You know when you keep having all of those symptoms you had with your past pregnancies, and even though it's improbable, and you know your paranoid self took four pregnancy tests before you were actually expecting the last one, you can't quit thinking you may be pregnant, and you can't take a test yet, so you just have to live in limbo? That's where I have been this week, and also tired and sick, and with a lot of toddler screaming.
So even though I have spent the last two weeks hoping to start trying again in August, just because I need a baby to hold so much, and it would make Lucy's place in our family so concrete if there was the same spacing as we've had so far, I have been on a real roller coaster with trying to wrap my mind around everything that would be involved with actually being pregnant again right now.
In the midst of that I swear I have come across like 6 birth stories this week, and I have been so emotional. You know when something makes you feel so strongly, and you can't quite put your finger on it until you are trying to figure out how to explain it to someone else? That is why I am writing this tonight. Because RJ is exhausted (like I am too), and I will cry less and get less of a headache writing it than talking out loud anyway.
I keep thinking of my births. How special it really is. Sometimes I think people like my friend Tori are so crazy to get excited even about other people's births, but for the first time I keep thinking about how amazing those moments are. Working so hard, and then right when it is more than you think you can stand, it's over, and you are holding the most amazing thing you will ever experience, and no matter how many you already have, your family is completely new all over again.
I keep thinking that, and just being so angry that all of that was ruined with my special girl. I just want to scream at the injustice of that moment turning in to, the panic in RJ's voice begging and pleading with our daughter too breathe, begging God to help her, to help us, the neighbors rushing in to see me completely exposed, and the paramedics taking Lucy and RJ away from me, and the boys screaming as Mary Beth and Leah, who just showed up to relax and watch tv, closing their to try and protect their innocent hearts from the horror going on around them, and the police questioning Betsy and I, and the endless minutes setting up an IV and heart monitors on me, a perfectly healthy person before they would follow my baby, and knowing every minute I got to hold her that it would never be enough…
As I read these amazing birth stories, and think of those moments I shared with Lucy. I never really got what these women who advocate unassisted birth were going on and on about. How it made them feel so empowered as women. I thought they were just arrogant, and extreme, and wanted to do everything themselves, because they felt they needed to prove something. But completely not according to any plan I had an unassisted birth, and for a few moments, I understood where they are coming from.
Even though Lucy's one and a half hour birth was so intense, and completely unexpected in so many ways, I felt so much more present than with the boys. I don't know if empowering, is the word, but what an incredible experience. In those moments of the last few pushes I suddenly realized that the baby I hadn't been sure I was having real labor with 15 minutes ago would be here in seconds. I reached down and felt the top of her head only an inch inside of me, in one push it was out, and I felt the cord and unwrapped it, and caught her tiny body in the next push. All By Myself. Just the two of us. For the first time I wasn't a passive, barely conscious, bystander in the act of my child's coming into the world. That was the most incredible moment of my life. A moment that should have been life.
Instead it was death, and I am still not really sure what to do with that. I am so angry that I don't get to have her, to know her, that every precious stage my sons go through is one of hers I will never see. I want her more than I want anything. I still feel some times like I can't go on living without her being a part of my life. But some times, most of the time, I am completely numb. I can't feel like it is real any more. I can hardly remember holding her. And that is so much worse than all of the pain when I miss her. That's why I'm telling this, and one other reason.
All this week, as I've thought about our birth together, Lucy's and Mine, I've so bitterly resented the way the enjoyment of that moment has bee so utterly destroyed for me, but tonight, as I lay next to my husband, exhausted, yet unable to sleep, it occurred to me, not to think of it as a moment that was ruined by what followed, but as a gift. The only thing Lucy could give me, something God gave me to salvage what I could of her cruelly short life. It doesn't bring her back. Sometimes, when I reach an important moment like this in my healing, just for a moment, I feel as if I have won, I have arrived, that was the point of all of this, so I can have her back now right? Unfortunately it doesn't work like that, and my arms are still empty, but I have a few things to hold onto, and even in her death, Lucy has given me, through this memory, one more thing to hold on to, even though it is just a moment.