So the last post was titled "Muted" and this one is "Wordless" - I'm going to have to hit up the online thesaurus pretty soon. I'm still finding a lot of reluctance toward sitting down and writing.
I'm having more moments of emotion, which I suppose is good, it does feel good to access the emotion and be able to cry. Yesterday, it was the sensory memory, of feeling Otis's face and skin and hair with my hands and my face - snuggling into him, smelling him, kissing him - I am glad that I haven't forgotten how soft he was, I am grateful that I can still find that sensory memory of touching him. I know, broken record here - but, gah, I wish he was here with me. I wish I was watching him grow up. I wish I could know what his hair would feel like today, what his eyes would look like, what his smile would look like, how his toes could wiggle....
Today out walking the dogs we ran into a neighbor who I suppose we haven't seen in 6 months. He asked how the baby was. "You handled that really well," E told me when we were walking away. I guess I have gotten to the point where I have previously screwed up how I wanted to talk about him enough that now I know how I want to speak of Otis and his death. And I feel like I do his memory justice, I don't mince words, but I also don't break into tears, I don't overshare and I don't protect the person I am speaking with. It feels okay.
I am nervous that if indeed this current pregnancy is a healthy one and I progress to the point of being an obvious pregnant woman that I am going to have to deal with a whole new slew of stupid comments. I have already envisioned a clueless neighbor, seeing me pregnant, walking the dogs, making some comment to the effect of, "Wait, deja vu! Didn't you just do this?" Or something to that effect. And me, grasping for a response. E told me today I should just say, "Well, yeah, when your baby dies the first time around and you're my age there really isn't time to sit around and not try..."
I am also reeling from a conversation I had the other night. One of E's dear friends has a 3 month old baby boy. Born healthy, natural childbirth, all the things I envisioned for myself in my pregnancy with Otis...She was talking with E and he shared that I was pregnant again. At some point in the conversation she shared all the things she did to "insure" her pregnancy was healthy - the vitamins she took, what she ate/didn't eat, how she exercised, with what frequency, yadda yadda. E later tried to share this with me. He also told me that she had told him that when her midwives looked over her placenta they commented that it was one of the healthiest, most robust placentas they had ever seen. This is when it felt like I had just been shot. Because one of the reasons they think Otis died is that he was beginning to outgrow my placenta. And somehow it felt to me like E's friend was making an implication of the "if only you had done what I had done, you would have a healthy baby like I do!" variety.
For better or for worse, there is absolutely NO ROOM for anyone trying to tell me what I "should" do in this pregnancy - as if, somehow, because their baby didn't die they are suddenly experts on how to prevent neonatal death. I don't care if they have my best interest at heart. I don't care if they feel that they know best and have to share their knowledge. There is no room for it. Call me stubborn, maybe I am. But unless you are a doctor and you have looked over my records of my labor, Otis's delivery, and his subsequent autopsy and pathology report, you have NO BUSINESS telling me how to "do" this pregnancy.
And therein lies a problem. Because I remember when I was pregnant last time, I got so much unsolicited advice...from strangers...everywhere...and it was hard enough THEN to bite my tongue and just allow them to spout the BS that I didn't agree with. But this time around? What do I do? Pull out a picture of Otis? "This is my son. He died 36 hours after he was born, at 41 weeks. I have consulted with many specialists. I am now seeing the best of the best high risk doctors who I trust completely, and unless you want to consult with him first, kindly shut the hell up."
Bah. Of course even as I write this I worry that I am cursing myself by thinking too far ahead into the future and thinking that I might actually get to a point in the pregnancy where I am showing again...I spoke with my therapist a bunch last week about how having hope does not automatically doom one to a negative outcome. I get it intellectually, in my brain, but my heart doesn't really believe it. I am so scared to plan for this pregnancy, to think that I might actually get to future benchmarks. I worry that by thinking positive or optimistically that I am tempting the gods to knock me down.
Case in point, we had to schedule a doctors appointment for CVS, testing to be done between 10 and 13 weeks....and I could barely bring myself to let the genetics counselor we met with schedule the appointment because I felt like by scheduling something "that far in advance" it most certainly means that I won't get to make it that far. But ultimately I did. March 29. Of course I still have to make it through next week's appointments - two prenatal appts on the 17th - and then make it another 12 days past then...But we did schedule the appointment.
We were in Tar.get earlier this week and E told me they had some cute maternity dresses. I guess I was a bit on autopilot, but I walked over to look at them. All of a sudden, it all came flooding back to me, all the giddy shopping trips through maternity departments, outgrowing old clothes and buying new ones, all with such hope and optimism and a sense of sureness that indeed that Otis was coming home with us....I had to run out of the department, I grabbed E, practically fell over, crying there in the middle of Tar.get. How dare I even imagine that I'll even GET to a point of needing maternity clothes this time around? How dare I step foot in that department? The gods are now on high-alert, dare I get hopeful, they are ready to strike me down.
Oh please, baby, please stick around. Grow healthy, and strong, and come join our family in a little over 7 months, please?