2010 went something like this for us: I went back to sucky work (only one gun scare the second half of the school year, all of my seniors passed and graduated except for the one who ended up in prison), Joe did the unemployment thing and job searched for the first 6 months, grieving and more grieving, trying and more trying, fertility doctors (4), Joe finally gets a job- a much better job with a much farther drive but no on call time, ultrasounds, bloodwork, more doctors, more bloodwork, more ultrasounds, more tragedy and grieving, start thinking about moving when Joe's job becomes permanent, resign from my job for moving/fertility treatments/pregnancy/and so I don't get shot, finally pregnant (cancel the moving idea until 2012), enter fear and stress plus grieving, it's a boy!, more doctors, more ultrasounds, more bloodwork, still grieving. And here we are at the end. (This is probably the most concise I have been all year.)
What a strange year this has been.
Instead of relief that this year is over and we get a fresh start, I'm very wary of what 2011 has in store for us. More grief is inevitable for those we've already lost. But will there be a "take home" baby? Another loss? More losses? It still feels as iffy as if it's dependent on the flip of a coin. Every month that passes that I'm still pregnant and things seem to be going well, the possibility of taking this baby home seems a little better. After January, I hope it will seem a lot better. But it's still all so very uncertain and fragile. There are SO MANY things that can and do go wrong. (And sometimes I want to shout at a well meaning person trying to reassure me: Placenta abruptions! Incompetent cervix! Preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM)! Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)! Pre-eclampsia and HELLP! Cord accidents and knots! "Unexplained stillbirths"!...There are so many reasons that babies die in utero and shortly after they are born. I don't for one second think that this is a sure thing, even when we're safely past 24 weeks. (Definitely it's a good thing that last month was our last at the support group hopefully until May or maybe June. Although I'll miss going, too, I'm doing just fine on finding things to worry about without it.) Luckily, when we reach the magical age of viability (aka 24 weeks), the list becomes a little shorter-while 24 weeks is by no means an ideal time for a baby to come out, it's not a certain death sentence like having to deliver at 22 weeks would be, 24 weekers at least have A chance, not the greatest odds of survival, but at least it's possible, and my doctors will be watching me even closer, then. So I like to keep thinking this will be easier in February, but I guess we'll hopefully see.
The grief...it definitely changes over time. Even our happiest moments now our tinged with the bittersweet sadness that our daughter isn't here for them. The days that I spend sobbing in bed and barely leaving our room have become fewer and farther between...I'm not even sure when the last one was. It's not that the pain ever eases up, it doesn't, it hurts as bad today as it hurt a year ago. It's just it becomes more comfortable, I'm used to it, it's part of both of us now. Just as surely as my name and birthday, our first baby died. It hurts. We miss her. There isn't a day I don't think about her. But I guess we're figuring out ways to live again, with the new lives and as the new people we find ourselves to be. It's like a heavy weight that will always be on our shoulders, the first few months the weight was so unbearable we really couldn't do or focus on anything but how uncomfortable it was to be in this totally new and foreign position. And now, the weight is still there, and it's just as heavy as it always was, but we've figured out how to move around again, to think of other things, sometimes the weight still absorbs a lot of our focus, and then there are some moments we get so used to it we almost forget that it's there.
This year I've learned/managed to talk about her, and even tell our story, without crying (sometimes.) I braved the doctor's offices and hospitals again. Normal pregnant women bother me a lot now-when I have to hear them talk- ("My doctor is making me go in for another ultrasound because they are worried about [insert reason], I'm so annoyed about this" "The worst thing about having this pre-eclampsia stuff is that I might have to get induced, which is not in my birth plan at all."-- true stories/comments.) (When they aren't making obnoxious comments like that, they don't bother me.) I've talked a lot about wanting to punch particular people in the face this year, moreso than past years, but there has been no actual face punching, which I consider an accomplishment. In fact, I've gritted my teeth and sucked it up and been nice far more times than I probably should have. (And then came home to tell Joe about wanting to punch someone in the face.) Needless to say, I don't think any of the hospital classes are in our future. I've answered the "so do you have any kids?" and "how many kids do you have?" questions more times this year than I can count, and probably given a different answer then the one before each time. Sometimes, if I'm just not in the mood to get into it, I just say no or shake my head or even ignore the question. And sometimes I will say "yes, but she died", because I've stopped really caring about making other people uncomfortable. And sometimes I just said, "Yes, one" and didn't elaborate and changed the subject. That's definitely my least favorite question of 2010.
I am hoping that 2011 will have more "ups" then "downs", and will be a lot less tumultous than 2009 and 2010 have been.