Thursday, July 20, 2006

be safe, my son

Maybe this is a normal part of the end of pregnancy, or maybe it's just my neurotic side rearing its head again, but all of a sudden this week, I have been having moments of anxiety about the baby. Nothing is wrong with him. He is kicking as much as ever. His heart is beating within the normal range. And aside from a wierd pain in my lower left side that hit me in the car for a few minutes Tuesday, nothing is wrong with me. Nonetheless, I am having panicky "what if" feelings that I hesitate to even put in writing. Thoughts like, what if he dies?

Maybe this is coming on the heels of other people's horribly sad news. First my friend Charles mentioned on the phone Monday that a woman we knew in high school — (this weekend was our 20-year reunion, but I wasn't able to fly to Portland for it) — had lost her baby recently at eight months of pregnancy. And then I learned that Katy, a woman I know from my infertility discussion board, lost one of her twin girls this week, just days before they were to be delivered by c-section. The other little girl survived, but there is a very real loss, too. I can't imagine what that must be like for her and her husband, coming home to two cribs, two sets of everything, but without both of their babies. Hearing things like this fills me with anxiety as much as sadness. I can't help it. I can't help putting myself in those shoes and wondering — perhaps too vividly — what it would be like.

The thing is, I know I would be devastated if we lost this baby. But what rips me apart inside even more is thinking about how it would affect Steve. He is so, so giddy with joy and excitement at the coming of this baby that I can't even imagine how helpless and torn apart he would feel if we lost him. I imagine him sobbing, breaking down, and I can't bear it. I don't want my husband to have to bear so much pain. He has already had to bear it in his life, losing his sister and his mother. Please, not his child, too.

God damn it. We are NOT going to lose him. He is a healthy baby, and he has a healthy mama. Why do I get so wrapped up in the sadness of something that has not happened and is not likely to happen? Other people have actually faced real pain, the kind I have never had to endure, but can I just be happy? No. I have to conjure up imaginary pain.

Last night, it hit me that praying about this might help. I think I'm pretty attentive to my spiritual life, but I am not the kind of person whose first impulse in the face of stressful situations is to pray, at least not in the traditional sense. "Let go and let God" does not come naturally to me. Pure faith is not one of my gifts or graces. I'm always struggling and questioning. But last night, I knew that I needed desperately to get loose of this grip that's been holding me, and I knew that I had to give it up to God — somehow. Steve and I were lying on our bed, reading, getting ready to go to sleep, and I told him this. So we did what we do when we pray together out loud, which was to start the "please and thank you" prayer. When we say this prayer, things tend to come spilling out.

God, please keep our baby safe.
Thank you for this baby, this miracle.
Please give me peace of mind.
Please let the next four weeks go smoothly.
Please be with Katy and Steve in their grief.
Please be with Julia, too, and everyone who has lost a baby or a loved one.
Thank you for keeping this baby healthy for the past eight months.
Thank you for our love and our happy marriage.
Please bring Emilie peace in the face of her anxiety.
Please help me to be less neurotic.
Thank you for all the good things we have ...
Please help it to be less hot tomorrow.
Thank you for our friends.
Please give strength to those who are suffering.
Please be with Carrie as she waits to see if her donor egg transfers will stick.
Thank you for Steve and how hard he works.
Thank you for Emilie and how loving she is.
Please help me to be a good mother.
Please help me to be a good father.

The pleases and thank-yous drifted into silence, and after a while, I opened my eyes and looked over at Steve. He was still lying there, his hands on my belly, his eyes closed. My heart lurched again. He is so full of love, it is unbelievable.


LutherLiz said...

Ok so I'm crying...


I think it is natural when faced with the tragedy of others to imagine what it would be like to face that pain for one's self. I do it all the time and no matter how much I tell myself to get over it and that it is not my pain it does make me anxious and sad. I am notorious for what ifs. I can only imagine that it would be compounded by being so close to the delivery of a much desire, loved and worked for child.

I don't have the answer to get rid of the anxiety, though prayer can be a great help (It isn't my first thought most of the time either). If it does help, know that I'm still praying for you, Steve and the baby. I have been since well before Lemmondrop existed and I'm not about to stop now. I take confidence that you and the baby are healthy, he is developed enough to be born if necessary, you are under good doctor's care, and that Steve is there to help you.

I can't make the voices in your head be silent, but I'll add my own to your prayer...

Please give Emilie the strength she needs.
Thank you for a friend that feels life so deeply.
Thank you for giving her the gift of lemmondrop.
Please keep him safe for the next four weeks.
Please give Emilie and Steve the joy of seeing their son enter this world, and the joy of watching him grow.
Thank you for all you have done for them.

Emilie said...

Oh, Liz, now I'm crying. Thank you so much.

Kerry said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kerry said...

What sad news for your friends to bear. I will keep them in thoughts and prayers. I just have this really good feeling about your PG, and have from the get-go. I think you are going to have this amazing delivery and that you and Steve are going to be natural parents. I am thinking of you daily and cannot wait to meet him in person.

Susanne said...

Oh Emilie, you will not lose this baby. I can sooo relate to the concept of almost having a "premonition" about something happening. And so, so many times, it turns out NOT to happen. Everything turns out fine.

To get scientific, it is uncommon to lose a baby in the late stages of pregnancy. Logic will say you will not lose your baby.

I guess the main point I wish to emphasize is that I'm familiar with your dilemma; getting ominous feeling about something. But Em, it always turns out okay. You and your son, and your husband, will be fine.

Emilie said...

Thank you. I know this is an irrational fear and that everything will be all right. I don't know if it's something other pregnant women experience at times, too. I've read that, as a parent, you never stop finding things to worry about; you just move on to the next thing.

I just wanted to add that we definitely include intentions for others in our prayers, too. I feel like a heel for forgetting to include them in this post yesterday, but our prayers go out to Katy & Steve, etc., (and many of you who are reading this, and you know who you are).

Monkeymama said...

Prayers of peace for you and Steve.

Laura said...

What a beautiful prayer. I've been keeping you and your little boy in my prayers lately, too. ;)

Carrie said...

ahh, Emilie, thank you for including me in your prayers. It means the world to me and Chris.

Know that I have been thinking a LOT about you these past few weeks, as I know you are coming to such a close time of meeting your precious angel inside you. I am so excited for you and Steve. know that I keep YOU in my prayers, and I completely understand how the anxiety can wreak havoc upon our minds. We'd be too normal if it didn't LOL.
Good luck, sweet mama-to-be and know that God is taking care of your baby and I can't wait to see Steve's face when he is holding up your new boy!