What if?

The friend that inspired Whiny Thursday said something that day that I didn't whine about on Thurs. He suggested, flippantly, after hearing that Owen and I were struggling with the all the babies in church, that Owen and I find a church with no children in it.

I'm reasonably certain that he suggested this glibly. But his words, tossed out casually, cut me to the marrow. I haven't said anything to him, indeed to anyone other than Mr. Spit, because I can't abide double standards. After finishing this post, I will be sending an email to someone for a flippant remark I made last night. I won’t hold someone responsible for a sin I so often commit.
It's so easy to be flippant. Indeed, we live in an instant society that almost encourages it. It's so much easier to mouth trite words, or show affection by teasing, than it is to engage in the painful, messy lives of others.

But, there are still his words. I lay awake last night, wondering: What if we never have another baby. What if we loose another child? What if I never recover from loosing Gabriel? What if it always hurts to see children? In Natalie's words, "But will I ever feel joy again? Pure, unmitigated joy, without the cut of sorrow through it? My heart feels so heavy I don’t know if it will ever be able to fully pick itself off the ground."

Shortly after Gabe died, I was in church one Sunday, and I don't know what the words to the song were, but they made me sob. And so, I sat in the pew and cried. Someone I knew, sort of tangentially, came up to me. Wendy sat and talked to Mr. Spit and I for a bit. 13 years ago she and her husband lost a son. All I wanted to know was if it would ever stop hurting so much. Not that day, not that month, but ever. Or would the pain always be that horrific. Would I ever be happy and content?

In some ways I have gotten my wish, I can get through the days. I can smile, and genuinely laugh. Mr. Spit and I went on a neighbourhood pub crawl with a group of friends this weekend. As thirty something’s, we didn't so much crawl as saunter - there really wasn't all that much drinking involved. There was karaoke. I laughed so hard I cried. I bent over, my head resting on another friend's leg, the laughter making it hard to stand. For a few moments, laughter rose out of my body on warm, fresh air, and I floated along behind it. There was pure joy and delight.

My grief is no longer fresh and acute, rather it turns most days into long, dull grey affairs. I wander through a never spring, but not white-winter world. I remember the words from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. "It's always winter, but it's never Christmas". I am struck by the particular cruelty in this line. I march along the road of grief, purposefully, seeking the end. My world before Gabriel wasn't necessarily safe and comfortable, I hadn't gotten pregnant with complete ease, but it was a world I knew. And I march determinedly down this terrible road, looking for spring, for the place where I am again safe and comfortable, for happy and content, for the end of the road.

And then there are the horrible nights, when I understand. "Things will never be the same. This will always hurt". Perhaps it is a matter of degree, and the pain will lessen, but I live in a divided world, part of me with Gabriel. Part of the terrible grief is the grief of a world without Gabriel. A soul divided must always hurt.

And I wonder, what end am I walking toward? What end can this grief ever have? Can I ever really be happy and content? What could happy possibly mean, without Gabriel? Is it the birth of another baby? Is it twenty years from now when perhaps I can recall with a smile and not tears? Will content come when my body has moved past these child-bearing years, and my womb no longer tempts me with the promise of children? Will I be whole when our friends have moved past an identity of mum and to one of grandma? Or when those friends have left us behind, as broken, with a defective body?

I must acknowledge, part of my grief is for my lost world, my safe world. Where when you made it past 12 weeks, pregnancy guaranteed a baby, a child in the nursery that was waiting for him. Where pregnancy was something my body was meant to do, designed to do, and I didn't need a high risk obstetrician, an internal medicine specialist, a perinatologist, a NICU doctor, bed rest, baby asprin, labetalol, lovenox, 24 hour urine counts, clotting time tests, chlomid. A world in which pregnancy ends at 40 weeks, where 28 weeks isn't long enough for a fighting chance.

I was at yoga on Friday, and the instructor made an apt comment. She spoke of the need to forgive your body when it betrays you. I would have thought that the betrayal of PCOS was enough. I was willing to forgive my body when chlomid offered such an easy solution to my problems. But pre-eclampsia offers no such easy solutions and I am finding it hard to forgive my body.

My body failed to perform as warranted. One of the theories about pre-e is that it is a disease of allergy, of intolerance. My body, quite literally would not tolerate Gabriel's presence. The baby Mr. Spit and I wanted, dreamed of, hoped for, longed for, my body would not tolerate. And perhaps my body will not tolerate Gabriel's sibling. The numbers are not so good, but perhaps not so bad. 60 percent chance of recurrence, 30 percent at the same time (25 weeks). I would buy a lottery ticket on those odds, they are betting odds. But they are not, perhaps so comforting as to bring me to happy or content or even whole. I remain with a crushed spirit and a defective body. Mr. Spit could get a refund on me, if the Maker of the Universe offered warranties.

And so, I am back to last night. Wondering if I am no longer welcome in a world of children, in a church with families? Wondering if I will spend forever in the land where a flippant comment has the power to cause such angst and pain. Where words, thrown my way lightly, in jest, cause me to lay awake at 3 am, wondering: what if the road I am on has no end, what if this present feeling is spring?