Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day 109: Nov 3, 2012, 39 weeks

I haven't wanted to look back on last year's care page. I didn't want to relive it. I remember this week, the beginning of this month last year, and I remember it being so hard.

As we approach his due date, I know it's time to remember. Today would be a good day. But first I had more pressing tasks. Anything is a more pressing task than remembering. I cleaned leaves out of gutters as Steve prepared the garage for winter. The girls made leaf mazes in the back yard and JAM sat in a stroller staring at us all like we were insane for being out on such a breezy day. "It's the last nice day of the year" I tell him.

Then the kids went down for their naps and I started on a load of dishes. There are no plans for birthday cakes or streamers this weekend. That'd be silly, most of us agree. We've already had his birthday, and he's nearly 16 months old.

As I wash dishes and stare out the window at the leaf maze Ella and Mimi have made in the back yard, I allow myself, for nearly the first time, to imagine life as it could have been. I picture myself at the same sink washing dishes a year ago, with a full belly that made it awkward to reach the faucet. My tummy would regularly tighten, and I would look at the clock to see if it was time yet. I'd have a nursery ready, and a birth plan in hand. We would have a name picked out, and my parents would probably be on their way to our house to take care of our girls.

We'd probably name the baby William, after a grandfather who'd passed the year before. Maybe William Carl, we hadn't yet decided. His nick name would be Will. Baby Will, dappled cheeked and probably a hefty eight or nine pounds, would be just about to enter the world. The bigger the baby, the earlier he'll sleep through the night, I would be telling my self with every passing day as he grew but did not emerge. I would probably have regular charlie horses and extra stretch marks.

I would have started nesting, and while the house would not be clean (because when is it ever entirely clean?) the baby's nursery would be organized. Ella would have helped me because she's good with that sort of thing. I'd have found all the boy-appropriate baby items from the girls' collection and would have gotten hand-me-downs from his cousin, who was also born in the same season, so everything would fit just right. I'd probably have mastered some self-relaxing form of birthing, and be ready for my VBAC baby.

I stare at the leaf maze. It doesn't go anywhere, just circles back on itself and ends in imaginary piles. "Bedrooms," the girls had said as they'd given me a tour this morning, "But you have to know the secret password to enter."

My imaginary maze to an imaginary baby's bedroom doesn't go anywhere, either. In truth, the imagining didn't hurt much. I've avoided the thoughts up until now because I thought they'd sting. But the emotions don't go anywhere, and I find it doesn't sting any more. "Oh, that would have been nice," I think, "but that wasn't what would be." I let my mind go down a different trail as I scrub out and rinse the eighth bottle of the day.

The anniversary of his due date this year is slightly easier than the week of his due date last year. That's good, I think.

And then I was ready to look back, at what really was. The words below are from our care page a year ago last week, just a week before J's due date. They describe the emotions I remember. I guess I wasn't far off. I'm glad it's getting easier.


November 3, 2012 [morning]

Jonathan's at a gestational age of 39 weeks. He weighs 1.97 kilos, or about 4 lbs 5 oz. They are starting to talk about doing his surgery next week -- it is about 4 weeks after we'd hoped they'd be able to do it, but he is only now big enough. We hope this surgery -- and getting as much [intestinal] tract as possible back -- will help him grow.

He is a wee little guy but he is acting like a full term baby, often awake, alert and content for 45 minutes to 3 hours at a time.

I want him to be home. My super-hero mommy senses keep "pinging" for my children. The home isn't ready for him, we don't have his crib set up even, but less than perfect and all together - well, I would still take it.

You know when you run a race and you turn the corner and you can see the finish line? For me often that last corner is the hardest. I am exhausted, spent, and want to just walk the rest of the way, knowing that if I stop to walk, I will likely stop altogether, and this is a race that must be finished.

I feel like that tonight. Like I am turning that corner, and far from leading me to sprint, I just want a break from it all.
[And then that evening] 

Jonathan just hit 2 kilos. Actually, he was ambitious and went up to 2020 grams -- a gain of 50 grams in one night. THIS is what we have been waiting for! NOW they'll consider surgery. It means that we are almost done.

Another surgery. A major, gut opening, surgery. I know that then we can start to think about him coming home, but the reality of a major operation on the horizon is starting to sink in and I've lost my appetite. Jonathan may be finally ready for it, but emotionally I am not. I remember the last time -- Jonathan, blown up with severe edema, drugged and in pain, unresponsive. While I know they say it shouldn't be that bad this time, only a LITTLE edema, much less recovery time, not as long on a vent, I still just want it all to be over.

I know that this is nothing compared to what others close to me are going through. In addition to a hurricane displacing loved ones on the East coast, this past week also saw the death of a coworker and a major and very painful surgery for my closest grandmother. My story cannot compare to these.

With all this, it is odd that it is the small things that can be unexpectedly difficult. As I cleaned out J's room tonight so we could start to fill it with baby stuff, I ran in to baby pamphlets from after his birth -- tips to new parents about how to care for a newborn -- covered with a thin layer of dust. Odd. This was the week J was supposed to be born.

Too much emotional weight. I think I'd like to crawl into a tight cave for a bit. Instead, I poke out these words to you in hopes that being heard might be therapy enough to get us through the next month. We can almost see the finish line. Thank you again, so much, for running with us.

And those of you (that we know about) that are running your own difficult race, you are in our prayers and we hope you feel surrounded.


  1. I liked this post, especially the comparison to the leaf maze. We're coming up on the due date anniversary for Jax soon, too. I'm not sure how it's going to hit me yet. Last year was really hard for me, but I think this year will be easier. I hope so!

  2. Thanks for your comment! Jax was due just a few weeks after JAM, right? And born just a few weeks after him, too? I hope it hits easier this year than last. Maybe some day the due date will come and go without us even realizing it was there. Maybe someday we'll get used to our "fall" babies summer birthdays.


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