I enrolled in a Dr. Seuss book club for children early in my last pregnancy. I wanted to have a good size library ready for Brake when he arrived in this world. I also really loved reading to him inside my belly at night when he was most active.
Last night I soaked in a scalding hot bath, reading some of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories to my now empty belly. I couldn't bare to read the words, but I couldn't bare the thought of putting it down.
It hurts so much to see these books piling up around my house, knowing they will never be read to my son. I just can't bring myself to turn off the membership.
I felt like I deserved the pain of the scalding water. I failed to bring a healthy baby into this world, not just once, but twice. I know that there was nothing I could do to save my babies. But that doesn't make me feel any better.
The sense of failure first set in after losing Lilly last summer. I couldn't stand to hear the same clique bullshit from people that didn't seem to understand. When I finally started talking publicly again, I wrote of my failure on Facebook:
I grew up on a farm. Papaw used to find rabbit nests when he went out on the tractor. He usually found them after the mother had been hit, so he would bring the babies back in little boxes. We were fairly young when we learned how to bottle feed them and try to nurse them enough to save them. As we got older, we started doing the same with birds, kittens, puppies, turtles, and anything else we stumbled across. If we couldn't fix them, our parents usually could, and either way we'd still give it our best shot.
Between childhood accidents, the fire department, and the nursing home, my tolerance for blood and guts and death became eerily high. Something about fixing bleeding people and sometimes cleaning dead bodies just seems to desensitize you to things like that. I don't hafta think about what to do in those situations. I just start doing what needs to be done. Hell, most people are afraid of needles but I can give myself an IV and stitches with no problem.
Even in other, unrelated-to-blood-and-guts matters, there was never much that I couldn't find a way to do.
Up until recently the hardest thing I've ever had to do was watch one of my best friends lay brain dead in a hospital bed. It was hard knowing there was absolutely nothing I could do, but at least she was surrounded by doctors that could try. That doesn't make it better, but it does help ease the sting just a bit.
Two weeks ago that changed. My doctor told me that everything was going perfectly with my baby. It was 11 weeks and 1 day and had an amazing heartbeat of 175. About 10 hours later, it dropped out at my feet. It was the size of my palm. It was still moving its tiny hands and feet, and its tiny little heart was still beating. For the first time in my life, I was completely lost on what to do.
There was absolutely nothing that I could do. I couldn't put it back in. I couldn't put a bandaid on it. I couldn't do CPR. I couldn't do anything at all to save it. I couldn't do anything just to make it feel better. And neither could any medic or doctor. Hell, I couldn't even stop looking at it. All I could do was sit there in a growing puddle of blood, watching it kick, too numb to even cry.
I can fight the empty feeling in my belly. I can fight the nightmares that keep me awake all night. I can fight the maddening urge to punch people that say stupid things to me about it. I can even fight the urge to drown myself in a bottomless bottle of bourbon. But for the life of me, I can't kick this overwhelming feeling of failure.
Even though in reality there was nothing I could do, doing nothing still feels like failure. Sitting there watching a helpless baby die on the floor feels like the biggest failure of my entire life. And failure is not something I'm used to dealing with. So the next time you wanna tell me that everything is ok, or that I should be nicer to people, or that I need to be more positive, or that I should be over it already, please remind yourself that you didn't see it and then GO FUCK YOURSELF.
I know I shouldn't feel this way. I know it's not my fault. I did everything in my power to protect and keep those babies healthy. Every time I walk in my house, Dr. Seuss is there with another slap in the face. Another reminder that I let my babies die. Another reminder that I failed to do the one important job assigned to me. Another reminder that my babies are no longer here.