside, would be. Not in this spot. Numero Tre wouldn't be. (Let's not put the cart too far before the horse--3 ain't HERE here, but 3 is here, inside.)

Let's get real about this--I WAS DONE. Finito. Fin. Audi 5000. If Plan A had happened, no Plan B.

But here we are at Plan B--the plan I never thought about, never knew existed. Patched together with Krazyglue and hope and tears, love and fear. How do I wrap my head around this new future, new life?

If she were here, this one wouldn't be. How messed up is that?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Amor Vincit Timorem

**Written 5/7/2010

I had my routine blood draw today. It's now the third time I've had it done. Each time gets a little easier and a little less interesting. I know all about the skeevy bathroom in which I supply a "sample." I know how many vials will be drawn and what they are for.

This time, though, was different. Let's be honest: I wasn't planning to have to do this--any of this--a third time. I still feel like an impostor, as though I'm playacting someone I'd really like to be. When it was my turn to go in, I already knew the drill.

When the kind phlebotomist asked for my arm, I blandly offered the right. Then, the questions:

"Is this your first baby?"

"No, my third."

"Oh! What do you have at home?"

Now, if I was feeling like a smartass, I would have replied 'A two-year-old and an urn.' But I wasn't feeling up to it. I told her of my son, and then of Calla, stillborn just 4 months ago. She looked at me, so sad, and said she was sorry, and then said:

"Well maybe this one's a girl."

Well. Yes, maybe it is. (What if it is?) She was so nice, so gentle with her words. Turns out she goes to the same OB/GYN practice as I do, and the same doctors delivered her two children as did ours--the same one for her son as my son, for her daughter, my daughter. We chatted as two mothers with a common thread. I left.

It was the first time I'd ever said it: three times. Three babies. Our third. Oh my god, what am I doing?


I've been taking a boxing class for the past month or so, and I have to say I absolutely love it. It's a one-two punch, if you will--an amazing, sweaty, all-out workout, combined with a great way to relieve all the aggression I have built up inside. Nothing gets out that anger like punching the shit out of the focus mitts.

This gym, also, is located on two floors of a church: the basement and the tippy-top floor. Throughout the class, part of the workout involves running up and down the stairs, from the basement to the top floor, with sets of pushups in between laps. My point of all this is that throughout this particular gym are posted many inspirational quotes. One of which is "Love> Fear." Another, which is on the t-shirt of each instructor and trainer, is "Amor Vincit Timorem," or "Love Conquers Fear." (Thank you Latin 1 and 2, as well as the memory-refreshing power of the internet!) Every time I run by, panting, huffing, puffing and sweating, I'm reminded of what's going on inside my body. Love MUST be greater than fear--why the hell else would I choose to go through this again.

Unless I'm really a lunatic. Which is entirely possible.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Don't Ask.

NOTE: This post was originally written at the beginning of May, 2010. The next several posts will be published in this fashion--I've been writing quite a bit on the down low.

I'm just going to come right out and say it:

I'm pregnant.

Please, no congratulations, no asking how I'm feeling--emotionally or physically, no gender or name questions. I'm putting this out there so it will be on MY terms.

The weekend after we returned from our vacation there was a home-and-garden show in town. As we were getting ready to go, my stomach gave a sudden lurch and the room began to spin, briefly. After a few swigs of Pepsi things were back to normal.

Except it kept happening. The kind of feeling where if I could just puke and get it over with, I'd feel better. Kept happening. Almost every day. And then I knew.

Two weeks later, it was confirmed. With a digital readout, no less. I wiped the drool-that-I-wish-was vomit from my face and looked at C. Holy. Effing. Shit.

It's, er, a little sooner than we'd--what? Expected? Planned? Not that we were doing either of those things. You'd think after two times around this block I'd have figured out how it works. Guess I'm a slow study.

So, I'm feeling an ocean of emotion: overwhelmed, grateful, hopeful, cautious, optimistic, shocked, grief-filled, stunned, freaked out, paralyzed with fear, emotional and physical nausea ad nauseam. Disbelief. Shock. Fear.

Did I mention I'm shocked?

And the third time, things tend to let loose a little sooner. As in, I'm sporting a belly. At 10 weeks. Which makes for a truly awkward experience pretty much everywhere: Me, trying to hunch over to hide it, others looking me not in the eye, but in the belly, willing me to spill the beans. (Or is that look, "Poor fat MB, can't lose the gut from Numero Dos."?)

I realize how-lucky?--we are--it takes some couples months, years to conceive again--if they ever do. Quite frankly, I can't believe it happened so quickly. I truly thought my body would be all, "Hell to the NO, sister! If you think we're doing THAT SHIT again, you CRAZY!" But here we are. Like it or not. Ready or not.

Don't get me wrong: my underlying emotion is joy. But schlumped on top of all that joy is grief, fear, anxiety, disbelief, shock.

And my mantra throughout--what? Nine months? Three months? Who knows how long it will last? But one of many mantras I recite is, "Just because I'm pregnant now doesn't guarantee I bring home a live baby in November." I have to be cautiously optimistic. I am hopeful, I am NOT peaceful, I am nervous. But I'm trying to be prepared--for the best and the worst.

Why am I telling you this? Personally I'd prefer to go live in a cave and re-emerge at Christmas with a live newborn. I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to say it out loud. As of this writing, at 10.5 weeks, very few people know. Our parents,our siblings, a handful of close friends, my doctors. But it's happening, ready or not. Like it or not.

But maybe if I write about it, I won't HAVE to talk about it. I won't have to answer the "Are you finding out the gender?", "Do you have names picked out?", "How are you feeling?", "Are you excited?", "When are you due?" questions. Read the blog, read the blog. And don't ask me anything. Just think positive thoughts and send good vibes but please, don't ask.

My doctor, at our first visit, was amazing. And she began to give options for delivery. I can't see that far. I can barely see til next week. I'm trying to take this one day at a time, as though every day is the last. Sounds morose, but when you've seen the other side, you can't go back. Believe me, I WISH I could be the old pregnant me. She was fun. She ate bacon with reckless abandon. She didn't think about babies dying inside or the possibility of returning the crib and the clothes and coming home from the hospital empty handed. She wore cute maternity clothes, made a plan for the hospital, thought having a C-section was her biggest delivery fear.

Girlfriend has left the building, y'all. It's the new pregnant me, now. She's not fun, she doesn't want to talk about anything newborn/pregnancy/clothing related, and her expectations for delivery--should she get there--have been lowered to bringing home a living baby. That's it.

So help me, Universe, through however long this lasts. If this is all I get with the little soul inside me, so be it. I'm going to try so very, very hard to not bitch, to not fuss, to not complain. If this is the only time I have with this tiny little one, it's up to me to make it real, and positive, and loving.

Oh my word, what have we done? How the hell am I going to do this?