I worked on Ella’s belly cast last night, for the first time since we made it the day before her due date. I was inspired by a goddess painting I had seen months ago, which I quickly sketched on the plaster and then just started smacking on paint. I am not a painter – I have no delusions of grandeur – but I figured that if I screwed it up, my next plan was to modpodge fabric all over it, which would cover up anything. No harm done.
3 hours later, and I hung it on her wall before she went to bed. It doesn’t look much at all artistically like what I had in mind, but the basic shape is there. Abstract earth goddess surrounding a tree – earth and sky and water all flowing into each other – and I was pleasantly surprised that the “hair” made me think of a placenta, and that a mistaken glop of paint turned into a little breast. I am not convinced it is done, but I am to the point that I know if I mess with it more, I will just end up ruining it, so for now, it is finished. I uploaded the pictures this morning (an admittedly rough one around here) and then left the house for rehearsal, errands, groceries, and the park.
When I got home, I clicked through my usual links – hotmail, gmail, yahoomail, LJ, Flickr – and saw that Jen had commented on one of the cast pictures. “This got me kinda choked up. I am sure you intended this, but it looks like 2 LimaBeans.” Actually I had not meant to do this, and more so, that I don’t really know how to talk about this anymore.
The fact version of the story is this: Ella was a twin, though her womb mate disappeared early on. They say it is very common (1 in 8 pregnancies start as twins), though we are only now realizing it with the advanced, routine ultrasounds done. We didn’t know about baby #2 until after it was already reabsorbing, and at that time we were so excited to hear that we still have one healthy baby (who looked like a lima bean, and was thus nicknamed), that the baby disappearing was easy to overlook.
The emotional version of this story is harder to tell, mostly because it is still so murky. Medical records are easy to read, scars are harder. I’ve never really mourned that possible child – not only did it feel like it would somehow overshadow the joy of Ella, but also because I’m not sure how much grief I am entitled to. Yes, I lost a child, but I still came out the other end a mother. The fear and sorrow we went through in that week when we thought we had lost the pregnancy all together (before a last minute ultrasound showed one beating heart and one still one, where before we had seen nothing) was so intense, that the relief that we shared was total. I can’t imagine living that reality longer than a week, so I can’t say I’ve shared in other’s miscarriage pain. I just moved on, because I had so much to move towards.
But it would be a lie to say that I do not think about that child often, that I don’t daydream about two little towheaded girls, that I’m not hoping that the foot in my ribs is a little girl’s foot, to somehow fill that space I can not admit I am hovering around. So the fact that Jen was able to see something in the painting that I did not intend to be there (two lima beans, one with a little bright light, one without), but that I am so glad is, gets me a little choked up also.