Monday, January 26, 2009

ninety-nine days

I was reviewing my calendar before I left work today and, according to the note I put in it at some point, today marks the point in the pregnancy countdown where I have moved from triple to double digits.

After work I stopped off at one of those big discount shopping places to buy a big mirror for my studio/dining room. According to Feng Shui principles I need a mirror on the north facing wall of this room because the house notches in at that particular place and as a result makes that section, which happens to be the "wealth" section, missing. That is certainly not good Feng Shui. But I digress, because the reason I mentioned stopping off at the big store isn't because of Feng Shui or mirrors. While I was there I decided to cruise the aisles to see what else might catch my eye. I've never gone past the front section of this particular store before, so it was more out of curiosity than anything else. After passing through most of the store, well at the back, I came to an aisle full of baby items. I decided to buy some things: an organic wearable sleep blanket, a flannel waterproof crib pad, and a simple cotton receiving blanket. It didn't feel as scary to do this as I had anticipated.

The sun came out today and while it was bitingly cold it was still lovely. According to tomorrow will most likely bring clouds and rain/ice but in the days ahead the forecast features more little sunshine illustrations than it does clouds. Yay. People who have lived here for a long time tell me that winter is pretty much over by the middle of February. I usually take whatever weather comes along and don't mind one way or another. I lived the first 11 years of my life in a town that is only a few miles away from the Pacific Rain Forest where it rains what seems like 360 days of the year. People out there joke that the natives are born with webbed feet. For the rest of my life (until I moved to the east side of the state) I lived in various locations throughout Northwest Washington, so rain continued to be a big part of life. But lately I have been longing for the sun.

This poem by Emily Dickinson has been on my mind lately:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

always on my mind

Last night we had our friends and their two girls over to watch the fight (yes, we love boxing...who would have guessed it?). We've done this a couple of times before and I really enjoy it. The girls are 11 and 14 and we are in mutual admiration of each other. The older one told her mom after their first visit, "I wish BasilBean was my big sister" (I cried when my friend told me that). The little one bought and wrapped a gift for me for Christmas. It is a bib that looks like a ghost, a big white gumdrop ghost wearing green and white striped socks and brown shoes. Gracie tried to eat it, perhaps in her first show of rivalry with the baby, but I was able to rescue it before she did any damage.

After the fight we were all sitting around eating freshly baked chocolate chip cookies when the topic of baby names came up. We don't plan to share the name with anyone until he is here and actually named. I realize that people differ on this topic but we feel like once he is named it is more likely that people will keep their opinions to themselves. When it is still theoretical, though, people seem to be more likely to think their opinions matter. Anyway, we haven't decided what we will name him so it isn't dishonest when we tell people that we don't know. That response yesterday prompted an onslaught of suggestions. As it went on for such a long time I began to wonder if the name William would come up. I vaguely wondered if my friend had told her girls about him, but I guess I assumed that they knew. Then it happened. In fact, it turns out that it is their dad's middle name. So I said that we wouldn't name him that because that is the name of our other baby. The expression on the little one's face told me that she clearly didn't know. I then explained in that way that I have become so adept at that he was born too early and was just too little to survive. She asked me when his birthday was and I told her that it was coming up on February 1st. She said she thought it should be celebrated and I told her that I do celebrate it, in my own quiet way. Her response to this was that it should be celebrated with a cake. Mr. C said that he thinks William's brother would like the cake. The room had a different energy through all of this, much more still, as her mom, dad, and older sister seemed to be just watching it all unfold. Somehow the room returned to its former lightness, though, and we all continued to share ideas about names and all of the different associations that we have with them.

William's day is on a Sunday this year, since last year was a leap year. It will be three years since we said goodbye to him. I haven't visited his grave since the one year anniversary. It is now almost five hours away, but even when it was only about 20 minutes away I went there only a total of three times: the day he was buried, the first Mother's Day--when the marker had just been placed, and then on the one year anniversary of his birth/death. It is a beautiful cemetery, but going there was very hard for me. I realize that for some people visiting the cemetery fills a need; I can imagine that this is the case for a variety of reasons. I'm not sure when I will go back there. Right now just writing about all of this is bringing up so much raw emotion that I don't think I could handle it, anyway. I am sometimes tempted to open up his box and look at all of his things, but, likewise, I am not sure what it would do to me. While I feel like each day is a little bit closer to a sense of security and confidence that this little guy will come home with us, I'm still not to that point yet. I wish I were. I remember reading on someone else's blog during her sub-pregnancy as she got to the point where she could write that she knew her baby would be coming home with her. It was so lovely to see it unfold, too, as she subtly became more and more optimistic over time. Others, I realize, are virtually holding their breath until their babies are safely in their arms--perhaps this is more often the case.

The room that will be the nursery is still the guest room. It is currently a nursery only in my mind's eye. That is, I should note, save the fact that last winter I painted it a lovely pale grayish blue. It is a very fashionable color, so it doesn't scream "nursery" or even "baby boy." Still, that is exactly why I painted it the color I chose--because a part of me was holding onto the hope that someday our little boy would live in that room. That I would rock him there, read him stories, put him down for naps...that he would crouch down on the floor there while he played with blocks or a little train. These wishes and dreams cannot be stifled, no matter how detached I have tried to be. My friend at work, the one who lost a daughter to anencephaly, told me a couple weeks ago that she thinks I need to start buying things for the baby. (She, by the way, had her 20 week ultrasound last week and her baby boy looks perfect.) She told me that she thinks that it would be good for us to start getting things because it will help us to feel more confident that he will be coming home with us. My response has been, and continues to be, that I will do it soon.

Just as it was important to get passed the loss date in terms of gestation, I think it may be significant that William's day is approaching. It was much easier last year than it was the first year. The actual day was hard last year, but the time leading up to it didn't seem to be even remotely as difficult. But that first year the pain was intense, the memories so vivid and uncontrollable. Three weeks ago I experienced something similar, but by comparison it was much less intense. Even still, I was a wreck for a few days. I guess this is another example of how non-linear and unpredictable grief can be. Throw into the mix the turbulence of a sub-pregnancy and the potentially mood altering effects of progesterone shots. Oh, and the lack of sunshine, could that be bringing me down as well?

Yes, this too shall pass. But sometimes I feel like I am on a roller coaster.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

this feels nice

It seems as though we are back online again. I almost feel like I shouldn't even write that--as it feels like I will jinx it if I do. For some reason it has been difficult to get things up and running properly, and to stay running at that, so I cross my fingers that I will continue to have my little laptop here, in the comfort of my own home, connecting me to the outside world.

I had two doctor visits this week and all continues to be well. My OB gave me a hard time about my weight gain, though. He said that it would be fine, if I were delivering next week. The thing is, I am a little person and have been a healthy weight my entire life, I'm eating healthy food, and while I do have a little extra on my rear parts I am still fitting comfortably into my size XS pants. So I told him that I am not concerned. There is a big baby boy growing in my giant belly and if that means that by the end of this pregnancy I have gained 35 lbs (or more) rather than the 25 that is apparently ideal, then I can handle it. I saw the Peri, too, and the cervix is still nice and long and showing no signs of opening or funneling.

I feel kind of like I did at mile 16 of my first marathon. I feel pretty good, like I can do this--I can even visualize the finish line and me crossing it with a giant grin on my face and tears of joy. But, at the same time, there are still a lot of miles to go. So, to continue the metaphor, I keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I love him

This just crossed my mind and I want to get it down so I won't forget.

The other night Mr. C and I were sitting watching television and out of the blue he looked over at me and asked, "Where is the baby going to sit?"

Perhaps it isn't possible to convey the spirit of this moment...he was so filled with sincerity and an honest sense of wonder. It was a truly precious moment that I want to remember always.

twenty-four weeks

Here we are at another milestone. Getting passed twenty-three weeks did a lot for me mentally/emotionally, and life has felt a lot lighter this last week. It got very dark, though, for a few days and many tears were shed. There was one day where I pretty much didn't get off of the couch at all. But after last Monday I felt like I was stepping through a new doorway, out into a world that felt safer and more hopeful.

A bright spot was my visit to the Peri last week. Sure, I got the crappy Sonographer (she spent about a minute looking at my cervix with the abdominal probe before concluding that we needed to get a look from the inside; she didn't even look at the Little Guy, although I could see a foot or a hand moving around next to my cervix) but what I really cared about was that measurement. To my delight, and to the Peri's admitted suprise (in his words "better than I had anticipated") my cervix is still measuring 4.3 cm and shows no signs of funneling. With news like that I can make it another two weeks. I am also reassured by the fact that the Little Guy kicks, pokes, shutters and otherwise makes his presence known quite frequently. I do hope, though, that next time I will get the good Sonographer again, because I love getting a peek at him and am ready for some new pictures.

We should be back online at home in a week or so. Whatever the problem was, it was so severe that Mr. C decided that we needed to go with a different service, so we have to wait until they get it all installed. It has been a tough time to be without the internet connection.

Congratulations to Antigone, Becci, and Niobe! Two beautiful boys and one beautiful little girl. I cannot begin to express how uplifting it was to look at their blogs today and see these amazingly lovely babies!