Saturday, February 11, 2006

A New Kind of Normal

Things are returning to normal around our house, but our concept of normal has changed. Now, if I go all day without crying, feeling so angry I think I might explode, or wondering why I didn't just let the infection kill me, then I feel like we've had a normal day. Preston and I are both back to running our businesses, and Ray has started sleeping again. Dinner gets cooked every night, dirty clothes get washed and put away, the dishes get done, and I put makeup on each morning. Since these are all things that we did before I was hospitalized, I am willing to call this "normal."

The sadness over losing Bailey has lessened considerably to become only a dull ache that I carry around with me, and I have ceased trying to figure out why this happened. Guilt was the prevaling emotion for a while, as I began to come to terms with what I thought happened in the hospital. Essentially, Bailey died as a result of a medically necessary abortion. We can try to use phrases like "induced labor" or "stillborn baby," but if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck...

While I kept the guilt inside me, I focused solely on what I remember happening. In my mind, Bailey died because I made the decision to let the doctor give me the medicine that would induce labor, which was something we KNEW would kill the baby. I know that four doctors (two of whom were Catholic and one of whom is related to us), a nurse (who happens to be my sister-in-law), my husband, my mother, my mother-in-law, and two of our pastors all agreed with the decision, in fact pushed me to make the decision, but that didn't really take the burden off of me. No one could force me to take the medicine that would induce the labor. Preston even asked the doctor if he could override me and have the doctors dope me up to give me the medicine when I was threatening to just walk out of the hospital and take my chances with the infection (the legal answer was no).

I have since talked this over with my husband, my mother, and my sister-in-law, and they have all helped remind me of things I had forgotten, like that my own life was at stake and that the baby would not have lived even if I had not taken the medicine to induce labor. For the past few weeks, I have even wondered if maybe I didn't give God time to perform a miracle. My sister-in-law told me this week though, that we DID get a miracle. The miracle is that I am still alive and that my uterus is okay. She said that the only thing that would have happened if I had chosen to NOT take the medicine is that I would have died along with Bailey. I suppose that puts things into perspective.

Now I wonder if I even want to try and get pregnant again, or if I should just be grateful for the family I have and move on from here. After all, if I don't have another baby, I could get back to my pre-motherhood goals, like going to grad school, or finishing one of the novels I started writing way back when. But this probably isn't the best time to make a decision like this...

And so we keep going. We get up in the morning, we go to bed at night, and I spend every day hoping that we return to the happy people we used to be.

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