Ink Painting: Lantern

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Painted this the other day. I’m 9 weeks pregnant today. I can’t give you any updates about what stage of growth the baby is because all we know is they’re badly behind. The apps and books and reminders have rather lost their joy.

Rose and I play board games. We book in time with friends. We watch ER. We cook and prepare lunches for each other. We sing to the baby. We touch base over text throughout the day, checking in, “still pregnant”, trying to ease the breathless fear. We lie in bed and plan what we’ll do if this one dies, how soon to start trying again, how we’ll handle news that they are alive but catastrophically disabled, we cry about how we don’t just want any baby, we want this baby, we’re in love with them.

We pack the dishwasher and water the garden. Forget to buy cat food and go back for it. I get anxious texts if I’m longer than a minute in the toilet. Sleeping in one day I wake to missed calls and frantic worries that I’m bleeding out in my sleep. Friends answer the phone with a panicked tone. We’re all waiting for disaster.

I book in our scan for next Monday, the woman on the phone is curt and unhelpful. So you’re only 6 weeks pregnant? No, I snap back, the baby is only 6 weeks developed. Oh yeah she says, reading the form more closely. She hangs up without telling where to come for the scan and I have to call her back for instructions.

I arrange bills in order of due date and put them on the fridge.

For 5 hours one day I firmly believe the baby will be fine. I sing around the house.

Rose drives to work and sits weeping in the car park. There’s nightmares and flashbacks, we talk softly of the other times, other losses. I promise I’ll tell her the truth, even at work. She mostly believes me.

I sit in class, feeling pain and dampness, half convinced I’m miscarrying but desperate not to find out. I sit solidly at my desk, head down, working, until the end of class. I screw up my courage and go to the bathroom. False alarm.

Our friend who had visited over the weekend to celebrate the first scan goes home again yesterday. The house feels oddly empty.

The cat sleeps on me all night, snuggled as close as she can get. I’m constantly surprised by these little reminders that I am still pregnant, despite everything that’s going on.

Food aversions are in full force. I can’t bear salad or meat anymore. I live on cooked vegetables and fruit. Licorice settles my gut.

I’m still writing to my little one, sometimes as if they’re alive, sometimes as if I’ve already lost them. I feel dazed. Rose and I spend whole evenings sitting close, holding hands, trying to ease the sense of distance and bewilderment. We’re still here, there’s still love here. We hold on.

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