Saturday, 4 July 2009

Counting days and weeks

I have long mulled over posting again about pregnancy and the eruption of emotions that accompany this subject for me. I have been stopped each time by feelings of guilt, sadness and vulnerability. But some experiences in art and literature over the past few days have radically shifted my timid nature. If I am looking for truth and honesty in the things that I read, then how can I expect any less from myself in my own writing?

With my first two pregnancies, I hardly thought about the actual physicality of it all. Inside there was a baby growing, and in nine months it would be born. But having experienced a miscarriage, there is never a day that goes by in this pregnancy that I don't mark in my mind.

7 weeks and 3 days. Still feeling ill, which is actually good, because I didn't have any sickness with the pregnancy I lost.

10 weeks and 2 days. I now have reached the mark at which I lost the last one. I made it this far. Safe to this point.

13 weeks and 6 days. Most miscarriages happen between 5 and 14 weeks. I'm into the second trimester. I'm passed the first real big marker. The biggest danger is over.

Each day crawls by, inches by, getting me closer and closer to delivery. I wonder if I'll ever reach a point in this pregnancy where I'll feel safe, in the clear, or if I'll always worry about making it to January.

Even when there are no signs of trouble, I worry. There can be a stretch of weeks between the fetus dying and the actual miscarriage. My last doctor's appointment they tried to hear the heartbeat, but said it's hard to hear one before 16 weeks with the audio ultrasound. We couldn't find it. It was a student doctor (I had to tell her which bottle was the jelly), it was early in the pregnancy, and there was no reason to worry. But I do. I count down the days until my 16 week appointment to hear that heartbeat.

The stress on my body has been hard - two months in bed now. But the emotional stress is what is really wearing me down. Some nights I lie awake, wondering if a cramp is digestive or worse. Some days I stare at the wall and wonder not only if I could do this again, but if I even want to make it through this one.

At my most vulnerable during these past two months, there have been moments I almost wished it would all just end. I hated feeling sick. I missed outings with the family. More than anything I actually missed spending time with James. I would fantasize of evenings and dates and special trips and overnights at a hotel and dinners together. A strange feeling would pass over me that maybe I could handle a miscarriage all over again, because at least there would be relief.

But of course I don't wish that in stable states of mind. It's July already and January will come soon enough. I'm enjoying the good weather, but find myself longing for the beauty and crispness of autumn, because it will mean being all that closer to delivery.

Writing this has been both draining and therapeutic. But sometimes just getting the ghosts out relieves the heavy weight and provides a few days of easiness.

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