Ten years ago today, almost a week past her due date, my first baby girl, Abigail Ruth, was born sleeping. At the age of 33 and pregnant for the first time, I was naive when it came to childbirth and didn't know this could happen. Of all the books I'd read and shows I'd watched and stories I'd heard, stillbirth was never discussed, mentioned, noted. Nothing. God forbid we scare the pregnant women.
Ten years later and I still live with regret. I blame myself. I regret not calling the doctor the night before. I thought the pain I felt was labor. I was past her due date after all. Maybe my guilt was ignited by the finger pointing that occurred when I arrived at the hospital. No, I didn't take any drugs. Yes, please run as many blood tests as you want. No, my water didn't break. MY WATER DID NOT BREAK! There was almost no amniotic fluid left. I know from the autopsy that she suffocated. Too late, but now I've done my research. With barely amniotic fluid for cushion, her lifeline was crushed. I live with that. Ten years later and I still remember the last kick she gave me at five o'clock that morning.
I regret not holding her for longer. For not pulling back the blanket she was swaddled in to cradle her tiny feet. I regret the fact that the few photos I have of her are shitty. There are no do-overs with death.
I fear she will be forgotten because she only ever lived within me. Time marches on and people forget. I'm sometimes afraid to say her name for fear that the response will be "who?"
Count the kicks, kiss your babies, hug your little ones and realize that all you have is beyond wonderful.