I was 38 weeks into pregnancy when my contractions started. I was in denial because I thought my baby would wait to be born until around 41 weeks. But my little girl had an urgent mission she needed to accomplish. We had a beautiful homebirth. I remember looking down at my little girl and she looked up at me. I picked her up and held her to my chest. We had a few calm moments and I got a beautiful picture to remember them by. Her mission: give me a hug goodbye.
She and her daddy were transported by ambulance to the ER. I had to birth the placenta and get cleaned up before I could meet them there. They worked on her body but her spirit stayed with me.
The hospital gave us a folder of resources and a bear. They were so proud that they could offer that to me. They gave us a hospital room so we could spend time with our baby. Then we had to put her in the back of a transport ambulance so she could go to the morgue. It might as well have been the back of an empty semi-trailer. It was so big and dark and she was so little and alone. That’s when I lost it. I actually feel sorry for anyone who heard me sobbing as I walked back to the hospital room. That’s the the kind of sound that haunts the people that hear it.
Then it was time to go home. I held the folder like a lifeline when we left. As if it could tell us how to keep on living.
But that f-ing bear...
I threw it in the corner of the living room the moment we got home. I didn’t want it near me. I couldn’t deal with it.
“It’s so your arms won’t be empty.” they said. Like some stuffed and weighted toy that I was given at the hospital is supposed to replace my baby. If it was something my baby loved, something that was a part of her, that would be totally different. But this was something from people I didn’t know, thrust upon me with pity, from someone who was proud to be able to fix my “empty arms” for me.
That bear disgusted me. I hated it. I made my midwife take it when she checked on me the next morning.
I am thankful for the people who donated the bear to the hospital - they’ve been where I was at that moment. I am thankful that those bears do bring comfort to some women. I am thankful that the stupid bear gave me something to hate rather than being completely engulfed in sorrow. Sadness alone could have made me collapse in on myself. But where there is anger and hate, there is enough energy for movement. That energy was the energy I needed to keep going. So, I hated that f-ing bear, and I’m thankful for that.
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