Friday, March 21, 2008

I think it's pretty likely that my blog is not going to be terrifically uplifting for awhile. I hate to think this May thing is starting already and it's still March. Truthfully I have been spending a lot of time reviewing these DVD's I bought for educational purposes for hospital staff, and they are making me really, really depressed. For any of you who might be in the field, they are from They are very well done. So, thence, they make me really, really sad.
So here's the big problem with being sad. When Charlotte first died, and I felt sad, I could just talk about her. Just about her. About being pregnant. About how she would have her toes up in my ribs and delighted in catching them under my bottom rib and pulling down as hard as she could, sometimes with an audible snap (I swear this is true. She was such a little mischeif maker). I could talk about the feeling of her soft, downy shoulders, and remember so clearly her new, sweet smell. I could talk about the birth, answer questions about what she looked like. There was, if I had the right audience, a lot to talk about.
But there came a point, and I'm still there, where it kind of started to feel like it had all been said. Like the sadness that I had in me was just sitting there, and I didn't know what to do with it, because the story was over, it was very much over. I still wanted more chapters. But there weren't any.
So when I feel this sadness, this stuckness, like I want and need to feel the loss of my baby in the midst of my otherwise very happy life with my vivacious Liam and Aoife and so much other love and companionship, I just don't know where to start.
Maybe with you?
When I started to push Charlotte out, I didn't really think I was still having a baby. She had been stolen from me already, by means of her future being erased. My mind couldn't wrap itself around the fact that she was still there. But as I felt her head be born, and then my midwife gently guided her shoulders out one by one, my brain slowly processed those two pieces of anatomy, head and shoulders, and something shifted in me, and suddenly the whole experience became very empowering and huge in a very new way. The strength that I had felt, the ultimate groundedness, the wholeness as I had pushed, suddenly became birth for me. My hands reached for her, and pulled her onto my belly.
The room was pink, dusky pink, and the lights were very, very low. It was a grey, rainy day outside, pouring rain, and the curtains and shades were not drawn. The flat, rainy light that would haunt me all spring fell on my new baby's face, which was surprisingly clean. Her hair was thick and swirled on the crown of her head, and curling around her ears. She had eyes, nose, and mouth, and four perfect limbs sprouted from her tiny middle. The miracle of life beheld me.
Life? But she did not breathe.
Yes, life. Because she was a life, the life of my own little girl, although at that point, I did not know if she was a boy or a girl. I breathed in so deeply, with the shock, and the love, and the horror of what would lie ahead. "Oh, Greg, " I said, softly. "Our baby is so beautiful."
I have tried so many times to explain what this feels like, this falling in love with the child you know you will not keep. With all due respect to the instantaneous, deep, unfathomably deep love that I felt for Liam and Aoife, it is still incomparable. The knowledge that you will never see this child grow old, I think, causes you to bottle, to compress, the love that you hold in your heart that you are supposed to spread over a lifetime and pour it all into that moment, into that day. It gripped me so deeply in my belly. I could not believe that this perfect, perfect baby was mine. I throbbed with the wanting of her. With the desire to have her with me forever, of course knowing that I could not. I kissed her face, bent way over my deflated belly to do so. We were still attached. After breathing in her little face for a while, and seeing her tiny features that looked just like mine, and kissing her baby lips ever so gently, I looked beneath her little curled leg, and saw that she was a girl.

This, again, is indescribable. For having had three pregnancies during which I really, honestly feel that I did not care one way or the other if the child was male or female, the second I realized that this baby that I could not raise was a girl, my mind whirled into this instantly intact fantasy that I had always wanted a girl and could not live without her. I remain fully convinced that if Charlotte had been Max, I would have concocted the same story with a little boy as the protagonist. Suddenly, she was just what I needed. My baby girl. The oldest daughter, just like me. Had I always wanted a girl during the pregnancy? At that moment, I believed that I had. I needed her desparately. How could she be taken away already? How could all of these dreams be empty hopes?
Greg cut the cord, finally, severing that which had both sustained Charlotte and caused her to die. Then I could pull her closer to me. And I did.

This is what I can do right now. I just have to live those moments sometimes, to rebring her to me. To remember what that was like, that intensity which I have never experienced since. That one day love affair (which of course still lives in my mind).

Enough. So, not to change the subject, but have I ever mentioned my excitingly crafty side? Tonight, after the napless kids went to bed at half past six and Greg went with his parents to have dinner with his brother, I worked on my very cool, expertly designed curtains that I am making for AOIFE's NEW BEDROOM!! They are very cool, and if they come out as cool as I think they will, I will for sure be posting a picture of my masterpiece here. So that was my evening. Cutting out and pinning up curtains while watching intensely depressing grief video.
Don't you wish you were me?

1 comment:

Aimee said...

I love your writing about Charlotte. I think your last paragraph is so wonderful--when you realized she was a girl and suddenly you knew, just knew, that you had wanted her to be a girl all along. And probably the same thing would have happened if she had been a he. I remember when I was told I was carrying a girl--a girl I would never see or touch--I remember realizing at that very moment, that I NEEDED a third girl. That was what I needed at that very moment. And couldn't have. You just phrase it so much better!