I hate when people call me brave. That’s probably a silly thing to say. I don’t take offense to it, I just don’t get it. Being brave would seem like a choice to me. I didn’t choose this path, so I didn’t choose to be brave. It’s funny how things sound coming out of others mouths and how they bounce around in your head to become something completely different. My ears hear “You’re so brave”. My mind hears “Congratulations on making it another day without throwing yourself off of a cliff”, as if I had some other viable alternative through surviving another day without her. I wake up and breathe in and out and move forward without her because I -have- to, not because it’s a brave choice I’ve made.
I’ve come to the realization in the last few days that I am now part of a scary statistic. From what I have read, still birth affects 1 in every 200 pregnancies in North America (incidences are higher in third world countries). That’s a lot. More than I ever thought. I remember being warned about miscarriage early on, that losing the baby was a possibility before that seemingly magic twelve week mark but after that it never seemed to enter into the realm of possibility. As the pregnancy progressed there were conversations about preeclampsia, downs syndrome, common birth defects… why did nobody ever warn me of the risks of still birth? Nobody ever talks about the sad side of pregnancy. I remember saying a thousand times to people when they asked if we knew if we were having a boy or a girl: “I don’t care, as long as he or she is healthy”. Why did it never occur to me to say “I don’t care, as long as he or she is alive”?
Before (capital B), I dreamed that each month I would take a picture of my baby with this stuffed Winnie the Pooh that Mom and Dad (Nanny and Poppy) had bought for their first grandchild when they went away on vacation last October. The one that I clutched to my chest at her funeral. It’s just big enough that if I propped my precious baby up along side of it every month and posted the pictures to facebook everyone would be able to see just how much our little baby had grown. This is one of the many “never” thoughts I have in the run of each and every single day. This will never be her one month birthday. Not to anyone but me, at least.
I haven’t exactly decided if it was morbid, though it very well may be, that when the clock struck midnight last night I silently muttered to myself “Happy one month birthday, Everlee”, The same way I used to talk to her when she was still alive, still in my stomach. I decided to post it to facebook anyway. To me, even though she was stillborn, Everlee was still born. February 13th will always be her BIRTHday to me, it will never symbolize the day she died, even if we had to say goodbye before we ever really got to say hello.
She would have been a month old today, I should be propping her up against that soft and squishy Winnie the Pooh for her pictures.
It’s hard to believe, after all that has happened, that I was so scared of the labour process throughout my entire pregnancy. I was petrified of the pain and what it would do to my body. I was scared my body would never be the same. Who knew that it would be the easiest and least painful thing I would go through that day? Who could have realized it wasn’t labour that would change me forever? Certainly not me. Certainly not the people who loved Everlee the most. My baby was born healthy and beautiful, like I had always hoped. My baby just wasn’t born alive. There’s no bravery in that.