Having let myself think it would get easier when I started to feel movement, I’m now finding it isn’t easier at all. This baby goes through phases of movement, which my head knows is normal, but my heart isn’t dealing with that at all. Yesterday, for the first time, I found myself thinking “we aren’t going to get all the way” – up until now, my feelings have been mainly positive, if frightened, and this unexpected thought broke through my defences. Unfortunately I have real life people, people I care bout who have had losses at 14 weeks, 16 weeks, 18 weeks, 20 weeks, 23 weeks and that is before you even begin on all the people I know who have lost babies at full term, like we have.
I’m having a really hard time. I’m not really coping, except by turning my head into a none thinking void. I tried to get hold of the hospital councillor, but got no answer and nothing is helping. Not even regular scans are helping, lovely as it is, not even all the amazing midwives caring for me is helping, nothing lasts for more than five minutes. I’m being kept going by the people who have been here and done this before me but times are hard; this week we are remembering Otis and Cullen who died a year ago and the wonderful and joyful birth of rainbow Bennett has given me joy but knocked me for 6 too because he’s had to go to NICU (SCBU in the US). And, horror of horror, Sarah’s family are not only remembering Otis, but have also lost Henry this week, her cousins full term stillborn son. It’s not fair, it’s not fair. This shouldn’t happen once, never mind fucking twice.
I don’t think it had hit me till then how little I have dealt with the reality of those 11 days in SCBU. I’m haunted by the more obvious aspects of it all, realising he wasn’t breathing and watching him die. But I realised a little while ago that I’ve been utterly unable to write about his life. Those 11 days. The fear, the being all at sea and not knowing what people meant. Knowing there was no hope even when people wanted to hope for the best. The fact that I barely slept for more than 3 hours in 24 hours for nearly 2 weeks, until I had to be drugged to sleep. Trying to think of everyone, me, the girls, Max, Freddie. Trying to see ahead. Trying to look behind. Trying to make memories. Trying to make milk. Having to be coherent enough to convince a doctor that I thought it best to let him die if he got more sick while also convincing her that I wanted him to live and I didn’t only want him if he was perfect. Trying to remember the names of drugs. Trying to hold him and talk to him and change nappies and decide whether to learn to feed him by tube. Trying to make decisions about whether he wore our baby clothes.
All of that, all of it and so much more, through post birth, post pregnancy hormones and pain. Dealing with a catheter because my bladder seized up. Trying to work out what the hell went wrong. Remembering not to discuss his birth with Max, the one thing I had to hold on to, because he found it ‘weird’. Trying not to cry. Trying to stay sane enough they wouldn’t put him into care. Not minding that my notes had ‘mother has mental health issues’ written on the front, which I shouldn’t have seen but did. Trying to remember the good moments, not the horrific hours. Trying not to feel guilty that he only EVER had fits when I wasn’t there. I never saw a single one bar a small amount of arm waving and lip trembling, something all my girls have done too. I was almost ALWAYS there and he fitted only when I wasn’t. Trying to forgive myself for leaving the hospital the night he had his eyes open because I had a moment of hope. Not being there when they put him back on oxygen. Telling him to sleep, to rest and then never seeing his eyes again.
All that still to deal with and sort out and put in order and it all might just happen again. And then there is this.