That last week was the hardest. I remember when your Aunt Alexis* arrived. She seemed surprised when your due date came and went. I guess we had both always thought that due dates were so definite. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with you that I did the reading, that I realized that those things that are so casually portrayed on TV are of course not very real.
I remember that last visit to the midwife. You were 39 weeks and 6 days. I sat on the table, holding my enormous belly, and I told her I was ready, that everything was ready for you to come, but I was content to wait. We joked about induction. I told her I didn’t see any reason, not yet. I also told her that there had been less movement, that you weren’t as active. She didn’t seem concerned. I told her that my blood pressure was higher than was normal for me. She didn’t seem concerned.
She didn’t seem concerned, and I was oblivious. I didn’t know that sometimes babies die.
I went to the hospital the next day, to get my next NST. You were wiggly as usual; as I told your Aunt Alexis, you always “performed.” My blood pressure was high again, it was in the 130s. This is unusual, this was high for me. The nurse bustled around for a bit, left me on the monitor for longer, but then she told me I was fine. She wasn’t concerned. I was concerned, and she told me to go home. They still recommended an induction, but they never told me why.
I went to the grocery store every day, sometimes twice. They had blood pressure machines there, the heavy duty kind. My pressure stayed up, but then it went down. I didn’t understand why. I didn’t think to go back in.
The midwives didn’t want to see me again until 41 weeks. I didn’t know that I could ask to come in sooner. I wasn’t thinking. Nobody was concerned.
We went to see a movie on Sunday. You were so active. I thought you were reacting to the sounds in the theater. I got up halfway through to pee. I always had to pee. I thought that maybe I had peed a little in my pants. That definitely wasn’t uncommon. I wonder now if my water had started to break? I wonder if I didn’t know the signs?
You were so very active that day. I remember thinking, “This is where all your energy went.” It felt like you were having a dance party inside of me. I read later on that these spurts of activity are indicative of a fetus fighting with their cord. Why didn’t I know that then? Why didn’t I know I could go back to the midwives, back to the hospital? They would have put you on the monitor and we would have known that something was wrong. You died inside of me and I never knew anything was wrong.
I got in that stupid fight that week. I don’t know what I was thinking. I don’t know why I say these things, why I let my mouth run away from me. It’s never important. It’s never worth the conversation. I will never stop wondering if my emotions played some part; if I did this to you; if I caused your death.
When I woke up that first morning of your 41st week, I knew something was wrong. I had never in so many months slept the entire night through. But I still didn’t know that babies could die. I still didn’t know I had already lost you.
And I’ve told this story so many times, but I realize I never told it to you. Sometimes I wonder why I still keep this journal. Sometimes I wonder what the point is to everything. But I keep moving because I promised you I’d be okay. I’m trying so hard to be okay.
I love you.
* Names have been changed to protect privacy.