From where I sit (edited because pic didn’t show)

tom-in-the-window.JPG

or lounge or lay as the case may be.

I wasn’t going to take a commenter up on the suggestion that I photograph what I see from bed rest, because well, our apartment is much more functional than attractive. The lighting is bad and it’s kind of mess. I’m too much my mom’s daughter to want to show you all the ugly white walls, the maternity pants hanging over the wine rack or the papers, nail clippers and other random things on our dresser. But not enough of her daughter to insist that Josh waste his time cleaning it up. And, no, that is not in any way an attempt to guilt him into doing it.

I took this shot because Josh and I were interrupted in a discussion by a screeching squirrel fight in our backyard. Tom reacts to animal squabbles like any good middle or high school student – immediately stops whatever he’s doing and rushes to the scene of the noise. If he can’t see it from one window, he’ll rush to every other window in the house until he finds it. Midnight enjoys a good squirrel battle as well, but she’s not about to leave a good napping spot in the living room to watch. As you can tell from the photo, our yard has and is surrounded by several very large trees. It’s thus a popular place for squirrels, birds, and neighborhood cats to gather. As the squirrels prepare for winter, the fighting will become louder and more frequent.

As the weather gets colder, I too have to acknowledge that time is moving on. I’ll be 31 weeks pregnant the day after tomorrow. Whatever happens, I have to deliver this baby. My due date is 9 weeks away. Inevitably in just over two months now we will all know, for better or worse, the conclusion of this pregnancy. We, Josh and I and our families that is, will be facing the imminent one year anniversary of Natan’s birth and death.

Thanks to a very astute commenter/reader who emailed rather than commented, I realized that my fears and concerns with labor have little to do with what can be written in a plan (not returning to that question though – I’m going to do it.) I’m anxious about the finality of labor and birth. I’m anxious because I can’t actually plan it. I don’t know when it will be, what it will be like. Will it be an emergency, or a routine? Will I end up with a live baby, or a dead one? Chances are, of course, that this baby will live. But my previous tragedy doesn’t exempt me from a new one. But the biggest thing I can’t know is how I will respond. Will my sensory memory cause me to panic? Or will I be calm? Will I be able to keep my mind focused on this new experience, or will I be trapped by recollections of the past? That’s why I’m particularly overwhelmed by this demand that I go to Old Hospital if I deliver before November 3rd. It’s not a bad hospital, it’s just not the one I chose. It adds another unknown, another element to my lack of control. Of course no woman is actually in control of her pregnancy and its outcome, but many women who haven’t suffered a loss can feel more comfortable thinking they do, at least more so than I can. On the one hand, I envy them, but on the other I don’t – because to return to that state of mind might just mean my worst loss would still be ahead, rather than behind me. If I’m grateful for anything at all, it’s that I know now how much I have to fight to stay pregnant. No matter what, I won’t have to learn that lesson from scratch again.

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15 responses to “From where I sit (edited because pic didn’t show)

  1. I learned from others to fight to stay pregnant with the twins. I can’t tell you how much fun people made of me at the time. And then a year after my pregnancy, there were two very public twin-losses at my shul. I’m sorry that you had to learn the hard way, but you’ll never know how many people you’ve touched and taught.

  2. one of the things that i thought was impossible last time, with O, was hiring a doula for labour support and advocacy…because i didn’t even know what province i’d be delivering in, and i thought it would be silly in an emergency situation, and – like i’ve said before – i thought that simply the prospect of coming home with a living baby would be enough for me in labour, as Dave & i’d been through it before and heck, what could be worse than the disastrous, panicky emergency that had been?

    um, yeh. this time, if there is a this time, i will make some kind of arrangements for a doula, as i’ve learned in the interim that they can be brought on board in short notice, and because i’ve realized that i want someone there to both advocate for me medically (the doc who delivered O insisted upon an episiotomy despite my birth plan and protests and cut me through the perineum, which has caused what appears to be permanent nerve pain) and to be able to focus on keeping me calm without actually having to deal with her own fear.

  3. It’s scary, but powerful knowledge we have, isn’t it? I can remember fearing the idea of having twins again, but also thinking that this time I would know what to do differently, what to fight for.

    I am hoping you won’t, in the end, have to do much fighting at all though. But that this pregnancy will end surprisingly smoothly, and even easily. And of course, that it will culminate with the lusty cries of a healthy, glorious baby boy.

  4. There is that sameness to pregnancy that can screw with you, too. We try to differentiate in little ways — this baby is more active, the last one made me throw up a little more. But it really can be very similar, how we physically look and feel form pregnancy to pregnancy at various stages. And when something went catastrophically wrong in the past, the sameness trips you up. It is hard to know if you are remembering or predicting or just idly worrying.

  5. I was not able to plan *anything* with respect to my labor with Chloe. Like, at 37 weeks i said ‘OMG i am going to have to give birth, now what!?’…ok not that bad but close. Her birth went just beautifully, and once i was in labor it was all about her, not about Nicolas at all. I had no mental freak-outs until after she was born LOL.

    Bon’s idea of a doula is a good one, actually. I considered one with Chloe but dh thought it was an unnecessary expense so i didn’t do it. It can be expensive, but I do know someone who has some experience with loss/sub pg if you want a name…

  6. I know this may not help and might only piss you off, but I can offer what happened with me and perhaps it will ease your mind some. I did deliver in the hospital where I lost Jimmy and it was not a problem. I was so distracted by the birth that I could have been delivering in a field hospital in Iraq and not have noticed. Everything turned out beautifully, but as you know, I had low standards.. all I wanted was a live baby. As far as a birth plan goes, I think it might help you to write down some of the fears you have and talk with your OB in advance how she/he will address those. It is more proactive than just trying to deal with it at the time of the birth.

    31 weeks. Wow! I’m so proud of you. You probably don’t want to receive praise until you get the prize, but you really have borne this well. A pregnancy after a loss is difficult in itself, but the cerclage and PTL scares have made your situation even more remarkable. I’m thinking of you daily and can’t wait for you to welcome your son.

  7. Tom is sad that no one commented on him. 😦

  8. Exactly, Wabi.

    I think a doula would be financially out of reach for us, but Aurelia had some good ideas about contacting the social work department of the hospitals in advance.

    Monica, you’ve never said anything that would piss me off! But I do wish I knew if I’d even be delivering in the hospital with which my OB is affiliated. Alas, I need to get over that. I think I’ll feel very safe if I know the people in the room. Thanks for the good wishes.

  9. Tom, you’re a hott kitty. and you are giving those squirrels a pretty fierce looking at, too.

    didn’t mean to be cavalier about the doula cost – i know so little about how your insurance system works that i’m always a little at a loss. here, it’s about $300-500, which is a lot of money to us but given that we’ll be spending that to travel back and forth to Halifax for consults anyway i’ve decided just to look at it as part of the package, and am saving accordingly. i have NO clue what costs would be like where you are…nor even if you’d find it a useful expense. the big thing is feeling safe, and if knowing the people in the room creates that for you, then i do hope that it transpires for you.

  10. whoops! that was me, Bon. duh.

  11. I’m here quietly willing you safely passed Nov. 3rd.
    It’s all I can do, as I find I have no advice.

  12. Well, I had to laugh at your first paragraph because I would hesitate to take any pics in my living space for similiar reasons.

    Funny that a doula is coming up as I was researching this yesterday. It would be nice to find one that has worked in a subsequent pregnancy situation before. But…not sure we can afford it either. I have wondered too about my sensory memory while giving birth. Will I be so focused on this birth that it won’t be too bad? Or will my memory overloads make it difficult to be in the moment and concentrate?

  13. Oh Bon for a minute there I thought Tom had a secret admirer!

    No worries about the cost thing. We’re having a baby at the (hopefully) poorest time of our lives for several good reasons but it makes a lot of good ideas into luxuries. Alas.

    Thanks, Christyna.

    Exactly, Ms. G. I just don’t know. We shall see though, won’t we. Ah to be on the other side of December…

  14. Thanks, Bon, for making Tom feel a little better about himself.

  15. Tooommmmmyyyyy, you’re a fab kitty. Truly

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