I’ve tried not to be maudlin this March. I thought it would be so awful and it hasn’t been but suddenly it has hit me that in 6 days I should be celebrating a birthday. In 6 days I can’t say “I was pregnant this time last year. This week is it. This week is the week when, whether my premonitions through pregnancy were true or not, I ignored the nagging doubts and I let my baby just tip over the edge to death. I didn’t demand the scan I wanted, I didn’t go to the hospital when I was worried about my blood pressure. I didn’t listen to myself when I suddenly got scared when he was too quiet. I lay on my side on that Wednesday full of early labour and maybe if I had stood up and walked about, he’d have come earlier and been okay. I should have shouted louder about worrying my bump was too tight. I should have shouted louder that there was something funny about the way he moved so frantically when I lay on my left. I should have made more fuss about my nagging worries that he was too floppy.
But I didn’t. I wanted to give birth and I’m known as a worrier and I thought I was just being stupid. And maybe I was. Maybe he’d have been fine if I’d just swallowed my stupid pride. Maybe the dreams about a baby that wouldn’t open his eyes meant nothing. Maybe I just let him die that week, when he could have been out and in my arms.
The truth is that this week last year was my last week of being happy. The joke was on me when I joked about not wanting an April 1st baby. Maybe if I had gone in that day, when he seemed just that little bit too quiet, he’d be here. April the 1st was my last happy day, the ironic day in an ironic month that always, ALWAYS meant sad. I finally gave birth the way I wanted and knew I could and that was my last proper happy moment ever. This time last year I finally thought everything was going to be okay. I was nearly done. The age it took to get pregnant ended up okay and the bleeding hadn’t meant anything and the baby was engaging and it all looked okay and I was going to complete my family, not only with an unexpected boy, but with the happy ending I thought would make life bearable again.
But it didn’t. One last pain filled push was the very last breath I took happy. Who would guess that? If I’d known, I’d have tried to make sure I remembered it.
This week the world is full of death and the remembrance of death. People say they hope Freddie will come close and comfort me but he doesn’t. When I remember him more, I just hurt more. I have to expend all my energy on pretending he never happened. it means I’m experiencing memory loss that is frightening, because I’ve not got enough spare to process the rest of life, it means that I behave inappropriately at times, suddenly finding myself locked into a gaze with a baby or a toddler who always engages with me, like they are channelling a hello especially for me, while parents look on, weirded out. It means I can’t really go out any more, because I get to places and can’t remember why I’m there.
When people do things, when life does things, that mean I have to face again the fact that my baby is not here, that my little boy is not here, I just crumple some more. The only way forward is to not think, not look, be adept at not seeing the people with babies and toddlers and bumps and happiness and who dare to talk about them. To have a split personality and just no longer trust anything that can hurt me.
I don’t want to be a person who can empathise with these things, I don’t want to turn into someone who curls my lip and snarls – but I am doing. I don’t want to be part of a little pool of 4 women with dead sons who can’t get or stay pregnant. I don’t want to have that bond with anyone, because I don’t want any of us to be experiencing it. I don’t want to sit in play centres while hard faced dads speak belittlingly to their sons – I’ll have them. I’ll take them. I could have been a good mummy to them, Max would have been a great dad to them. Why did WE have to be the people who had to watch their baby die?
I’ve had my year of mourning and now I’m going to have to get on with grieving. I know I haven’t yet. I’m held together so tight that none of those stages are happening. I can’t be angry because I’d have to be angry at myself and some of that anger will spill out at people who are being thoughtlessly hurtful but who still don’t deserve me to be angry at them because it isn’t that they don’t are. They just don’t know. I’m still back in denial. I didn’t realise it until someone, who had experience a different loss, said they now understood it had happened. I still don’t. I’m so mentally and physically confused that sometimes I think “the baby has his head high today” and then I remember. That never happened a year after the others. Something is wrong. Is this grief so very different to all others that there is just no recovery, no acceptance? What the fuck will I do if I, alone of all my friends, don’t get the baby to make it, not right, but bearable?
I’m so confused that the other night, sitting in bed, I suddenly said “We had a baby and we didn’t bring him home” and Max just looked at me like I had gone mad. I don’t know, because I couldn’t ask and I couldn’t look, how the nurse picked him up off the bed and how she wrapped him or how she carried him. I don’t know how Max said goodbye. I don’t know, not in my brain, that he was really dead when I put him down on the bed and turned my back. Only my heart knows and that isn’t enough.
It is like some big, horrible joke. It’s like the half away dream I just had this morning where I was watching Amelie shop for sandwiches and Rolf Harris walked past singing. It is that surreal.
I still don’t believe it. When will I start to believe it?
And why, when I look back at this year of blogging about him nearly 100 posts with his name in, why have I not written about his life? He lived 11 days. Why have I not written the story of his life? What am I waiting for?
I wanted to make him a beautiful birthday and instead thanks to everything else that was never any of my doing, I’ve had to hurt someone else’s feelings and not do things as I wanted. Freddie’s birthday isn’t about him. I wanted to make it nice but I’m frightened and angry so I’m pretending I don’t care. I don’t want it to come so I’m not making plans so that it might not, so I won’t mind if people forget, or forget to be kind or forget to remember. Or forget the day should have been about us and him and nothing else, not even anything else that might have caused a niggle. It’s like virtual self harm and it is getting worse and more putrid by the day.
And honestly, what can you possibly do on the day a baby who didn’t breathe was born, on a day that ought to have been cake and toys and spoiling and family and friends? My family is split on to 3 continents and only speaking to each other in fragments and my son is dead and the sun won’t shine however bright it is. And I still don’t believe he is dead. I still don’t believe I sat there and watched that happen. I still don’t know why.
I wanted him so much. This year should have been so different.
Yesterday – and today – have been the kinds of days when suddenly it weighed so heavy on me that I actually couldn’t hold my head above the table any more. This week is the kind of week for doing the sort of screaming at people that would put me in the wrong and lose me all the scraps of dignity I have left. This week I just wish I could run away.
Snow Patrol – Run by syup02
I love this song, this version of this song. I hadn’t ever seen the video until now. Everything, from the motorbike to the storyline to the face of the singers, seems strangely appropriate. It might even have given me an idea of something to do next Saturday. Thanks Universe. Maybe that made this worth writing.