I have always taken the task of growing another human being as an immense responsibility. Prenatal vitamins and prenatal diet are started before even attempting conception, treasured coffee is forgone and replaced with exercise, stretching, talking to baby, all the things you “should” do to give your child the best start in life.
With this current pregnancy, I don’t have the resolve I had last year. I chalk it up to being grief weary and also that I just did this. I just abstained from sushi, good cheese, booze and caffeine for nearly a year. I just utilized the full force of self-discipline to think of the growing baby inside me before I even considered my own wants and needs. Always putting baby first. I am still doing my best to take care of this littlest Dragon, but now I cave and eat processed bread or, gasp, double-stuffed Oreos. Despite my will power being less than last pregnancy, the guilt is just as strong and with a greater sense of consequence.
It isn’t so much that I didn’t know of all the horrible, random ways babies die in utero last year, it was that I didn’t think it could happen to us as long as I did everything right. And I am a real rule-follower. I mean if drug addicts deliver viable infants then my kid would come out a freaking gladiator!
Now fate has struck me down and obliterated all that I believed. So this pregnancy I am hypervigilant but still recognize that it doesn’t guarantee anything. This doesn’t make for much inspiration. Still I am conscientious about everything I put in my mouth, I count the ounces of water I drink each day, I hold my breath as I pass smokers on the sidewalk, I no longer lie on my back. Honestly, it is beyond vigilance. It is paranoia. No joke, I considered asking for an elective cerclage to rule out one more way Dragon could perish. There is a good chance I will not attend company or family holiday gatherings this winter in an attempt to avoid additional exposure to germs. This same logic is scaring me off public transportation as flu season approaches. Everywhere I turn, some evil is lurking waiting to harm my baby and I am the only one who can protect it. But can I really?
Like so many of the BLMs in the blogosphere have expressed, there is this sense that horrible things will happen to us again regardless of anything I do, say or believe. If we were randomly selected to have our perfect, healthy son die inexplicably and without warning then who’s to say E won’t die in a random car accident or that this baby won’t die of any number of vices. We all know there are families out there who have lost more than one child. There are women who have had back-to-back full term losses. There is nothing to believe in.
And yet I cannot just give up completely. It’s as though I walk this fine line between denial and reality. There are days where I deny I am pregnant. Not to the extent that I cease caring for myself or baby, but that I refuse to think about the pregnancy and, in turn, all the things that could go wrong. These days are sprinkled in among lucid days of acknowledging just how much is out of my control and how this tiny being is not the magic salve I desperately seek.
21-weeks today. 18 more to go.