I keep searching for something, anything, that might give me a clue about how to do this (preferably step-by-step directions) but unfortunately it's not as simple as that. It's a process. A process that will likely take a very very long time and can't be squeezed into a handful of days. I've felt like I needed to get myself to a point where I can accept all of this and be "okay" by Thursday (whatever "okay" is) but I'm learning that that is unrealistic. I'm starting to let that go now and let myself off the hook from all this searching searching searching for some intangible state of mind.
A few days ago I didn't know how I'd make it through these last couple days before the procedure starts with the pre-op tomorrow and now I find myself wishing I had more time. I do certain things and am not sure if they're helping me or hurting me: I sing to Petey; I picture the very last moments I'll be with him/her on Thursday, saying goodbye as my eyes close from the anesthesia; I scour the internet for other women's stories of loss and I cry as I feel their pain as well; I stand naked in the bathroom mirror before showering and examine my pregnant body, tracing my stretch marks and letting the sadness and despair wash over me. But I also let myself feel the love and the pride that my body was able to provide a home for my baby too.
All of these things may be partial torture but I also feel like I may need to do them. Like I may need to confront these feelings as they come or else I'll bury them deep inside and never be able to get over this tragedy and live life again.
I think I'm making some progress because I am feeling slightly better each day. I have tiny breakthroughs: Sunday was the first day both Hubs and I laughed out loud at something the dog did, yesterday I cooked a meal, today was the first day I didn't completely break down in the shower... it's little things that make me realize I am still capable and although this is heart-wrenching it will not break me.
The guilt is certainly present though. It's almost unbearable to think that this will be happening because we are making the choice for it to happen. I know we don't really have a choice since we will be losing Petey either way but it's still a hard pill to swallow since s/he was so wanted. We made this decision out of love and I just try to focus on that. On Thursday, once the anesthesia puts me under, the doctor will be administering a shot through my belly into my uterus that will slow Petey's heart until it stops. The procedure will not start until that happens so the only thing our baby will ever know is the warm quiet cozy home its mother's body provided for it. I don't actually know if I am considered a mother since I will not be giving birth but if what we're doing and how we feel right now isn't indicative of a mother's love then I don't know what is.
I've been trying to find things to comfort me and have been soothed recently by a verse from a beautiful song that entered my mind the other day and hasn't left:
A Little Fall of Rain (from Les Miserables)
Don't you fret, M'sieur Marius
I don't feel any pain
A little fall of rain
Can hardly hurt me now
You're here, that's all I need to know
And you will keep me safe
And you will keep me close
And rain will make the flowers grow.
While those lyrics run through my brain it comforts me to imagine them being sung to me from Petey's little soul. I am so thankful that our baby won't feel any pain. I hope it can feel love from me, knows I'm here, and feels safe and warm in my womb. I change the words around and sing it to Petey too hoping to comfort him/her. I think this will always be "our" special song.
Another comforting thought came from my mother in law: She sadly lost a close friend to cancer just last week. Her friend was a nurse and my MIL said that she likes to think that the reason her friend went first is so that she can be there waiting to receive our little Petey Nugget, her grandchild, with open arms and that she'll take care of him/her until we can be reunited. I can't think about that without crying but it is also a soothing thought and will be on my mind Thursday when I wake up empty after the procedure.
Thursday morning at 7:30 am when I am laying on the doctor's table experiencing those last precious moments with my Petey Nugget, I am going to feel the necklace at my throat and think about everyone who loves us. I'm going to think about how much I love my baby and I hope the last thing s/he hears is me saying "goodbye" and "I love you". That's how I want my child's life to end. I don't want to feel fear or anxiety, I want to be filled with love - love for him/her and love from those in our lives.
I felt compelled to take one more bump pic today so I can always remember. I don't want to pretend Petey didn't exist. Though my baby will never live outside my body s/he did exist. My baby was here and existed and mattered.
And it was loved.