It's been a month. A month since my baby was born. A month since his birth day. It makes people incredibly uncomfortable for me to say that, because he had to be "surgically removed," and not by c-section. They consider it to be a medical completion of a miscarriage, not a birth. I couldn't pick. I, the eternal all-natural, intervention-free, listen-to-my-body-because-it-knows-what-it's-doing, true-informed-consent-for-all activist, crazy hippy chick who likes to sit in a warm bath and have my babies there in peace and silence with just my husband and midwife had no choices. Instead I was strapped to a table, knocked unconscious, surrounded by strangers, no husband or midwife anywhere in sight, and my baby and the tumor beside him were sucked from my womb in pieces. I had no choice, but it was still his birthday.
How am I doing? Some people still ask. Most just look at me, gauge my responses, and walk on eggshells. Others are oblivious, acting totally nonchalant even though they know, and act as if it was a 'thing' I had to do in January, akin to a pedicure or trip to the beach. For the most part I'm fine, but when the latter happens I want to verbally punch those people in the face and scream that my baby is dead, that thing that happened on January 29th was his birth, and my husband and I never got to touch or hold him. But we'll keep it civil and I'll throw out a shockingly equally nonchalant, "Yes, we lost our son in the second trimester. He was born January 29th."
How am I doing? Most of the time I'm fine. Sometimes random things fly in my face- the most odd, unpredictable things- and shock me with how they make me go from fine to hysterical, gut-wrenching sobs. Like the other night when everyone was in bed asleep, husband was at work, I'd just finished fold laundry and was making the rounds to shut off all lights and lock the doors, and my eyes fell to his ultrasound picture. The one picture of our Asher Joel. I look at it daily because it's the only way I can see him in this life. I kiss my thumb and press it gently against his face every day because it's the only way I can kiss his face the way I kiss the faces of all my children every day. But that one night when my eyes landed on his picture I burst into uncontrollable tears, collapsed on the floor beside the bookshelf in my living room, and sobbed. Like the morning last week when I realized there would be no 29th this month, so no 'one month birthday' for my Asher. Instant tears. Like yesterday in the Starbucks drive-thru when the girl at the window said it was March 1st, then realized her mistake and corrected herself that it was the 28th, but tomorrow would be the 1st. I was instantly fighting tears again, and my husband put his hand on my arm and said, "Meg, it's okay. Meg, you're okay. It's okay." He knew that would trigger me before he even saw the tears.
How am I doing? I don't sleep most nights. Since that awful appointment on January 20th when we found out our Asher had died, my brain has been convinced that my husband and all the rest of my children are about to drop dead at any second. I spend most nights frantically cleaning and doing laundry, checking on all my children as they sleep to ensure their windows are locked and they're all still breathing. When my husband leaves for an errand alone I fight literal panic attacks that he will be killed while he's gone. This was compounded when he was on a coffee run last week and a driver at a stop sign apparently didn't see him and T-boned his little Focus with her huge SUV. He's alive, he's not life-threateningly injured, but my brain's anxieties were confirmed, and I am a mess. I can let no one out of my sight without significant anxiety.
How am I doing? I am dealing with some anger. With my first three babies, I had severe postpartum depression. With my fourth I used a very alternative form of preventative treatment called placentophagy. Yep, I consumed my placenta. Guess what? It worked. For the first time I did not have a single bit of blues or depression, much less the 6-18 months of debilitating PPD I usually deal with. This time, it was not an option. I feel angry and robbed. I was robbed of my baby, and I was robbed of the one thing that has ever had an impact on postpartum depression for me. Yes, there are technically other options, but they don't work for me. I've tried it all. So I'm treating daily the best I can with nutrition, herbal supplements, and essential oils. They take the edge off, and I am functional. Functional, but still very angry in so many ways that I have to deal with this at all.
It's my son's 1 month birthday today, and that's how I'm doing. No cute pictures with the birthday hat or sticker like we've done with all our other babies. Mostly I'm okay and you won't know the difference if you talk to me, but inside I am mostly not. Inside I'm dealing with the layers of this onion, and running this race I was thrown into. I'm desperate to be truly okay, desperate to get back to my boring, normal, stay-at-home, homesteading, homeschooling, loving mama and wife, and leave this angry, weepy, unpredictably emotional version of me behind. Focusing on the good and keep on truckin'. That's how I'm doing.