Saturday, January 28, 2017

Look at this rainbow. Look at this ghost.

I never meant to not blog for a year.

I went and had a baby.  I didn't post about him here because (and I know how this sounds) I feared my ex-husband would find it and make trouble for me.

Oh, how I wish I had been more brave.  How I wish I had thought to say all the things I felt when I felt them, instead of now.

There's something existentially terrifying about a rainbow pregnancy.  Your innocence is gone.  I was told while pregnant with Psalm that I had no greater chance of having another baby with the same condition than anyone else.  Given I had already beaten the odds once, this was not as comforting as I'm sure the doctor imagined it to be.

I went to the midwife.  She was happy to see me.  She brought in the ultrasound machine and showed me the baby.  I asked her to show me the tummy, and there it was round and perfect and whole.

She told me another thing.  The baby was a boy.  I'd known, somehow.  But I was still sad, still carried with me some hope that the really obvious penis was magically an umbilical cord, until the anatomy scan.  Fun fact: boys are still valued so highly over girls that the ultrasound tech will get really, really happy to show you unborn penis.  And then you're supposed to be really, really happy.

I wasn't.  I wanted another girl.  Not to replace Psalm, but for all those things I missed out on when she died.

Gender disappointment with a rainbow baby is a shitshow.  You're supposed to be super happy and super stoked and grateful all the time.  But you're not, and you feel guilty as hell and it's terrible.  I knew that was going to happen, which was why I departed from Team Green.  I was hoping that 20 weeks to get used to the idea was going to be helpful.  It was not.  Instead, it was 20 weeks to be sad and then to hate myself for being sad.

I had a c-section.  I hated it.  I struggled with the decision up until nearly the last second.  And I regret it like I do nothing else in my life.  Rainbow pregnancy strikes again.  I couldn't do it without support, and I didn't get any support.

Best laid plans, and all that.

On Leap Day, Duncan-Mark Thomas was born and he broke my heart and then repaired it.

It was the same, it was different.  Same OR.  Same obstetrician.  But this time things were relaxed and everyone but me was happy.  The baby was delivered.  His beautiful, long cord was cut.  His beautiful, healthy lungs filled with air and he cried.  And I cried.  And he was cleaned up and wrapped and then given to me.  And I held my little dark-haired boy to my heart and listened to him cry and I cried and was happy and I cried and missed my little dark-haired girl.

He was so pink.  So perfect.  So alive.  And because I have two templates for children, and because he was made from Template B (Dark Hair) he looked exactly how Psalm should have looked.

And we took him back to recovery, like we did Psalm.  And he lived, like she did not.  And I was grateful and amazed and in love and broken again and again.

I uncovered his feet and looked at them and marveled that there were two.

I uncovered his hair and stroked its darkness and marveled at the warmth of his head and the size of his head:

I held his little hand and it held mine back and was warm and I knew the time to mourn had been replaced by the time to rejoice:

I played him Psalm's song, and cried the whole time.

He is innocent, and perfect, and a balm to my soul.

(Just to be clear, he is nearly a year old.  I will work to tell more about loving the rainbow while mourning the loss.)

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