Heavy and Light

Less than a week from today would be Eve’s half-birthday had she survived. It feels like it’s been forever since life pre-Eve but at the same time it feels like I delivered her yesterday. It was actually yesterday that J and I visited a high-risk ob gyn to find out what it would look like to try again. The thought of this is part exciting and part terrifying. Given that the autopsy showed cord compression as probable cause I am not technically high risk but thankfully to this doctor losing a child past full term is reason enough to be considered so. I can’t imagine going through another pregnancy without more monitoring than I had before.
Part of my motivation for getting back to exercise post-delivery (aside from the aforementioned coping with grief and the obvious fact that it is part of my job) has been to get to a place were I am comfortable enough with my body to go through another pregnancy. I’m not saying I am totally ready to jump on board right now but should my mind and heart decide it’s time I’d like my body to be in sync. I wish I could say that what I’ve gone through has given me complete release from any concerns regarding body image. Yes, losing Eve has down-graded many of my former worries to minor concerns but the unfortunate truth is you can still lose a child and be saddled with the frustration of postpartum bodily changes. My softer belly still bugs me and I swear my hips have widened, among other things.
That said, exercising throughout my pregnancy has helped me bounce back quicker than I thought I could. I feel pretty good physically considering the current situation and have finally been more comfortable in form-fitting clothing. I feel petty caring about such things. I am still in awe that my body created my beautiful Eve but still can’t let go of the search for more comfort in my own skin. The difference is that now I know this comfort can’t come from diet and exercise alone, my mind plays a bigger part in all this than I have ever given it credit for.
After the visit to the doctor my sleep was full of strange dreams. I kept dreaming that I couldn’t feel any movement from my baby. Then I would wake up and realize with half relief and half disappointment that there was no baby in there. At times it feels good to have my body back but it still doesn’t feel right. I may have a waist again but I don’t have my baby, I still can’t wrap my head around this fact.
When I think about putting my body through another pregnancy I worry that I won’t be able to maintain the level of fitness I did the last time. They say every pregnancy is different and up until the very last days my pregnancy was a good one. It seems like my only option is to work to be as fit as possible and let the rest go. Before I had a baby a flat stomach was always part of my idea of a fit physique. One of the plus sides to pregnancy is that it shifts your focus to what the body can do rather than what it looks like.
It makes me uncomfortable to think about being pregnant again but the idea of holding a living baby trumps the fear. After going through labor I long to experience a different outcome. The white rose on the door, the deafening silence of Eve’s arrival, the chaplain praying over her in the bassinet…all these things will never be erased from my memory and I would never want them to be. This was Eve’s story and I am grateful for the brief time I spent with her. At the same time I wonder what it would be like to mother a living child, to leave the hospital crying tears of joy instead of grief.
During morning runs lately I’ve been thinking about how during pregnancy I couldn’t wait to get back to where I am now. Physically I do feel much lighter and faster but emotionally there is a heaviness that wasn’t there before. Though it can’t be seen it changes the way I move and the way I move changes it. It’s ironic that my next pregnancy, if I am blessed to have one, might make me feel a little lighter.