Saturday, December 31, 2005

The harder they fall

I'm trying not to work myself up too much today.

Today is the last time I can formally say that I had my daughter "last year". It just becomes so hard to explain to people who ask if I have any children, and this will add to that difficulty. At least at the moment it's pretty much nipped in the bud with "yes, we had a little girl last January" (one poor fellow actually made a quip along the lines of "ho ho, you said 'had', I hope you still have her ho, ho..." - that conversation didn't end well) and then when they ask how old I can say "she died when she was 4 weeks old". Cue hasty downcast looks and very strong "Fuck why did I have to casually ask this woman if she has kids" vibes.

It feels like the more the years wear on, the more insignificant the loss of "only a four week old" will become. Ho, just believe me, there ARE such people out there who are flippant about these things. Tender and touching in the first months, but as time speeds by, the sympathies and delicate words are more fleeting. It's like the sentiments match our resilience - and now, well our resilience is heightened of course, because how could you live for two years and go out in the world and function if you were still as raw as the week in which you saw your husband hold his child while she took her last breath? It shouldn't make any difference, that we are forever moving further away from the event, but it just does.

So yeah. Feel flat. Feel deflated. Feel unwell (go, Jubjub, you good thing, go). On this night last year, we spent the most gut-wrenching, angst-ridden time. Standing watching the fireworks from our backyard - we live in what we call the Fireworks Capital of the World because from our vantage point we see at least a half a dozen displays on the skyline during the night - I cried and cried and cried more tears to the stars. I was in so much pain and there was nothing anyone could have done to comfort me. Steve was here but he too was pained by experiencing leaving our little girl behind, all alone in 2004 with only us to try and keep her memory alive. To make her coming worth it. It seemed such a huge task at the time. But I think we've achieved finding her a place in the world, to a far greater extent than even I envisaged, and in her own right, Ella has made her mark all by herself. We are merely the conduits for that massive soul's purpose to be made known. And my God, am I so grateful she picked us.

I cried also with fear of starting 2005 with the unknown: IVF. I was full of hope and cocky beginner's optimism that, surely, given my track record for getting up the duff, this IVF gig would be a breeze. It was as breezy as I could make it, let's put it that way, and we won't die wondering whether we shoulda, coulda, woulda. But it didn't end up being the Holy Grail for us, obviously.

I cried that I was drinking. I got wasted last New Years Eve. I figured I could, given that we had had to terminate another little girl via a d&c only the week before, so why the hell shouldn't I.

I cried that Ella's first birthday was only two short weeks away, and that "this time last year, in 2003" I had been sooooooo oblivious and happy, rubbing her through my belly and telling her, "We made it to 28 weeks, Boo! Now, you can come out anytime from now on. But not until you're ready." I think I was too convincing - how obedient she was. And friggen impatient. Just like her mum. We must've just been dying to meet each other, is all.

So this year, I won't say I won't cry. In fact, the tears are already hot and stinging, the little bastards. They're just waiting til darkness falls. I'll focus on the good things: I can't drink this year. My belly is growing. I have an unidentified growing foetus in my loins (who as yet, still has not made him or herself known to me, despite my occasional "knock-knock, anyone there"s...). I can celebrate the close of another year with my healthy, happy husband. I can enjoy watching Pepper howl at the firework cracks - oh how she's a scaredy-dog - and I can dream, for now, that this baby will be "the" one and perhaps only who gets lucky and comes to live with two of the most patient, accepting and tolerant people I can think of.


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