You've heard the adage that you ought to be nice to everyone you meet because you don't know their situation, or how they could influence you? Well, I really believe that's true. Since I started working from home I've developed a pretty reliable routine. Because of my routine I end up at the same places over and over again, and feel like I've developed genuine friendships with the employees at places I frequent. I really love the staff at my clinic, for example. I am so glad I have made a point to always be pleasant when I'm there- I can tell they love me, too, and our friendship has really helped me through this process. Who knows where we would be if neither of us were friendly to the other in the beginning? We had no way to know back then when my appointments were every 4 weeks what we would end up going through together and how often they would see me!
Another unlikely place I've made friends is at the post office. I go to the post office almost every single day, and I look forward to my visit. Ben even bought me a home postage scale so I could print out my shipping labels, pay online, and have someone pick them up, but I've never used it. The post office is sort of out of my way- a few stoplights passed my other regular errands on a busy, frustrating road- but I go because I've come to know each of the tellers by name and have great, friendly, personal interactions with whomever happens to be available to help me. It's become my adult interaction time :)
One such employee recently told me she is pregnant! Everyone there knows about my situation- I have been going since I was pregnant with Eleanor, and it has even been the location of at least two emotional breakdowns of mine. This employee confided in me a few months ago that she had had a miscarriage and the idea of being pregnant again really worried her. Her miscarriage was years ago, but the fear has remained. When she gave me the news of her new pregnancy my first question was how was she feeling? She said she had had early signs of another miscarriage, but immediately went to the hospital and doctors were able to stop it. She is more anxious than ever, though, because she still bleeds frequently.
I think she enjoys talking to me about it because I've been there. I have experienced a loss and am now almost full term with another pregnancy. Not only that, but I'm really, really happy and feel incredibly blessed and full of gratitude every day. I've overcome a lot, and could be an example to someone in her (or my) position. But what she knows that I understand is that the fear of experiencing the same loss multiple times never fully goes away, no matter how fulfilled you consider yourself.
Yes, to be honest, there are often times that I drive really defensively because I can't help but expect to be killed in a car accident before I've given birth, leaving Ben alone. I still expect to have a premature labor- even getting to my 39 week induction date doesn't seem like a real possibility, and it's hard to accept that, at this stage, the baby would likely be just fine if I did go into labor early. When I visit Eleanor's grave I always look around to see what spots around her are still available in case we lose our son. I prepare myself for the possibility that he'll be born with the birth defect we were concerned about earlier. I've asked Ben what his plan would be if I died while carrying the baby, if I died but the baby survived, or if I died while we were together and he had the option of saving the baby. It sort of surprised me to hear his well-thought out answers to my strange inquiries. He's thought about it, too. To a certain extent, he gets scared, too. We are both so happy and excited, but that fear may not ever fully go away.
My mother-in-law's first child was stillborn, as well. She was a great comfort to me when I lost Eleanor. She told me that she didn't feel really settled until her next child was delivered and safely in her arms. I heard those words, but I wasn't sure they applied to me at the time. I've felt really grateful during this pregnancy, but now I have to admit that I'll probably feel the same way she did. I fully expect the remaining weeks of my pregnancy to go well and to have a safe delivery and healthy baby boy. Maybe at that point this weight will be lifted.
Until then, all I can say is please be patient with me- I'm feeling pretty emotional, preoccupied, and easily upset right now. But I'm really trying to hide all of that in an effort to take care of those random friendships that develop because you happen to be nice to someone who ends up meaning the world to you in the end. I'm glad I, a passerby during their day, has been able to give back some friendship and support to people who are now staples in my daily routine. You really don't realize how fragile we can all be.