PagesThe Hospital: Trying to save our babies, moment by moment --via Caring Bridge

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Half-pops, landfills and mucous

I have become super conscious of the divide between exterior and interior.  Obviously this is related to my external body and the breach that occurred when my cervix dilated, the mucous plug fell out, S's amniotic sac bulged and an infection developed (there is also the possibility that the infection preceded everything else, I just don't believe that is what happened).  Ultimately the difference between interior and exterior, between life and death, was made of mucous.  Aside from wondering about the idiocy of having mucous as the protective barrier for my tiny, perfect babies; I have also been thinking about interior and exterior as a myth, the reality is permeability.

Our neighbor's delinquent bother and sister-in-law ran over our property and destroyed many planting  and building supplies.  The snow fell while we were joyously pregnant and in Puerto Rico so the crushed pile remained buried until we returned home from the hospital, minus two.  A couple weeks ago my wife rented a truck and took everything to the county landfill.  Although I can't lift anything of substantial weight, I rode along.  I had only ever been to the small dump in my rural home town as a child, this landfill was nothing like that.  The dump was just a big hole located down a dirt road, just like you find on "Alice's Restaurant." The landfill is an industry.  It took quite a while for R to empty the truck, while she worked I googled.  I learned that modern landfills are predicated on the belief that garbage, and the toxic byproducts, can be sealed in plastic.  There are all sorts of technical protective measures, off-gassing, ponds to catch rain water run off, compaction of the trash into "cells," but ultimately our entire waste system relies on impermeability between an interior and an exterior.

R had created a "snack pack" kit for me to help me keep my caloric intake up to ensure the health of our children.  A new addition that I did not get to eat before the birth of our babies was "Half-pops," which are basically my favorite part of a serving of popcorn.  I ate some last night, well I ate a whole bag because apparently I never want to fit into my pants.  My friend google revealed that half-pops can be made at home if I first soak the kernels in a brine for four days to break down the barrier that protects the seed from the world at large.  Popcorn is created when the heat from the pan and oil is so great that it breaks the seal as the corn pops -- if the seal is broken before the heat then half-pops result.

The boundary between inside and out, popcorn and half-pops, clean water and pollution, life and death is dissolvable with a little salt, a puncture or an incompetent cervix.  Suddenly half-pops don't sound like the best idea.  I want to believe in the permanence of protective barriers.


  1. What a beautifully written reflection. Thank you for visiting my blog so now I know about yours. I'm so sorry for the loss of your twins and your first baby. And I know that feeling well of needing a protective barrier. I hope your transition back to work is going as smoothly as possible.

    Hugs to you tonight,
    Burning Eye

    1. Thanks for the comment, I am back in person half days now and it is going better than I thought which is a huge relief.

  2. Hi there. I just happened across your blog tonight and I wanted to tell you how sorry I am for the losses you have experienced. I TFMR two pregnancies myself (one at 19 weeks and the other at 13) and I know how hard and isolating it can be when you lose a pregnancy, lose a baby. You and your wife are in my thoughts.

  3. This post is so beautiful, for its words, feelings, but also its structure. I can understand wanting to believe in protective barriers, and also in finding that things that brought you joy once upon a time can now be laden with other meanings. It does seem amazing that the whole idea of pregnancy is so tenuously protected and kept whole. I know one thing I took from my own experiences is that it is an incredible miracle that babies come into being at all. Thinking of you!