Been wondering what it takes to write. What’s the thing that allows someone to put their thoughts and feelings out there? Is it knowing that it will be seen, can be seen – or is it hoping that it won’t be?
What a loaded concept.
Isn’t hoping just waiting without frowning?
Almost six months pregnant now. It’s a boy. Another boy, he will be my third.
Third son, will be my fourth child. Eighth pregnancy. Eights.
We’ve picked out a name. We’ve bought exactly one outfit. It’s difficult to be excited, though I am glad it’s…
She died, you understand. She died ten days after being born. Nine months of pregnancy, she was fine. Born, she was fine. Brought home, she was fine. First doctor’s appointment, she was fucking fine.
Ten days after birth. Pink, healthy, happy baby.
So what happened? What happened is I woke up, she was sleeping next to me (she looked asleep), came downstairs, went upstairs to check on her, she’s dead. She wasn’t asleep. Her skin was already turning grey. She had the pinkest skin of any of my children. Elvis has my yellow skin. Henry was a yellowish-cream. Tallulah was pink. A rather brownish-pink, all the more startling to see it gone, faded to a waxy grey. I swear it didn’t look like that when I woke up and peeked at her. But how close did I really look? She was my third. By the third you aren’t waiting to see the chest rise and fall before you let out your own breath. By the third you are just relieved that they are still asleep.
She had died in the middle of the night – they couldn’t give me a better answer than that, really. Everyone assured me that she didn’t suffer (how would they fucking know??). She died like in that song. Without a whisper.
I used to love that fucking song.
Autopsy showed nothing.
When I received the report, I asked what had happened. They said suffocated. I asked how is that possible? I said she wasn’t covered. She was lying on her side. Facing away from me. She was in the same position that she fell asleep in. Yes, she was lying right next to me. I share a bed with my newborns. Always have.
They said although nothing turned up in the autopsy report to show that she had in fact suffocated, the fact that she was in my bed tells them the cause is suffocation. They don’t need anything else, apparently. Even the absence of fibers in her mouth or nose or lungs didn’t matter. Suffocated. Death by bed. It’s amazing. Why her and not me?
I find that difficult to wrap my brain around. Why didn’t my other babies die that way, I wonder? Of all the parents that I know, they all tell me how their babies shared a bed with them. They don’t add “well, till it killed them, ya know”. So why her?
Yes, I know the damn campaign slogans. I buy diapers stamped with the “back to sleep” crap. She was on her side. Not her stomach. And you all do realize how that is all bullshit, right? It’s to prevent SIDS – except no one knows what the fuck SIDS is or why it happens. Did you know that? Because I sure as hell know that. After she died all I could do was read about everything I could about what kills otherwise healthy babies. They don’t fucking know and that is just horrifying. It’s horrifying because what’s to stop something like that from happening again?
I suppose I could just grow a pair and demand to speak to the actual doctor that performed the autopsy, rather than the fucking assistant. But what if? What if I killed my daughter? Accidental is still fucking horrible. She was my third child. Shouldn’t I be able to just *know* that something is perfectly safe when it is as simple as a bed? What if she would still be here if it wasn’t for being in my bed?
One day I will call again. I will demand answers, either way. I just, I can’t yet.
What if it wasn’t the bed at all, but just unexplainable? How is that better?
I will keep my next child in his bassinet next to, but not in, my bed – now just out of paranoia than any actual sense of danger. Because, I need to know that cannot happen again.
But, how can I be sure?
I am trying to move on. It’s been over a year since she died. That’s no time, really. The time that passes is just time that puts distance between me and my only daughter. I don’t want distance. I want her. Wanted her then. Wanting her still.
But, I have other children. Very marvelous, maddening children. A new step-daughter. Well past the baby years at ten but she is a delight, all the same. We are expecting a baby. I’ve always been nuts about babies. I feel like I am not showing enough excitement for this one, but how can I get excited when I’ve seen what happens?
35 years old now. I am not in fear of my own mortality. Generally I am willing to cast my life aside with little to no provocation. But, my children. I am in fear now. Fear for their mortality.
The worst thing that we can face in this life must be the knowledge that our children die.