A few things have happened in the past month to make me recall the pregnancies that I have started to forget. Firstly, I did a one month rotation in obstetrics, something that I had stopped doing about two years ago. I felt as if I relived some of the more terrifying moments of the past few years. I could identify all too well with the low grade nagging anxiety that accompanied all the prenatal visits of the high risk patients. I felt like every obstetrical complication was familiar to me, a bit too intimately. And I could also feel the overwhelming relief at the thought that I will never have to go through that again.
Secondly, one of my patients had an abruption at around 22 weeks and went into labour. I relieved some of the agony of losing Adrian then. She went on to viability but lost the baby after a few weeks in NICU, and her dazed grief gives me a deja vu feeling that is almost hard to manage.
Thirdly, and likely as a result of the above, I decided to read Ghostbelly, probably because I felt that I could take a closer look at my own pain through Elizabeth's words. Aside from feeling acutely her agony of trying to decide whether she should have or could have done anything to change the outcome (I think that Adrian would still be alive if I had been pregnant in Vancouver, where anatomy scans are done at 18 weeks, as I had asked to do, and not at 20+ weeks as I was scheduled), the book, of course, made me remember. I remember the loving peace that I felt holding little Adrian's body, mothering him for the brief time that I had. I remember looking at the sky and seeing the ice in the air glitter, my senses also unusually sharp and aware. I felt the pain that she described, at one point so acutely that I decided there and then to close the book and never look at it again.
I have reached a point in my life where I do not want to look too closely at this pain. I live fully, I have living children that need me, and I think about Adrian all the time with love and longing. At the same time, I have peace about him, and about my past, about the way things were. This peace can sometimes be broken scratching the surface of the painful scab. Is it worth it?
I have no doubt that sometimes my subconscious mind will prompt me to reading books and blogs that will make me re-experience the past. However, I also know that I do not have the same need to re-experience as I did before, when I had to make sense of the events and hence could not avoid it. It can now be laid to rest and woken up gently once in a while, when my subconscious tells me that it is time to do so. In the meantime, life goes on...