I have been thinking about life a lot lately. Life, meaning the breathing, thinking, touching part of ourselves. As a (liberally) religious person, I believe our souls – our energy – live on…maybe in an after-world, but maybe just as material transformed into something else (a new kind of life, as science would agree). Either way, I think what we call our souls still have a bit of structure (togetherness, if you will), although I think the structure isn’t an important quality; the importance remains in the spirit of that soul – the fact that our spirit (in terms of quirks, loving, experience, etc.,) lives on in another way.
…have I lost everyone yet?
Anyway, regular readers know I have lost four children through miscarriage. The ones I’ve carried the longest seem clearer to me than the early losses. There is a sense of knowing. Now that I am pregnant again – almost 32 beautiful weeks of gestational life behind the little guy – I have been thinking about my connection – my knowing – of this Son Three, and wondering if him being born will confirm what I suspect about his personality and aura, or whether I will decide maybe my knowing is a bit of fluff. Regardless, I hope I get the opportunity to find out soon.
I didn’t allow myself to bond with this little guy at first. Even though this would have been the fourth ultrasound I had, I couldn’t help but fall in love with him a little bit at 11 weeks gestation. Readers might remember, I talked about him doing flutter kicks on his ultrasound. Even though I had been pregnant for a combined total of – let me count – 50 weeks by then between the five pregnancies, this was the first time I had seen such a beautifully formed little baby body, scooting around and wiggling for us. I couldn’t help it…I felt that puppy love feeling you get when you start crushing hard on someone. I was smitten.
Having fallen down the rabbit hole of infatuation at this point, I still was super aware of the delicacy of life and still am today. I know tomorrow I could walk into my specialist’s appointment and they could find something on the ultrasound they haven’t previously detected. I know that one night, without anyone suspecting, this baby boy could get his neck fatally entangled in his umbilical cord. I know where the nightmares are coming from…the three I have had about losing him, including the one where – shortly after an early birth – I didn’t care that he had 16 toes all together on his feet, but I started to panic when his heart rate started plummeting and I realized I was at home without a car seat to get him to the hospital – even if he could make it there in time (obviously, in real life, you would forget the worry about the car seat and just rush to the hospital!). Those nightmares are coming from the reality I have lived of losing children. Logically, it looks like I should be having a healthy baby in roughly eight weeks, but my reality has made it hard to trust that logic.
And then I digress even further…as we’ve lost a family member to suicide this week, I think of her parents (whom happened to be two of my favorite people in the world and two I admire in the highest regard). I’ve written endlessly about losing children, but this suicide makes me look entirely dramatic. What I mean is, if I feel this shaken by what I have lived through, how can any people possibly go through a loss of an adult child whom they have loved, cherished, and known for several decades? How do you transform that grief into something positive? Where do you begin integrating that loss when you have so many, many memories and reminders?
So, I remember that life remains delicate. It continues to allude what our brains can fathom as possible scenarios or outcomes. It thrills us. It disappoints us. It leaves us wounded like no one else can possibly understand.
Rarely, has Son Three ever given me a little kick that I haven’t said a silent “Thank God.” The gratitude for his life continues to be front and center for me, and even more so – if that is possible – after the tragedy my extended family is directly facing. I am embracing every moment of life I get with this tiny spirit. I am remembering my time with Son One, A.G., and cherishing the sweet memories of carrying him in my body so blissfully and happily three summers ago. With every additional pound of weight, I am pausing to relish in the miracle my body is creating. With every breathless stair climb, I am smiling at this little boy pushing on my lungs with his feet, or rump, or maybe even elbows.
Today, I get to enjoy the tangible life of a child. I don’t know how long I will have with him. I realize he won’t always make what I think are good decisions. I know he will want his space and push me away at times. But, perspective is everything and I can’t think of a better time to cherish life than now. And, the opposite of what I am calling “life” is not “death.” I believe it’s just transformation. I will try to embrace past and future transformation with openness and acceptance. I will try to see beauty in it, even though it is a real loss to us still on earth. Today, I re-commit myself to staying fascinated and in awe of the delicacy of life.