Friday, March 26, 2010

Sound of horses

Some people asked in the comments of the last post if the Reason List made me feel better. And I have to say, "Yeah, kind of." I always find comfort in exposing my festering, moist bullshit to the hot dry air of reason, then let it dry up, blow away, and fertilize another, more productive, line of thinking. I think the trick of making a list like this isn't to sit down and come up with a long list of silly things, but simply to call your thoughts out when they come up. Kind of like in meditation when you start making a grocery list, you simply say, "Thinking" and get back to the exercise of meditating. When you are contemplating whether or not to have a second cup of coffee and your brain thinks, "But coffee might have killed Lucy." Eh, right there, then, write down: "Second cup of coffee." That is sort of what happened with this list. If I was making a list for entertainment purposes, I would have definitely added laundry and, perhaps, cooking. And then forced Sam to read it. But it wouldn't have been true, and then I think the exercise would have just been nonsense.

I had this list going in my BlackBerry Notes, which, by the way, if I die, I fear will be posted in some Smoking Gun Archive of BatShit Crazy People, because I have lists for What to Order at Sushi, Things I Want to Accomplish Before Thor is Born Alive or Dead, My Empress of the World list, and lists of blood pressure readings for three months plus a sundry of shopping lists and random snippets of poems I have been working on for years. I simply added to this list whenever something came up. I didn't read through the entire list. Just opened it. Added a new line. Closed it. I also had a parallel list in my saved drafts on Blogger. So, it just grew, organically. Somedays I added a couple of things at a time, but mostly, I would look at it every few days and think, "Is that it?"

It will never be it. There will be a point, I'm sure, where I will begin retroactively blaming things. Like somehow juxtaposing my raw diet onto Lucy, and thinking that eating a raw diet, which I never did during my pregnancy with Lucy, somehow killed her. Or, you know, when I live the future, will somehow look back and do that Oprah thing she does. Does that drive anyone else crazy? Her mantra is "Everything happens for a reason." I think we make meaning out of our shitty experiences. We transform our traumas into something we can use, but the traumas don't exist for our future enlightenment. That I think is the worst thing about the richest lady on Earth, she is constantly spreading this idea around of how these experiences make us stronger, richer, more compassionate people, and that if they didn't happen, our lives would be sorry and shallow. And you know, I would exchange all the wisdom and compassion gained this last year for my daughter. In a heartbeat.

Back to the list: I didn't really realize that my list included sleeping on my back, sleeping on my right side, sleeping ostensibly on my belly/side/boob, sleeping on the couch and not sleeping (insomnia) until I posted it. It felt good to go back and read that I have thought at some point or another that pretty much every sleeping position killed Lucy. I am human after all. I must either sleep or not sleep. But it really speaks volumes about how fucked up this after-world is, where sleep is literally the enemy of your child's in utero well-being. Of course, there are some on that list that aren't going away by writing them down. Weight gain, for one, because shame is a horrible, nagging frenemy that pisses on the enjoyment of every damn Trader Joe's chocolate-covered raisin I consume and yet, who I cling to like some co-dependent doormat. I am working on my damn issues.

We search for reasons. The entire Enlightenment period made us search, heroically, for Reason, and for reasons. White-coated people for over a year have been trying to convince me that Lucy was perfectly healthy, but dead. They sit there and tilt their head at me sympathetically and say, "Don't feel guilty. There is no reason." Being an asshole would have been more of a comfort to me, I think, because I can change that. Sure, it would have hurt if the post-autopsy report would have read, "We couldn't find anything medically wrong with your daughter, but we hear from outside sources that you were arrogant about your ability to birth babies, including using your grandmother's twelve children as an example. We believe this is why your daughter died." I can be nicer. I can be less arrogant. But I can't change random chaos. I can't control the winds that destroy the roof of my house, so I blame my roof. It is fallible. I am fallible. I fail every day. Maybe it really was angering a goddess--just tell me what to sacrifice, what obscure leaves to burn, what prayers to say, and I will do it, but leaving me without a reason scares the hell out of me. It feels so helpless.

I am now staring down the days until Thor arrives, no longer clicking off weeks. I have not had any emergency runs to the PETU for monitoring, or in between appointment heartbeat checks, or swabs of my vagina to check for leaking fluid. I have been calmer than I ever imagined on the day to day struggle to get through the end game of this pregnancy. But today, at my last NST, I realized this is it. This is where I was last year at 38 weeks, preparing to birth Lucy, thinking nothing could go wrong. And I felt my heart speed up. This week, I will be surprised if I don't end up in the hospital, or at the OB, before my scheduled induction. I can see the finish, and I know what happens when someone rolls a thousand marbles onto the last fifteen feet and you never quite get there upright. Now every stretch of pavement feels unsteady. Last night, I had an emergency orange juice/kick count session just in time for Project Runway, just to make sure, you know, after he had been kicking me all day, that he still could dance on command. He can.

Today, as I sat there, hooked up to the monitor, listening to Thor's heartbeat, watching him kick the belts, and I mused, "I love that sound. I can't get enough of it."
And the tech said, "You can record it on your BlackBerry."
"Yeah, someone did that yesterday. I'll turn it up."
She walked out of my curtained area, and I held up my BlackBerry, and pushed the red button.

His heart beat today.

I will probably never listen to it again. Every time I hear that sound, I find both extraordinary comfort and excruciating pain. Comfort in knowing he is alive right now, and pain at remembering the desperation of searching for Lucy's heartbeat in a cold PETU room. But still, there is his heartbeat from 8:21 am, Friday, March 26th. I have a record of it beating now--the sound of a thousand horses galloping towards next week.


  1. I hope the next few days speed by and Thor screams his way into your arms. And that for the rest of your days you will be able to hear his heart beating by simply resting your head on his chest.

    I love the BB recording tho. Wish I had known. What agreat thing to have.


  2. I took video footage of myself using the doppler to record Angus' heartbeat. Haven't watched it since, but still nice to have it.
    As you know, I got a resason for Hope's death. Part of me almost wishes I didn't get a reason, because the reason eats me up inside as I know we most likely could have prevented it. At least with no reason, I tell myself that I wouldn't blame myself as much. That's probably horse shit though, I'm sure. The grass is always greener though, eh?
    Oh Angie. Thinking of you so much as you get closer to Thor's birthday. That last week... so brutal. All my love and strength to you. Standing by for the good news.

  3. Thinking of you so much as you get closer! XO

  4. I'll be thinking of you. Waiting is so hard.

  5. Love this post. You mirror my whirlwind of thoughts, and man, this has been a crazy time.
    I am amazed that you can keep your thoughts coherent at all, but damn, this post pushes more towards anxious brilliance.
    You are doing so well. I am so proud of where you are now. Just a few more days..there are prayers on my lips and fingers and toes crossed for you and Thor..xox

  6. Wow. I'm so glad you have that recording, though I can understand why you might never play it again. Counting the days with you-can't wait to meet Thor.

  7. Brilliant post Angie. You are in my thoughts so much right now.
    We have no reason for Florence becoming so ill after birth, and our doctors tell us that's good news, it means apparently the odds are good for this pregnancy....honestly I struggle with that!
    (Oh and I'm totally with you on the list thing, I have notebooks full, a trait I inherited from my father. After he died we found a drawer full of lists he'd made over many years.)

  8. Angie, I'm totally with you on the reason-list. In fact, your post made me torture my keyboard for a future blogpost.

    Crossing my fingers for a smooth arrival of Thor.

    Love! xoxo

  9. The last week is the craziest. I went for unscheduled NST's twice and thought my baby had died at every moment. I wishing you a peaceful birth and arrival of a live Thor.

  10. Counting down the days with you! I can't wait to see pix of Thor!

  11. This is a amazingly gorgeous post, Angie. I love this: "I think we make meaning out of our shitty experiences. We transform our traumas into something we can use, but the traumas don't exist for our future enlightenment." I hate the "everything happens for a reason" comment the most, too. Makes me nutty. Thanks for this. Thinking of you and holding you close during the days before Thor arrives.

  12. I LOVE the poetry of your words! I used to say everything happens for a reason and now I think I like the way you put it, I couldn't have said it better myself! I will be thinking of you this week.

  13. I can't not comment on all your posts.

    People tell me I'm a great writer. from now on, I might have to start saying "well, you havent read still life with circles then".

    I stopped my daily hours-long reading of blogs in February when I had my first meltdown. (uh-huh. first. the second (and worse) one was in april, when I miscarried.) I realized though many are comforting, I was getting inundated, so I was supposed to cut down to just reading two or three entries a day, or just reading for two days a week. but then, i got terribly behind. there are too many to follow, too many to keep up, and i got so overwhelmed. i care about so many of the other moms. but instead of chosing which to read, i started reading none. i pop in about once a week and read a few. i check still life 365 always. now, i am slowing making my way to reading the ones of the mommies i knew were having babies. and even after all i've been through.. my terrifyingly common fullterm stillbirth, and my even more common 8 week miscarriage... even after all that, i delight in the births of rainbow babes, and the beautiful accounts of the experience by the still heartbroken yet newly relieved mothers.

    with love -


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