I am spending a second day at home in front of the telly, because I feel very sick and Cute Ute the Despoiler is making a horrible fuss (Stupid uterus. I dislike her intensely. The feeling is clearly mutual). Shark Week began today, so I hope (but by no means expect, damn it) that therefore I’ll be feeling less-than-dead by Saturday and will be able to sit upright on my pew at this blazin’ wedding.
I’ve done two loads of laundry and cleaned a lavatory. It’s not all been Criminal Minds marathons and hot-water-bottles. Alas.
H and I are trying to be festive. We bought a very (very very) small Christmas tree. We put up some decorations – snow-flakes, a wreath, a couple of reindeer. My dear friend korechronicles sent me a Christmas ornament a couple of years ago, which we hung on the bookshelf. I have some handpainted wooden stars as well I need to find a place for – we can’t hang anything on the tree, because you see, my tree is tiny, and so wee, that I sometimes think the pixies gave it to me**, and it would topple over. I received my first Christmas present – you know who you are, you and your classy classy gift-giving – so I opened it for Hanukkah, and am thrilled to absolute bits.
This year, we are going to H’s family for Christmas, because we feel they need us the most (My family is going skiing. Again. They keep asking us to come, but neither H nor I can ski, and the idea of being stuck with my sisters for a week in a country where I don’t speak the language and can’t just run screaming into the mountains in my nightie for fear of Death-By-Snowdrift, does not appeal). At least I won’t have my period (see last year. That was fun).
However to make up for my NOT having my period over Christmas at the ‘rents or in-laws, the In-Laws are coming to us. Tomorrow. So I can still have my period at them. HAH.
And I keep bursting into tears. I wanted to be pregnant. I haven’t been pregnant for so, so long, I am absolutely terrified that All Is Wrong in there and I can’t ever get pregnant again. I’ve had my lot, and they were all duds, and that is that.
Oh, and there’s the tiny question of Christmas, Season of Doom, in that I’ve had two miscarriages over the festive season, and it sucks. The media are doing wall-to-wall baby stories and family stories and babies and families stories and mothers and more babies and every radio is blaring out songs about the wonderful birth of a special baby and people send you cards with pictures of tiny shiny babies on them and Christmas is all about the kiddies, innit? And you don’t know the meaning of love or family until you’ve given birth, allegedly. Why not flay me and roll me in rimming salt while you’re at it?
Pikaia, my first poor little doomed embryo, would be nearly four this Christmas, if she’d actually grown a spine as her nickname suggested she should and lived. Have you seen a nearly-four-year-old in the run-up to Christmas? She’d be so excited you could power a small cathedral city off her for a week. And now she is nearly four, I have so many, many ideas for beloved books and adorable toys for her. I do, I really do, find myself looking at toys shop windows and thinking ‘Would Pikaia have liked that? I hope she would’ve liked that. It’s very cool.’ Or I look at books and think about reading it to Pikaia. And then I have to stop that right now and go and look at a book on astrophysics or baking, because grown women weeping over Dr Seuss are frankly unnerving.
Poor Pikaia. Of all our losses, she’s the one who really haunts me. She’s the only one I ever imagined (however briefly) as a living child, you see (too scarred/scared to do anything of the sort after her). She follows me about like a little ghost, slowly growing up as I grow older. I can see me in my late 50s being haunted by a red-haired university student who keeps forgetting to call home. But for the moment, she’s nearly four. She has fiery copper hair. She loves books and making things and drawing and music. She has a doll or teddy she adores beyond words. She has unusually small hands and feet, because her parents do, and is tall for her age, because her parents were. She is precocious and worryingly articulate, like me, and a little song-bird, like H. I don’t know if she’d be prone to brief but terrifying ferocious outbreaks of temper followed by tears like me, or pouting and sulking like H. I wish I did know. I miss her so much.
And I know I’m not the only one to have a ghost-child. Melissa wrote movingly about hers here (and it touched me particularly because I know that city so well, and can picture it). And then everyone chimed in in the comments, and I thought, see? I’m not mad. We’re not mad. Not mad at all.
* Douglas Copeland.
** Waitrose, actually.