I graduated from counselling today. It was my last session, my final chance to talk about all those thoughts and feelings that surround Freddie, his fleeting life and the drift of flotsam that has been left in his wake. The last time I can ponder and talk and rage and cry to someone without wondering at the same time if I am boring them, saddening them, annoying them. I’ve had counselling twice before; once after that other loss and once at Relate. I’m an old hand, so old hand that I held out till half way through my sessions, convinced I could play the game better than her and not crumble, not show my grief. She took my case to her assessment, asked how best to handle me – and broke me down. We’ve been building me back up.
It’s a funny old process though. I don’t have time to ponder endlessly and think about what death and grief and little wrists without a pulse have done to me, except in those sessions. A fractured healing, if healing it is. I’m not sure I needed counselling so much as an unfettered time to talk. My grief is only one of so many others that have assaulted my close friends, I’m not sure I’m first in line for the ears any more; I’m not even sure if those ears are the ones that should hear. I hate knowing people I love might be worried about me and I’m better than I could be at hiding it – mostly. Not always. Not every day.
Last week, in the spa for 3 precious hours, I tried to make myself relive the memories of my time with Freddie. It hurts that the glorious reality of his birth, so beautiful and easy and wonderful is something I cannot refer to without the uncomfortable pause afterwards.
But he died, they think. But he must have died because of that birth. It doesn’t matter that you won’t see it, it has to have been that. How can you speak of his birth as something amazing when he is dead because of it.
I know some people must think it. I see it on their faces. And I think even the people who don’t think it have chosen that belief out of compassion for me, the woman who thought a caesarean was the worst that could happen to her.
But I have to take something good from Freddie and his birth, the knowledge that I can and did do that, effortlessly, easily, in tune with my baby and body, without epidural or pethidine, is one good thing. I don’t have to look back and think “it was all that pushing, that long time without monitors” because nothing like that happened. Even if my body broke him, or even if somehow one of the people caring for us missed something, there was never any sign, no bad choices on that day. Maybe the wrong choice to vbac, but nothing on that day.
One day I am going to have to make someone look me in the eye and tell me what they really think. I’m not there yet. I’m still trusting the instinct that made me think I wasn’t going to have a baby. The instinct that made me want him to stay in there longer, not come out sooner.
Reliving his life is not easy and that time at least, I came adrift at one point in SCBU, one moment that caused me so much anger that I couldn’t carry on. One choice, one drug, that my instinct told me was wrong for him, that I refused to give permission for and told them to do without my permission if they felt they had to. I can’t get passed knowing that after that he went to sleep and slept for 4 of his 11 days. I regret more than anything, that I didn’t refuse to let them. But who knows where that would have led?
Regardless, it is a regret – and regrets for babies in boxes in furniture you once bought not knowing that one day they would hold what remains of your son, are bad things.
I realised a while ago that I have a touch of Postnatal Depression. As I wallowed in panic about managing everything, I suddenly recognised the feeling, saw myself back when Amelie was a few months old, sobbing at a doctor – and I knew what it was. Since we’re ttc-ing, pills are not an option, so I’ve been trying to take care of myself; sleep well, eat well, live a creative life, do things with the girls, make time for me. To start with it seemed the ultimate kick to have PND when my baby is dead but then I decided it was actually something of a comfort; it has arrived at the 9 months mark, just the same as after the girls and it is, if not much else, a tangible proof of Freddie. I have PND and therefore I must have had a baby. If I have PND, he was real. For it to come about at such a recognisable time, and for me to miss it as is my wont, means that perhaps my body is getting rid of the last of being pregnant. Maybe, please, please maybe, it will remember how to get pregnant.
I’ve also begun to make some decisions about that. My short term focus is that if I am not pregnant by the end of this year, I will be over wanting more children. I hoped (give or take the maths of whether 2010 was a noughty or a teenie) to have had children in 3 decades. All my children have been born in even years. Maybe I’ll still have one in 2012 but if it is not on its way by the end of this year, I think I will be ready to move on from that part of my life. I cannot bear a combining of all my worst disasters and having to make choices about a sick or Downs baby while I am pregnant and clearly my eggs are old and sad now. There is only so long I can take risks with myself or another baby.
This year I have set myself goals – personal ones, home ed ones and business ones. Some of them will be obvious, some I dare say will get blogged and some are for me, to enrich me or to make me fill my time and focus on short term, easy to achieve things. Anything to take my mind off the grind and grime reality of no longer having ovaries that will do my biding. I should have quit while I was ahead and I’d never have known how this feels.
Knitting. Models. Walks. Projects. Writing. Designing. Joy. Peace.
I’m beginning to see why women in their 40’s and 50’s have a life crisis and then go off to walk barefoot through Tibet. It may be selfish but for as long as I need to run my body in safe mode, I’m going to make sure safe mode is a good place to be.