34 weeks looming

I am not even considering the blog challenge to post every day in November, because the fact that it is November 2nd and I’ve already missed a day is not a good omen for success.

I am spent. Even as physically this week has been fine, emotionally I am exhausted. Worrying. I have so many thoughts going through my mind that I can only stare at the computer screen, and write long rambling paragraphs as I try to work through my feelings. I decided not to subject you to them – if only because I really have no idea how I am feeling right now.

I am worried because it has now been almost ten months since Natan died and it’s looking like I’m not going to wake up and find out it was a nightmare. This is my life and the world has moved on.

We’re reaching two major milestones at the moment. First, we spent yesterday afternoon and evening, well into the night, making space in this apartment for a potential homecoming. Not too much has changed, and if disaster occurs, we won’t need to undo anything. We packed up stuff that we won’t need before we move again this summer and we moved furniture just in case we need room for a crib. But if not, it can just stay where it is. We put a very mobile chair in the spot where the crib could go. When I say “we” I obviously mean Josh with me watching. I had marked November 1 as the day I’d be willing to make arrangements for a possible baby in the house – figuring that I could really go at any moment now with the baby possibly needing only a short NICU stay, and then it would be seriously difficult to make room for him here. We have very, very few baby items on hand – 20 BumGenius diapers, some clothing Kate brought us, the blankets I crocheted and a hat – but there will be space for more if the time comes. And then of course we are 12.5 hours away from 34 weeks.

We had to move Natan’s box from the armoire where it had been living to re-install the changing table part. Thrice mused the other day that she is not sure how to respond to the coincidence of my grief for Natan and this pregnancy. She is right that I’m upset if people don’t acknowledge my first son. I can’t really respond as to how I want people to act or what I want them to say. I know I am deeply grateful for friends who do say his name, and talk about him. I know I am angry with those who don’t – but I am not angry simply because they don’t. In those cases there’s history beyond it. I appreciate so much all the love and compassion I’ve received, and if some of it is sometimes imperfect, I’m okay with that. Some days I want and need to speak about him, his life, his birth, his death, and some days I cannot. Friends and family and blogreaders are somewhat required, I guess, to walk a careful line with me, and I love those who are willing to try.

One thing that’s apparent, however, is that while this pregnancy is healing me, that healing is incomplete. I can only imagine the safe birth of this baby will bring more incomplete healing. It will heal the terrible fear I have that my body is incompetent to nurture a child. It will heal the terrible fear that I may need to learn to live life without living children. But my ache for Natan is still overwhelming. For a short while, I found his pictures, his footprints comforting. Right now I am overwhelmed, by an ache for him, by sadness and continuing shock over what happened and the sight of his box brings a mixture of pain and love.

I am worried. Worried that people will think this baby’s birth erases Natan. Worried about dealing with a grandparent who has never acknowledged his first grandson but who constantly wants updates on this pregnancy. I am worried because that makes me feel like an incubator, and a broken one at that. I am worried that something will still go wrong. I am worried that something preventable will go wrong and I will miss the signs.

I am worried because we are headed towards some inevitable conclusion and I have no idea yet what it will bring.

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16 responses to “34 weeks looming

  1. Beruriah, all your fears make total sense to me. I know it doesn’t really help to have someone say that everything will be o.k., that you will figure it all out. But I know that it’s going to be o.k. and 34 weeks is beyond wonderful.

  2. Well I must say that you have figured out what I didn’t.. namely that having this baby won’t erase the pain of Natan. While I said that having Andy wouldn’t erase the pain of Jimmy, subconsciously I must have thought it would. You are right, that pain never goes.. well it didn’t for me. But you are right in that I no longer have to fear never being a mother (in the “conventional” sense anyhow). Thirty four weeks is incredible. I’m sure you probably thought several times you’d never make it this far and you did. Congratulations. You are only three weeks away from full term!!!

  3. It is a fine line, and it is nice that you can still love people for trying. I had to learn to do the same thing, because when I really thought about it, I didn’t know what I wanted anyone to say or do either. I wanted them to remember Molly and Joseph, but then at times it made me feel uncomfortable when they did. I wanted them to be happy about the new baby, but not too happy. Not so happy that it made me feel like they had forgotten the two who came before. I wanted healing, but I didn’t want to be so healed that it meant I could no longer access my true, ongoing feelings of grief, longing and sorrow. I wanted it all but didn’t even know what wanting it all meant.

    I am happy you have made it to 34 weeks. I feel incredibly hopeful about this new life, and your new son. I feel sad that Natan is gone, and I wish he could be here too. I wish you could have it all.

  4. 34 weeks really is incredible, it’s the big one, the huge milestone that you’ve been working towards! No it won’t change what happened to Natan, but it can be a wonderful experience in it’s own right.

    Having a house set up a little helps. You need some mental preparation and organizing baby things is a big step.

    As far as worrying about other things? Josh is a big guy and he can take care of things for a little longer. I’m sure if he needs help, he’ll ask family & friends for it. Sarah and her baby are in good hands, and getting good medical care.

    As far as the grandparent? You may not ever get what you want from him, simply because he is not capable of giving it. He may want to say something about Natan, but doesn’t know how, so he just obsesses about this pregnancy.

    At a minimum, you need to know that there will absolutely be people who assume that this new baby will erase Natan’s death and existence. There are always are. And not necessarily the ones you think. I get it all the time, people who think that because I have two living children my grief over the dead ones is lesser, less painful, less important.

    Time has helped a lot, but sometimes a living child can be a reminder of the past, a bit of a double edged sword. Just take it bit by bit, and you’ll make it.

  5. I would imagine it is awfully, awfully hard. It’s not like you’re pregnant with a toaster and are just replacing the other one, and it’s horrible that people out there think like that. These are babies, babies with imprints even if only in your mind and imagination and will be always, no matter what comes next. You’re v. brave to even move furniture! I would if there was a next time around for me, baby wouldn’t get a room until senior year of high school. Nothing though, should make you feel guilty for celebrating 34w (or eve thereof). That is certainly wonderful news.

    BTW, “employed” as in “Dr. Mom.” Canned the job search because it was a brutal market and I wanted to be home with my daughter. Thought I’d still be a stay-at-home mom now (it’s ok, I’ll wait for the laughter to stop). But should start looking for something. Fortunately, live in the locale of my studies, and am hoping to do some sort of research something-or-another. Right after I lose a few more pounds and work on my nice old house for a spell.

  6. Actually I’m quite small, but I know what you’re saying, Aurelia: I haven’t been to the gym lately because of all this…

  7. Bwahaha, Josh. Funny man.

    I am not even pregnant, and I worry about people thinking the next one will replace A. In fact, I worried about that not a week after I came home. A wise friend that I was fretting about that to, in the context of I might have to ask her to remind people that this would be another child, not Ay, looked at me like I was simple and said “you don’t need middle-men. when you send birth announcement email, start it with ‘we are happy to announce that our third child…'” Duh, I thought.

    Sorry about the grandparent thing. I am afraid I am in for the same thing, and have no idea how I am going to handle it. Actually, I do have an idea, but it is probably rude.

    Yay for the ticket to the new hospital that midnight will bring, yay for 34 weeks itself. Terrifying as the next couple of weeks will be, I wish you moments of peace and contentment therein, and a successful and not too stressful a conclusion to this pregnancy.

  8. i started down the comment thread with all sorts of serious, earnest, empathetic-ish things to say…but between tash pointing out that you’re not carrying a toaster and josh’s reply to aurelia, now i’m snorting.

    so, forgive me for just saying yay for almost 34 weeks…and that i hope that the people who love you and josh and natan and this new baby are able to welcome and remember, both, along with you in ways that support.

  9. Gosh, I’ve been up late with Little A and am too sleep deprived to think of anything witty to say! I am just thrilled to hear you are so close to 34 weeks. As everyone said, that is BIG.

  10. My sweet Mama……

    I am thinking about you SOOOOOOO much these long days of Nov. even though its only the 3rd! You are nearly there my dear, and you are so strong, so strong. I wish that I could come an visit you, keep you company in the daytime and just be there for you in person as your journey continues. You give me so much hope for the future. Your so very amazing, so very inspiring….

    sending love.
    erin, Birdies Mama

  11. What Aurelia said, and what Bon said…i am snorting too. So no words of wisdom! But yay yay for 34 weeks!

  12. Those are two huge milestones. I’m so glad you’ve reached — or almost reached — both of them.

  13. wow. glad you are at 34 weeks and making room for the little one.

  14. I was going to suggest the same as Julia: if you announce the birth of your second child, it should be clear to everyone how you feel about it (even if they would like to see it differently).
    It’s good to hear you reached 34 weeks. I’m hoping for some more.

  15. I’ve been lax in my lurking. I am so glad you’ve hit a huge milestome that weeks ago was barely fathomable to you. You and Josh will always be Natan’s parents. There will always be an ache for him. Honestly that may or may not becomforting bit it is the truth. As long as the 2 of you know this baby is not a replacement, and you make sure to make Natan a big part of his brother’s life that is the most important. I could say who cares what ignorant thoughtless people think, but I’d be lying I get angry at the slightest stupidity in people so I could imagine your thoughts on people like that in your case. I’m wishing you health and healing.

  16. “I can’t really respond as to how I want people to act or what I want them to say…I appreciate so much all the love and compassion I’ve received, and if some of it is sometimes imperfect, I’m okay with that…. Friends and family and blogreaders are somewhat required, I guess, to walk a careful line with me, and I love those who are willing to try.”

    I know that you can’t tell me exactly what to say, afterall that wouldn’t really be an exchange. I was thinking more of a direction, since I’m known to put my foot in my mouth. All the time.

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