You might have to squint a bit, or alter your screen resolution to get this picture properly. I took it the other evening, sitting on the sofa before bed. I’d turned out the lamp by my seat and was relaxing in the semi-darkness for a moment before heading off to bed, when I noticed the silhouette of the acer leaves on the living room blinds, cast by the street light on the pavement. The clarity and definition of the leaves was so remarkable I thought I’d try and get a picture to share, and this is my best effort.
Night times have been a bit difficult lately. I’ve not really been sleeping very well since my mother in law had her heart attack, although things seem to be improving over the last couple of days. But the real problem is that unless I go to bed absolutely exhausted and ready to drop, as soon as I shut my eyes it’s as if there’s a video of all the worst moments of the last couple of months which automatically switches on. I see the two doctors who in the early hours of the 19th May told me they couldn’t find my baby’s heartbeat. I watch again the young doctor struggling to tell me on the following morning, because she too seemed upset, what would happen about delivering my baby. I hear the inane conversation I made with the nurse who took me to ultrasound to confirm what two doctors the previous night had already told me. And I see the kind look in the midwife’s eyes, later that evening, as she tells me that she has delivered my baby, and hear the other midwife telling me that the baby was really very small. I’m not sure whether that was supposed to make me feel better or not. According to a week by week pregnancy book I have, it would have been about the size of a lemon. I remember how empty and shaky I felt the next day walking out of the maternity unit without a baby, and how desperate I was to hold myself together so that I wouldn’t have dozens of pitying eyes watching me leave, knowing exactly what had happened. From more recently, I remember how my mother in law didn’t look anything like herself in her hospital bed, so small and fragile with all the tubes coming out of her and monitors surrounding her. I can hear myself, as we sat by her bed, telling her every detail I could thing of about what my two boys had been up to since we last saw her. I can hear the alarms of all the equipment in the ICU which seemed to sound far too often. And I remember watching the heartbeat and blood pressure monitor slow down and down until the lines were flat and then the mixture of utter sadness and almost anger I felt when the nurse came in and turned the monitors off. Even though my mother in law had already gone, I felt like by turning off the screens the nurse was giving up on her.
Tears are streaming down my face, and I didn’t even know one person could physically cry this much. But unless I keep constantly busy these things overwhelm me and take over my entire mind. My husband would tell you that, without trying, I have a very good memory for useless information and little details. This is a curse as often as it is a help. For instance, I can tell you that I should now be nearly 30 weeks pregnant. And I should be spending time with my mother in law, watching my kids being spoilt rotten by her and seeing her eagerly anticipate two new grandchildren. Instead, twelve weeks ago today my baby was born dead and three weeks ago today my mother in law began to slip away from us. I know it’ll all get easier with time, but it all still feels so raw. And lonely.