On my part of the world, it is August 26th, 2009.
Three. It's been 3 months. Three months that feel like years. Sometimes in good ways, but usually in bad ways.
It was 3 months ago today that we found out we lost Joel. Three months ago today we made our way to our 40 week prenatal appointment, I felt him moving on the drive there. I sat on my midwifes couch, making small talk about things. Got weighed, got measured, everything was peachy. Went to check the heartbeat, the student midwife did at least, she couldn't find it. Since then my midwife told me she actually wasn't concerned at that moment, it wasn't until a few minutes later when she tried that she became concerned, but I knew. As soon as the student tried it and got nothing, I knew. It was a sinking feeling I couldn't avoid. More checking, nothing found, trip to hospital. Before we go, my midwife knew I knew it was bad, we exchanged some glances and I know she knew that I already knew. Before we left, I asked what I knew, "It shouldn't be this hard to find if it was there, should it?" She paused for a second, but realizing she promised me nothing but honesty & knowing that I already knew, she confirmed that if it was there we would have heard it.
The story plays out in my mind over & over again, the result never changes of course. I wonder sometimes if I relive it just because that's normal or if it's my sick way of torturing myself. We couldn't get ahold of my parents when we found out, I called several times but finally left a message on their machine telling them "we lost the baby." As I said it, thunder hit. A perfectly timed storm. Adam once blogged, I believe, that it was then I said the words we'd stumbled around all night, but I don't remember it that way. I remember being in our living room, him in the kitchen calling the vice principal of the school to let him know that he wouldn't be back in for the rest of the year, & at the end saying "we lost him" in a voice I hadn't heard him ever use before. The message for my parents wasn't received until the next morning. My mom told me a couple weeks ago that for weeks after, she would listen to my message over & over, as a way to punish herself for not being there when it happened. I guess it finally got so old it deleted itself. Oh, how I'd love to delete memories. I don't ever expect to forget, but I'd be content with not living it day after day.
We went from talking about a baby to talking about a funeral, all in just a couple short hours. Looking in a phone book to see funeral home ads, picking one just because it listed "infant services." Never got around to picking out his first outfit, instead we went into his room that night and picked out the only outfit he would wear, complete with a hat and fuzzy socks. I insisted on the fuzzy socks. Two blankets, one to leave with him and one to bring home. Only thing I knew for sure we'd be bringing home. I'd been holding onto a 50% off coupon for Sears to get the boys pictures made in a matching outfit. Instead, I threw it away & went on to call Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, because those would be the only pictures I'd ever have.
Women talk about what gets them through labor is thinking of little toes, little ears, holding their babies...all that jazz. In between my morphine induced naps, I talked to my midwife about what our baby may look like and to my husband, who as a child wanted to grow up to be a dad, about if we should have our son cremated.
I never felt like I did something to cause Joel's death, but instead I felt guilt for everyone else. I felt guilt that because of this Jules was screwed out of a little brother, that my husband was screwed out of his son. My family were cheated another grandson. I even felt bad for the student midwife, only her 2nd day ever & that's what she gets to deal with. Even my own midwife, I felt bad because I knew she'd feel guilty & this was the 3rd baby she'd ever lost in her career. That wasn't a stat I wanted to help her add to. I even felt guilt for the poor resident I dealt with at the first hospital, because I was intent on checking out AMA because I didn't want induced & I know the actual OB was giving her hell because I wouldn't stay.
Yes, I thought all of these things & never once thought about myself. Maybe I just didn't want to though. To think about myself would mean I'd have to put myself into the grief. I'd pass on that as much as I could, for as long as I could.
Three. I've always been a bit OCD about numbers, I hate even numbers & I've been so obsessed in the past that I've counted words when spoken & tried to rearrange other peoples sentences in order to hit a correct number or words. Yeah, I've got issues.
In my random mood tonight, I just wondered about the number three. I found that three is the first number to which the meaning "all" was given. Well, all has been given the past 3 months. I don't feel like I've got much more to give.
Three is also birth, life, death. It is the beginning, middle & end. Does the order life, birth, & death count? Because we had that. Joel was also the beginning, middle, & end of various things. The end of our lives as we knew them than, the beginning of the new lives we know now.
The astral or emotional body stays connected to the physically body for three days after death. According to the interwebs website about numbers (and crystals, but lets not go there), there is evidence that the brain, even when all other systems are failing takes three days to register complete shutdown. I don't claim this as fact or actual medical opinion, I'm too lazy to google & I don't care to try to counter it, but maybe in some weird way he was with us for 3 days after. He wasn't born until the 28th, we kept him with us through the 29th. So maybe in some hippy world, we spent the time with him as alive as we could.
Three seems to be the given number of wishes you're magically granted. I'd love for that to happen, but I won't be holding my breath for that one.
There is also apparently a thought that once you've done something 3 times, it's connected to this world. So I now announce, that even though my state doesn't believe my son was real or that he was born, that he was only a fetal death, it's been 3 months. I'm invoking the power of 3 at this point & my son is now officially connected to this world, despite what this dumb country thinks. My son being able to get a birth certificate has nothing to do with fetal rights. I'm pro-choice, I think abortion should be legal, but for my right as a woman I'm owed a birth certificate for my son. I didn't go through anything for "fetal death" than someone who had a healthy happy baby they got to take home from the hospital. Oh wait, yes I did. I went through everything they did, only I didn't get the happy ending. I labored, I pushed, I cried, but for different reasons. I left without a baby, came home to a new baby room that is still empty. If I'm not owed a birth certificate as part of my rights as a woman who went through pregnancy, labor, & delivery, then no one else should get one either for any baby ever.
A person has a body, mind and spirit - 3 planes of existence. My son, a PERSON, had those three things, though he didn't get to experience his life. But he existed in those three ways, the most important three ways I think he could have existed.
The number three represents permanence. That’s why we do things in threes, since it adds strength to our acts.
After 3 months, am I any stronger?
Ask me on different days, I'm sure you'll get different answers each day.
It's funny how life turns out. Our "plan" was to try for our final child this month of this year. Yes, right now I should be trying to get pregnant, but thanks to an "oopsie" it happened last August instead. We shouldn't have this pain to cope with, but until those 3 wishes come through we're stuck. My inlwas were also suppose to be the "easy" to deal with family though, so we obviously are bad at predicting how things will turn out.
In these 3 months, what have I done?
Cried. I've cried a lot. I've told my parents I love them...more than once even. May seem like nothing, but trust me when I say it is. I try to communicate with my extended family more. I've realized that if I've had to go through this hell, there is no one other than that guy I married that I'd want with me through this. I've tried to be a better person, a more patient person. I've tried to be a better mom, a better wife, & even a better house keeper (I DUST THE COUCH!). I've enrolled in grad school. I'm a little put off that my classes are "GPSY," which may stand for graduate psychology, but for me it means gypsy. I'm not sure what I'll do with it or when I'll do it, but I plan on doing something with it. At least I'll be able to tell my aunt I'm in grad school when she ask "Are you ever going to work...don't you have a degree?!" like she ask every single time we see her. I have mentioned I'm trying to be more patient, right? I'm doing good on that one, trust me, it's been tested.
Three has always been a number I've been alright with. And today, since I'm able to attach it in ways that aren't depressing or make me want to throw myself in front of a train, it will continue to be a good number. I find comfort in the fact that I've survived three months. That's about three more months than I thought I'd survive back on May 26th. And, like I've done the past 3 months, I'll continue to move forward. The next 3 seconds, then minutes, then hours, then days, then weeks, then months and finally years. And even though some days are bad and I do consider throwing myself in front of a train from time to time, I know I can take some deep breaths (3 maybe!), then wait until 3 more seconds, minutes, hours or however long I need to know I'm going to be alright. As usual, I'm trying to keep faith in myself. It's hard, but I have to admit I'm impressed with myself more everyday.
I still can't do good desserts though. I may just go back to cake mixes for those.