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Birthday

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

His birthday is coming up in ten days. Yesterday was DS's original due date. I remember that day last year coming and going, and feeling so anxious to get to his birth. How little I knew then about what I was ultimately going to face.

 

I thought that his birthday wouldn't be a big deal in terms of reliving the birth. Why should it be any different than any other day I've thought about it? But it is different. I am dreaming, nightmaring, actually, about it all. I keep dreaming I have been in labor for a week and that everyone is furious with me that the baby isn't coming. People are yelling at me. They leave me alone in a room and call me a failure. They're tired of supporting me. They think I'm not trying.

 

I cry and beg my baby to come out. He won't come. I don't know why he doesn't want to meet me. I want to meet him so much.

 

I wake up sweaty and with a lump in my throat. I get up and go look at DS sleeping in his playpen. I touch my scar for a moment and remember that he did get here. And that I've processed a lot of this experience, and that I'm supposed to be moving away from the ravine of grief and bewilderment I felt in the beginning. 

 

And then I think of a baby being lifted onto a mama's chest that I saw in a birth video. The baby is covered in vernix. The chord is pulsing. The mama is radiant. And I cry because I never got to see DS that way. He was given to me in a bundled blanket with an ugly hat on his head that I didn't knit (I left the one I made for him that winter, pregnant on the couch, at home in the rush to the hospital). And he had a bloody head where they insisted on putting a monitor under his skin in utero. 

 

I wouldn't let anyone wash him for days. Partly because I was desperate to capture the smell of him from the womb. And partly because I felt like if I let them wash that bloody scab off his head that I would be letting myself off easy. My penance was to have to look at it every hour of every day, so that I would be forced remember the terrible thing I had let them do. That spot is covered now with a thin layer of fuzzy white-blonde hair. But in the dark, the shadows fall and my eyes play tricks on me. It is like I can see it again, like it never left.

 

I think of all this every night before I fall back into bed, pull the covers up, and try to sleep again. 

 

I am proud to have made it a year with my guy. I am excited to bake him his first birthday cake. But in another place inside me, I am weeping and my heart is breaking in my chest.

post #2 of 11

grouphug.gif Big hugs to you, mama.

 

In my experience, getting through my LO's first birthday was a very big deal. I also started "re-living" things. The night that was my 1-year anniversary of going into labor, I awoke after midnight and ended up sobbing in the kitchen. My partner woke up, and we had a huge fight, but eventually we were able to get to a better place and talk about things. It was exhausting.

 

For DD's birthday, we threw a huge party. I felt like I deserved a medal just for still being on my feet after the hardest year of my life. I'm not sure many people at the party understood that, but it was important to me to mark the occasion in a big way.

 

Things were still hard and I still had a lot of processing to do after DD's first birthday, but there was definitely a shift in intensity. The one-year mark was significant for me, and things gradually got easier after that.

 

Let yourself feel what you feel. I wish you continued transformation on your journey. Keep posting.

 

grouphug.gif

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Last night I was trying to talk to DH about this. And he is so kind and wants to help. But as we were talking, he told me about how he was at a news story this week at the hospital where our son was born. He met a couple in the elevator who were taking their 3 month old in for a checkup. Babe had been born premature and they didn't know for weeks if he would make it. But now he was here and healthy and the parents were so relieved.

 

And DH's point was- it could've been worse. That could've been us.

 

And I just looked at him incredulously and said "So, you're saying that at the baby was healthy so that's the important thing? Are you kidding me?"

 

File that under what NOT to say.

 

Of course it could've been worse. I could've died. My son could've. He could've been born with six heads. Frogs could've rained from the sky when we left the hospital. The moon could've crashed into the maternity wing. I fail to see what that has to do with the bad bits that DID happen and are still with me. Any situation could always be worse. It could also be a lot better. Jeez.

post #4 of 11

I'm starting a new thread about the support we get (or not) from our spouses, because that deserves its own conversation.

 

In terms of the whole "it could have been worse" thing...it is true that some people find that kind of thinking very helpful. I think it's the kind of thing that if you arrive at it yourself, it's because there's some wisdom there, and that's useful. If it's something that someone else is telling you, in a mis-guided effort to be soothing, it can really be grating.

 

We each have our own stories, our own pain, our own joys, our own recoveries. We need to own them. Comparisons to others are just almost never helpful, and are often counter-productive.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Tomorrow is the day.

 

This day last year I had been in labor since the 23rd, I think... and I was running up and down the backsteps during contractions, per the midwife's instructions. I was crying because I knew I was failing. I knew that with every hour my baby didn't come, a c-section loomed larger. I hadn't slept in so long. I didn't want to eat anything. I wanted to go back and not have even gotten pregnant. But I wanted to be a mother so bad. Why wouldn't my baby come? I told my husband that maybe our child didn't want to meet me. 

 

The four-minute long contractions had started by this point. They were horrific. I thought of every person who told me childbirth hurt because western women expect it to, and I wanted to punch them in the face. I remembered that Dr. Dick-Reed, who popularized that idea, was male, and I thought ruefully, 'figures.'

 

This was not ecstatic or orgasmic or spiritual. It was painful torturous work, and I wanted it to end.

 

I just wish it hadn't ended the way it did.

 

I tried so hard, for so long. But a part of me still asks if I could've done more, given it one more hour, five more minutes, another night. Why can't I just accept what happened? 

 

DH wanted to go for ice cream last night and I just started crying. This day last year, he went to get ice cream from my favorite place so that my midwife could put castor oil in it, and I could drink it to try to get our baby to come out. I couldn't taste the oil in the thick custard then. But now that food just brings back memories of failure, and it tastes like the worst thing in the world.

post #6 of 11

hug2.gif

 

Tomorrow will be better, I promise.

 

Just keep telling it like it is. Keep sharing. There is something beautiful in telling the rigorous truth.

 

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post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Just a quick update to say thank you so much, CI Mama. And you were right. Now that the actual birthday has passed, things feel better. I stayed up late the night before and re-told my birth story. This time, I recorded it on my computer. I don't know who it's for- maybe I'll delete it. But it felt necessary.

 

Thanks for all the wonderful support. It would've been a lot harder to get through this first anniversary without this group.

post #8 of 11

Good for you! You made it! joy.gif

 

I'm glad you told your birth story to the computer. Don't delete it. It might be useful someday.

post #9 of 11

Hey, ladies, I just wanted to say that today is my daughter's 4th birthday!

 

And I feel truly joyful and unburdened by my trauma this year. Yay for healing! The support I have received in this community has meant all the world to me. Thanks to all of you for your listening and sharing your wisdom.

post #10 of 11

Happy Birthday to Mom as well.  Thanks for being here!

 

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post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Happy anniversary, Mama!

 

And happy birthday to your little girl. :) 

 

Your journey has resulted in a precious gift for all of us - this space and community. Thank YOU for all you've given!