On the Beginning of the End (Again)

at 28 weeks in my second pregnancy, summer 2012

Well, it's here.  Again.  My third trimester.

I've been dreading it.  Which I know might sound quite awful, because shouldn't every week that brings this baby closer to his birth make me happy?

And they do.  And yet.

My first pregnancy ended in stillbirth just weeks into my third trimester.  My second pregnancy's third trimester saw me trekking up and down huge mountains of anxiety each day, not to mention going on and off bed rest with preterm labor.  Oh, and breaking my elbow so badly it needed surgery and two weeks immobilization just a nine days before my son was born.

I don't seem to have a very good track record with third trimesters.

Not to say that I believe all this means I'm destined for yet another excruciating final trimester.  But I'm not looking forward to tallying nightly kick counts (thanks to my anterior placenta for making this task more stressful) and tracking the contractions that have already been making an intriguing appearance. 

And yet.
And yet

I am really starting to enjoy my sensually swelling belly for the first time this pregnancy (an enjoyment which is coming far later than usual this time).  I am loving how the kicks and jabs and all.the.heartburn. help me to imagine that this little boy is a sweet and feisty dude with crazy hair like his mama.  My feet are beginning to tingle with the sense of waddling treading on holy ground, territory that I do not expect to travel again in this life.

All that is good.  Very, very good.  And I am glad for it.  Grateful for it.  It takes some of the edge off the double-edged sword that is pregnancy after a loss.

* * *

Some days I feel normal, and this scares me.  

Because it feels like so often the day that I manage to convince my brain to release its dark imaginings of worst case scenarios is exactly the day that those fears take on flesh.  Maybe if you worry enough, anxiety yammers, maybe you'll be able to avert disaster.

Of course I know that it doesn't work like that.  But since when could anxiety ever be reasoned with?

And still . . . some days I feel normal.  Like this pregnancy will progress smoothly, that this second son will come into my arms with only the usual amount of blood and moaning.  Like there's no reason to be afraid.  Like I'll get a happy ending as easily as so many others seem to.

And other days, the future feels dark, and I find comfort in contingency plans.  Breathing is a meditation in reminding myself that I'm not the only one who aches/grieves/weeps with terror.  That happy endings are mostly myth.  That life is ever and only a path, that perceived destinations are only way-stations and rain shelters and detainment points

* * *

I really wanted my second pregnancy -- my first pregnancy-after-a-loss -- to feeling like redemption.  But mostly it was an exercise in staying in my own terrified skin.  Sacred, though.  Even with all the fear, it felt sacred.

This pregnancy, I again wanted the redemption, and enjoyment.  I also wanted to feel imbued with divine femininity.  I don't think I've gotten any of that -- being pregnant with a beautiful two year old in the house is way more physically challenging than I expected -- but it has felt normal.  I've been chasing around this gorgeous boy, and feeling like an exhausted, exponentially growing pregnant mama -- a.k.a. normal

I like that.  I mean, when I'm awake enough to really appreciate it.  And I also like how my living son keeps my eyes on, well, the living, instead of all my fears of death and catastrophe.  Lots of mama + cute buddy dates are my strategy for surviving (dare I hope to thrive? let's go with yes) the next 13 weeks.

This life, any life, all our lives -- they're not very tidy, are they?  But they are real and true and full of now and here and a fierce pile of grit, and that's important.  That is something.  Something that matters.

feeling epically huge (even though I'm not really) at 25+ weeks this time around

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