birth. without the cries.
After venturing out of my safety zone and tiptoeing back out into the “real” world. I noticed. There is a sad misconception in our society. One that I once believed until I watched a stillbirth episode on the TV series ER. I was pregnant with Peyton when I watched it…and I will never forget.
We have a misconception that the loss of a pregnancy is somehow, **just** you know, JUST the loss of a pregnancy. As if “pregnant” was just some word for “extra skin”…
We are visual people by nature and when there is a bump in the belly one day and not the next…it is sometimes viewed more like a “bump” loss than a “baby” loss.
Imagine, if you will, just for a moment…
You are filled with fear. You are noticeably pregnant, grasping your husbands hand, filled with intense sadness… You press the elevator button. You avoid eye contact with anyone that might ask you about your belly bump…your due date, etc.
You exit on the labor and delivery floor. The nurse at the desk asks you to take a seat and *wait*.
Like inches from the nursery…with laboring women walking up and down the halls and newborn babies exercising their lungs…
Yes. There. Afterall, you are about to GIVE BIRTH. To a baby. You know, 10 fingers, 10 toes, 2 arms, 2 legs, eyes, ears, nose, mouth…you know. A human. A baby. A little being that once kicked you in the bladder. Except there will be no cries when the baby is born.
You will be induced. Fully conscious. You will get an IV. You can even have an epidural. It will hurt…like hell. It’s labor. There are contractions. It will hurt. Yes, it will.
You will have one of those break away beds, you know. So you can push the baby out. There will be a cart, filled with all the tools for delivery. A scale to weigh the baby. A tape measure to measure the length. An OB/Gyn, a resident and a nurse. A doula if you are incredibly blessed.
The nurse starts an IV in case you want pain meds…the phlebotomist draws some more blood. You sweat, you moan, you focus on your breathing. You shower, pace and walk the halls. You go into transition. Your cervix dilates. You may scream from the pain of your contractions. Your baby descends.
Finally, your baby is born. Your spouse cuts the cord. Your mommy eyes instantly fall in love with your sweet, beautiful baby. You hold your baby. You love your baby. Your baby may be bathed and swaddled in a blanket. Family and friends may come to see and hold the baby. You are a mommy and daddy.
There are no cries.
But there is a baby. A human. *Your* baby.
You experience most of the joys of birth. And the excruciating pain of a death.
Why is all of this pain necessary? Why can’t they just knock you out and remove the “pregnancy” with some fancy technology? Maybe just zap it out somehow.
What good would that do anyone? To hide it…to make it seem like it never happened. That there was never a baby. That it was just a bump.
Birthing Aurora was one of the most powerful experiences in my life. I will even say it was likely THE single most powerful experience EVER. I decided to fully embrace labor and decline an epidural…which is not an easy decision. Knowing that you will go through all of that pain for what seems like ‘nothing’. But it’s not ‘nothing’. That ‘nothing’ was *something*…she was my daughter. I was able to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarian). This was my plan for Aurora’s birth, so why would I have changed it? Having the birth that I wanted was important…powerful.
Since Aurora’s birth, I have connected with many women that have given birth to silent babies. Some recently, some more than 15 years ago. I keep hearing words like “depression”, “verge of collapse”, “divorce”, “near suicide” and “nervous breakdown”. Seriously crushing stuff. Ugh.
Perhaps if we were not so secretive about the loss of a babies that are BIRTHED without the cries… Perhaps if those women could have experienced the same amount of support from friends that has helped carry me through these raw days…