a prose poem by
YEYET SORIANO | Mother + Writer
“Full Circle” is a snapshot of a part of my life when I felt the deepest despair, the most exquisite fear, and the most sublime happiness. That period defined me as a woman, a mother, and a person. While it happened almost ten years ago, this is the first time I will be sharing it openly to people outside of my family and inner circle of friends.
Photo by Liv Bruce
1. 32 Days
2 LINES. Damn. How can that be? Wow, I’m pregnant? So soon after my second child? This is surreal.
Ultrasound. I look at the monitor and see a faint beating. There is a heartbeat, though a bit weak. The doctor says it is still early. I will need to go back in a few weeks for another ultrasound. I am, for some reason, deliriously happy, not even minding that the doctor who is doing the transvaginal ultrasound is a guy, whom I first mistook for a butch woman.
May 16 to 29
The days speed by. I am feeling all the symptoms: my appetite is increasing and I am starting to get weird cravings. Classic pregnancy signs. Yet, I am still working almost twelve hours every day, staying at the office very late, trying to complete my deliverables.
We are keeping the pregnancy a secret until the final ultrasound on the thirtieth, mainly because I can’t bear to tell C, who is currently suffering from a miscarriage after she had successfully been declared pregnant.
We are at the next ultrasound two weeks later and my world is crashing down. The results show that I had suffered some internal bleeding. There is no longer a heartbeat. I look at the monitor and see no movement. No pulsing, nothing. My eyes well up with tears. Hubby is here with me, and the doctor is kindly explaining to us that we need to talk to my OB about options.
Options. I am going to have to induce the abortion since the baby inside me is already dead. My OB is telling me to take a few days before the procedure to prepare myself psychologically.
Night. I am drinking alcohol after not drinking for the past month since the day I found out I was pregnant. I am drinking and crying and blaming . . . myself . . . God . . . everyone . . . and everything.
A day later, I am checking into the hospital. I am ready for the . . . separation. I am asked to take some meds, and the OB is inserting something there. There is a dull ache and soon after, I am bleeding. I am wheeled into the labor room. Funny how different the feeling is to be in the same room where I waited for my second child’s arrival. Now I am waiting to put my little angel to rest. I am suddenly panicky. I am feeling the pain already, and I am realizing I can never really be ready for this.
My OB gave me Demerol and instantly the world takes on a numbing quality and I feel separate from my body. I am floating and the pain I initially felt is gone. Even the emotional and psychological pains are gone. There is a nagging sensation, though, when I realize that when I get all my feelings back I will be alone . . . and empty.
Awake. It is over. He is gone. I hear a baby cry and I want to cry in frustration. Don’t these people know I just lost my baby? Why the hell are they bringing a baby into this room? Then I hear the soft gasp of the woman on the bed to my right although we are separated by a curtain. She coos to her new baby. And I try to go back to oblivion.
Going home. It is unsettling. It is a familiar world. But I am an unfamiliar person, somehow incomplete, somehow diminished. Life goes on, I know, but I am changed, and I have to determine a way to go on as changed as I am.
I see my husband look at me, and although he says he understands he will never be able to fathom the pain I feel. I see my two kids, and then it hits me. I have my two daughters. My second child she is still a toddler. I am blessed. I have a guardian angel in . . . what is his name? I have actually known that the name should start with L since we have J, K, M, and N. We’re missing the middle. Now it is filled. Lilo if she was a girl and Lucas if he was a boy. I felt—I feel—that he is a boy. So Lucas. Luc. My little angel Luc.
The next few weeks will be very difficult as I try to face everyone again as if nothing happened; because something major has happened. I was pregnant, I was mother to my third child, my first son, and then I lost him. I am changed. And most everyone else will never know that I am looking at them through changed eyes.
I sit in my orange sofa, nestle my head in the crook of my husband’s shoulder, and cradle my second daughter on my lap, waiting for my eldest to come home from school. I hug my second child tight as I force the tears to stop from falling. She looks up at me and smiles. I close my eyes and senses Luc smiling at me as well. He will always be there for me. He will always be a part of me, looking after me and his family.
I move forward, pain and all.
2. Leap of Faith
I know that it is just the right thing to do. The reasons are varied and can get very complicated or simple. The fact remains that I feel—or I believe—that it is time to resign from my work and to Just. Do. Nothing.
People are perplexed. Why am I giving up something that has brought in steady income? Why indeed? And what do I plan to do? I plan to do nothing really. It is just time. After everything that has happened, it is just time. You see, a part of me feels I lost the baby because of my dedication to my work, and I just can’t stand staying in the job that I thought contributed to that event.
So armed with nothing except the support of my friends and family, and the understanding of those who mattered, I resign. It helps that we have a sizeable nest egg which we can use while I figure out what to do next.
At work, I have several send-offs, and it is touching that people are actually really sad that I am leaving, and they show me how important they consider me.
At home, it is almost heartbreaking when my eldest daughter asks me when my resignation would take effect. And when I tell her, she says she is thankful that I would be home more often and we can spend more time together.
It also gives me the time to be a real quality mom to my second child and it feels good to spend time with her without the hurry and the stress of corporate life.
July to September
And so, for a few months I do nothing. Well, nothing related to any corporate job. I just take it easy and bond with my family, reconnect with my friends, become involved with my high school homecoming party, and just forget about working. Instead, I focus on living.
3. Second Chance
Right after our high school homecoming, which was a major production—with me being very actively involved since I was no longer working—I am feeling the all too familiar crash after a big high. The homecoming event had me dancing, singing, composing, being involved in the planning, practicing, and even contributing written materials for the souvenir program. Not to mention shopping around for sponsors, and just basically being carried away in the moment of the preparation and conduct of the whole event, renewing and strengthening ties with my high school batchmates and friends.
I am already looking forward to my next big “project,” a fundraiser for the school we were setting up in memory of my brother who recently passed away. I also start working as a consultant for a multinational company, and would you believe it, I am working from home! I just needed to ensure I had the proper phone line, Internet connection, and I was all set. I was told I would travel, but it wouldn’t be often. The offer came right after the homecoming event, so it was perfect timing . . . perfect arrangement too.
I am too busy, I don’t notice the signs . . . or maybe, I don’t want to notice the signs.
After a few weeks, it is too obvious to ignore. I go to my OB, delivering to her the tickets she bought for our fundraiser, and as an aside I say that I don’t remember having my period the last month and it must be because of the stress of all the homecoming stuff. She asks me to take a test, and there and then I do.
In a few minutes, she tells me I am pregnant.
I can’t help but cry. Why? I don’t know. I guess I am scared. I just lost a baby a few months ago and I don’t know if I am up to going through it again. I am forty-one, going on forty-two in about two months.
I got scheduled for the normal ultrasound to confirm the test and I am painfully reminded of the ultrasound that sent my world crashing. This time, the heartbeat is strong. But as a precaution, my OB asks me to take it easy. Not to travel (so I have to explain to my new boss that I can’t travel, and there is an instant when I think I might lose the job because of this constraint . . . but he is very understanding). My OB also advises me not to engage in any sexual activity (to the chagrin of my hubby) or be in any activity or situation that would put undue stress on me.
November to March
I am afraid to hope . . . afraid to wish . . . and yet here I am again . . .
And so it goes, the days, the weeks, the months. There are the usual tests and check-ups. Each and every time, I expect the worst so that I won’t get hurt, but deep inside me I know hope is growing. And with each passing moment, I am getting emotionally invested.
When I feel him move inside me for the first time, I know I am past the point of no return. I am already in love, and it is a journey I intend to take with him up to the end, whatever the end is.
There are times I am very happy, and there are times I am very frightened, but I know that this time it is going to be different. He is fighting, and I am fighting as well. I know this is the baby that I lost a few months ago, and we have been given a second chance to get this right.
Even before the doctor said he is a boy, I know, just as I knew the baby was a boy back then as well. I know in my heart Lucas is on his way to claiming the life he was not able to claim before. And I will be damned if I don’t do everything to ensure Lucas sees the light of day and feels my arms around him. Ironically, or maybe it is fate, my due date is June 1, the actual day that I lost Lucas before.
We schedule the caesarean operation on May 20 since my hubby wants another member of the family born on the twentieth (his birthday is September 20).
Baby shower. Wishes are written and tied to blue balloons, and then the balloons are released to the sky. Higher and higher they go. It is beautiful.
I know they reached you, my dear angel, everyone’s wishes that your second chance be a reality. My wishes are both verbal and nonverbal, and I let go of the biggest balloon.
Come back to me on May 20. I want to finally hold you and look into your eyes.
As the date nears, the more agitated I feel; the more nervous I am.
I so want to finally see your eyes looking at me, to feel your little hands in mine, to feel the warmth of your embrace, to hear the sound of your voice, to smell the fragrance of your skin and breath.
I feel you kick from inside me. You’re very strong, my little man. With every movement, my breath catches. You’re there. You’re alive.
My heart beats with trepidation. This is our second chance and I really wish we will make it all the way through.
I am already anticipating the pain of the recovery from the caesarian operation and the pain of my breasts filling up with milk. But I am more frightened of encountering another kind of pain, even on this day. I am still afraid.
And then . . . and then . . .
I hear your soft low voice, and I see your beautiful little face. I kiss you, and everything is worth it, everything I went through and will go through. Everything is worth it just to see you alive and kicking and crying.
My little man, our second chance.
Mother + Writer
I am Yeyet Soriano, based in Manila, Philippines. I am first and foremost, a mother to three beautiful children: two daughters, sixteen and nine, and a son, six. I am married to a man I was never really compatible with, who was totally wrong for me from the onset, but our differences have made our love and relationship exciting and always interesting. I am a full-time career woman, currently working as a senior IT manager for the Asia Pacific region for a multinational corporation.
I am a story teller, a writer (independently published speculative fiction, crime fiction, and contemporary romance author), a photographer, a musician, and traveler. My family and my day-to-day life inspires my creativity. I want to show my children that it is never too late to pursue a passion and to never give up on dreams. I also want them to appreciate that art is both passion and hard work. I read books and watch a lot of movies and TV series. My favorite genres are the dark ones—speculative fiction, crime thrillers, and the like. But at times, I also enjoy romance, comedies and action adventures. I will never say no to deep and talky dramas which nobody else in the family likes.
I integrate my art into my daily life by constantly telling my kids stories, by letting them inspire my stories, by putting them in the middle of most of my photographs, and by inviting them to join me in events—like launches and other writing events—so they understand my creative life more. If age appropriate, I let them read my work and I value their inputs. I sometimes discuss problematic plot lines and welcome their recommendations and viewpoints.
I normally work on my art—my writing—when everyone else is asleep. Being a mother, a wife and career woman demand a lot of creative time management on my part. So I have to force myself to make time to write, even if only a few minutes per day. I keep a notebook near me always so I can jot down thoughts, inspirations, stories all throughout the day. My photography, I practice when I am with them, but they give me time to go off on my own from time to time to take pictures.