We’re getting down to it. Tomorrow marks the start of week 39. We thought we’d have a baby by now. When the doctor said, “40 weeks? No, we’ll induce at 39. In fact, let’s induce at 38,” he was reiterating a previous declaration: the only way I can prove to you that the pregnancy is going well is to have a screaming baby in your face. So we appreciated his offer to induce early. Kinda banked on it, actually.
Now, we’re not so sure.
There’s a lot to be worried about, as melka steps into reliving what has to be a woman’s ultimate nightmare: giving birth to a dead child, and then giving birth again, 15 months later. There are too many nightmares to list. Last night, we each got a total 4 hours of sleep.
The day started in tears, around 5 a.m. That’s when I heard her crying. I was out on the couch, where I had finally given up on TV and interweb entertainment. I nearly lost it, too. In fact, I did, but tried to hide it. We feel very weak.
I managed to make a pep talk through my wet lips, running nose and burning eyes. I look back at it now and think that calling it a “pep talk” is derogatory, cold, canned. My problem is that when my wife is upset, I believe everything she says is true. I have no super-ego or whatever to assess, rationalize, or even dismiss her emotions. I feel them too, I feel the hurt, the trap, the confusion and the bleakness.
But often I’m able to step out of her head and back into my own. That’s key. I say positive things that I really believe.
It would be nice if I could think, “oh there she goes again…” and then I could dismiss whatever she says. I could have my own quiet confidence, and just put up with her grief as something husbands are supposed to do. But I can’t do that, I believe her too much. Dear reader, you’ve read her posts. You know how thoughtful she is… how devastatingly direct intricate honest.
But what I gave amounted to a pep talk. And we did another one this evening… reminding ourselves that having the baby born alive is actually the sign of a successful pregnancy, not getting past the week of malina’s birth, or the gestational week when malina died, or a million other tiny ways we’ve charted this experience as being closer to over.
Now, we’re scared. We’re scared it won’t end well, of course, scared that we’ve been deluded by these milestones and the fact that, after 39 weeks, there’s still a kicking little person inside. We’re scared that birth will be just as much of a trauma as before… that a Cesarean will be painful, and will still leave melka with a stinging “last memory of childbirth” that ended with a corpse. That a pitocin drip will mean more and more interventions. We both want nothing but a living baby but also want something more: for the universe to lower its defences and allow us to have at least one beautiful experience in pregnancy, any experience that wasn’t shadowed by the daughter we grieve. It’s insane, it’s so selfish… and yet we’re using it as a defense in our fear of action.
Saying goodbye to the pregnancy is supposed to be followed by saying hello to our new child. We’ve never experienced that. it’s hard to really believe it.
So, any advice on a quick pep talk we can give ourselves tomorrow morning, so when the doctor says It’s Business Time, we can chime in? Or should we follow our hearts and instincts, and wait a few more days for this to begin on its own?