When I first got home from the hospital, I thought that nights would be the biggest challenge. How would I be able to lie in bed and sleep knowing that Sidney was no longer inside of me? How would I not replay everything that had happened in my mind? But nights oddly enough bring with them a peace that I have made it through another day. It is mornings that are hardest. I wake up with a horrible sense of dread in the pit of my stomach and the recognition that Sidney is not here with me. That he is still gone, that my reality has not changed. I lie in bed, unable to breathe, but knowing there are no alternatives. I struggle to get out of bed, to play with Eli and respond to him with some level of sincerity as I die on the inside, fearing how I will get through another whole day. I still have very bad waves of denial, unable to accept that this is my new reality, that Sidney is actually dead, and instead I keep thinking how things like this don’t really happen, shouldn’t really happen. I imagine my contractions killing him, his heart slowly stopping. I know such thinking is not productive and try to block these thoughts from my head, from my heart. But today is Tuesday. A day that I will forever hate.
Two weeks ago on Tuesday morning, I woke up to my alarm, thinking if I could just get through the day before going into labor, I’d be at a good point in my classes to stop early. I went to school, I taught, and I told the staff that I would email them if I was heading to the hospital. That evening, the contractions picked up, I sent out emails canceling my meetings, also aware I hadn’t felt Sidney move in a while. I ate something sweet and maybe felt him move a little. To this day, I will never be sure. I think I felt his head bump gently against me. In hindsight, he may have been saying goodbye. But now, all I can think of is that throughout the day Tuesday, he might have been slowly dying inside of me, his heart slowing down while I worried about teaching, while I thought let me just put Eli to bed before I go to the hospital, before everything changes. but that ‘everything’ was bringing home a baby, being a family of three, not having my second son die, not becoming a ‘lost parent’ and learning about the world of grieving parents and stillborn babies. It is not a world I want to know about, want to be a part of. And I am ashamed to write about this, to expose my guilt to the world. But my guilt, or alternatively, it not being my fault, as doctors have insisted, won’t change anything. It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters because nothing will change the outcome. And now I have to figure out how to get through each morning, through each Tuesday, to not have Sidney’s death be my figurative death too. But for now, I write because I’ve been told writing will help. And I don’t know what else to do…..