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.