Rainbow stink bum

So, Henry has a brother! Corin Richard Bonnell was born on November 3 after an excruciating 37-hour labour where I could have died. During the long and difficult labour, both his dad and I still had shadows over our hearts, convinced we weren’t bringing home our second son. My body seemed reticent to open up and let him out. As time went on, only dilated to 5 cm after 26 hours, each contraction weakened me and  scared me and overwhelmed me with doubt at my ability to give birth. I’m flooded with gratitude, relief, and overwhelming love that we were wrong.

I’m now writing this with a sleepy but changed heart. The ice that has crusted over my heart since losing Henry has melted away. The fear I carried around with me constantly that we would inevitably lose Corin is gone. I’m responsible for this little person now. I’m amazed we were just allowed to walk out of the hospital with Corin. As a big advocate for adopting rescue animals from shelters, which includes a long screening process, it’s incredible new parents – sleep deprived, exhausted and quite possibly, clueless – can just pop out with a whole new human without having to prove we’re not going to do something stupid and fatal to this new life, and that we’re bringing babies to a good, healthy home.

It’s a humbling experience. One I’ve waited for for since May 2012. My perfect little rainbow baby who needs me as much as I need him.

Photo property of Mel Lefebvre

 

On death, impending labour, and threatened with court

My beloved grandmother died early this morning. I jokingly made her promise me last week she’d wait to leave us until the end of the month, when Henry’s brother is supposed to make his debut. I don’t take it personally that she didn’t stave off her severe lung infection needing constant oxygen support, recent heart attack and broken pelvic bones, and chronic several pain, arthritis, and early onset Alzheimer’s just to meet her second great-grandson (what kills me, is we tried. Henry, if you lived, you would have met your Great-Nana). It was time to go back home and be with her family, all of whom died before the age of 70. She made it to 94. What a woman. I will miss her dearly.

My Nana’s funeral starts on Thursday with a few hours of visitation in a funeral home I always thought sounded like a candy store. Urgel Bourgie. Friday is the remembrance mass and burial. Friday is also my soft due date (we’ve been sticking to the 27th – Sunday – as baby’s date of arrival, but in all calendrial honesty, he’s due the 25th).

Will I be at the funeral? Will I be in the throes of labour? I guess we’ll see. You never know when you’re going to come or go in this life.

In bad news, I found out that I tested positive for streptococcus B. If transferred to baby, it’s fatal. Great. More things to worry about. I pray Henry doesn’t meet his brother before I do. But the antibiotics I’m supposed to have as I start labour are supposed to protect him.

And I’ve mentioned I have a step-son before, have I not? Did I also mention his mom is, hmm, to avoid public defamation, is, in the most PC way I can express it – leaves much to be desired in her parenting competency. She believes her high-school dropout roaming minimum-wage earning ass is going to prevent us from moving a few provinces over in the middle of next year, with my step-on, of which we have full custody, to a two-year postdoctoral position offered to my betrothed, at a significant raise and an overall boost to our livelihood.

Forget the fact that my partner (who will soon be my husband) will have myself and our newborn to support, plus his son by this she-devil who, if we do go to court, will drain every last red cent we had saved up for our impending move and to float us by the next few months while we focus on baby. She doesn’t even want to change the frequency of her visitations, which is supposed to be every two weekends, but is usually, maybe, only once per month, with nary as much as a phone call in between. The drama lama has hit my family hard.

Grandma – strep B – ex-girlfriend/step-son … whats’ that thing about women close to labour needing to relax and prepare for the big push? You know, that thingy about them being the priority so they’re feeling good and supported and taken care of so labour goes as well as possible?

Apparently, I have to be super human and try my best to filet away the drama, accept Nana’s gone, and not worry about strep B because antibiotics will take care of it so I can be as relaxed and well-rested as possible for the big (enormously overshadowed) day.

So this is your warning. Don’t you dare tell me everything should turn out okay, or not to worry, or sprinkle sugar on any of this. Shit with sugar on it is a waste of perfectly good sugar. It damn well might not work out at all, and I have no illusions about it. I’m stressed, I’m sad, I’m worried, and I’m supposed to be giving birth within the next week. Please pocket your helpful words of advice because I pretty much guarantee you’ve never experienced compound events like this. If you have, then let’s talk.  Not to sound defensive, but I  can already feel well-meaning words of advice fluttering around this blog post, so, please don’t bother. I’m just pissed off. At life.

I have one dead son, one dead father, and no grandparents left. My last one checked out today and I haven’t really stopped to process her death yet. And a step-son who won’t stop talking about how his mom is going to take us to court, sue us, and win. And a partner who is racing to finish and submit his Ph.D before I give birth. How’s that for a hectic week? Ah fuck, and it’s only Monday.

 

…but I’ve GIVEN birth before!

I’m so thrilled to be at a healthy place with this pregnancy. It’s going well. He’s healthy. He kicks and punches and kicks some more. Pregnancy and birth pop up all the time when I’m with friends, family, acquaintances. People share their birth stories. It’s what they do.

Ladies – I’VE GIVEN BIRTH BEFORE!!!! Just because my son is dead and I didn’t get to bring him home doesn’t mean I’m not a mother. But I’ve given birth. I’ve had contractions. My water broke. A baby came out of my birth canal.

I know it’s hard to remember, because you don’t see my son, because he’s dead. But I HAVE given birth.

It’s hard for a loss mom to hear your birth stories and not feel like she can contribute. You might say, “Well you need to feel what it’s like at 8,9 months,” (said by one family member recently. Punch you in the face, very much). You might just look at me with sad puppy dog eyes. You might feel bad for not realizing that what you’re saying is hard for me to hear. You might not realize I’m not a newbie, and feel like my experience giving birth is less valid than yours.

It sucks.

I have given birth. We have given birth. I’m just like you. I have a birth story, and it’s a lot harder than yours, no matter what ways you were split, no matter whether your epidural took effect or not. No matter how much you bled, pooped, screamed at your husband. You got to take your baby home.