In Cancerland, there are many anniversaries: a year from being diagnosed, a year stopping treatment, etc. but there are other anniversaries not associated with the disease.
Just a year ago, Naomi was getting ready to go to the prom. Don'tae was not allowed to take her as he was too old. (Can't be over 21). Everything had to be perfect for Ms. Naomi. But I don't think she'll be fitting in this dress anytime soon. My house is full of such dresses including two wedding dresses, several prom dresses, maid-of-honor dresses, Shanna's entire size 2 collection.
My third child was to be born twenty years ago today. In my mind, I call him Baby Eli though, he was so ill formed, it was impossible to tell the sex. May 1990 was a very popular time for due dates. I knew at least 6 people due then. They all had their babies (although some of them came early) and I felt left behind as each of those babies appeared. At some point in the 12th week, I noticed just a single spot of blood. I was thinking how easy this pregnancy had been despite my age but when I saw the spot, I froze. I knew. I went to the medical library at work. Of the women who spot, half will miscarry. I went to the mid-wife and to her, I still appeared pregnant but she scheduled an ultrasound. I hadn't had one with the other babies. No beating heart. I asked if the baby was the right size and the radiologist who was called in disgustedly said, "of course not!" as if that that was the dumbest question in the world. Where do these people get their training? I was very quiet and didn't say another thing. Finally he said, 'you do know what is happening here, don't you?" as if I was stupid.
Yes, my baby is dead.
It took a week of contractions that would stop and start. I had a very busy schedule that wasn't going to stop just because I was having a miscarriage. Finally it fell out still in its amniotic sac, which was the size of a chicken egg. The baby itself was only an inch or so. It had stopped developing well before it came out. It appeared to be malformed. I don't know if I would have been less sad if it were perfectly formed. I put the baby sac in a jar of water and took it to the hospital. They needed to know if everything had come out or there would be more misery. In exchange for the embryo, I was given a book Empty Arms. Its first line:
It is so unfair.
Yes indeed. Months of sadness ensued. I slept in the lower level to read but often I would just cry. Steve was very supportive at first buying me little gifts but after a while, he thought if I just got pregnant again, maybe the sadness would go away. I didn't think I could go through another miscarriage. Someone told me that it was a good thing I lost the baby before I became attached (BTW, never say this) but of course, she didn't know. I went once to a Miscarriage and Newborn Loss support group and thought I lost at being "Queen for a Day" Heart-breaking tales of infertility just to have the baby strangle itself on a cord a week before its due, etc. Meanwhile I had 2 healthy, attractive, intelligent kids of both sexes, why do I need another kid? I felt like a Stage 1 cancer patient going to a support group full of Stage 4 patients. We are not exactly in the same place. I really couldn't explain the sadness; I realized it did seem to be greater than the cause.
I was very conflicted about becoming pregnant again and bailed out at the last minute. Too late. Naomi was meant to be. She was born 10 months after the due date of Baby Eli. The sadness gradually went away but in the first few months, I was always looking for that spot of blood.
She had left some personal papers here yesterday warning me not to look at them. Even though she was to be in Wayne (opposite direction) early this morning for her extensive Birthing Class with Don'tae, she came over to fetch them and drop off Dakota who promptly made 3 (Three!!!) messes as she must not have had time to walk her. Thanks.
Today a belated Mother's Day lunch from my son and another run in the rain.