To those of you I call friends and family:
How could I possibly be so insensitive … to disregard how you must feel, what you’re going through?
After all you’ve been through, you just want to celebrate the new baby: Baby Rowan! Just like any other baby who’s arrived on this beautiful earth, Rowan is no different. You don’t really want to see photos of her at two weeks old; I think those photos are precious, but you try to hold back your grimace because she probably looks like an “alien” to you. What kind of person am I to show you such images? I am so sorry. Let’s just talk about Rowan when she’s out of the NICU in her cute little outfits, content as can be. Does that sound okay? Let’s just disregard this place in time, move along with our routines. Of course all you have to offer right now are congratulations. I appreciate your words of wisdom and encouragement; I bet you’ve never expressed such thoughts to new parents before, huh? The words you have to offer are so genuine, so sincere.
Oh, to mention your thoughts and prayers are with Rowan right now while she’s healing? No, no, no. Those words aren’t acceptable to write in a cute little card. We must. remain. happy. You have hearts of gold: Trying to help me “not remember” that my baby is in intensive care … oh, and my other baby is … um … dead. Were you sent from heaven as an angel to bring my heart healing?
I can’t imagine how difficult it is for you to know that Emmanuelle died. It must be terribly uncomfortable for you to mention her. Really, we ought to sit down for some coffee or tea so you can tell me how hard it is for you. Please, please don’t put yourself through more pain by sending me a text message asking how I am or acknowledging Emmanuelle. I mean, she was only here for, like, a sec. Her life doesn’t really count. I don’t know; it’s almost comparable to the loss of a beloved dog or something. Let’s just stick to Rowan. Let’s just talk about Rowan. No, not that Rowan is in the NICU, and her heart rate dropped to the 50s and oxygen saturation dropped to 19 two days ago. No, when I say let’s just talk about Rowan, what I mean is let’s just talk about happy, cute, girlie, baby shit. I don’t want to cause you more pain or make you uncomfortable.
To those of you I call friends and family:
You are not going to help me “not remember” the hell I’m living. Rowan is the most precious baby on this earth; she is my entire heart. She is everything … and the moment I feel secure regarding her health, it all goes to shit. She “forgets” to breathe; her heart rate and oxygen saturation drop dramatically; her skin turns “dusky” – another word for pale as shit; and you have to forcefully offer physical contact for her to get her shit together and come back to us.
You are not going to spare me an ounce of sadness by not mentioning Emmanuelle. Would you like to know how it makes me feel when you completely disregard the life and loss of my daughter? It hurts my feelings. I am offended, and it breaks my heart for Emmanuelle. This precious gift, this beautiful baby girl who deserved better. She deserved all the love her daddy and I had to offer. She deserved Christmas mornings. She deserved family vacations. She deserved fucking Disney World. And you disregard her. How dare you disregard her. But you’re only human, right? And talking about her makes you feel too uncomfortable. Well, let me tell you: I was not uncomfortable at all that morning as I witnessed my intubated daughter dying. As I watched nurses and doctors give her chest compressions. As I looked across the room and saw my husband sobbing. As the doctor looked to us for a solution, for the answer – to let her die. He explained to us how much damage had been done internally. He told us they were offering 120%, but Emmanuelle was giving nothing back. My active, lively girl who danced on the right upper area of my womb. She was now dying.
I’ve never been to a funeral. I’d never seen a dead person. I certainly had never watched anyone die. Until that morning. I witnessed the struggle and death of my child.
And you refuse to acknowledge it. Not me and my feelings. Not my sorrow and depression. I couldn’t give two shits about my feelings. You refuse to acknowledge Emmanuelle. Does her name give you shivers? E-M-M-A-N-U-E-L-L-E.
I don’t expect the world to care about my daughters and me. I do – however – expect certain family members to utter or type Emmanuelle’s name during our encounters. And if you’re going to send me a damn card, I don’t need you to tell me what an adventure parenting is. Trust me, I know; it’s been a mother fucking roller coaster.
We are so afraid to talk about feelings. It’s as if feelings and sadness are signs of weakness. It’s a bunch of bull shit. These things happen, people. This is real life. It’s messy and unfair. Not my-baby-mama-is-a-bitch unfair. Really unfair. Like a 1 pound 10 ounce baby who’s fighting for her life and is 100 times the warrior you’ll ever be no matter how many damn marathons you run.
But we can’t talk about that. We shouldn’t even whisper Emmanuelle’s name … because it makes you too fucking uncomfortable.