41 weeks, lungs & grief

I’m back again because something is holding me back from giving birth.  I fear that all my energy has been spent on keeping this baby inside my body and that now, when it’s  appropriate and safe, I can’t let go.  And letting go is what needs to happen.  I need to surrender.  I need to open to the fear of what might happen during labor and surrender to this process.

I have been unable to write or read anything related to miscarriages or pregnancy/infant loss for months – since my last blog entry at 17 weeks pregnant.  Occasionally, I would stumble onto someone’s story of loss and my anxiety would spiral even as I could not tear myself away from their words.  So, I intentionally took a break from all things pregnancy-loss related.  I feel so grateful and lucky that I was able to make such a choice.  And now I’m back… to see where all this fear began and how it might unravel.

I visited an acupuncturist as many said that acupuncture is a great way to “get things going.”  It’s not like a chemical induction, but for many women, acupuncture is a gentle way to induce labor – if the body and baby are ready.

The acupuncturist was warm and kind.  She smiled and took my pulse.  And then she began to speak of grief – of grief that I was holding in my body.

Grief and the lungs are connected, the acupuncturist said. And unresolved grief lingers in the lungs… and that disharmony in the lungs interferes with the vital energy (qi) in the body.  It’s that vital energy that is needed to open and allow for birth.  I need to be able to breathe deeply, all the way down to my uterus and birth canal.  But my pulse was telling her I was blocked.  By grief.

As she spoke, I felt the tears.  All this could be felt in my pulse?  Then I remembered she knew my story from my paperwork.  I had to write how many times I had been pregnant (4) and my number of living children (1).  And yet, as she spoke, I knew she was not making this up.   She could feel my grief.

She put the needles in (so tiny!) and I felt a few twinges of something almost like pain in some of the spots.  But mostly, it didn’t hurt.  And then she left me to sit in a recliner with my feet up, and as I sat there, sunlight streaming in through the tall windows, I felt it too: grief.  And it began to well up and I began to cry as I have not cried in months, as I did not even cry when we passed the one year anniversary of Julian’s birth – to think! I could have had a one year old by now…

But now the tears flowed.

And I thought, surely, tonight, now that I’m not holding on to this grief and blocking the free flow of energy and openness I need to surrender, I will go into labor.

Sure enough, later that night, I started to feel cramping.  Then came contractions.  And then, nothing.  It stalled.

So that’s why I’m here.  That’s why I’m re-reading my words chronicling my loss and grief.  Such a journey – so many cycles of grief and loss and hope and loss again, that may come to an end with the birth of this child.  And will I let it?

Tomorrow is the appointment in which I might learn I have to be induced.  I know that many, many women are induced.  It’s still not my preference.  I would like this birth to begin when the baby decides, but if labor doesn’t begin soon (tonight?  tomorrow morning?), that decision may be taken away.

And I know it’s not all me.  The baby is part of this process.  I also know that women used to be able to carry their babies longer… My neighbor carried her two children to 43 weeks, 40 years ago.  My own mother carried me to 42 weeks.  The medical model of pregnancy no longer allows for such variation in the length of pregnancies.  I am aware that it is possible the baby has not arrived yet because he/she is not ready.

But what if it’s not just that?  What if I’m also holding baby back, baby in, because I’m scared – to move beyond this comfortable place of holding and waiting?

I don’t know.  But I’m open to feeling the grief and that feels like a start.



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