So here’s something shocking… I threw myself a baby shower. Kind of. If you’re offended you weren’t invited, my apologies. Maybe. I would have only invited like seven people anyway, but I figured no one was available for my spontaneous baby shower at 9:00pm on a Wednesday night, so the guest list included Mark, Howie, and me.
And it wasn’t a shower in the traditional sense. Oh, no. I now closely follow some of the Orthodox Jewish traditions – like let’s totally celebrate a baby prior to his arrival, but not in a commercialized, American, materialistic sense. Like we’ll have a meet-the-baby party (sip and see?) later for this. Because babies can and do die, and my first one did, and it’s really excruciating to have all this stuff but no baby to use it, so the stuff can wait for eff sake, because there’s a Target on practically every damn street corner in this wonderful US of A, so I don’t think the sun will burn out shall I find myself a little “unprepared” once this baby is born kicking and screaming – like people can run to the freaking Target to get us some gear, and they’ll do so joyfully, because they too will be so enamored that this baby made it here safely, and all the while Jay will be showered in LOVE, so everything will be fine – I swear.
So my baby shower consisted of one activity… As promised, I made a construction paper chain (in proper ROY G. BIV order, sans indigo – trite, I know!) to count down the days until baby Jay arrives. You might remember I spoke of this plan in a past blog post, so yes, I followed through with it, but not without some interesting conversation prior.
So as soon as I announced my artsy intentions, people (mostly Mark) offered some creative ideas. Like one friend was all, “You can use my paper cutter.” And I was like, “Uhhhhh, thanks, but I own a pair of scissors…” And Mark was like, “You should write a motivational quote on each link of the chain.” And I was like, “Uhhhhh, there’s like seventy-odd links, and I am hardly the beacon of inspiration these days.” And he conceded, “Yeah… Maybe just be like, ‘One more day down,’ as you tear each one off,” to which I was like, “Mmmmm hmmmmm…” And then I announced my plans to make my chain this week because I’m officially nearing the end of the second trimester/beginning of the third trimester (week 28), so why not? And Mark was like, “You should wait for my mom and sister to come into town this weekend – they’d love to help!” And I was like, “Stop right there.”
Because as much as I love Mark’s mom and sister, I did not envision this being a group activity. Because first, Mark’s mom is a retired elementary school teacher of the music and drama and theatre disciplines, so, needless to say, upon hearing of my plans to engage myself in a craft project traditionally performed by school-aged kids to count down to Christmas, she might, literally, blow with excitement, bounding into my house like a kangaroo, her energy unable to be contained by our walls, especially with an open floor plan.
And my melancholy attitude would abruptly contrast her not-so-melancholy one, because as much as I try to feel emotions such as “joy,” the brutality of the truth that I’m making this fucking rainbow-colored construction paper chain to help me pass time and count down the days until Jay arrives via scheduled C-section at 37-38 weeks, ONLY because my first baby died isn’t lost on me. (I’m so thankful for Jay, just not my need for the chain itself – I just want BOTH of my boys here with me, which I think goes without saying, but I just wanted to clarify.)
And second, as mentioned, I’d mostly imagined doing this activity alone anyway, methodically cutting strips of paper, linking them together in some sort of calming, repetitive fashion, soothing myself into a state of inner peace, which would last for at least an hour…
And this is mostly what happened… I indeed made the chain alone, in my basement. (Sounds creepy, but Mark was working out…) But I kind of destroyed my opportunity for inner peace, as I made a poor choice in watching the first episode of this season’s Bachelorette (with JoJo) and had to fast forward through the segment involving a visit from former Bachelorette, Ali Fedotowsky in all of her pregnant glory. (Thank God for DVR.)
But the show later redeemed itself via some interesting contestants, including NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ brother, and a pastor-turned-erectile-dysfunction-specialist with a questionable mustache. (I’m fairly confident that if faced with JoJo’s decision it’d come down to these two for me, with the slightest edge going to Aaron Rodgers’ brother as much as it pains me to say it, but I really love sports… But maybe not, because further internet research suggests he’s an asshole, and I prefer nicer guys… But, alas, I’m not in JoJo’s position. Instead, I’m doing arts and crafts in my basement to try to cope with… Everything.)
So here’s a picture of the completed project…
I can only hope we get to tear through every bit of this chain with the ferocity that Thurman Murman (the morbidly obese child in the movie, Bad Santa) tore through his Advent calendar. (Though I won’t eat all of the chocolates at once, as I’m taking this one day at a time. And there are no chocolates.)
And I’m thinking that upon tearing off each link, I might save it, writing a word or quote on it to reflect how I’m feeling on that particular day – it might be interesting to see what percentage seem hopeful vs. scared-out-of-my-mindful. And maybe by the end of all this I will discover I am in fact a beacon of inspiration. (Doubtful.)
It’s kind of funny/interesting… The other day, someone made an observation that my Mother’s Day post carried a bit of an angry tone. So I just proofread this post again and decided that, especially with some of my swearing, maybe it carries an angry tone too. But you know what? Sometimes I am indeed angry – like so angry that I’m surprised my posts don’t sound even angrier.
Friday is my next ultrasound, where they will look at baby Jay’s growth and cord pathology. Additionally, right about now is when I will begin my kick count regimen (which I did last time, and it still didn’t save Matthew, so I guess I will just do it more aggressively?). I’m currently in this gray area – I have an anterior placenta, which makes it more difficult to feel movement, and though I indeed feel frequent movement, when Jay’s quieter I can’t necessarily consider it “decreased movement” yet either, because his movement hasn’t necessarily risen to the level where it’s particularly increased or follows a specific pattern – it’s just kind of consistently there, usually… Ughhhhh!!!
And then, in a short while, I’ll begin non-stress tests multiple times per week, where I’ll relive the hell that I endured in those fateful hours before Matthew died – I can’t yet fathom how I’ll survive sitting in the hospital, analyzing a fetal heart rate strip, the very thing from which most of my nightmares are made.
And while I don’t begrudge any of this (anything to get Jay here safely), I can’t help but be so incredibly pissed off that there are shows out there called I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, where the mothers end up with healthy, full-term babies without even having known they were pregnant. I also can’t help but want to punch a wall when I think about how I have no choice but to become as educated as possible in the study of maternal fetal medicine so I can provide my stamp of approval on my care (or advocate for better care when I consider it necessary), all the while people everywhere, even in my own life, know comparatively little about pregnancy and will likely get their happy outcomes regardless.
So yes, I’m angry about the aforementioned as well as about many of life’s tragedies and injustices. But as a friend recently pointed out, I’m functioning in society, just in a limited sort of way… And I’ve held down my job, and some people still like me (or so they lead me to believe) and instead of actually throwing my fists around, I’m doing some art therapy. And along with being angry I’m also sad and fearful and HOPEFUL and GRATEFUL – there are many emotions coexisting here, some of which are positive…
We celebrate Jay frequently, just in our own way, such as through this unconventional “shower.” And after experiencing a devastating tragedy, we’ll do lots of things in our own way forever, I’ve decided. Because there is no rulebook. And, as Mark recently so eloquently put it, “Right now all Jay needs is love (and good medical care), and hopefully, once he arrives, we’ll have plenty of time to spoil him in other ways, just like we would have Matthew.”
Not that we want spoiled kids, but you get my drift…