Friday, October 28, 2005

Things I've never told anyone before

Sometimes I feel like I don't know myself anymore - like I can't trust my own hunches. Everything is just "off".

When I first conceived Thomas, I had a feeling that this time was going to be different - this time wouldn't end in a D&C at 10 weeks or in tears and sorrow at 5 weeks. I just felt so sure that this baby was going to be fine. In fact, the day after I found out I was pregnant I opened up the cedar chest where a handful of baby things were tucked away - things for another baby who didn't quite make it to earth. I looked at the stuffed elephant and bear that my sister had bought, the little white sleeper and angel rattle that my Mom gave me and the light green doggie sleeper that I picked up one day on my way to work, and I felt in my heart everything was going to be just fine this time - that this baby would use all those things.

But as time passed I was plagued by a nagging feeling that I wouldn't carry to term. I was sure I'd go into preterm labour and that the baby would be compromised, or worse.

And yet I did carry to term, technically. I was induced at 37 weeks 5 days and had Thomas at exactly 38 weeks.

But even more disturbing than the nagging feeling that the baby would be born prematurely was the fact that the whole time I was pregnant I just couldn't picture actually having him - taking him home and being his Mom, I mean. I couldn't picture it - it just didn't seem like the logical end to the journey and I have no idea why. I bought him things and, sure, I picture him wearing them, but something just didn't feel right. I assumed it was normal - that first-time moms all feel that way because it is hard to picture something when you have utterly no idea what it will actually be like.

But it always bothered me. I even mentioned it to one of the many ultrasound technicians who gave me those precious glimpses of Thomas which are now memories I treasure more than anything I have on this earth. As we watched the grainy image of my beautiful little baby moving about on the screen one day, I said to the tech, "I know he's in there, but I just can't picture him actually being on the outside - it's so surreal."

I don't think she replied. Maybe she smiled, I don't remember. But that day haunts me. I don't know why I said it or why I felt it, but I did.

And he didn't come home with me. He didn't wear any of the clothes that were waiting for him except the outfit we buried him in, and I'm still left feeling that the whole experience was one giant, surreal mind-fuck.

Which is why I'm so confused now. I keep trying to read my gut - trying to figure out if I think I'll ever have another baby. But I can't feel it. I don't see it and I don't know why. I was both so right and so wrong about the way I felt when I was pregnant with Thomas, so I suppose what I'm feeling now means nothing - but what if it does mean something? What if it means I'm right again and there isn't going to be another baby?

When I lay down on my bed in the birthing suite for the very first time I watched the nurse check out all the supplies and equipment in the bassinet area - all the things we'd need right after Thomas was born. I remember thinking - or was it feeling - that we wouldn't need any of it.

Oh God, why IS that?? Did I know something, deep in my heart? Did I sense it somehow? Were all my fears during pregnancy justified after all, and not just normal paranoia that all first-time mothers feel?

The week before I was induced I stood in the kitchen and cried. I told My Beloved that I was afraid that I was going to die during labour. I really was. I was sure something awful was going to happen to me. I didn't get the sense that Thomas was in any danger, just me. But in the end, even though I was very ill, I was fine and he died.

I had odd hunches and concerns all along. On and off. And the very worst happened. Did I know - did I feel it, or was it all just a series of awful coincidences.

I have no idea. But as a result I feel like I can't trust anything I think anymore. And I don't like that one bit.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

I can't tell you whether to trust yourself or not. But I can tell you from my own experience with my first pregnancy that I had many of the same thoughts and fears...and Sam is here with no problems. With Alex, I was so sure he was going to be here with me that I took him for granted...and he died. No matter what you thought or felt, it's always a great big mind fuck when your baby dies.

You looked at those baby things and you knew he would use them. You had normal doubts and fears. Don't retrospectively assign super powers to's a very short fall from there to the blame game...which nobody wins.