The hardest part I know/ Is giving up a little bit of control….
I keep lying to myself/ I don’t need nobody else/ But I do/ I need you
“Hardest Part” —Laura Welsh
Last night was rough. I praised myself on making it through the day with very few tears and a positive disposition but by bedtime I knew it was all a performance. It’s been eleven days since I gave birth to our Marième at 25 weeks. I’m still not ready to share her full birth story but I hope one day that I will find the strength to talk about her.
Honestly, it feels like I’ve been living through a nightmare. Everyday I wake up expecting to feel a heavy bladder and my baby dancing away telling me to use the bathroom and feed her. I still imagine my partner returning home from work and kissing her as she kicks away. She definitely was a daddy’s girl and perhaps that’s what scares me.
I remember the way that he held and stared at her in the hospital. It was the moment I longed for but just not under those circumstances. I always knew that he would make a great father but seeing him in action broke my heart. I feel like I robbed him of the chance to watch her grow and become whoever she was going to be. Everyone says that its not my fault, that cord accidents happen all the time and that there was nothing I did wrong but I still can’t help but feel like I had one job and I failed. Maybe that’s part of the reason why I decided to opt out of pain medication even when they offered it to me. I had always planned to give birth to her naturally but once we learned the news that her little heart stopped beating, I think the midwife and nurse expected me to just go for medication.
I wanted her to have a dignified birth. The same one that I planned minus the fact that we would never hear her cry. Originally, I wanted to do what I thought was best for my baby and for the “easiest” recovery but once I learned her condition I decided that I needed to endure the pain for another reason: I needed to feel the pain of childbirth because it was my fault.
I remember I read a few months ago that most women seem to forget the worst parts of childbirth thus the reason why they can continue to have more children. It’s bizarre because I would have to agree. I remember moments of physical pain but not in a way where I can relive that. Maybe it’s because I’m in more emotional pain that I would like to admit. Maybe it’s because I feel like a part of me is gone and I will never be able to recapture it.
We opted to not have an autopsy performed. We simply couldn’t imagine allowing someone dissecting our little girl especially since the midwives were quite sure that she passed because the cord (it was kind of short) was wound so tightly around her little legs. She was so active inside of me that it makes sense that she somehow tangled herself up.
I want to get through this but I don’t want to forget her. I don’t want her to think that I didn’t love her. That we didn’t love her. Or that she is replaceable. Although my test results say that there is nothing physically wrong with me, I can’t help but feel like there has to be some other reason. Maybe I’m not worthy enough of experiencing the joys of parenthood. I don’t know. Which makes me angry because then I remember that there are serial killers and other people who do/have done cruel things that are not denied this life-altering experience. Then I think about my partner and I. We’re just ‘normal’ people. So why us?
And now I have what someone might consider irrational worries. What if he decides to leave me in a few years when he wants to have children? He keeps saying that there is nothing physically wrong with us so there shouldn’t be a problem but I don’t think he understands. Maybe I’m so emotionally broken that there is no chance for me to go down that road again. Maybe I just don’t have the mental strength. What if it happens again?
I know I’m impatient but I just need this to be over. I’m depressed, angry, frustrated, and honestly I’m not okay. Yeah, I said it. I put on this performance of good humor and being well-adjusted but I’m not. And I don’t know how to help him either. I feel like I’m failing him and myself. I just want to know: will we ever be okay again?