Pregnancy

Diminished Expectations

Disappointment. Frustration. Anxiety.

Not what I expected to be feeling completing thirty-eight weeks of pregnancy. Accomplishment. Joy. Relief. This is what I ought to be feeling at this moment. I was told to expect now. To plan for now. But now has come and gone, leaving me questioning how well i know my own body, its capabilities, and even the idea of its incompetency.

We thought we would be bringing home a baby by now. Starting our tiny family. But instead, I am at yet another obgyn appointment being told i am still 3 cm dilated.

Its normal for pregnant mums to hang out at 3 cm for weeks, the triage doctor who discharged on friday informed me. But the fact is, that this pregnancy hasn’t been considered normal since i was diagnosed with incompetent cervix. I was given the impression that if the cerclage came out too soon, or if i stopped taking my progesterone too soon, my cervix would collapse like the walls of Jericho. ok a tad dramatic, but still that was the sentiment.

But here i am at thirty-eight weeks, debunking the assumptions I have been fed. It has left me wondering if i indeed have an incompetent cervix. After a weekend of brewing in my own emotional deflation, I think it is good that i am here, with no expectations. This entire pregnancy i have been guided by benchmarks, milestones, and achievement. My pregnancy, for a time, existed within twenty-four weeks. When i achieved twenty-four, i graduated to thirty weeks and then finally thirty-seven. I have never looked beyond the perimeters set up for me. It would have been too much to hope or expect more.

But now I have nothing but birth to achieve and there is no real date for that. Even my estimated due date is just that--an estimate. I realize it has been easier to live with stability rather than unpredictability. Delivering Isaac at almost 24 weeks was unpredictable and the cost of that was devastating. The thought of a structureless pregnancy intimidated me, and so I have spent the last nine months with blinders on, with the end barely in my periphery.

Now, there is nothing standing in the way of the end and me. It feels like i am a marathon runner told the race would end here, but as my body brushes up against the finish line ribbon, I find that it has been moved forward another five miles. But, I must either hope and persevere, or stop living. Stop enjoying this transition as it is meant to be enjoyed.

I must choose perseverance.

 

joy and sorrow

after what we experienced with isaac, keith said somberly. i can no longer live in this selfish state of mind that this life is promised to me. isaac lived sixteen days. some live sixteen years. others live till they are sixty. when you are looking death in the face, every moment is precious.

i remember the day before isaac passed. he had just come through surgery successfully. keith yelled at the top of his lungs outside thank you jesus before breaking down and crying. we had surrendered what we thought was everything to God. we thought he was only testing us and that we had passed the test with another day with our boy.

i remember going home that evening and singing a worship song with keith in the dark. oceans. the rain came down that night and keith and i sat on the porch and watched lightning flicker across the deepness of night. doctor orsini's call the following morning was slightly concerning, but we were still so hopeful, even then. our doctor's eyes were wet with sadness. isaac was not going to make it. 

we breathed in while sobriety coiled around our words in our silence.

as i spent the last few hours praying for and singing to my dying son, i realized then what surrender was. that there was no test. this was just life. one year later, as keith and i were trying to pick out a tree to plant for isaac while his sibling grew restless inside of me, i wished with all of my being that isaac could be here with us now. that is when the painful realization squeezed my heart. our two children could never coexist on this side of eternity. if isaac were still here, we wouldn't have started trying so soon, and we would not be experiencing this particular child.

it is here where joy and sorrow coexist for me. i cannot experience one without the other. i believe that is what most who have lost a child and gained another wrestle with. while the world around us celebrates the new life that we bring to it, we are constantly reminded of why that life came to be. we cannot forget, so don't ask us to.

there is a part of me that cannot wait for may to be over. i have been so overcome by my emotions, which is a lot to admit to since by nature, i am a big feeler. today, i slept till almost noon, the heaviness of it all crippling my already ailing pregnant body. i wonder what propels me forward despite my anguish.

mercy, keith mentioned. we don't have a choice but to show others mercy. to give them a sense of dignity, no matter how long they have on this earth.

men and meteorites

a tomb robbed my inheritance. it
ascended into daylight.
my love stripped down to a hollow. tomorrow
is today's twilight.

yesterday is but a dream deferred.
yesterday, a mother's scorn.

a phantom of my past life rests
in the quiet of his room, where the
dust agitates my eyes, and
healing didn't come soon.

tears kiss my face as my pain struggles
to be at home in your love.
will someday hope, or is this the end of me
stirring your heart to be moved?

yesterday was a dream deferred.
yesterday, a prayer unheard.

when storms collide with sunsets,
fall wet lines of color, faint in the bright of that
space between the world of men and
the world beyond meteorites.

my tongue unhinged, the words within me
rushing t'ward daylight.
my bones now clothed with joy and sorrow,
resurrected from the twilight.

yesterday was a dream deferred,
but today hope is restored.

 


written in memory of my sweet son isaac who passed away a year ago today, and to my sweet baby who is nestled in that space between men and meteorites.

celebrating isaac

This month has worn a hole into my healing heart.

Today, isaac would be one. As i grab hold of the reality that a year ago today, i was blessed with my first son, the weight of would be pulls me back into the heaviness of that empty space where isaac does not reside in. i am overcome by grief all over again, as if it was yesterday, and i wonder if i ever made a dent in this healing process.

Sunday was mother’s day. Last year his birthday fell the day after that. I remember being admitted in the late afternoon on mother’s day and not seeing the sun for two days. I remember how pink isaac looked. His small body wrapped in tubes and wires. I was so scared to touch him, but i wanted so badly to hold him close to me. To hear him crying for me. Something. Anything. But he had to be without me his first day of life. And i had to be without him my first day of motherhood.

micro preemie

Such a violent birth day to remember.

I remember the days and weeks that followed. My fears quickly transformed into hope and a fierce love that i will never be able to put into words. I learned how to express milk so that he would get his nourishment from me when he was able to. I used to quench his thirst with a little swab of water dabbed on his tiny tongue. I changed his diaper and i cleaned his little body when i was able to make it to the hands on sessions. I sang him to sleep. Read him stories. I even got to finally hold him against my heart so that he could hear the beats he had listened to for almost six months.

tiny baby hand

In those moments i became a mother.

No, motherhood didn’t look like i had imagined and i didn’t get to do everything i had hoped i would be able to do. But when i look back on that time, i got to be a mother. Isaac was too small to offer anything to me or this world, but somehow him being here, existing in this space was enough for me. Enough for me to be his mother. His existence alone was significant. What a powerful freedom he lived in. To be weak and dependant in every way, not performing or doing anything to receive love.

That is why I choose to remember. Even when it hurts. God, it hurts! But i am learning to cherish that simple thought of humility. To cherish what the Lord has blessed me with, both with isaac and his brother or sister. To cherish the mundane,

for it has excitement of its own.

 

Tiny Movements

It’s 3 am. i am tired.

There’s this tiny little human inside of me getting comfortable in a new position. I know I should be irritable right now. I probably will be irritable later, but right now, I savor baby’s stretches and twitches as if I were watching baby sleep through the night in my arms.

I experienced about six weeks of Isaac’s movements before he came. I never really felt him at night. Every time I went driving, he would start moving. I used to sing to him in the car as I drove. When I worked part time as a barista and stood on my feet for four hours, I would feel him then too. His movements were so gentle though. Not as vibrant as his baby brother or sister’s movements are.

I was so afraid to feel any excitement when I felt the first flutters around thirteen weeks. Even as baby grew stronger, I withheld my heart. I knew if I let baby, those tiny movements would stir my love at its foundation and I would be bonded from that point on. I knew I would smile the way I smiled when Isaac would move. I knew all the purity and freshness of this pregnancy would be distilled by the life that was cut short. But this baby continues to make his presence known to me.

Mama, I am here. I am strong. I am growing.

The activity never gets redundant for me. I don’t know if it ever will. Every day that I get to feel baby with me, is a new day I have never experienced before with Isaac. As I lie here awake while baby rolls around with great effort, I wrap my arms, my heart, my love around my womb and I smile.

It’s 3 am. I feel alive.