Friday, August 22, 2008

"I love you baby."

It came without warning, without a thought really, it just happened. I was stopped at a red light, I hadn't felt the baby move for a while so I was pushing and prodding at my belly, again, trying to make it move. It seemed like it took forever and then they came, the kicks. I wrapped my arm around my bulging waist and the words came out, "I love you baby."

I guess all of my conscious attempts at not getting attached have failed. Which isn't to say that I have been actively trying not to love this baby, but I have been actively trying to prepare myself that I might not get to take this leprechaun home, alive. I often ask the little one, "Please don't die." or "Please kick for me so I know you are still alive", but I have never let myself admit any feelings for him or her, it just seemed way to daring, too dangerous to even attempt. Because letting myself feel things for this baby means, well you know what it means, if something goes wrong, ugh, I don't even have a word for what it means, but you who wear my shoes know what I am talking about. Have I been kidding myself that if I didn't let myself feel anything outwardly that if something went wrong I would somehow be more ok with it? I don't know. Why would I think that? Can I really be so simple minded that I think that by trying to ignore any feelings of attachment or dare I say love, that another stillbirth would hurt me less? Yes, I am and yes, I did, and yes, it is so stupid. I mean catastrophically stupid.

And today, when the words tumbled out and I hugged that place that so far has done right by this leprechaun of mine, I realized that the only thing I am doing by not getting attached to this baby is denying myself the unbelievably pure and sweet feelings that come from truly loving your child. My love for this baby has always been there, of this I am sure, but I have not let myself feel them, not one bit, until now. Today, I let myself get swallowed up in the real joy of it, the real hope of life, only for a little while mind you, but I did it. I am scared to death of it, all of it. The feelings, the loving, the risk of it, the possibility of another 'bad outcome', the weight of the choice to try to let myself love this baby, wholly and completely before I know if it's really going to make it out. I have made myself quite comfortable with the fear and the dread, and the anxiety. They are enormous burdens that I strap on my back every day, but for a long time the weight just seemed like part of me. And it felt safer to feel scared and anxious, truth be told, than it would ever feel to be hopeful and brave. And then today, those words came out and I swear it was as if a film was stripped from my eyes, the colors seemed clearer out my windshield. I realized I did love my baby and it felt good to love this baby, even if I could only think about it for a second. It was enough to start to chip away at some of the baggage dragging behind me that had suddenly become much too heavy to carry anymore.

I hate feeling scared and anxious, I hate shoving down any thoughts of hope for this baby. I hate that whenever people talk about "when" the baby comes, I always, either out loud or in my head, correct them and say if. I want to live in the world of the "when's", not in this crappy, dark world of "if"s".

I have wanted another child almost since the day my daughter was born. I waited patiently, never asking, not even once, for that baby. I never wanted to fight about it with my husband and when he finally said the magic words I was giddy. I had no fucking clue what we were headed for. And then when it all circled the drain, I did have to fight for that, this, child. My husband wanted NOTHING to do with another attempt at a baby. I argued with him, he didn't want another tragedy, the baby he would want. I told him flat out, our marriage would never be the same if he gave up on this, on me, on the baby. And yet at the same time I knew exactly what he was doing, he was protecting himself and me and our kids from a second trip to hell. He even asked me, "Do you really want to subject the kids to this again?" Usually a good move to bring the kids in to it but not this time. I was too selfish, too determined not to at least try, try not to have my last childbirth experience be one of death and pain and empty arms. I blinded myself to the emotional side of a pregnancy after a stillbirth. I knew there would be 'issues' but I told myself, you just have to deal with it, focus on the destination, not the journey.

Turns out you have to focus on the journey because, yep, the destination is still unknown. I know exactly where I want to go, always have, but I still have very little control over whether or not I get there. My whole philosophy of just jumping on the baby train, closing my window shades and turning up the music real loud while I wait for the conductor to tell me where I am getting off is not working for me anymore. I know I won't know where I am getting off until my feet hit the ground again but for now, I think I am going to turn the music down, pull the shade up a bit and maybe even peek out the window once in a while. Turns out I think I might want to see a bit of the scenery as it passes by, I might want to remember this trip as more than just a white knuckler I endured. There may come a time when another tiny passenger who made this trip with me asks me to retell how they made their way into this world.

And I think I will answer, 'if" I get the chance, that the real journey started one day with just a few simple words.

I love you baby.


CLC said...

Oh, kalakly, you gave me goose bumps. I think there's no way we can prevent ourselves from loving a baby, even when we don't know what the end result is. I am glad you are embracing it. The leprechaun will surely want to know all about this time when he/she is older!

Reese said...

No one doubts your immense love for this baby. Caution is on everyone's mind in this situation. I am hoping that by uttering these words, it will open up a small avenue of hope for you. You deserve to have it. We all do.


Cindy said...

I can barely type, I am crying so hard. Thanks for sharing this with us so eloquently.

Thinking of you...

janis said...

This is so beautiful and moving, I am in tears.

charmedgirl said...

that's beautiful, kal.

i think the only truth in the universe is, we only have this moment. THAT'S IT. nothing more, nothing less. we as human beings want to inscribe prophesy to the future and meaning in the past, but it's just not real. it's all borne from fear, and who the f wants that?

Steph said...

This is a beautiful, insightful post. I have tears in my eyes, and I am really moved. Thank you.

Heather said...

I think you made a beautiful choice, to enjoy your pregnancy. You deserve that and so does your baby. Thinking of you.

G said...

We love you too baby. Your mom is bitchin'

I'm not there yet, but this is a concept I keep telling myself. The next baby deserves a bit of that joy and pure love too. It's tough to get through the fear, but sometimes you have to let it in. Because you know, we can do our best not to get attached, but we are. And if we aren't and something happens, we would think that our unattachment may have caused it. This is the vicious cycle of DBL.


Tash said...

Beautiful, honest post, Kal.

I can't imagine ever feeling that. Our situations are reversed: My husband desperately wants to try this again, and I flood with tears and protest that I can't lose again. I can't. Sometimes I feel like my capacity to love is just tapped out.

It's nice to hear that other people have found a way through. Keep kicking baby, mommy loves you.

STE said...

I recall hearing somewhere that you might as well enjoy the ride while you can; enjoying it won't change the outcome, and if things go to hell, at least you had some joy for a little while.

It's a nice thought, and one that occurred to me when I was pregnant. I don't know if the memory of the joy makes the pain worse or easier, though.

It takes a lot of courage to love, especially after so much pain. I'm so glad you are able to feel it, and know it, and speak it.