I have wanted to sit down and write a proper post, but for some reason I haven’t been able to. I have a million little things I’d like to write about but I don’t always have the time to write when I’d like to and then I drift on to something else. Maybe if I just sort of list some of the things I’ve been thinking about I will start to be able to write again. I miss it.
I feel my baby boy kick more these days. The more he kicks, the more I worry about what will happen when he stops. On Saturday night I did not feel a single kick for a few hours. I was a wreck. My body flushed alternately hot and cold and all I could think was: how can we do this again? How can we tell E, disappoint her so completely? How could we have done this to ourselves? I was 23 weeks and 4 days and knew there was not much that could be done. I also knew that it was not unusual not to feel movement for periods of time, especially at this stage, especially with the placement of my placenta. Still, I was sick with worry and with worry, too, at all the times I would have to face this same worry in the weeks to come.
I have started to think about the trauma of E’s birth and then the fact of A’s death and I cannot convince myself that there is any chance for this baby to come out alive and unscathed. I feel sure that there is something that happens inside me that kills babies. I am so jealous of other pregnant women who talk about keeping their babies safe and close. As this little boy kicks and squirms I want to apologize to him: ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.’ I don’t know what I am apologizing for. I imagine danger, his fear. I want to know everything now of what happened the night we went to the hospital and E was born. I am going to beg if I have to for bi-weekly monitoring as soon as I hit 28 weeks. I am waiting for my first appointment with the counsellor at the hospital, which will be on February 25, when I am just days away from the point in my pregnancy where A died. I am sure that to everyone around me I look like a normal pregnant woman; I feel like a death trap.
Another mom at E’s daycare told me yesterday that she’d heard we were expecting. She is, too, due with a boy just a few weeks after me. Last year, when I was pregnant with Anja, there was another mother due a few weeks after me. All I could think of as I walked away from the daycare after yesterday’s conversation was: ‘Great. Now my baby will die and there will be another stupid newborn baby boy that I have to face every day.”
When I was talking to this mom, I wanted her to know that I am not the same kind of pregnant she is. I said, ‘We lost a pregnancy last year.’ I wanted to smack myself as soon as those words were out. We didn’t lose a pregnancy; our daughter died. Why did I say that? Why did I make it easier for her? She told me she’d heard that, too, confirming my suspicions that everyone actually does know what happened to us but pretends not to, that I am not imagining the way some of the parents steer clear of us, are awkward when they can’t avoid talking to us. This mom told me she had a good friend in Italy whose baby died 8 days before her due date. She told me that in Italy she was forced to have a funeral. I replied that I thought that was a good thing – not being forced, but having a funeral or memorial – because it helps people realize that your child died, that a person not a pregnancy is what is being mourned. She nodded. I think she was really trying to understand. In 2 years of our children being in daycare together, this was the first real conversation we’ve ever had.
E remarked out of the blue in the car the other day on the way to an ultrasound where she was going to get to see her baby brother: ‘Mommy, did you know if Baby Sister hadn’t died we wouldn’t be getting this baby brother at all?’ Yes, sweets, I did and it is an absolute mindfuck, isn’t it? E gets excited about what we will do when her brother is born and talks and talks about different ways she will help and love him. Then she screws up her face, looks up at me and says, worried, hopefully, ‘Mommy, I don’t think this baby will die? Do you think this baby will die? I don’t think he will?’ Breaks my heart. And is the first thing I think about whenever I don’t feel the baby move or picture his death. Poor, poor little E, full of love and hope. ‘I am already a big sister,’ she says. ‘I have a baby sister and a baby brother.’ And she is, she does. And I have three children. There is no way around it anymore. One way or another I have three children and E has two siblings and only time will tell what the ratio of living to dead will be.