Monday, February 28, 2011
Today feels like some sort of intersection.
First, upon waking, it is the two year anniversary of one friend's baby loss. Here, I mourn for another.
Then, upon some strange realization, I am exactly the gestation (27 weeks, 5 days) of another friend's baby loss (and the two know each other). Here, I hold myself up to another's pain: I feel vulnerable, and simultaneously mourn for her.
Then, I got a card in the mail that my sweet, old, lovely friend from college whose baby died a year ago this month has had a new baby, a beautiful, sweet, living son. I wept opening the card. It was the most beautiful surprise. Joy, joy, joy. I am so thrilled. I feel the joy of possibility.
At lunchtime I spent 72 minutes on the phone with a woman who was interviewing me for a community service award for my loss support program. I feel so empowered, so proud.
I had a few minutes to play Uno with my blossoming, precocious son who is home with a cough, when the school nurse called to alert me that a classmate of his, unvaccinated, had been attending school unknowingly with pertussis for the past month. When she saw Liam was out with a cough she wanted to alert me, to have me take him to the doctor to be checked out. While he has been vaccinated, there is still some risk-- and while it's easily treatable for him, it's a much greater risk for Fiona and also, go figure and OF COURSE, for women in their third trimester of pregnancy. Vulnerability floods me, fear as well.
This sent me reeling; although I was not able to find anything to conclusively truly freak me out about what might happen to the baby should I become infected (and trust me, I did not look too hard) I still had an hour or two of harboring some recurrent feelings that I have about what I see as a public vs. private debate, and others see as a government and health care conspiracy: vaccinations. Here I have vaccinated my children for the better health of society (not to mention their own), and somebody else who chooses for her own personal convictions (to which she is entitled) not to vaccinate hers has put my child (moreso my baby) at risk. It causes me to heave a sigh, to know that it's all out of my control no matter what I choose. Please do not enter into this debate with me in a comment. It is not a conversation I wish to have, having studied public health and medical sociology I have made what I truly feel is an educated choice. (and by this I don't mean to imply that others have made uneducated choices, but just that I am past the debating stage). Here I only wish to express the frustration I feel at having been put at some sort of risk, and the irony that I feel that it seems sometimes that with pregnancy and me when something can go wrong, it will. (I hadn't mentioned the exposure to Cocksackie at about 8 or 9 weeks, another one of those moments, which only just preceded the Rh sensitivity scare).
So find me the part of my day that Charlotte didn't impact, will you?
I often say that she's just everywhere in my life, everywhere, and it's really true. With every breath I draw, she's changing the taste of the air I breathe. Just as her loss has changed the children I've birthed, the career I've chosen, has changed it all.
As a last aside, I have had a kickass boys name brewing for a few years now, just waiting for a recipient. But the girl's name is evading me.
Who do you see as the baby sister of Charlotte, Liam, Aoife, and Fiona? What rings beautifully in your ear? I am so very weary of reading baby name books. I've tried asking the baby, but she doesn't answer. (Maybe she's a boy, offended at my suggestions)