we're going to see the midwife this afternoon. she has offered us an appointment to discuss what extra care we will need in any subsequent pregnancy. extra appointments, extra scans. so i don't spend the (please-please-god-i-don't-believe-in-you-but-i-am-still-begging) 36 weeks panicking so much i make myself ill.
i've written a list of things to ask (about extra scans; about testing in pregnancy; about going back into the scan room). i'm taking along the book i found, pages tagged and questions prepared (about my expectation that something will go wrong; about everything, really).
and i was standing in my kitchen just now, stirring my porridge and thinking about what this meeting is going to be like. thinking about what i am going to ask and what i am going to say, and how i planned to show D all the lists and things but how i never got round to it last night, because i was exhausted and sad.
and then. it suddenly hit me. yet again.
my baby died.
my baby died?
there are so many things about those three words i find hard to believe.
that i was pregnant. (i've wanted a baby as long as i can remember. even when i was a kid, holding my baby sister or my baby cousins. i always assumed i would have a baby in my 20s. and yet, time has passed. i've held so many babies along the way. people have asked if i'm broody. (stock answer was 'never at the same time as D', which made people back off while making it clear that we would have babies when the time was right.) people have seen me holding newborns, confident when they were nervous. i've seen the questions crossing face after face. wondered when it would be my turn.
and then it was. finally. my turn. my baby. i looked forward to being off on maternity leave with three others. to meeting up for coffee. to comparing stories. techniques. experiences.
and then my hopes and dreams were shattered.)
that i was pregnant. (that i didn't have proper morning sickness, just queasiness. that i read that morning sickness was associated with better pregnancy outcomes. that i worried that i didn't feel sicker. that we sat in that room, nervous as hell. expecting to find out it was all a cruel joke. expecting there to be no baby, or a dead baby. i was scared shi.tless the night before that we were going to find out there had been a missed miscarriage. the irony would raise a smile if there were smiles to be had.
that there was a baby. that we watched its tiny heart beating. that we watched it turning somersaults on the screen. that i told myself it didn't matter that we didn't get a decent picture. it was so active, it must be ok.
that it must be my baby. we joked about that. that it couldn't keep still. the irony there being that less than two weeks later, it stopped and never moved again. or that in the last ten weeks i've sat stiller than i ever have done before, and let the world keep turning without doing anything to help.)
that i was pregnant. (that we were expecting a baby. that D and i joked about him being the fun parent and me being the strict one, and how unfair that was. that we planned to get the spare room replastered, to transform it into a beautiful room for our baby. that after so many years of holding other people's babies, of having to give them back - that after so many years of longing, i was going to get to hold my own baby. to give my parents their first grandchild, to give my sisters their first niece or nephew. that i was going to breastfeed. that i was going to go part time, because we couldn't afford for me to give up work entirely, but that really - i would love to be able to. that i was worried, already, about what school he or she would go to. about whether she or he would get bullied at secondary, like i did and my parents did. about what i would do about that. that i wondered whether he or she would be musical, or whether i would push her or him to be without meaning to. whether our child would like decent music, or whether they would rebel by going to raves instead of rock concert.
whether D would let me raise our child as vegetarian. whether it would inherit our love of pizza. chinese food. mashed potatoes. his nose or mine. his ability to sit and do nothing, or my compulsion to be constantly on the move, doing something.
that i feel guilty that even though i didn't feel properly sick, just queasy, that i didn't take the time to relax and enjoy my pregnancy. that that was the only time i got to spend with that child, that i will ever get to spend with that child, and i didn't take the time to just sit and enjoy it.)
did all that really happen? did i really wonder about all those things?
today the grief feels heavy. the weight of a life unlived.
but that time, lived inside my body, was a full life for our first child.
i hope our second child gets to live. to see the world.
i hope there is a second child for us.