Last New Year’s Eve I had a migraine. It was the kind of thing I wouldn’t have written about before, back when I thought you would read this someday. I never wanted you to feel bad about anything. I love you so much.
I’ve had migraines for several years. When they got bad, I started getting quarterly Botox injections to prevent them. I never regretted that this was something I couldn’t do while I was pregnant. I never regretted anything I did for you.
On New Year’s Eve, for the second time that month after the Botox had worn off, I found myself in the ER. They gave me an IV of Tylenol and magnesium and a lot of fluids. There wasn’t much else they could do. I didn’t want to do anything to risk you.
I look back on my pregnancy and I’m thankful for so many things. I’m thankful that I never drank with you, not even a drop. I’m thankful that I checked on all my medications before I even started trying for you. I’m thankful that during that six weeks when I could barely keep any food in my stomach, I still took folic acid for you. I’m thankful that I found out chiropractic care was even more effective for my migraines than Botox. I’m thankful that I avoided every kind of high-risk activity; I was so very careful with my body and you. I’m thankful for all of these things because there’s nothing I can point to to say that I didn’t do everything possible to take care of you.
I don’t understand my world. I don’t understand how I made all of these small but perfect decisions, and I still failed. I failed you.
I thought I knew everything. I had two sets of medical providers, I took all the classes. I did so much reading, I hounded my doula. I thought I was as prepared as any woman, as any mother, could ever be. I was healthy. We were strong. We were going to have the most beautiful, natural childbirth. We were going to be perfect.
And I think there is a lesson here, somewhere. I wanted everything to go according to nature, but it never occurred to me that your conception was already a marvel of modern medicine. It never occurred to me that those daily prenatal vitamins provided important things that even my plant-based diet lacked for you. It never occurred to me that death is part of nature too.
I could have saved you.
People try to make me feel better; they say things like I don’t know that for fact. That it’s easy to make these judgements looking backwards, but that I don’t know. People say things because they don’t want me to feel guilty. But feelings don’t change fact–you were a perfectly healthy nine pound child…until you died. Until my body stopped supporting you. If I had had an induction, you would be here today. It doesn’t matter that an induction isn’t natural. It doesn’t matter that it wouldn’t have been possible 100 years ago. These tools were available to me and I chose not to use them. I didn’t choose for you to die, but my choices did not save you. I wish that I had saved you.
I spent last New Year’s Eve in the ER, an IV hooked to my arm while the night crew counted down outside my room. I left the hospital a little after 2 a.m., and drove home thinking about you. You were always on my mind.
You still are.
I love you. I miss you. I love you.