To the Midwives
Today is the ninth anniversary of George's birthday. I can't figure out how else to say it. He was born. And he couldn't stay, so it feels weird to say it was his birthday. Some years it feels mostly like a normal day. Other years, like this year, it feels heavy, big, and hard.
I wrote his birth story here, and you can click that link if you want. It's outrageously raw, I've never edited it, and it's honest. And so so hard to read, even all these years later. Allll the content warnings. All the trigger warnings. Read at your own risk.
Maybe it's because Timelines deals so much with grief, or I don't know, why but this year, I'm thinking about all the women that saved me back then.
So, I'm going to tell you about them, because they mean the world to me, and I want you to know about them too. This is in no particular order, mostly just as I remember the course of events. I might have missed some, and that makes me sad, but I know they're there in my memories.
First, my best friend Stacy. I began texting her at the onset of the catastrophe that was February 1st 2014. She was with me via text every minute I was conscious. She remained a lifeline throughout the days and months after. She still is frankly. She's there, even when we live states away. I couldn't have made it without her.
My good friend, and near neighbor, Candee, showed up at the hospital to drive me home, since Derek was in Massachusetts and too far to make it back. She drove me the whole way home, in complete, loving silence. I was numb, and she was my friend. Her gorgeous daughters had canceled their whole day to babysit for my five insane children, while Derek was gone, and I was also...gone.
My sister, Erin from two states away, couldn't get to NH in the snow, but she mobilized our dearest friend and college roommate Maren, who dropped her four little boys at the feet of her husband, drove the two hours in the winter, and was at my door before I got home from the hospital. She swept my floors and fed my kids, and told me straight to my face when I said I was "okay" that I wasn't and I didn't need to be. She slept on a couch in my storage room, for heaven's sake.
Erin, ever the wise giver, sent me a book about grief and miscarriage which ended up being so helpful. I "knew" this kind of loss hurt, but to hold my son, and have lost him... I couldn't have fathomed, and I felt guilty for feeling so much. That book told me I was okay to feel so sad.
My sister Sarah was to my doorstep the day after we lost George, flown in from Utah. My mom couldn't get away being a school teacher, so they sent her in their stead. She convinced me I wasn't dying when I was having the only panic attack I've ever had in my life two or three days after George died. I was pretty damn sure I was dying. But she was an EMT and knew the symptoms. She talked me off the ledge. Sarah stayed a week, and played surrogate momma to my kids, cooked, cleaned, and put babies to bed, while I layed in my bed, and stared at the wall.
My mother-in-law, Lori, when my own mom couldn't get to me, showed up the next day too. She stayed and scrubbed, and schooled my children. They did her make-up as only little boys know how. They read every book in my house. She brought in wood for the fire, and tried to de-ice the goat pen. She worked tirelessly. That's how she loves.
My cousin, Teri, who knows my love language, sent me a novel, The Winter Witch, which I read, little by little over weeks, when I couldn't take reality any more.
I have two groups of "online" friends. One, the "Real Hottie Mommas" (it's a long story and an inside joke) I've known and loved since we were all pregnant with our seventeen year olds, sent flowers. Another group, The Unicorns (another long story and inside joke) sent a plant, too. Their love was overwhelming.
Nikki, one of those friends, lost her own son shortly after his birth, walked me through how this was going to feel, and let me message and ask anything I needed to.
One of dearest friends, Britt, wasn't a dear friend at this time. Instead, she was the "primary president", who oversaw the children's program at church. I was a music director for the children, so we knew each other only through that. But that woman got wind of what happened and brought us dinner. She fed us, and stayed and let me talk, and by the time she left, we were best friends. And that's just the way it is. She's stuck with me. Even though we live far away again.
Kim, my midwife, who, despite living two thousand miles away, let me call her, and beg for an explanation. She hadn't been MY midwife for this baby, since we lived so far away, but she still patiently walked me through her theories about placenta abruption. I love her for her patience.
The friends who sent texts, commented on George's birth story, who sent me resources, or connected with others, like Jen who'd I never had met otherwise, and we're still friends! The women who took me aside, and whispered their own stories of losing their babies... it was all so much, and so deeply good.
My mom, when I did finally see her, four months later, who just took me in her arms, and let me cry.
These women made this insurmountable task of living after such a loss, bearable.
The term "midwife" has old English roots, and literally means "with women," and I think these women were my midwives. Each played an important role in helping me find me again. They had their own lives, their own troubles, but they didn't hesitate to love me in their own amazing ways.
So, on George's ninth birthday, I can't help but be glad. I will never be glad we lost him, but since we couldn't keep him, I got so much in return. We have a Freddy, who is a joy. I made new friends, and created threads that seem to stretch further than I could have guessed, like how Britt brought me to Maria, who I love with my whole heart, who brought me back to choir, which healed so much of my soul. Choir brought me Katy. Sara. Chandalynn. And on and on.
The term "midwife" has old English roots, and literally means "with women," and I think these women were my midwives. Each played an important role in helping me find me again. They had their own lives, their own troubles, but they didn't hesitate.
I got a tattoo I'd waited nine years to get recently. After George died, I wanted to get a sun for him, but then I decided to make the whole thing all my kids. Each of the kids has an initial in the flower's outside, and its' shaped like a sun. For George. Full circle.
I am so grateful. I'll always be grateful. And I'll never forget. The love and kindness I received is inked on my body, and written on my soul.
Happy Birthday Baby, and thank you.
(Can you find all seven initials? :) )