Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Interim

I was hovering over myself.

The flat grey light passed through the window and onto the bed where my body lay, swollen, still beautifully pregnant. There was a line running into my arm, to keep the labor going, and a line going into my back, to numb that body from knowing what was happening.

(to protect me from the physical pain, because I was already dying from the pain beneath the numbness of my mind)

I didn't know where I was, or what to do.
I hadn't cried much.

My mind whirled, and I remember thinking things such as, "What will I do with the car seat?" and "Perhaps we can travel to Italy this summer, Italy is so beautiful and I've always wanted to return." I even turned to Greg and said, "All our friends will be afraid of us. We will have to invite them over, surround ourselves with them. Then they won't be afraid." I think maybe I was actually imagining at that point that I might reclaim the childless life I had once had.

The clock ticked, and the hours passed. Hours passed. I slept a little.

A social worker, kind and soft, came and spoke to us. She told us about the kinds of things people do when their baby dies, about inviting families in and taking photographs and spending time together. I believed that others made those choices, but thought that perhaps I would make different ones. I didn't believe, at that time, that I would want even one solitary witness to, or memory of this: my greatest, most colossal failure of all.

And then she asked us if we had thought about what we wanted to do with our baby.
"Have you thought about whether you plan to have a funeral, whether you want to cremate your baby or bury your baby somewhere?"

I was still hovering, dissociated, unaware, but this question came up like an angry hand and yanked me back into my body and I broke into a thousand pieces all at once.

I was responsible for this person, and she had died. It was up to me, because I was the mother of this person, and she had died. I was hoping to choose breast or bottle, pink or blue, to push or to carry, and instead I would choose to bury or to burn.

It was too much. All at once, I cried, and cried, and cried.

And I knew that Italy was completely out of the question, and so were the dinner parties.


JamieW said...

Wow. You really captured that moment, those thoughts, that instant when it all becomes real through the fog and the pain.

Hope's Mama said...

One of the first things I said to Simon, on the way home from hospital, dead child inside my body was: "Lets go to Paris". As if somehow that would make it all better. And I remember thinking about the car seat, then promptly asking my father in law, who was in the room while I laboured, to go and take it out for us. It stayed in the boot of our car for months to come and each time I went to put groceries in the boot (and forgot it was there) I would cry.
Your story keeps taking me right back to my own.
How ever did we survive this?

ezra'smommy said...

Carol, each of your posts recently have reduced me to tears. Its all too hauntingly familiar.

rebeccaeee said...

Please write a book. These memories are haunting and terrifying for those of us who have not been babylost and touching and familiar for those who have. Your entire experience as a mother is worth noting, starting with Charlotte.

Charlotte's Mama said...

I am dying to write a book, and will one day. I concede to the fact that I don't have space in my life to do so now, but open my mind to a future that will enjoy doing just that.