Mom to Victoria
December 6, 2016
So back to this story writing personal account of my situation. Do unto others as you would want done to you. This is what I must remind myself, according to my husband. This morning as he heats up the oven to bake bread, he screams “WTF!” I left the candy cane chocolate chip cookies in the oven from a few days ago without pulling out the baking sheet. Oops. They’re burnt. It smells bad but sort of good, in a charred baked goods kind of way. I should say sorry. Right now I’m too stunned myself.
I read the news, it says short story contest; open to all; deadline Feb 6. I would still have been pregnant Feb 6. I decide that I will write my story. I will share with the rest of Toronto; at least those who read the Star, that I am one of 200 mothers that deliver a stillborn baby every year. That is 1,500 every year in Canada. That is 15,000 in the United States. That is a lot of dead babies. How terrible but how statistically factual and dry numbered. It is statistics. We all boil down to a statistic; that is one way of seeing it. Of course it takes away the horror of what happened because I’m just a number and this happens quite commonly enough.
Sometimes verbal diarrhea keeps me going and I feel supercharged to write, speak, tell, empower myself. It makes me feel that I don’t need permission or allowance to say what it is I want to say. This is mental freedom. Mental creative freedom. I think of Braveheart yelling it at the top of his lungs before he is speared.
So it comes down to carrying on with life. This morning we are going skating and climbing. We keep ourselves physically busy outdoors to get good exercise and to feel alive and refreshed. I am happy I have a husband who drives us to do this. Later on we have a birthday party to go to so I need to buy a boy’s LEGO toy. LEGO is all the rage these days and I guess with all the memorabilia of star wars and superheroes, there’s a direct marketing to children to desire these kinds of toys. He says it helps them visualize building and designing something. I agree. Creating a finished object out of building blocks gives children great satisfaction. It helps connect neurons to establish healthy synapses.
I don’t know why other people feel sensitive around me. I’m happy that you’re pregnant, don’t think I’d be jealous or bitter. I’m not built that way.
My husband tells me that our friend is expecting. I don’t act surprised because I tell him I already know. He says oh there’s also this new thing called bread that’s sliced. Is there anything else new you know that I haven’t told you? Geez, this is where I start to get a lesson in sensitivity.
He said don’t you know the golden rule? I say what golden rule? He says didn’t you learn this in church? The golden rule is do unto others as you would have done to you. This means that Helen told me ahead of anyone else telling me because she would be sensitive herself. I say oh I get it now. Duh. This is my fake blond moment. I know that’s not the right approach to take.
I decided to try again. We need a sibling for Gloria. No one wants to go through life alone without a sibling. That’s hard and a difficult journey. We’re on the same page about this, right Andrew? I ask my husband because I want him to say let’s try again. Let’s have another baby girl. Let’s bring Victoria back to life in a newer version of herself that will spring to life at 40 weeks; happy, healthy, crying for entering the cold, full of air, new world. We must decide. Trying again is what gives our marriage meaning. It gives us a compass, a direction to move forward in. I know I’m right. My mom always said; the more the merrier. Don’t we all want more joy in our life? And joy = company = fulfillment = no more loneliness + a greater purpose to live than beyond pleasing yourself.
I sit up in bed after we had sex. I type away my thoughts. He told me that he didn’t want to finish until I see a doctor to get the go ahead that it is safe for us to get pregnant again. I tell him let’s consummate to leave it to chance. Why do the doctors need to get involved. Let’s not worry about the medical side of things. If God wants us to have a child, then he will allow it to happen. It will be a good pregnancy and we will have a healthy baby, and we can believe in our miracle.
Miracles. I guess that’s what you’d say it is when you can create life after death. Miracle baby survives 9 months in a previously unstable womb. This one’s a strong baby; willing itself to live and having the love and careful determination of its mother, father, and sister. This one will see the light of day. This is what I declare to myself because I need to have hope. I need to have this desire. I need to love and cherish my own. I won’t focus on the past. I won’t succumb to a sense of failure. I won’t feel broken hearted or damaged; because I am not.
Dec. 3: I stopped feeling kicks in my womb. It was 28 weeks since my baby girl Victoria was conceived. I called the midwife wondering what might be wrong. We were on our way to the farm to pick up our daughter from my in-laws, Beth & Trevor, and to spend the weekend together there. My midwife, Claire, said to come to Sunnybrook to see her. We drove the 30 minutes east and checked in. She pulled out the Doppler sonogram and rested it against my belly to check for a heartbeat. There was none. She kept checking for 5 minutes. Then Claire called the doctor to request an ultrasound. The resident obstetrician opened up the laptop connected to the mobile ultrasound and tested my belly herself. She said finally, there is no heartbeat detected. “Let’s bring her to the ultrasound room to do a more sensitive transvaginal exam with the technologist. We move over to the ultrasound room and I get examined. The technologist doesn’t say the result; he just says the doctor will speak with you. After this I move back to the labour room and Dr. Wong announces that I will need to deliver the baby and it will be stillborn.
Dec 6: Baby Victoria is born without vital signs. She is blue in the belly and her limbs are long, wrapped around herself. Her face looks like Gloria, her sister. She is a beautiful, beautiful girl. I hold her wrapped in the hospital blanket and I cry with my husband and sister Jinah, for the baby girl we never got to say hello to. She is our second and equally cherished daughter. I feel guilt for ever wanting a boy over her. I feel guilt for not finishing my antibiotics for my bladder infection because it was causing me stomach pain. I feel guilt for working physically hard with the kids at daycare; bending over constantly to pick up toys and using bleach to clean and disinfect. I feel guilty for not always thoroughly washing my hands after diaper change. I feel guilty for eating raw fish sushi twice while I was pregnant, and choosing to nibble on unpasteurized blue cheese and having half a glass of mimosa at the Portuguese restaurant. Did I kill my own daughter who I was ready to receive into our lives in 12 more weeks? Did I cause her heart to stop? Could I really blame just the placenta being in the wrong place and growing next to the enlarging 7cm fibroid?
Now the debate is do I go see Dr. Solnik at Mount Sinai to get the go ahead for surgery to remove the fibroid and ovarian cysts? I want to avoid it altogether but it’s the rational side of our married coupledome (aka husband) that speaks to me telepathically to say go see the doctor and get yourself checked out. I grumble since he himself doesn’t go to the doctor. Who’s the hypocrite I think, politely without saying a word.
You can email Eunah at firstname.lastname@example.org.