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bitsy is preparing, in her own toddler way, for her brother boo to make his appearance. of all the many things she is trying to adapt to, her  favorite is her new big girl bed. and while she loves that she can climb in and out of it on her own, her newfound sense of autonomy is coupled with the very baby-like behavior of suddenly needing to carry around her blanket and her teddy bear — neither of which she has ever shown the remotest interest in.

so now it is not uncommon for her to come padding into our bedroom, blanket and teddy in tow, calling “mama, up” and asking to come to bed with us. (neither is it uncommon for her to sleep through the night entirely in her bed, so i figure we’re about halfway to success.)

but last night was hell. she was in our bed almost all night long, and for most of that time she was awake. she’s quiet when she’s awake, lying there rubbing her tummy or playing with her toes. but last night what she wanted more than anything was to be close to her mama. she needed to stay in contact with me, and if i rolled over (to relieve my aching hips) or got up to go to the bathroom she immediately burst into tears. but when i would come back to her, hold her and ask her if everything was okay, she would smile and say “yes” as she nuzzled into my arms.

the best moment of the night — even better than 5:01 a.m., when she finally fell asleep and stayed asleep — was the moment she scooted herself nearer to me, reached out with her soft little hands, rubbed my left shoulder, and said softly “touch, mama. touch.”

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i am sometimes amazed — actually, i am usually amazed — at grief’s potency. and lately i’ve been feeling, worrying, that other deadbabymamas feel their grief more keenly, more truly, more regularly than i feel mine, and that this means i am somehow inadequate.

sometimes when i read very moving posts i think i remember feeling something vaguely that way. but those feelings seem so far away. how long has it been since i’ve been sad? since i’ve cried? since i’ve wailed?

i remember my grief therapist telling me once that grief never goes away, it just becomes a place that you visit instead of a place you reside. and that when you visit it, your visits can still be just as deeply emotional, just as terrifyingly sad, but they tend not to last as long.

so sometimes i wonder if that’s where i am: living this other life, away from grief, turning grief into something like a loved but distant relative. and then other times i wonder if i’ve somehow just incorporated all that sadness into my new life, if my happiness is simply less clear, less vibrant, less present, because it is grounded in such deep sorrow. so deeply grounded that i don’t even notice it anymore.

it hasn’t even been a year since mae was stillborn. (in fact, when boo is born it still won’t even have been one full year.) it has been three and a half years since effie was stillborn. and there were all the miscarriages before that. i suppose i should count myself lucky that after each loss, no matter the stage of pregnancy, i never had to wait as long as a year to conceive again. i am lucky that conception has been so easy. i really know that, i do. and yet i am so very unlucky — not to mention still righteously pissed off — that gestation has been such a bitch.

maybe it’s not surprising that what i think about most of the day, most every day, are the two living children i have. (am i tempting fate to call boo “living” while he’s still merely in utero?) and while i hope hope hope that li’l boo is coming to stay, and while i remember all too well the reasons i have for worrying that he might not, i still find myself caught up in the pleasure of life: not mine, which still so often feels so very heavy, but my children’s. their little living bodies bring me so much pleasure. is it wrong of me not to feel the loss of the two that aren’t here?

coworker, staring at my belly: how much longer?

me: six weeks.

coworker, eyebrows raised: oh! um, do you know what you’re having?

me: (silently: piles? migraines? anxiety about college tuition?) a boy.

coworker: is that what you want?

me: well, there’s no point wanting something other than what you’re getting, is there?

is it so very small of me to think that is one of the more stupid questions to ask an expecting parent?

one thing about fertility treatment: it has sure changed our perspective on twins. i read once that twins used to be a bad omen, they were considered so unnatural. but now all they really signal is the increase in medical interventions to help women have children. i half suspect that all parents of twins are now immediately assumed to have undergone ART of some sort.

when i was a kid i was fascinated by twins — although i most certainly did not want to be one, perhaps because they held a place so mythical and even eerie in my mind. as an adult woman ttc, i thought having twins would be great: one pregnancy, complete family. voila. the possibility of twins, in the span of my own lifetime and in the confines of my puny brain, has shifted from magical to medical, from eerie to enviable.

seven pregnancies, no twins. so it surprised me to conceive twins this time around — my last pregnancy (no matter the outcome). and it both saddened and relieved me, in odd and even eerie ways, when one died. (even experienced deadbabymamas must cringe hearing a woman express relief that one of her children has died. or maybe deadbabymamas are the only ones who understand.) and because the twins were conceived naturally and then again because one died, i’m back to feeling, a bit, a bit of the mystery. and like all good mysteries, i see hints of it everywhere.

deadbabymamas are, among many truly wonderful things, worriers. but this comment on a blog should have brought me some relief:

“while a lot can go wrong in the next x# of weeks, think of everything that can go right.”

think of everything that can go right? that can go right? what, are you crazy?

i know that there is nothing to the idea of letting your guard down: i can be as wary as i want and that won’t bring boo here any safer, any healthier. any more alive. i also know that if i’m not wary, that will not bring disaster crashing down around me.

or will it?

July 2008
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Your Word is "Why"
You see life as complicated and intriguing. The only thing you know for sure is that you haven't figured it all out yet. You question everything and believe very little. And whatever you believe is likely to change. You are interested in theories, philosophies, and religions...even if you don't buy into any of them. You are also fascinated by how things work. You'd like to understand as much in the world as possible.

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