We’ve made it to 30 weeks. I go back and forth between wanting to celebrate and wanting to curl up and hide. I want to embrace every moment of this wonderfully, healthy pregnancy with unblinking eyes and I also want to just close my eyes and open them up when they put my baby in my arms. As we’ve approached this day I am also feeling pulled by the triggers and the mementos of my previous birth experience.
The triggers come without warning, I am never fully prepared for them to hit. They shock my system and send me reeling into a spiral of traumatic flashbacks. I mostly find myself triggered when I return to the hospital for my appointments. No matter how much I try to prepare for these visits, my senses become ambushed. The smell of the hospital soap, the dinging of the elevators, and the humming of the air intake system make my breath catch in my throat and my heart start to race. These triggers overwhelm me with memories of freshly scrubbed hands invading my space, transferring floors from labor and delivery down to the ICU, and the eerie silence of sleepless nights in strange hospital beds. I know these things are going to be there every time we walk through those doors, but I am never prepared for how vividly they will send me back.
Then, there are the mementos. Mementos are different from triggers because they are reminders that I have chosen. If I could, I would avoid my triggers, but my mementos are the things I choose to visit. My mementos are the items I can control. I choose to take them out, I choose to touch them, I choose to enter into my memories. This ability to choose is what separates our mementos from our triggers.
My memories of Dorothy live in the jewelry I wear, the words of my loved ones, the shadows of her tiny hands and feet, and the clothes she wore during her brief time with us. In honor of making it to thirty weeks, I want to share some of these mementos. I am choosing to take them out and enter into the memories they protect. It feels good to have some ownership over a very triggering time in my pregnancy.
Throughout this experience we have spent a lot of time having very private moments with perfect strangers (these are Mike’s words and I think they are just perfect). It only feels fitting to take some time to share these private moments with those of you who have CHOSEN to be a part of this journey. We love you.