For 6 months I have been floating in a haze of denial. Of surrealistic reality. It took a while to really understand what this pregnancy meant. What the AFTER meant. That the accumulating piles of baby things meant that someday soon we would be PARENTS to a real child.
Even feeling movement, seeing the ultrasounds, seeing my baby inside my womb...still...surreal. I thought the reality had hit. I was wrong.
Even going into labor Friday night, going to the hospital, seeing what my body was failing so obviously at. I thought reality had hit. I was wrong.
Even hearing the news about WiseGuy, about Lola. Breaking down in fear, in disbelief, being overcome with what we may be facing. I thought reality had hit. I was wrong.
Even being put on bedrest, having a hard time being vertical for very long because of the meds, knowing that every move I make has to be monitored. I thought reality had hit. I was wrong.
Before we left the hospital yesterday morning we visited the NICU. To derive some comfort knowing that if Cricket arrives before planned that she will be cared for, that all will be okay. We saw these itty bitty tiny babies, took home the tiniest diapers I have ever seen (newborn diapers are GIGANTIC in proportion).
We saw a baby that was Cricket's size almost 3 weeks ago, now. And one a bit bigger than where she probably is right now. I couldn't even visibly tell the difference. The 2nd baby shares Cricket's middle name if she is a actually a she. They are so small. So unbelievably small.
That's when reality hit. Those babies, that's what my child looks like. That's what size she is. That's how real she is. She's not this idea in my head, this bump in my belly, the alien making my belly jump like Jiffy-Pop. She is a flesh-and-bone reality. She looks like those little tiny humans.
She is not an image on a screen, a number of weeks and days. She is not a dream anymore. She is not something we have time to prepare for, or something we CAN prepare for. Not really. She is reality, a tiny human, who will soon be our responsibility. Our reason for waking and sleeping and bringing home the bacon. We saw her. We saw how very REAL she is.
And now, I'm not in denial.
But then I realize I am. Because despite the guilt I feel about my body failing my child, that my husband has to do EVERYTHING now, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around where we are right now.
I think, "The danger has passed, we stopped the contractions, I feel well. 2 weeks (or more)! Think of all I could get done!" And then I remember the fear. And that I'm scared to stand for too long. That I will be going grocery shopping in a wheelchair later, to be safe. That every move I make could put Cricket in danger. And it doesn't seem real. That we could be here. That after my body failed me in being able to conceive naturally, that it could also rob me of my idyllic summer maternity leave, of my natural childbirth, of my trust that complications in pregnancy don't happen in my family.
How is this real? How can any of us survive what we survive and then face the next hurdle? Why?
And why am I unable to wrap my head around it all the way? Why do I feel removed from it? Is that self-preservation? And yet, at the same time, how can I feel so overwhelmed, yet positive? Because it could be worse. I know that. Why this mix of emotions? I really don't know.
Excuse me while I go float down De Nile. It is, after all, a river in Egypt.