Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Today I talked to a new friend, I think she will be, who is six weeks out... six little, lonely weeks away from her little girl. I could have set the phone down and bawled. My body ached for her. Hurt like there was battery acid being poured down my throat, to imagine that echoing, ricocheting silence that bounces through her life and thoughts. I could feel that hot void in my arms where my baby should have been, I could imagine her in the car driving and knowing that there was nobody else there, and knowing that this was not right. I could remember that stultifying mystery of every moment of the day, my body crying out for my child, my life empty of meaning.
I remember thinking, how can this go on? How can I go on like this, when this is never going to go away?

This is where I begin to think, think hard, because I don't know how it was that things changed, and when they did, but somehow over the course of years on end, that knife that twisted in my chest, that salt that drizzled the wound every single day began to lighten. There was warm sunshine on my back, and I was able to bathe my wounds in warm water and sing softly to myself while I did it. I live in a new place.

I told this woman today about how part of what is different for me now is that I trust Charlotte, because she is more and more real to me as time goes on. She is changing me now, as she has changed me since she was born. I have never loved a single person the same since she came into my life, and I never will. Knowing with such extreme clarity that she will always, always be with me eases some of what felt so terrifying.

Even though, as I write this, the other side of me shouts in a tinny, sarcastic voice: I want the real girl, and I don't want any of this spiritual, wisdom crap of her always being with me. I want the real girl. This other side of me bangs her fists on the table and feels utterly unsatisfied with the course of events in every single aspect of their existence. And I respect this half of me, too, because she is also right.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Your turn

Here's what I need.

I have been a support to women who are doing this again, over the years. I have said, again and again, I know that you can't believe that everything is going to be allright. You can't. It just isn't in your emotional brain to do so. So, do you know what I am going to do? I am going to believe for you. I am going to take that hope that is too risky for you to hold, and I am going to hold onto it for you.

Can I give you a little bit of hope, and ask you to hold it for me? Because I can't even think past tomorrow, and when I imagine that this baby might live, it terrifies me because it forces me to think of the alternative. And I know I am getting down to the wire-- in four or so weeks, one way or the other, I will know the ending to this story. Or the beginning. Or however you want to qualify it.

Please RSVP in the comments section if you will hope for me. If you have a good relationship with a higher power, throw that in for me, too. I could use everything you can offer.

Thank you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In The Zone

So I'm not posting much.


This is not rocket science.

This is the place where I write about Charlotte, and while she is so close to my heart, I just can't rehash this right now. I am teetering on a precipice. I am a ticking time bomb who is trying not to think about it. I am weeks away from what could be the most amazing moment. And really will be, no matter what. But there are terrifying thoughts to be had, and it's all I can do not to have them.

I am booked to go and speak at the University of Massachusetts on Friday, a talk I have done 3-4 times a year for the past three years. I love doing it-- I speak to these fresh, willing nursing students who are so ready to hear my story and what I've got to say about how they can go out there into the hospitals and childbirth centers and make a difference in some poor bereaved family's life. I am always so grateful for the opportunity to do this talk.

But this time? I keep imagining calling it off. Can I really do this? Walk in there with my big, 36 week belly protruding out, and tell the story about how one night my baby was rocking and rolling and then suddenly she died?

I will, of course, but I'm going to have to really call in the psychological blinders to help me to say the words, but not process or remember while I'm saying them. It is so horrifying for me to go there right now. I have to stay as far away as possible, to save my baby. My little, happy, squirming baby who has no idea.

Oh, please, oh, please. Let's hope this baby decides to be born in a few weeks. Then we'll know once and for all.

(This is the fantasy I have each and every time someone asks me if I'm having a boy or a girl, which happens about 5 times a day. I want to say to them, I don't know, and I don't care. To me the only mystery is whether the baby lives or dies, and if I can be patient enough for that, god knows whether it's a boy or a girl matters quite little. But I have never said this, and I know I never will. Please don't take this the wrong way if you are someone who likes to find out. It's not about that, it's just how I'm hearing the question: as if the only mystery the person can wonder about is whether it is a boy or a girl, while I hunger for life itself).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I love the responses to my last post...

But the thing is, I really can't write that article right now, because I am less than 7 weeks away from my due date and I'm therefore a ticking time bomb who simply cannot allow her mind to wander into those areas that, to me, qualify as "real" fear. So allow me to offer you an "IOU" on that, and perhaps if I can add another safe arrival onto my list, I will channel my hormonal emotional surges into the most ass-kicking tirade imaginable. But for now, I must shelter my addled brain and just sit here amid pokes and prods and eat chocolate and focus on sunny skies, when possible. I know you understand.

I love human biology. I was thinking about this the other night, when Greg was out. I had cooked dinner for the children, the kitchen was a mess downstairs, and I was upstairs wrestling tiny feet out of socks and helping people out of too-small t-shirts and running the bath. As soon as they were in I was folding laundry and putting toothpaste on toothbrushes and laying out clothes for the morning and washing hair. Then it was on with the jammies, brushing the teeth, reading books for half and hour and then an elaborate, original story creation with the lights out and a lullaby for each child.
This is all elective, I thought. Imagine that I have all of this, and all I want is more. More teeth to brush. More laundry to wash. More mouths to feed. More dishes to wash. Less time for anything else I might want to do.


More cheeks to smooch, more little warm bodies to hug, more giggles to echo through my house. How could there be anything more satisfying? Truly? I can almost, sometimes relate to people who haven't had kids who find the prospect overwhelming. Who wonder why you'd want to have two, or three, let alone four or five. But once you begin, once you realize that miracle of life you slip into a mode of service that is unlike any other: you are at the beck and call, at the will of another, and you want it no other way. Yourself has been cast aside for the time being and you love it, your tiny dictators cause you to laugh ferociously when they aren't looking, they make you cry with joy and pain every day, they fill you with more love than you thought possible.

I read this thing in a magazine at the doctor's office. It was an issue from last May, celebrating Mother's Day, and it was quoting celebrities opinions of motherhood. Gw.yneth Pal.trow was quoted as saying something to the tune of, "I just can't believe how much I love my children. I mean, I knew I would love them, but this is just a whole new dimension of emotion." It's probably the only celebrity-mommy quote I've ever read that I have related to. Because who coudl have imagined, before giving birth or conceiving for the first time, what this love would feel like? How this devotion would turn you inside out in a heartbeat?

It is amazing and fabulous and I'm so glad to be programmed to reproduce... it is the best thing I've ever done and I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to be a mother.