Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Still here

The spring was really hard. After mostly avoiding the emotional burden of jealousy and bitterness until then---a bit of grace I was really grateful for at the time---the ugly twins finally caught up with me. Some friends had babies, others became pregnant. It was a kick in the stomach every time. More like a knee in the gut. And it was double the burden for the way it then made me feel guilty for being bitter, the way it isolated me from people I genuinely care about, and how obvious it was to me that they pitied me on some level, or at least felt awkward around me in light of their good fortune, and how that made me hate them. There is simply no winning in these situations.

The summer got better. My beloved cat died, which was horrible. But the grief for Eva let up a little. Once we had time to recover from losing the cat, the first "baby" that we ever had, we were wrapped up in moving from one house to a temporary apartment and then another house that we've been renovating. We were a little band of travelers together, sharing a bedroom for a few weeks, and the closeness was soothing. As the deep grief and bitterness lifted, I began to have glimpses of how you come to accept something as awful as birthing and holding your dead daughter. You don't condone it, you don't want it, you'll never totally accept it, but you stop feeling like you can't really live the life you're in. You stop feeling that you're in the wrong life. You realize that this is the life you have and there are some good things about it. Things to embrace.

So that's where I've been spending more of my time. But I write now because we're coming up on the one year anniversary. One year ago today, I had a bad ultrasound that indicated that Eva was gravely anemic. That the bizarre Kell isoimmunization issue that we had discussed at every appointment might actually amount to something very serious and in need of immediate treatment in the form of a fetal transfusion. Over the next days, it just got worse. The treatment that would've worked if she had been just 3 weeks older before getting sick couldn't help. I keep thinking of that line from Elizabeth McCracken's An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination. I don't have it here with me. She's talking about the day she felt something was wrong with her pregnancy---the baby wasn't moving. In her case, this was at full term. She describes the vague concern followed by the nagging worry, the consultation with the midwife, the reassurance. "And then," she says...and I forget what the next word was. Catastrophe? Calamity? But she gave words to the moment between the old life and the new life, the pause before you plunge into an abyss.

I see that this is how the story turned out for us. What a horrible fucking thing. What a fucking travesty that my daughter died.

I don't know what happens next. We were too wrecked all year to decide what the next move was. We're starting to talk now. I'm old now...40. How unfair that we had the two miscarriages...lost all those years between when we first started trying at 35 and now. And yet we have Sam. How lucky is that? And how lucky are all the other good things? And yet Eva is still dead and trying to be grateful can sometimes get me ping-ponging between peace and self-pity and shame and anger.

No comments: