I lost my baby.
I watch the nurse as she carries my child’s body away. She walks so slowly. So gently. I no longer remember that nurse’s face, but I can still see her moving with such care as she holds my little girl wrapped tightly in blankets.
For two days, I sit, numb, in a hospital bed. The TV flashing. Phone calls, forms, cremation arrangements. Nurses and doctors float in and out of the room. I don’t hear what they are saying but nod my head pretending to listen.
My mind can’t think. I simply stare blankly ahead at the white, sterile wall.
Minutes and hours swirl together until I am released from the cocoon of the hospital room. I sit in a wheelchair clutching my stack of papers and small bag of keepsakes as we navigate hallways dotted with smiling mothers and the sound of newborn cries.
Exposed and raw, I hang my head low in defeat. I squeeze my eyes so tightly in pain and prayer that the tears are unable to escape; I want to be invisible.
Outside, I feel the cool morning air and sun on my skin. We drive home in silence.
I recognize nothing.
Time slows to a stop and the horrific, unplanned reality comes crashing down. I feel her phantom kicks in my hollow abdomen. My C-section incision throbs and cramps as I curse my engorged, aching breasts. I physically feel the emptiness settling in my broken heart.
I imagine her lifeless body being kept in a freezer. I imagine my perfect, little girl being driven to the crematorium. My baby is alone. Alone. No one to hold her, no one to comfort her. I need to be with her. I am her mother and I need to be with her.
The thoughts buzz angrily in my head. I can’t escape the unnatural ache of being childless.
I feel sick.
I spend my days trying to find ways to pass the time, searching desperately for some form of comfort. I will my legs to move, force myself to walk. I wander around from room to room in a daze—back and forth, back and forth, back and forth like a caged animal pacing aimlessly.
Inevitably, I wind up standing in front of her crib staring at her belongings. I anxiously flip through ultrasound pictures trying to remember every detail. I replay the memories of my time with her, burning the minutes into my brain, so I don’t forget a second. It is not enough. I curl up on the floor or the bed, clutching her hospital blanket, and sob uncontrollably. Anguish turns to exhaustion and eventually sleep overtakes me.
I wake in the middle of the night, my body longing to be with her, the bedroom swallowed in calm darkness, and I cry quietly into my pillow.
Morning brings the hazy realization that this life of mine isn’t a dream—her empty crib is my truth. I cry.
I cry when my husband leaves for work. I cry making toast. I cry in the shower staring at my mutilated and deformed body. I cry in the car. I cry at the store, in the parking lot, in the shampoo aisle.
I cry so long and hard, at times believing my tears are the only connection I have to her; that they form an invisible string holding her in Heaven, and if I stop she will somehow be forgotten. The fear of forgetting my child . . .
I never realized a soul could spill so many tears.
Suddenly, anger boils and rages. I scream hysterically, uncontrollably, only to be left crumpled and breathless on the floor in front of a growing shrine of sympathy cards and flowers.
This loss has brought me to the edge of madness. I don’t know what I want.
I don’t want noise, I don’t want silence. I don’t want to be alone, I don’t want to be near anyone. I want to be held, but I do not want to be touched.
I need everything to stop spinning and the excruciating emptiness to end.
Helpless. I can’t fight anymore.
I force myself to breathe as I take grief’s hand and simply surrender. I allow myself to feel—all of it.
Another deep breath.
Originally published on Still Standing Magazine