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.

 

Plight of the lumpy loser who tries to look on the bright side

I’ve been feeling like a lumpy loser the past few weeks. Still no jobs, nothing new to write, bla bla bla. Then of course, I do the brilliant stalking activity of comparing myself to every other journalist friend and associate of mine who has a job, beating myself up even more … so smart!

So in an effort to lift up my spirits a little, here are things I am proud of, assets, accomplishments and other fun junk:

I have a car! (gas is another question…)

I have a house full of lovely, impossibly cute animals!

have a university degree already (two of them!).

I understand sciency stuff!

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I have a loving and supportive partner!

I have a step-son that constantly challenges me and makes me get off my butt to make sure shit’s clean in the house.

still have a sense of humour!

I can afford to pay for rent and bills (for now)!

I have amazing, supportive friends!

I know how to string a sentence together and get paid for it!

I know how to work with clay to make cups, bowls, plates, vases, etc!

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I have a comfy bed!

I was able to get an asthma pump without a prescription the other day!

My mom is cool!

My Nana is deteriorating, but she’s amazing!

I have supportive and wonderful in-laws!

I’m not homeless!

I can knit and crochet blankets!

I’m bilingual!

I have lots of experience!

I can start something and follow-through!

I can make really good food!

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I have nice eyes!

I have clothes that still fit!

Sneezing feels good!

… you get the idea. It’s small and big stuff. But there ya go.

It’s hard not to be in the dumps right now. Job hunting and the baby issue are enormous columns, shooting lasers at me every time I move. I wake up sad and in a panic. It’s not an easy time right now.

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Yes, this is Mother

 

My child may be dead, but I am a mother. So, mother’s day and all that – yep, I count. I nurtured and delivered a whole human. My water broke, then the placenta was delivered, and in between was a beautiful, delicate little boy after a few hours of contractions. And I’ve been a step-parent for over six years, so I’ve earned my stipes.

Some of the most well-meaning and insensitive things have been said to me since losing my son last fall. And they usually come from the mouths of people who do love me, which makes it all the more awkward and difficult to point out.

One dear friend who I was speaking with about trying again someday for another baby said, endearingly, something like “so you’ll finally get to know what it’s like to be a mother.” I corrected them and was pretty straightforward about it, but it inspired me to make this PSA. And it’s just something to remember when speaking with someone who has lost a child.

Image courtesy of https://i1.wp.com/www.littleangelsonlinestore.com/Store/prodimages/11276.jpg

Our children stay with us, whether they’re alive or were taken from us. And we’re constantly thinking of them. Not having them counted amongst our living, or yet-to-be born children, is painful. Much like my worries about Henry being forgotten around the holidays, and much like the fears (hopefully unfounded) about actually having another child someday and hearing that same sentiment, of “finally” being a mom.

Henry has given me the gift of being a mother to my own biological child, and my step-son has hurled me into the realm of parenthood. It’d be a mouthful to say this to someone in passing, so I’d likely hum a smile in response to questions about my children. But please be aware when asking people about their kids that you never know what heartache  and trauma someone may have, or is experiencing.