In four weeks, our son would be turning one year old. There would be cake, I'm sure. Probably some gifts, definitely pictures, and untold numbers of laughs and tears.
I know I haven't written much or shared a lot about the journey I'm on with this pregnancy.
This is an awkward place to be, and I'm having difficulty with the two main facets of my mothering experience. How can I mourn the loss of our child while trying to keep myself whole enough to nurture a new being growing inside me? This whole process of growth and birth is so intertwined with death and loss to me, it hardly seems fair to explore it outside of my own heart. There is such a mix of being high with the joy of Becoming parents last April only to have the bottom of our world drop out from underneath. I can't speak for B, but I know the journey of trying to find solid ground still isn't over.
I have been staring a lot at calendars lately, counting down the weeks until we meet this new little babe who is making his or her presence known through spectacular displays of tossing and tumbling. Maybe this is just a growth spurt and things will calm down into some more predictable patterns we can both live with. But there are only about thirteen weeks left to go before we're going to go through this tremendous physical and emotional transformation again. But before we even get to that point, we have to make it through Burke's birth and death anniversaries. We will have to relive it all, and I can't help but be nervous. How do women do this? How can they overcome the loss of their flesh and blood and turn around and give birth two handfuls of weeks later?
I do consider myself to be a strong person, but the mystery of life is not something I can wrestle into submission. I have realized that pregnancy and birth is a journey of surrender. You can research, theorize, plan and outline all you want, but there is no guarantee. Watching a good friend walk down a similar path with her beautiful mother's lost battle with cancer makes me see that there is just as much surrender at the End as there is at the Beginning.
So, here I am.
I still want a natural birth. There is no research out there that tells me that this is not the best choice for me or my baby, and trust me, I've looked. I believe in the Midwives model of care, far more than the Medical model. I think that birth is a natural part of living on this planet, that women have done it for thousands of years before the rise of western medicine with a LOT fewer problems. Then I see the SHAMEFUL rates of infant mortality in this country and I realize I am this statistic. Me. The uncertainty of it all frightens me. I had the interventions, yet still ended up a statistic... even a c-section would not have saved him.
Here's the mental battle: how do I surrender to the process without surrendering to the fear that seems to be lurking around every corner? IF interventions are necessary, will I be able to separate the past from the present and make sound decisions based on the current circumstances, or will I scare myself into a scheduled c-section with a whole host of further risks and complications? I know I will do my best to walk into the hospital as mentally prepared (and well-researched) as I can be for any outcome, but will I emotionally be able to separate the past from the present? I know it's all about making good choices based on sound research. To be proactive and make choices, not passive and let others make them for me.
I keep the mantra " different baby, different outcome," running through my mind. Deep breaths: in with good, out with bad. I try to give myself space to grieve, to not feel guilty for feeling my pain while this little one swims around bumping ribs and bladder with happy abandon.
Over the next few weeks I only hope I can focus more on what is to come than what I've lost.