…for strength of your hand, that is loving, and giving; and Happy New Year, with love overflowing, with joy in our hearts for a blessed new year… — Regina Spektor
Happy 2019, blogosphere! I know I’ve been MIA for essentially two months, and I’ll get to that. But first, I just want to shout out into the void that having this space where I can share (often unfiltered) with all of you, some of you, or none of you, has been so important to my psychological well-being as I weathered the shit-storm that 2018 wrought upon my heart.
Yesterday, for the first time in quite awhile, I got out Charlie’s memory box. As the year came to a close, I felt like I needed to revisit it. As you all know, there is never a moment when Charlie isn’t in my heart, but it was important to me to go through the tangible reminders. And lordy-be as soon as I opened that box the emotions overwhelmed me and the crying started; but strangely, I kind of appreciated that — y’know? I went through the sonograms, pregnancy announcement and congrats cards, the lone onesie and the baby boots, and then the condolence cards and gifts. One pendant stood out to me, just like it had when I received it; it says, “I carry you in my heart”. It’s from an ee cummings poem that I’ve always liked, though until Charlie it held different meaning for me. When I read those words again yesterday, they just seemed extra poignant. Because I do — I carry Charlie in my heart. As much as I wanted to, for reasons I’ll never quite know, I couldn’t carry him in my body. So, my heart is where he’ll stay.
It’s kind of odd, because the closer we get to bringing our Birdy baby into the world, the more I think about how she wouldn’t be here if not for Charlie. I struggle with that sometimes, because if I had been given a choice, if any maybe-mama like me had had an actual choice — how the hell would we have decided which child we lost? Every now and then I ponder if that’s why the choice wasn’t ours to make.
And then I think too, about how we’ll tell Birdy about Charlie someday. I wonder how you go about that, because Hubs and I decided pretty immediately that Charlie isn’t a secret we would be keeping from any other children we may have. I keep coming back to this: “Before you, there was another child. He helped to give us you.” I mean, hopefully by the time we share this story with her I’ll have something better prepared, but that’s where I’m at right now.
Speaking of Birdy, here’s her update: With the fear hanging over our heads about what the low amniotic fluid levels might mean for her and the pregnancy, we were referred to a maternal fetal specialist, who did manage to take the edge of the worry — a bit. A week before Christmas, at a follow-up appointment with them, we got the good news that the levels had reached the “average” range, and were no longer considered low! At the same time, we learned that I had failed the glucose test spectacularly and now had gestational diabetes. Trading one worry for another.
Holy crap, can I tell you how awful I felt? Emotionally, not physically. I was shocked when they told me about the GD because I hadn’t felt “off” in any way, had barely gained five pounds the entire pregnancy, and never experienced the swelling everyone kept saying would come at the end of the second trimester. Oh, but emotionally, I was an absolute mess. I felt immensely guilty, even though I hadn’t done anything wrong — I felt like I couldn’t do anything right no matter how hard I tried, like my body was letting me down once again, like there were a mass litany of things that were just wrong with me and I couldn’t do anything about it.
I went to a class to gain more information and learn how to control the GD with a very strict diet (oh my God, there are carbs in EVERYTHING — no longer are fruits and veggies just considered “healthy”, now you can’t have them before X-time and then only if you eat X kind, etc.). The grocery store became a minefield that could easily start a meltdown on my end because I was trying so hard to follow all of the rules to control the GD but I was so overwhelmed! But I just kept telling myself that if I followed the rules, my blood sugar levels would be fine and everything else would be fine. I mean, that’s the way things are supposed to work! Except it wasn’t because no matter what I did my morning fasting and ketone levels where high. So then they put me on medicine to help those stabilize (which they are and I’m grateful for) but it just felt like one more damn thing I’d failed at.
[I know I’m complaining; I know others have it so much worse; but that doesn’t mean this isn’t still hard for me.]
Here comes the sun though — The doctors said despite all of this, Birdy is doing fine. She’s right where she should be growth and development-wise. As she’s growing and getting stronger, I’ve finally been able to feel her move around, which is such a blessing because it lets me know she still kicking in there (get it?). Last night, Hubs even got to feel her move, which was so great, because she’s been a bit contrary about that every time we’ve tried before!
So, that’s what I’m trying to focus on the most — she is okay, and that’s the most important thing. As Hubs reminded my tear-stained self yesterday when I was flipping 2018 the bird, it was a really difficult year of loss and grief and storm weathering — but 2018 also gave us two-thirds of Birdy. And there’s no arguing with the blessing of that!
Happy New Year, and better times ahead for us all!