Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The cusp of 3.

I often wonder if I am always going to feel the way I do now about Lucy's birth. My therapist says it might change over time but it might not, because your body will always remember what happened to it, like a reflex. I might not remember, but my body does so there is a natural fear response happening. Which is such a weird thing to think about but I suppose it's true.

It's hard to tell you exactly how I feel on this day. The day before Lucy was born is my last real memory and that's not even really true because I don't have memories like you, I can't replay a scene like an old movie in my head. What I remember are the actual snapshots that we took of the day.
I remember Penelope standing next to roses at the Rose Garden in Duluth. I don't remember Olivia or Jackson. I don't remember Matt, but I remember taking this photo. It's so weird, but mostly scary, to look at this photo and know that that person died the very next day. It doesn't look like me. Well it does, but I don't recognize it as me. To me it's like looking at an ex-wife of Matt, which is weird because I know it's me..... but its not. 
It's strange to know this woman is dead. She died the very next day and somehow I'm here in that body and nothing about it feels familiar. I cannot tell you how many times I have stood in that exact same spot to see if a memory would come, would I remember standing there? Would I remember what it was like to be pregnant? Would I remember what it felt like to have a baby inside of me? 
To say this has been a hard three years is an understatement. I can't remember all of the doctor visits, the medical buildings, the procedures, the lab work, the waiting rooms, the hope, the disappointment, the frustration, the desperation, the resignation that I've had in these three years. I know its there and I guess its best if I don't remember it all. 
Not one person in the whole world can tell me that I haven't tried to get better. That I haven't marched forward, kept swimming, climbed the mountain, done the work. I have taken bad news like a champ and not told anyone. I have accepted the looks from people who think I'm crazy, I've been told to "just deal with it" and kept my mouth shut even though I want to scream, "I FUCKING AM" but I don't. I've become a better person because I really believe if I do good I will get good back and I just so desperately need that some days. 
I have confronted really awful truths from my past that I haven't told anyone, ever. Matt doesn't know. My mother doesn't know. My best friends don't know. I can see things around me a little more clearly now which is bittersweet because I realize how awful some people are and I never saw it before. I have lost friends. I at least know which ones are fair weather friends too but that comes with its own wave of disappointment. I have battled crippling depression, I have sat in darkened closets and in my car in the dead of winter wishing I could just die and thinking that being alive is really the cruelest punishment of all. 
I have confronted the things that hurt me the most. Did you know that I never look at my scar? I think sometimes maybe I don't lose weight because if I did the scar would be more prevalent on me. It's just a scar, millions of people have them and ones just like mine, it shouldn't bother me, but it does. It brings feelings of anxiety and panic. I get a tingling in my chest and I can't catch my breath. I feel fear, like something is trying to get me and I need to run.

So I don't look at it. I don't look at myself in the mirror anymore because I don't know this person or this body. I want to be old Sara so badly and I know I can't and so I feel shame. I feel shame because I'm not pretty and I'm not skinny, and no matter how many times Matt assures me I'm still attractive I don't believe him because he has to say that. 
I hate feeling broken. I hate feeling like everything in my body is malfunctioning and there isn't a fix. Sometimes I lash out. Sometimes I scream in a pillow until my voice is raw. Sometimes I go on walks and cry so hard neighbors look at me, probably wondering if I'm OK or crazy. Sometimes I sit and my car and cry. Sometimes I cry in the shower. Sometimes I cry when the girls nap.  I have to deal with everyone else and their problems and I'm dying a little more inside. I know it's daunting when I tell people it's going to be like this forever, like "Ugh, we have to help her FOREVER?!" and believe me, what you feel? I am more angry than you are. Trust me.
And then I have Lucy.  Lucy is really the best thing in the whole world. I wish I remembered what it was like to be pregnant with her. I wish I could have seen her born or remember what it was like the first moments with her. I wish I remembered what she was like as a baby. What she smelled like. I wish I could remember what her fuzzy hair felt like. How little she was. I wish I could remember her looking at me like I was the greatest thing in the world. Or what it felt like to rock her to sleep, or hold her on my chest. The irony is that I don't do well around pregnant women or little babies because they scare me and are a PTSD trigger... which I never knew was a thing until I'm in the thick of it.
It's weird to think I took this picture on Sunday, but I don't remember. I can piece things together. I know we were at Thomas the Train, I know we were on a train, I know it was summer. Anything else? I have to ask Matt because it's not there. I know I think I'll remember, I always do, and then I don't and I'm angry that I'm so stupid and thought that in the first place. But I forget how quickly I forget.

So tomorrow Lucy is 3. Tonight I'll go to bed absolutely petrified of what will happen. I'll be scared, panicky, and sad all day. I will try not to show it because I don't want to ruin her birthday. I will cry when I go to bed. I will pull it together because on Friday she has a doctor appointment and I need to pull it together. On Saturday we have her party and I will try to not cry and not ruin it. I will try to smile and be happy. Because ultimately, nobody cares. And it's OK. It's not your burden. It's not your PTSD or depression. It's not your trauma. It's not your stolen memories. You aren't broken. You don't understand where I'm at. You don't know that all the therapy in the world can't fix this and suddenly make me normal. And it's OK.

I'll keep trying anyway. I will fake it until I make it. I will get through today. And the next. And even the next after that. I can only do what I can do.


Shooting Stars Mag said...

I can't even imagine how tough Lucy's birthday is for you, and looking back at pre-birth photos and knowing you're a completely different person. I hate all of this for you, and I wish there was more all of us could do, but I'm listening. And I do care. I hope tomorrow is okay and the party too.


San said...

Sara, this must be so awful. I don't have any comforting words, because I know that it won't change your situation.
Getting through something that is temporary is one thing, being stuck in a situation that seems hard to impossible to fix is another.
I can understand how frustrated you feel (my bff lives with chronic pain and while it's not the same, of course, she has similar feelings about people not getting it and being tired of her complaining and she's just trying to get through every new day). I am sorry. I don't know what to say, but I think that it's good that you continue writing about it. It needs an outlet, ANY outlet.

Beth (Coffee Until Cocktails) said...

I can only imagine the feelings. I always appreciate your honesty. I think you are incredibly strong and brave for putting it all out here for the world to see and the way you keep fighting each day is an inspiration and I promise I don't say that lightly. I truly mean it. Keep sharing, all the hard stuff. You never know who you might be helping along the way. Sending you love.

mypixieblog said...

Oh my sweet friend. I’m sending you all the biggest hugs in the world. I know there’s nothing I can say to make it better and I don’t even pretend to know what this feels like, but I’m here and I’m listening and if you ever need a good cry, you know you can come to me. I just hope you know that.

I think you are such an incredibly wonderful mom and I’m so sorry that these memories were robbed from you. It’s unfair, all of it. But know that you are beautiful and awesome and smart (I hate that you question this!). And you are also so very much loved. Xo

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine how hard this is for you. What a traumatic experience. Thank you for sharing your story with honesty. <3

Julie H said...

All I've got is hugs for you my friend. You are beautiful inside and out even if you don't see it other people do.