3 years ago today, I was labouring to deliver my stillborn daughter. I was frightened, overwhelmed, traumatized, and heartbroken. It hurts to think about it.
Shortly after I gave birth to my stillborn daughter Mia, my husband and I were given the difficult task of picking a place to scatter her ashes. And though this task was both tragic and morbid, we somehow found ourselves embracing it for what it was. We knew that this would be one of the only things we get to do for our daughter as her parents. All our other parental responsibilities that we so longingly dreamed about, were stolen from us.
You’re a sky full of stars,
I’m gonna give you my heart,
you’re a sky, you’re a sky full of stars,
because you light up the path,
I don’t care, go on tear me apart,
I don’t care if you do,
Because in a sky full of stars,
I think I saw you.
(A sky full of stars – Coldplay)
I seem to have come down with the flu. I’m disappointed because I had so much work I was supposed to do today and now the thought of reading a textbook and answering question banks seems a little out of my reach for now.
Instead, I thought, maybe I should curl back up in bed and write to you. It’s been a while, and I am sorry for that. This whole year has been such a big beautiful mess. I haven’t much felt like myself a lot of the time. More like – carving a new/old self out of whatever remained after my daughter died.
One thing I have been throughout this year, however – is present. Life forced me to be. I can’t be anywhere else but now. I can’t be any way else but this.
I am pregnant again. I had shared the news of this pregnancy a few weeks ago on instagram, so this may not be new to you.
But it has been 28 weeks of growing a little sister for Mia.
Life has been floating by. I stopped writing and I stopped taking photographs. I just couldn’t find it in me. I think there was too much to feel and be a part of lately.
After Mia’s due date passed, I couldn’t quite come back from it. The day itself was as difficult as I had anticipated, but there was a heaviness in the weeks to follow that made life slow and tired. I feel forever changed, touched by death.
I spent a short time with my parents in BC. One afternoon I said to my mother “I am to you what Mia is to me. You must love me so much.”
My mom just smiled.
Slowly, I find myself coming back to my words.
And I wrote something about my daughter. It was too big to be a poem, and too small to be a story. So here it is, rough, but loved – a little piece of writing from my heart.
I waited for you, for a very long time, since the beginning of the winter, since the beginning of time. You promised you would come one summer, and that one day we would meet, one day we would fly together, and my heart would be complete.
I consider myself a fortunate person with a blessed life.
But I have been both the giver and receiver of lemons.
And I guess losing our daughter was a lemon. I think we can all agree on that.
But no matter what happens to me in my life, no matter what experiences I am thrown into, I have the opportunity to ask myself these questions;
My baby was born still,
in a quiet room,
with her big eyes closed.
But she was still born,
just sleeping soft,
held 6 months in my womb.
My baby was so small,
that she fit right in
to her father’s hand
My baby was
still born, but she was still held
My baby’s heart did not beat,
but mine was broken,
cracked in two
and yet all the while,
bursting in ecstacy for her
because my baby was
still born, but she was still loved.
My baby was born in quiet room,
and she did not cry,
but the roar of her presence
was so loud
because my baby was
still born, but she was still heard.
The next day
my baby was taken away,
to another room and another world
that we could not go,
but she lives on within us
because my baby was
still born, but she is still ours
My baby was set free,
in a soft stream
of cool flowing water,
my baby was born still,
but she was still born
and still my daughter.
A messy poem I have written for our girl. It isn’t perfect, and nothing seems to flow, but it is the truest reflection of what is in my heart.
Well, I always said I wanted to make my blog more personal – to write about my experiences and about life as I’m living it, rather than it being a textbook of instructions. And now it can’t be anything but intimate. I can’t write anything other than my truth, and what is at the center of it. And right now, the center of it is a blend of deep grief and gladness.
I like to write. Writing is soothing and healing for me. And so I will write.
I love this part of the story. It’s my favourite part.
For most people, the best part of pregnancy is having a baby. For me, it was going labour and birthing my daughter. For me, the best part of pregnancy was the pain. It’s a morbid and sad thing to realize, but I have not known it any other way.
I don’t know what it is to give birth to a baby who is alive and who I can bring home and watch her grow up. But I know what it is to give birth to my daughter. And it was the most beautiful experience of my life.
This is the the hardest story that I am living, and the most difficult one to write about.
I knew I wanted to share this part of my pregnancy with you too, because it is real and true and heartbreaking and a part of my life that I cannot ignore or deny.
But I am conscious that it is not only my story to tell. It is also my husband’s story, and his comfort is mine and his pain is also mine. So it is only with his permission that I share this with you today.
We had to say goodbye to our sweet baby girl at 6 months of pregnancy.