Good morning, K-Mart Shoppers. I see that I have not visited you here for quite some time. I have much to share, but each time that I plan to log on and do so, I realize that I’ve failed to mention a few sort-of major things that are going on and so I log back off, failing to post anything. First and foremost, it would appear that I am having a baby. According to medical professionals, this baby will be a boy. According to my pregnancy app, this boy will make an appearance in or around 58 days from today. As I waddle about, fretting over the big stuff and the small stuff, it occasionally hits me that these medical professionals and that pregnancy app may actually not be a part of some grand conspiracy. It may actually be true that I’m having a baby. This is, all at once, incredible and exciting and breathtaking. It’s also terrifying and grey hair-producing and exhausting. What it isn’t is miraculous, or at least not any more so than any conception, gestation or birth. I can have babies. The proof is in the messy-haired blonde I just peeked at, snoring softly, Abby Cadabby tucked under her arm. I can also lose babies. Unfortunately, we all can. But it isn’t more than what it is. Or at least this is what I will tell you that I believe. I don’t know if it is my largely-Irish DNA or the fact that I was born under the sign of Virgo (or the fact that I used to play truly insane amounts of Tetris), but for me, things must make sense. The puzzle pieces must fit in order to weave a cohesive story. In terms of this one, this Who Gets To Have a Baby and When and How Much Grief Must Be Endured In the Process, I am waving the white flag. This one doesn’t make sense and it never will. One trip to any grocery store in America will shatter your belief that only seemingly “worthy” people get to parent. I read an essay² this morning, written by a mother who was stuck in limbo as her daughter endured diagnostic test after diagnostic test, and this is how it ended:
This is not the other shoe dropping. It is not tragic irony or doom or punishment for our interpretive failures. It is life, with loss woven into its very fabric. That’s just what there is.
So, I’m still here. And I’ll try to visit more often. In part because I really need to talk to you about Heelys and the fact that they are, surely and truly, going to be the death of what makes this country
great endurable. So, I’ll see you soon.
¹ I’m hoping my baby doesn’t look quite this terrified/appalled/aghast.
² “Lumpy” – Catherine Newman
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The first time that I recall leaving my body was during the birth of my daughter. The pain was unbearable and, left with no other options (and believe me, I tried to think of one), I knew that I must give birth to her. And so I left my body and did what was being asked of me by my midwife. Averi was just over ten pounds and she cried like a billy goat. I knew when I looked into her eyes that I would walk through fire for her. She was beautiful and perfect and has brought more joy into my life than I even knew existed in this world.
Yesterday, I left my body again. I wanted so badly to find out the sex of my baby and I was giddy with anticipation. I thought that I would find out at 18 weeks but I moved to a new state and a new doctor and he ordered the ultrasound at 20 weeks. Yesterday was my day. I put on the earrings that my mom bought for me on the day that we found out that Averi was a little girl, 4 1/2 years ago. I reminded myself to breathe. The ultrasound was long. Measurements were taken, there was small talk, and then the small talk ceased. Questions were asked regarding my due date. And then questions about bleeding. The ultrasound tech typed the words, “I’M A GIRL!!!” on the photo that showed the three tell-tale lines. “She’s definitely measuring smaller,” I heard her say more than once. She went to talk to the doctor and within a few minutes, I left my body. The doctor talked for a long time about the different disorders and abnormalities that could be detected with the Amniocentesis. I signed forms with a genetic counselor. He said the words, “no positive outcome.” He mentioned blood in the baby’s bowel. The doctor put a needle through my abdomen and into my uterus. I watched on a screen while my baby’s right leg, crossed delicately over her left, rested on the needle, pushing it away. The doctor and the tech mentioned how cute they found this. I drove home and went to bed. I could think of nothing else to do.
And now I’ll wait. Because I have to. I’ll remind myself to breathe. I’ll remind myself to blink. And when I do blink, I’ll realize that my eyes are producing tears – tears that envelope me and blind me. If I have to, I’ll figure out what to tell Averi. If I have to, I’ll find a way to tell her that the belly she has been kissing and hugging for months may not be giving her a little sister. Not now. I’ll have to tell her that I don’t know why.
During Averi’s birth, I wasn’t sure if I was awake or asleep, alive or dead, real or imaginary. Any one of these scenarios seemed just as likely as the others. Yesterday, as the doctor spoke, I told myself not to listen. I said that it was not real. It was a dream. And I just need to wake up. I’m waiting.
In lieu of that, I’m open to miracles. I’m open to magic. I’m open to Amazing Grace.
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