Winter solstice. We are on a train pulling out of St. Louis, on our way to Arkansas and what I suppose is now just my father’s house. Last time we came this way, my face went rigid with crying: the bridge into the city meant my mother was now dead west of the Mississippi, too. Tonight, I wondered in a disconnected way whether the side supports of the bridge would catch us if our train began to roll over towards the water.
I still cry every day, but not all of the time anymore. (The Bean has gotten too good for his age at knowing that he needs to stop and come hug me when it starts.) I’m better when I’ve had enough sleep, when it is light out, when I have had a few days without a great deal of leaving the house and interacting with the world. There is magical thinking, sometimes of the if only I had/of only I can variety (if I am just the most perfect mother, the most gracious child), sometimes of the darker, if only I hadn’t sort (why didn’t I see what hubris it was, thinking I could have another child and still keep my mother?). The world feels too permeable.
Sugar’s grandmother (who lived with her parents, with whom we lived when were first, secretly together) died not quite two weeks ago. I think. Dates are one of the things I am bad at now.
You are all advised that the remainder of our friends and family are under a strict “no dying” order. The Bean asks me if his Mommy is going to die, too.
In other news, my body carries on being pregnant. Which beats the alternative, even I can see.
I am as big now at 32 – sorry, 33 – weeks as I was at 38 with the Bean. No one at the ob’s has said boo about that, possibly because they are glad I’m eating.
I finally did the week of blood sugar monitoring (as a substitute for the glucola test that so wrecked me last time, and I am very grateful I didn’t agree to try again, as it would have been the day – THE day, if you follow me – and those phone calls were horrible enough without being in a state of total neurological collapse). It was fine, and so were the numbers. Good thing, since an electron microscope could not detect something as small as my interest in making “lifestyle changes” at this juncture. Just survival. That seems hard enough. (In truth, I don’t think my body is doing such a bang-up job of handling sugar at the moment, but I have already adjusted my diet by not eating things that make me feel bad.)
The u/s people day everything is fine with Jackalope, who is purported to be in the 85th percentile for weight. I sincerely hope this is one of those times when the famous margin of error of u/s estimates is in play; a small baby was hard enough for me to get out.
I remain in deep denial about this birth business. Sometimes I think it doesn’t matter, since I’ll probably die in the process. I know this sounds like pure depression, but it feels more like being too aware of that permeability I mentioned above. Births feel like that; I certainly remember marveling at how thin the barrier seemed when The Bean was born, not because I was thinking about death but because it seemed so unfathomable that a new person had crossed the other way, into our world.
I did break up with the therapist. I’m sure that seems crazy, but the only time I saw her After, she managed to make me feel worse. I have no energy right now for excess exposure to the world. Even the extra subway ride those appointments entailed was draining. I did sign up for some kind of phone counseling program for depressed pregnant people my insurance company suggested. Also for the postpartum version.
I am very worried about the prospect of postpartum depression. I’m not sure whether I had it last time, because I had so many physical problems that contributed to feeling awful, plus that whole birth trauma thing. I was determined to fix all that this time, but it seems the universe has pulled the rug out from under my feet. I am trying to build a list of ideas beyond SSRIs and eating my placenta, neither of which appeals to me.
In better birth news, I am now very glad we decided to hire College Friend to be our doula, rather than someone unknown with more experience. Not having to meet a new person right now is priceless. (CF now has been to several births, also, so she has at least some experience.) I seem to have some kind of profound social exhaustion, to the point of not even managing responses to emails and so on from kind friends. I hope they understand.
It does seem increasingly likely that this baby really will be born. After a week of suddenly increased discomfort and difficulty walking, I remembered about how they drop into the pelvis towards the end. I think that’s happened. The u/s pictures have gotten that squashed quality they do at the end, when there isn’t space anymore for floating.
So here is one from last month, instead, of Jackalope apparently laughing at us, shortly after sticking out its tongue. I hope this is a jolly baby. For its sake as well as ours.