The Day Leading Up to The Day
I am counting the days, one by one, until September 4th. Nelle’s birthday. It will have been four years since she was stillborn.
That year, it was Labor Day weekend. So not only do I have the actual day, but everything surrounding Labor Day reminds me of that weekend.
On my “On This Day” I saw that on this day four years ago, we finished assembling a bunk bed for the two boys. We knew by that point that something was wrong with Nelle, based on an ultrasound ten days prior. As we worked on that bunk bed, I remember thinking “I shouldn’t be lifting heavy things… but it doesn’t matter, because something is really wrong with my pregnancy anyway.” I was forming some type of protective layer. But any protection I thought I was giving myself did nothing – NOTHING – to prepare me for finding out that she had died.
I saw my therapist today, a therapist I started seeing only a few months ago. She knows about Nelle and Iris, but I have not gone through a lot of the details of those days with her. She asked me about it today, when I told her that Nelle’s birthday was upcoming. That when the doctor told me that she had died, I had to ask “So what happens now?” Labor and delivery. Labor and delivery. Just like any baby. I told my therapist that before it happened to me, I had no conception of what happened to babies that died in utero. My therapist had no idea either.
My therapist didn’t know that I have spoken on panels to hospital staff, mostly nurses, about how to handle a patient like me. She asked me what was the most meaningful thing that one of my nurses had done, and I told her about the nurse who sat by my side and held my hand when Nelle was born.
As soon as I was done telling her about Nelle’s birth, I noticed that I had hives all over my arms. I’d been having allergies for weeks – usually the source of my hives. I haven’t had “stress” or “feelings” induced hives for a long time. Until today.
I told her that September is a hard month overall. I remember how much pain I was in that first year. Theo’s birthday was later that month, and I had to force a smile and pretend to be happy, when in reality seeing his baby photos – of my own son – made me ache inside.
I told her that leading up to That Day, I think so much about how our lives changed. One day it was One Thing. And the next day it was Something Else, and our baby had died.
Some friends have been checking in on me leading up to That Day… and I appreciate that.
We are headed to the coulee this weekend, to visit my aunt and uncle, and the tree where the ashes of both Nelle and Iris are scattered. I think of that as a time to visit with them both, since we don’t make a trip to Wisconsin in February for Iris’s birthday. I want a weekend of low key, and peace, and holding my own thoughts for awhile.