Today is a hard topic to write about, specially since I'm not sure what "it" is referring to (or I am, I just wish I wasn't). The explanation for today is: "give the outside world some insight into what it is like to be a bereaved parent by sharing what a certain experience that you had during your grief journey. This can be a positive or negative (or both) experience."
My nature makes me want to shout out about all the positive awesomeness that came to our lives from the second the + sign came up on that stick and how happy life was until a crap June day. I will write about that one day, I promise I'll share all the positives about Olivia's life inside my belly so the world can know that all the great things are not erased by the fact that she's not here, they are just immensely unbalanced.
But, this challenge is about living and being able to experience and share my grief, so I will focus on that.
The moment we were told the worst news of our lives: I have been reading some of the posts other mums have shared today and this is a recurring explanation, it felt like I was in a movie I didn't want to be a part of. It was a Thursday evening and it was pouring rain and the midwife called a senior registrar because she said she couldn't find the heartbeat because she was a junior member of the team. I then was very worried but in my imagination there was something potentially wrong but once they did an emergency c-section we would all be good. When the senior registrar came and started the scan I couldn't look at the screen, I was just praying and concentrating on breathing or vomiting.... and then it happened, there was very loud thunder and I heard: "I can see the heart very well, and its not beating... I'm very sorry" I think its truly impossible to describe what I felt then besides shock, my immediate reaction was to think ok, this just means they need to take Olivia out NOW and do something. I think Pierre even asked about that as he had the same reaction but was able to speak. Once I understood what was going on I can say that I wanted to magically combust and cease to exist.
The thought that Olivia wasn't going to take a breath never crossed my mind, because I truly believed that this sort of thing didn't happen... At least not at 37 weeks, when in theory babies are all cooked up and ready to come out! I remember reaching each milestone thinking YAY, we are safe. I had more scans than the regular two that are given by the NHS because I wanted to see Olivia more and I was used to more scans because that's the way all my friends back home had it. Every time I went for a check up everything was perfect... I was so proud of my daughter for being the perfect baby and for me to be able to have the "perfect" pregnancy. All of those appointments came back in that horrible moment, and my immediate reaction was guilt and I kept thinking I killed my daughter... Let me make this clear, I know I didn't cause Olivia's death and I also know that there was nothing I could have done to prevent it, but I am her mother, she lived inside me and that was supposed to be the safest place on earth...
I have explained what I think my life will be from now on in terms of grief with an invisible face tattoo metaphor. I feel like I have an tattoo that is covering my entire face, said tattoo is currently on fire. So, I know that anyone that takes a look at me can see that there is fire in my face coming out of a tattoo I didn't want to have and they know that it must be the worst pain ever... With time, the fire will stop so the world will think that it must still hurt but it HAS to be better since all its left is scars on the marks of the tattoo. In time but the tattoo will disappear to the naked eye and some people might look closely and see some scars, but the world will surely think: at least the fire is over and she can't see the tattoo any longer so she surely must be able to move on now. Let me tell you though, my life will forever feel like a burning face tattoo that I just have to get used to having. Every now and then the big fire will stop, but the burns are deep and the scars are impossible to erase. I can feel that pain every single day without having to look in the mirror looking for the scars. I feel them even in my sleep, because my overactive brain dreams about reality, so I don't get to have a break from this. I sleep and wake up with a burning face, even when the world sees a perfectly normal face.
I don't want to end this post with my face tattoo, instead I want to revisit today's prompt: What it felt like - I've said it before, losing Olivia felt like a truck came out of nowhere and hit me leaving half dead but not truly finishing the job. BUT, I will live it all again for the chance to hold her again... Because there has been no better moment in my life than after I masterfully gave birth to her and got to hold her. For a while all I could feel was pure joy and love. Any mother can relate to that moment, the second you FINALLY meet the human that's been dancing in your belly for x months. I'm sometimes able to go back there and I can almost feel her hands on my face and for a split millisecond, life is great...