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.