Today is my last day of work until…?
It was such a strange day. Most people didn’t know that this was the last time they would see me for up to 4 months. It hasn’t been generally announced at work, likely because it was a fairly recent decision. There was no fanfare, just a typical day.
I am relieved that I am finished working. Initially, it was a good distraction, but as James’ birth looms nearer and nearer, I find it harder to focus on my job and to have empathy for clients that are struggling with ill pets. All of my emotions feel tied up in my children – both born and unborn.
On the other hand, work is the last shred of normalcy that I feel like I have. Once it’s gone, I will just be waiting. Waiting for his birth, waiting to see what his condition is, waiting to see if he lives or dies, waiting to see how long we have with him. I’ve always loved my job, and it makes me sad that lately, work has been a chore for me. So in that respect, it’s good that I am finished for a while. It’s hard to believe that I have no idea when I’ll be going back or under what circumstances.
What made it harder for me was that with my 2 previous pregnancies, it was joyous and fun and exciting to stop working for maternity leave. A baby was coming in a couple of weeks! I was going to “relax,” nest, clean the house, prepare the baby’s room, get the cosleeper set up, and so many other fun, “mommy” things. This time, I am going to write and rewrite my birth plan, figure out if we want cremation or burial should he die, read and re-read the data on cardiac surgery in T18 babies, and likely spend a great deal of time on Facebook and blogging. As much as I am focusing on the excitement of meeting our son and the hopeful side of his condition, I am still constantly in a state of anticipatory grief.
2 weeks is simultaneously an eternity and seems like it will be gone in a second. I have so many conflicting feelings. I want James to stay with me, inside me, as long as he can be there. My body is taking care of him right now, and he’s not struggling, he’s not in pain. We aren’t having to make any life or death decisions. He’s a happy baby, safely cocooned within the person that loves him most in the world.
The reverse of that is that as we get closer, the fear that my placenta will fail goes up, and the worry of stillbirth goes up. We know he is not growing well at this point. That increases the concern, as well. And I want so desperately to meet him, for him to be alive when he meets us.
Yet, 2 weeks gives me time to enjoy this lull. This time of knowing what is coming but not having to directly deal with it yet. This time of my girls smiling and happy, not grieving with us. This time when we are still “normal.”