Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Responsibility

Have you seen my zen? It's gone. All gone. Nowhere to be found. I have misplaced my zen, lost it, likely.

Monkey's music teacher is a woman from the Old Country who we met at the playground the first week they moved here from out of state. We had them over, they had us over, blah, blah, blah. After Monkey turned four, she said that she had this interesting system for teaching little kids to read sheet music, and that she likes to start it with kids who are interested about six months before they would want to start playing piano. This way, she said, they are learning one thing at a time and there is less pain for them when they do start playing. Monkey was interested, so that September we started. We had a keyboard, and that was supposed to be enough for the first six months, while she learned her notes, intervals, rhythms, whatever.

By mid-September, when we started, I was in the early part of my second trimester with A. By early October, when the teacher called to say that she is very sorry, but Monkey is progressing much faster than she anticipated and we need to get a real piano, I was beginning to show. She gave us a couple of weeks to get a piano so that Monkey would have enough time with it to practice for her first recital in January, and I started to comb craigslist. Sometime in the next couple of weeks Monkey asked whether there was someone living in my belly, and JD went on an overseas business trip with a little time tacked on at the end to visit family and friends. And I was left to search out a piano with an understanding that he would be responsible for arranging its move after he got back.

I have never felt so unprepared and incompetent to accomplish something so important in my life. I do not play a musical instrument. I have learned to carry a tune, but it took me until well into my twenties. I do not so much read sheet music, as I can count off the notes from a reference point if I have enough time. I was armed with a list of things to look and listen for from a family friend who is a music teacher and a tuner in another city, but that didn't help tremendously much. It helped some, in that I was able to reject one piano that was clearly hopeless, but that was about it. In the end, our music teacher took pity on me and came with me for a return trip to look at a couple pianos one night. She made the final choice.

I thought that was hard and nerve-racking. Turns out I knew.. how should I say it... oh, yes, NOTHING about nerve-racking. I expected that it would get hard again the week between 23 and 24, and for the four or so weeks after that when viability gets likelier and likelier by the day. But I thought that since so very little of this is in my hands, I could just maybe sleepwalk through that and try to wake up on the other side to some NSTs and some BPPs, and some general commotion. You know, if we made it to the other side.

Turns out, though, that since so little of this is in my hands, but none of it is in anyone else's on a day to day basis as of yet, I am definitely not sleepwalking. I did not realize until last night, when an unfriendly interaction with my husband literally zapped everything I had left, how tightly wound I am, and how fragile. The word to live by appears to be vigilance. Hyper vigilance, to be exact. I realized last night that I more or less, much more than less to be honest, exist in two planes all the time. In one I am doing whatever it is I am doing-- listening to student presentation, shopping, talking to people, reading blogs, helping Monkey with her Old Country language homework, while in the other I am listening, feeling, running the internal stopwatch, and worrying if it has been too long.

Nothing can be done now if things go bad. Even later, after 24, and after 28, at any point really, I know that some things can go bad too fast for anything to be done. Yet, for now, I am the only one who can know if they go bad. And so I count, and time, and keep my split-plane vigil.

This is normal, right? No way through but through, right?

30 comments:

Sarah said...

I'm 22 weeks yesterday. I thought as I got closer to viability I would feel better...and yet, somehow, I'm not. Last time it didn't matter - I didn't know anything was wrong until she was already dead. so I'm less reassured...we just have to keep going, and feeling, and dealing, I guess. There's not another choice.

niobe said...

I'd imagine that pretty much everyone who's been in a similar situation feels very much the same way. Not that that helps.

Bon said...

i found, in my second pregnancy, that until i got well into good odds territory - and i recognize far better now than i did then that odds mean nothing, as i know you were well past viability with A - i could barely breathe. at the same time, it was like each little increment of gain left some particular worry in the dust, and i tried to embrace that, celebrate the "now i don't have to worry about x" moments. small comfort. :)

one foot in front of the other, friend.

k@lakly said...

I wake up everyday and wonder if today is the day that it, the leprechaun, will die. I don't think it matters much what you do or worry about anymore tho. After reading so many of the stories here, viability didn't amount to much for so many of those that didn't make it out days before, weeks before, or even on their due date. There is only so much we can do and after that we have to just let it go and hope, oh and breathe. That's what I say to myself, just breathe, just keep breathing. I don't know if it helps but I do it anyway...

thrice said...

I wish I could find the words to say SOMETHING. Day to day that's all you can do. There is no other choice is there?

LAS said...

I'll be thinking about you! I know it probably doesn't help - but this is what I say to myself whenever I am struggling - how do I (we) get through anything? One day at a time. Sometimes it is one hour at a time, sometimes one minute. I really related to what you said about existing in two planes at the same time. I live this way. That captures it perfectly.

sweetsalty kate said...

I think all of us regardless of past experience (NICU, neonatal problems, preemies, still babies) are equally dumbfounded at how to support anyone - even each other - in pregnancy, except to say the following to a post like yours:

yep.

We're all so riddled with emotional shrapnel, and I sure don't have any answers. All I can offer is that I can imagine your brain and heart must be churning nonstop, and what you say is all we can do - no way through but through.

And you take vitamins and drink lots of water and rely on the Wonderpets when you need to, the same as always, giving up to the fates, which we know to be fickle, but there's nothing to be done about that, except hang out with people who understand.

xo

Waiting Amy said...

I hit 24 weeks today. I thought I would feel better. But somehow I find one just sets a new deadline to wait for.

As you said, there is no way but through.

PS-I thought you handled things with the cemetery people very well.

G said...

"how tightly wound I am, and how fragile"

Thanks for putting words to this. Even though I am not yet pregnant, I feel ok day to day, but I know, one shift in the universe may send me crashing. I imagine it will be even worse to walk in the pregnancy after loss path.

Hang in there, you are doing well and giving me hope.

janis said...

Yes, through it. You may come out whole, or tattered, bruised and shredded, but I have looked, there's no other route. Hugs to you. I think you have been truly graceful, even if you may not feel so.

Catherine said...

You know, I still look at last year and wonder how I made it through. Hell, I look at the last THREE YEARS and wonder how I made it through.

Just keep breathing. And know you're not alone.

Tash said...

Your zen apparently ran off with mine to Vegas or something. And after reading this I'm not sure I could ever handle being pregnant again. I'd be all consumed, and there'd be no answers, no safe point. I might just need to be institutionalized.

I'm getting wound up writing this. I'm going to go have a glass of wine, and think of you unwinding too.

Beruriah said...

Umm, yes. And you are making your way through fabulously. Remember me staring at the ceiling for months? I wish I didn't. These weeks SUCK. I hope the someone living in your belly kicks often during your waking hours.

Magpie said...

Yup. No way through but through. One day at a time, and you'll be through.

Lori said...

No way out but through it... sigh...

I blame myself for Pumpkin's very, very poor sleep habits as a baby because she spent her entire life in utero being poked and prodded by her mother! I was probably constantly waking the poor thing up just so I could have a few minutes of reassurance.

I know I said this before, but I find this whole stage (22-28 weeks) to be the agonizing, "so close and yet so far" stage. It's torture.

Beth (Tiger Moon) said...

I understand. I've been there ... time passes. I've said it before, but when it comes to this, bringing a live baby home, it's all I know. Time passes.

Wishing you peace as it flows.

christyna said...

i have no real words but I have a song

keep breathing..Ingrid Michaelson

makes me cry, makes me strong, gets me through another five minutes or a day.

c. said...

At the deadbaby meeting I attended last night, one of the facilitator's talked about this; the fear and anxiety of a pregnancy after a stillbirth. She said she ate chocolate and drank o.j. every 2 hours after she hit 25 weeks with a subsequent pregnancy. The fear was just too great not to do something. Poor thing.

It's hard not to feel the fear, I imagine, when we know what we know. I'm not there yet, but I'm as afraid of being there as I am of not.

Mrs. Spit said...

yes and yes. Not that it helps or even makes things better.

((hugs))

Wabi said...

Like Lori, I found weeks 20-29 to be especially fraught with worry. So close yet so far ... indeed.

Try to take solace in the fact that ultimately you don't need zen to do this. In fact zen on top of everything else might seem like showing off! :)

wannabe mom said...

i think we'll be on edge until our babies come out kicking and screaming, and even after that.

Snickollet said...

Yup, no way through but through. Distractions. What have you. One foot in front of the other.

Sometimes the road feels really, really long.

Piece of Work said...

After my most recent miscarriage, one feeling that I couldn't shake was relief. It doesn't sound right, and it's not exactly right, because I was devasted, I still am devasted. But the weight of carrying around all that worry, the terror I held that I would lose everything again, it was so heavy.I felt like when it finally happened I could unclench my jaw for the first time in 17 weeks. I know just what you mean and I wish I had some advice to help you. Just keep on keeping on, as my grandfather used to say. There's nothing else to do but that.

kate said...

Yeah, it's normal...no way out but through.

ms. G said...

Very, very normal, as a matter of fact. You describe the feeling so well, I think. When I was pregnant with baby girl A, it would shock me how much the outside world seemed to think everything was normal, while I, inside, was on constant baby watch. I too was wound tight.

Hang in there, Julia, that is the only thing I can say.

urban-pagan said...

I DO get it. I am not pregnant, not even trying at this stage, but like other's said below, I fear the day I am just as much as I fear not ever being there again. My fear feels all wrapped up in the whole no answer's thing..If only I knew how Evan died then I would try to prevent it..but deep down, I know I couldn't, that I have to let go of this need to control and accept that I can't. That life and death is one thing we just can't control. So that leaves hope and patience.

christina(apronstrings) said...

i wish there were an easy answer. i say to myself a mantra to myself 'that i will have a healthy baby in september." over and over. because if you don't your mind is only hearing what you fear. of course that's not going to make me have a healthy baby, but it makes me feel an itty bit better.
though, i m not you. i *know* things could go south, but since i haven't lived it, i still think that it would never happen to me.

Wordgirl said...

My thoughts are with you. I imagine I would feel exactly the same way.

You write beautifully.


Pam

Lori said...

{{{Julia}}}

Pregnancy eluded me. But through your words I can empathize with you.

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore said...

Merrit Malloy said, "Have you come to that Red Sea place in your life where there is no way out but through?"

It's a painful way, indeed.


Thank you for posting this.