Thursday, May 24, 2012

Uncharted Territory

Well, here we are.  Welcome to Week 34, Day 4.

I am surprised at how light I feel.  Happy, even.  Ready to revel in the last few weeks of this pregnancy.  (Not that the fear is gone, but there are so many other emotions filling in the gaps around it.)

I've kept myself busy this week, and also let myself enjoy getting some special treatment because of the belly.

Why yes, young man, I will let you return this cart for me.

Why, thank you, Crazy Target Checkout Guy, for loudly jumping to my defense and telling me I did NOT need to apologize to the woman who was trying to pass through because she could have said excuse me, nevermind the fact that she actually DID say excuse me before I said, "Oh, I'm sorry," and you evidently didn't hear her and now you are kind of causing an awkward scene.

And thanks to you, too, large middle-aged-man-on-a-small-scooter, who not only stopped so I could cross the parking lot to my car, but who also held out your arm to a car that did not want to stop and wait for me and shouted, "No!  Mommies first!" as I waddled to my car.

Thanks again to the hospital worker in scrubs who whispered to me in confidence by the elevators, "You might not feel like it all the time, but you look so cute!"

Thanks to the worker at Qdoba last night who told me that my veggie burrito was on the house because he didn't want me to have to stand and wait while he restarted the cash register computer.

And thanks, a million times over, to everyone who has commented and e-mailed, and to everyone who has included the Deuce and Eliza and me in their thoughts and prayers.  I told the Deuce today after our NST (passed without me in tears--a real success!) that there are so many people out there rooting for us.  It's an amazing feeling.

Yes, there's still a deep, broken place in my heart.  There's still so much regret that we don't have our toddling little girl with wispy blond hair and big blue eyes and that little round nose here with us right now.  As the Deuce passes every NST and my fluid checks continue to be perfect (today the Deuce charmed the nurse doing the fluid check by showing off some adorable kicking action), there is a sad, melancholy voice that will always ask, "Why wasn't it like this last time?  Why couldn't we have Eliza, too?  What the hell happened that we couldn't see?"

But mostly, I'm trying to turn my focus to right now, to this miracle, instead of the one that vanished long before I wanted to let it go.  Here's another amazing thing--this baby--and the fact that there was another baby, and that we loved her and lost her and thought we'd lost ourselves for a while there too, it makes all the difference in the world, and yet it doesn't make this baby any less incredible as a weensy little person unto itself.

One of my favorite poems opens with the line, "Speaking of marvels, I am alive together with you, when I might have been alive with anyone under the sun."  I say this to David, and I say it to the Deuce also.

It is a tragedy of epic proportions in my little life that my first daughter is gone and I'm left to mourn her forever.  But I don't want to lose sight of the fact that it is a breathtaking marvel that the rest of us are alive here together, when life might have gone so many other ways.

I read Jack London's credo today on another blog, and I'm copying it here so that I can remember it and so that I can honor Eliza and everybody else I love by trying to live by it:

I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out
in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom
of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.

The time I had with Eliza was a gift.  This time--this new post-34-weeks-and-3-days time that I have with the Deuce, it's a gift that I will never take for granted.  I shall use my time.


  1. Beautiful post. Love all of the positive energy you've received from random acts of kindness. Keeping you, David, Eliza, and the Deuce in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. :) This post is so sweet. :) I'm glad you're able to enjoy this last little bit with Eliza's baby brother or sister. I'm glad you're getting special treatment from those around you. :)

  3. oh, this made me cry in a good way. Thanks for giving everyone a little hope and positive energy. I really hope you can continue to enjoy the next few weeks, you deserve it!

  4. Oh yay Deuce!

    Also, the Qdoba guy was probably afraid that you were going to go in labor waiting to pay for your burrito and he'd have to deliver your baby right there on the restaurant floor because I'm pretty sure that's how guys think when they see pregnant women that they have no idea how far along they are, but they can tell "pretty far". Enjoy it!

    So many times I wondered "why couldn't it have gone this well the last time" when I was pregnant with Luke. Since there was a 13 week difference in when I delivered Luke vs. Olivia, I had a lot of time to ponder it, no good answers to that. But I am glad you are trying to enjoy your time with the Deuce in utero. There will be a day, not so far from now, when you will look at him or her and miss the time when they were in your belly, at least a little, which may be super hard to believe right now.

  5. Wonderful post for sure, Brooke.

    I'm so proud of you. I know this is so hard, so if anyone can be proud, it's definitely a fellow baby loss mama who totally gets you right now.

    Also, free burritos definitely make being pregnant a little easier. :)

  6. I'm so glad for the happy moments with the Deuce! May they keep coming and sustain you through the more stressful moments.

  7. You're a beautiful mother, Brooke.

  8. I love that hospital worker! I sometimes try to remind myself to be extra nice to pregnant women - even though it's hard at times and those bitter feelings creep up, I try to remind myself that I don't know her history, and she probably feels like an elephant.

    Glad the world around you is being a little sweet right now.

  9. Simply beautiful and touching.

  10. Wonderfully compiled. Quite emotional though. You are so gifted! Wishing the weeks left just glide away.

  11. It is lovely when the pain eases for a moment so to see the kindness around you. I love how you are embracing your pregnancy in a new way, from the cart guy to the restaurateur. Even if it is fleeting, it is a reprieve the soul needs to continue such a difficult journey.

    Continuing to cheer for you, your hubby, dear Eliza and Deuce!

  12. Beyond beautiful, Brooke. I'm sitting here inhaling deeply and letting it go - breathing right into this next leg of the journey with you and The Deuce. And remembering Eliza, always. With love, S

  13. I'm sure that you are an absolutely adorable pregnant woman - I hope you post a picture of yourself sometime in the next few weeks so we can see the proof. So glad that you're feeling lighter and hope that you get a lot of joy in these weeks.

  14. Gave me goosebumps. Always in my thoughts.

  15. So massively beautiful I almost didn't comment because I can't do this justice. I'm thing of the 4 of you all the time.
    My favorite was the hospital worker.

  16. It's so hard to enjoy and revel, I know, but I'm glad you are finding some joy right now. Grief can coexist with joy--hard to believe until you discover it yourself. Thinking of you.

  17. So glad you're feeling good. I'm sure it can be scary to feel hopeful, but also exciting.

    Hope the next few weeks continue to be as great--if not even better!

  18. Go, Deuce! And also, you! I think that using your time, living with intent, is one of the absolute best things you can do for yourself as you move through the last weeks of this pregnancy. So much love to you.

  19. Beautiful post Brooke.. and thank you for sharing the credo. xo

  20. Oh, but listen to the hope in that post. THAT, is something to behold. In all the moments after Eliza when you might have wanted to curl up and rot, all the moments when just existing had to be enough, here you are with your inner fire ablaze in anticipation of Life anew.
    Stunning how quickly in the face of passing that ever-so-significant mark of 34w3d.
    I know it ain't over 'til its over, but it's good (and interesting and wild) to hear you excited? to be alive, and anticipating the Deuce.

  21. Yes!! And that is wonderful that people are treating you like the cute pregnant woman you are. You deserve it!

  22. Dear Brooke,

    I've been reading your blog for a long time, but never commented before. My son read me this Wordsworth poem the other day and both the joy and the sorrow of it made me think of you.


    --------A SIMPLE Child,
    That lightly draws its breath,
    And feels its life in every limb,
    What should it know of death?

    I met a little cottage Girl:
    She was eight years old, she said;
    Her hair was thick with many a curl
    That clustered round her head.

    She had a rustic, woodland air,
    And she was wildly clad: 10
    Her eyes were fair, and very fair;
    --Her beauty made me glad.

    "Sisters and brothers, little Maid,
    How many may you be?"
    "How many? Seven in all," she said
    And wondering looked at me.

    "And where are they? I pray you tell."
    She answered, "Seven are we;
    And two of us at Conway dwell,
    And two are gone to sea. 20

    "Two of us in the church-yard lie,
    My sister and my brother;
    And, in the church-yard cottage, I
    Dwell near them with my mother."

    "You say that two at Conway dwell,
    And two are gone to sea,
    Yet ye are seven!--I pray you tell,
    Sweet Maid, how this may be."

    Then did the little Maid reply,
    "Seven boys and girls are we; 30
    Two of us in the church-yard lie,
    Beneath the church-yard tree."

    "You run about, my little Maid,
    Your limbs they are alive;
    If two are in the church-yard laid,
    Then ye are only five."

    "Their graves are green, they may be seen,"
    The little Maid replied,
    "Twelve steps or more from my mother's door,
    And they are side by side. 40

    "My stockings there I often knit,
    My kerchief there I hem;
    And there upon the ground I sit,
    And sing a song to them.

    "And often after sunset, Sir,
    When it is light and fair,
    I take my little porringer,
    And eat my supper there.

    "The first that died was sister Jane;
    In bed she moaning lay, 50
    Till God released her of her pain;
    And then she went away.

    "So in the church-yard she was laid;
    And, when the grass was dry,
    Together round her grave we played,
    My brother John and I.

    "And when the ground was white with snow,
    And I could run and slide,
    My brother John was forced to go,
    And he lies by her side." 60

    "How many are you, then," said I,
    "If they two are in heaven?"
    Quick was the little Maid's reply,
    "O Master! we are seven."

    "But they are dead; those two are dead!
    Their spirits are in heaven!"
    'Twas throwing words away; for still
    The little Maid would have her will,
    And said, "Nay, we are seven!"

  23. Beautiful. I hope to get where you are - with viewing my time with Maggie as a gift that I don't take for granted. It's so hard. I miss her so. But your posting gives me hope. Thank you.