So. I'm going back to work next Tuesday.
They are being really good about the whole thing. I'm not being thrown straight back into full time. I'm building up gradually. They are bending over backwards to make sure it's as easy as possible.
But I'm terrified. More scared than I can explain.
I am sad. More truly sad than I have ever been in my life. More sad than I ever could have believed. Before.
I don't want to return to normality.
Don't get me wrong; I know that this is part of what I need to go through. The last really major step I need to take for me to continue to heal.
But I don't want to go back.
The last day I was in that building working, I thought I was pregnant. I thought I had a baby inside me that I was starting to feel moving around. I thought that I only had four or five months before my maternity leave started.
I thought that I was going to have to hand over that meeting I support. Discuss with my manager how my responsibilities would be covered while I was off. Decide on going back full time or part time.
Two days before I went to that midwife's appointment, I got my projection of the pay I would get while I was off on maternity leave. Better in some ways than I expected; worse in others. I wondered about asking for a projection of how much pay I would get if I dropped a day a week, or two days a week, when I went back. After the baby was born. Thought we should really start looking into childcare. It was a long way in the future, but I've heard how fast time goes when you have a newborn.
One day before I went to that midwife's appointment I had an appointment with HR. Specifically, with the pregnant girl in HR (she has since had her baby; all was well). We talked about how it all worked - maternity leave, my rights, what I might need - and we gossiped about being pregnant. I felt calm. Happy. Like I was part of a club.
Turned out I am. It's just the club for the mothers of dead babies. Not the mothers of live ones.
I have to go back. I have to walk into the building. Face the people I work with. Try not to wonder what they are thinking when they look at me.
I have to face the fact that maybe I'll never get as far as going off on maternity leave.
I have to face the fact that for some people, me losing this baby will have been a seven day wonder. That my seven days expired a long, long time ago. To them.
This is going to be a minefield.
On the bus yesterday, I went past one of the houses nearby that always has a huge display of Christmas lights. Huge Santas, huge snowmen. Enough lights so that you could see the house from 30,000 feet, I'm sure. And I noticed that they had all gone, and for a millisecond, I wondered why.
We found out that the baby died a full month before Christmas. We have put up a Christmas tree, bought Christmas presents when it was the last thing I wanted to do. Visited family for Christmas. Cried on New Year's Eve. Taken down the Christmas tree, weeks after twelfth night. Gone out for D's birthday.
Gone to a ceremony for the baby (and other people's babies) arranged by the hospital.
And yet, part of me still can't believe all that has happened. Part of me is still sitting in the doctor's surgery with D on 25th November, waiting for the midwife to call us through for our 16 week appointment. Part of me can't accept the truth.
I'm calling into work this morning. Just to be back in the building, have a cuppa before I go back properly. Wish me luck...