I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive at being this close to the big 4-0, but now that I'm here, it's not so bad. Maybe it's the 1:00 pm birthday G&T talking, but I'm kind of enjoying peering over the edge of another decade. My 30s have been a crazy ride so far and while I'm hoping that happier times are ahead, I'm thankful for everyone who's touched my life in the past few years (and that includes all of you here in blogland!).
Speaking of people who have touched my life, here is a memory about someone who did so in the most profound of ways. I found this on my dad's computer when I was home for Thanksgiving. He doesn't talk much about Lydia, but it was nice to see that he thinks about her. This brief clip is the only video I have of when I was pregnant:
I'm in the middle of a big, complicated work project. I just left my boss's office after a frustrating conversation (he doesn't seem to know anything about how my project is supposed to work) and in the dozen steps between his office and my desk, my head went from the complexities of document management to thinking about cleaning out my closet when I got home tonight to wondering what I was going to with Lydia's clothes that are still tucked up on a high shelf in there (is this the year to donate them to charity?)... at which point my eyes filled up with tears and I quickly slumped into my chair so that no one would see me crying. Will this freakishness ever end???
Gearing up for tonight's special tv event (for once, nothing to do with the election), I can't help but identify with Charlie Brown's recurring lament, "I got a rock." In my case, this sentiment has less to do with Halloween candy and more to do with motherhood. When everyone else seems to be bringing home the Hershey bars and Reese's cups and Kit Kats in the form of gurgling little pink and blue bundles, I get the rocks. And I didn't even think that my costume was that bad...
In the 4+ years since I lost Lydia, I've had many dreams about giving birth. In every single one of them, the ending was not good. The baby was either already dead or it died shortly afterwards. I have never, ever had a dream where I gave birth to a healthy, living baby. Until the other night! After a rather sleepless night, I finally got a few hours in and towards the end of this time I had this intense dream. I was at my parents' house and I was pregnant, about a month away from delivering. At one point, I was at the top of the stairs next to my father and I said that I felt "funny". He put his hand on my belly and the baby started moving around like crazy, but not in a good way. "The baby is sick," he said, "You are must go into labor now." (my dad is a doctor, so I trusted what he was saying) I wanted to go straight to the hospital, but he said there was no time. The next thing I knew I was in my parents' bedroom with both of them there. I was worried about making a mess of the bad, but they told me not to worry about it. I was wearing one of my mother's flannel nightgowns and standing (!) on the bed while my parents each supported one of my arms. Oddly, the placenta and all of the fluid came out first, which left the baby in there without any "support". I knew it was important that the baby come out as quickly as possible, so I began talking to the baby, saying things like, "Don't you want to meet Mommy? We're all anxious to see you. It's time to come out now so Mommy can hold you and keep you safe." And here's where it gets really weird -- I could hear the baby talking back to me. Not in a creepy way, not even in full sentences, but it was like I could sense what the baby was thinking, "So warm, want to stay in here next to Mommy, don't want to go", etc. In the end, the baby decided to make an appearance and came out safe and sound. When my father handed her to me (yes, it was a girl), I wept with joy. And then I woke up.
It was such a nice feeling, to hold my living child in my arms, even if it was only a dream. Maybe I had this dream now, because of my decision to try IVF... maybe I'm more convinced that I will have a living baby someday, I don't know. All I do know is that I'm ready for this particular dream to come true.
Grrrrrrrrr! ...and then back to reality (and a decision)
Where the hell does this come from? I woke up this morning feeling so angry, I could have punched somebody (and my husband was dangerously close). And indeed I was angry at my husband, along with my brother, random aquaintances, myself, the world -- but mostly I was just angry at the state of my life. Angry that Lydia was dead, angry that I couldn't conceive any more children, angry that I had to live with so much sadness. And the anger is still swirling around me, despite the fact that I am fully aware that plenty of people have it much worse off than I do and that I don't hold the patent on hard luck stories.
And the only thing that seems to take the edge off the anger is to give into nostalgia, bring myself back to a time when my life didn't have so much subtext [what am I talking about? -- honestly!]. A little dose of Bonnie Tyler does wonders in these situations...
Now that that little crisis is over, I can talk a little bit about where I'm at. I'm at the point where I know I'll be ready to have another child soon. And although I am upset that my body has stopped performing its womanly functions, I really couldn't care two figs that any child I will have will not be related to me biologically. How vain would it be if I did, I mean, really! That being said, I have more or less decided that I want to try the whole donor egg thing, so that I can experience a live birth, if the universe will allow me that. And then maybe we'll see about adoption to complete the family.
In a way, I think it'll be cool to be an "older" mom. When other mothers my age are wistfully looking at their teenagers, missing the time when they would rock their babies in the crook of their arms, I'll be doing just that with mine. And having teenagers in my 50s is bound to keep us young and energetic, right? :) Anyway, I really do like the fact that we still have this fun part of life left to experience. It's like saving the best chocolate in the box for last.
And on that note, I may as well sign off. We got back from a two week holiday by the lake on Sunday (maybe that's why I was in such a bad mood this morning), and we still haven't unpacked. Time to head back to the ranch and get that sorted out. Too bad I don't have any Air Supply for the road...
Ex-pat American currently in London, married to a Brit, trying desperately to keep a sense of humour while weathering some pretty big shit-storms. My heart was broken when my first child was stillborn in June 2004. 18 months later, right after my 36th birthday, I went into premature menopause, thus ending my dreams for having more children of my own. The grief of the loss of my daughter is always with me, but so are the hopes and dreams that she brought to my life. The latter keeps me going.