I’m going through old notes to get prepped for writing my new chapter. I came across the notes from one book, that I remember very well that I was reading as I lay in bed in June of last year, unable to sleep because of my contracting uterus during the miscarriage. So I’d have a few minutes where I could read, and then even longer minutes of agonizing pain during which I might or might not drag myself to the bathroom to see what the hell was going on. Not a very good memory and I’m having a little trouble with the notes I later took from the book. While I laid in bed, I had a little piece of paper I was tearing up, making page markers out of. I don’t remember when I transcribed the passages from which I wanted notes. Clearly not that day. Fortunately, I don’t think it’s that important of a book.
So now I feel fairly miserable. I rarely think to myself that I ought to have a 9 month old infant now, because that memory has been so subsumed by the loss of Natan. I feel so much more strongly that I ought to have him. Like I’ve said before, I just kind of accept that loss as a painful, but inevitable event. But when I see references to “your childbearing year” I can’t help but feel an angry, “You’ve got to be freaking kidding me.” I saw some crazy public service announcement on TLC the other day that suggested only a selfish woman would have trouble giving up coffee and alcohol for that “very short time” she’s pregnant, and my pregnancy book tells me I might very well miss being pregnant. And, people we know are suggesting we’ll be unable to accomplish much on our work once this baby arrives. Again, I say, you’ve got to be freaking kidding me.
Now I’m not actually lamenting my lack of wine with dinner. I’m lucky to be pregnant. I’m grateful to be pregnant. But this hasn’t been a “very short time.” By the time this baby arrives, if I’m lucky enough to carry him to term, I’ll have been pregnant enough months to practically birth an elephant (an exaggeration only by a few months). My doctor gets it. You all get it. Dr. K is very conscious of how damn hard it is to have gone through three first trimesters, two second trimesters, a miscarriage, and the death of our son in a very short time. Losing Natan didn’t make my uterus or my stomach muscles return to their never pregnant state. Part of the reason I’m going to contract a lot in this pregnancy is that my body “remembers” labor last time. Oh that’s nice, could someone remind it that that was the WRONG decision last time? Well, that’s what we are doing with the progesterone, and it’s working and I’m in love with whoever thought of trying it out first. And when I do get up to walk, I’m limping, because my left hip hurts from all the time I’ve spent leaning on it. I will happily deal with that issue when the baby arrives.
I’m aware of the risk of postpartum depression. I’m considering talking to Dr. K or a psychiatrist about a preemptive round of an.ti-anx.iety meds for that period. And I’m definitely prepared to go to counseling at any instant.
But, and here is where I know I may hear of lot of protestation. To the folks who think we aren’t prepared for the difficulties of managing work with a baby, all I can say is heaven forbid they ever have to try to get back to work without the baby. Now those are some tearful and sleepless nights.
We’ve talked and thought a lot about strategies for helping each other stay productive with an infant around. We both have no obligations other than writing and caring for him and each other. All of this of course assumes that the baby is born healthy, without a need for significant NICU time or other physical demands. But given that ideal situation, I think we’re going to be fine. Not because we’re naive, but because if anyone in this world has thought about what it means to have a living baby in the house, it would be us.