Thursday, March 29, 2012

"I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul." -Pablo Neruda

It has been a while since my last post and in pregnancy days I think it's longer. 

And it's been a bit of a dark time, though the weather here over the past weeks has been unseasonably warm and glorious. My two and a half year old reminds me daily how glorious this life is and it is so wonderful to love him. Motherhood is truly a gift.

We have now passed what was the original due date of our daughter. It's been emotional in a way that's hard to describe. As emotional as that has been, I have been feeling this baby inside me moving a lot more. It's as if he's reminding me to get out of the funk; to celebrate life. 

Though I've been writing, it has seemed impossible to write a poem in months. I'd been conditioned to spending time every day at least attempting to write or revise something. I'm glad to say I am finally back at this and like any writer, know I just need to make the time. 

Last week, my son and I went to the beach. We didn't really go to the beach. We went and had a picnic on the sea wall. It was lovely to spend some moments with him there, watching and listening to the waves. I realized I had not been to the ocean since last summer and it was extremely healing for me. Because I was pregnant with baby girl last summer, she got to spend much of her time in my womb at the beach and in the waves. If you can't tell, I love the beach. 

I'd been feeling the need to get back to the ocean and I know it will always be a place I shared with her. It is not only a place I will always enjoy going with my family as I did with my own mom, but it will also be a place I go to remember and honor the little life we didn't get to meet.  It will be our place "between the shadow and the soul."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"You cannot find peace by avoiding life." -Virginia Woolf

Today my husband and I began the process of sorting through Ben's baby stuff and thinking about where all this stuff, and more, will actually go. *

Everything's been getting piled up in the room under the stairs. Sounds ominous, doesn't it? Really it is the room where our oil tank and hot water heater live, and the place with a small area that became the catch-all storage spot for mounds of quickly outgrown/no-longer-needed baby stuff. A lot was passed on to us and we've since passed it on, but we saved some things - those things given to us and some that we purchased - I remember thinking as I piled them away how we'd give them away when we had a girl but they would be cute should we have another boy.  

I would have thought that that box with items from my desk at my last job would have been in the garage with most of our other stuff. And I think this is why I'm already feeling the urge to nest. Ben was born 3 weeks and 1 day early, in September of 2009, almost 2 weeks before we moved to this house, so while I'm sure we wouldn't have really been moved in, our plan was that he would arrive after the point of packing/passing papers/moving/some unpacking. Instead we somehow did it with help and our 10 day old, "late pre-term" baby. Since then, we've been  just sort of unpacking what we've needed and moving in slowly. What's in place is what's in place. The rest is in the garage or under the stairs.

It was perfect - that time, that September, with its many visits to the pediatrician's office and lactation consultants. We often, when visiting friends, drive by the spot where we lived, where we all spent those days together--Ben and I camped out in our room--the last of many years for me and my husband being loaded quickly into boxes by our own moms in the rooms surrounding. C doing whatever he could to help wherever at all times. I think about the music we played, what we always seemed to hear in the car as we drove to appointments in that unseasonably warm September. I remember spending what was the last of 8 or 9 birthdays there, turning 33, eating pizza among boxes with my sweet new baby a week after his birth.

And while the last almost 2 and a half years have been anything but organized, I love that that each day we've inhabited this place, it has been a life as the 3 of us. It will always be one of the things that only we and Ben shared, like the smell of his first days. It will be just one of the things that I feel very grateful for.   

* This ultimately means the work-at-home/writer/mama may (likely, will) lose her office/working writing space with door that closes and room for bookshelves. Ahhh well...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

"The living moment is everything." -D.H. Lawrence

Just two days ago, we had the big 18 week ultrasound, where the baby is now large enough to see all of the anatomy, etc (sort of*). This time, after the technician did her initial scan, the doctor walked in to look a bit more. 

(*I think since I'd eaten a banana on the way over, baby was jumpy, making it a little more difficult in general. We have to go back in a month.) 

This time when the doctor walked in, he joked with us, "We stick needles in you and you keep coming back." Yes, thankfully, I'm thinking. But of course, each time I see him, I think of the first day we met. 

He is of course, the same fetal medicine specialist that detected large abnormalities in our last pregnancy. He's the doctor that said "This is just a screening," trying to calm me down as tears streamed sort of sideways down my face toward my ears. My head, still lying on the white paper that covers those tables in medical facilities, shook back and forth. As if refusing to get up and shaking my head was going to change what he had seen or what was coming next. I had known,I think from the day before I peed on a pregnancy test, that something was gravely wrong within me. Intuition is a bitch sometimes.

But the doctor. He is amazing, kind and not interested in treating patients like they are stupid just because he is brilliant. He suggested we meet with J, the genetic counselor, who is now more like a friend than a medical interface. She's sort of an oasis in a system that seems to have only dealt with normal.

I feel grateful that we were in the hands of these people, who did not encourage us to have an abortion, but provided all of the testing and then all of the facts, answers to every question, and between all of that, a shitload of tissues and some glasses of water.

I started this pregnancy differently. I don't want to jump around here, but it is inevitable. I couldn't go back to the same midwife/OB practice, for a number of reasons, some which must be obvious. Therefore I was referred elsewhere for my first ultrasound and screening.I thought it would be great to just do everything differently. Wrong. I was completely traumatized by our first visit to this other ultrasound place, where after the technician told me things looked good, the measurement was normal, I told her what had happened with our last pregnancy. She brought in a doctor to take a look, failing to give her the details in the meantime. After we had to re-tell that doctor what had happened, she then (I believe) exaggerated what she was seeing to be sure (I believe) her butt was covered. 

That is what brought us back to J and Dr. Amazing. I am going to skip some details here and I'm pretty sure that's ok with you.

Back to this most recent ultrasound. We've obviously had more of them than would occur in a normal pregnancy. These things have become like mini visits with the little one inside of me. I honestly treasure the moments because I know what it is like for plans to change quickly.  

I wave to him on the screen and cry with emotion. It's not the baby I was supposed to be looking at. (She would have been born by now.)  But it is the baby I'm thinking about naming. The moment is truly everything. Living.

After I get past this moment, I start asking way too many questions. "Are you seeing the four chambers of the heart? What is that there? Where is the placenta? I didn't have the AFP test; can you be sure the neural tube is right? What about the palate? You said the lips and nose look good but can you see his palate? That is the umbilical cord, not the intestines, right?" 

Truth is, I know more about fetal medicine than I would like. I would have loved to be one of those moms just heading in to get some pictures and maybe find out the sex of the baby. But that's ok. And I can't wait for Ben to meet him. Ben's definitely aware there's a baby coming. He keeps saying "sister," but when I tell him it's a brother, he says he'll show him the beach and how to shoot the ball in the hoop. I'm sure we'll all be just fine.  

The technician printed a picture of the feet. I can't wait to tickle those toes.