Before I go into the part of my story about giving birth to Liam, which I want to make light and focus on the happy parts, I am going to talk about having your baby be stillborn.
I came across a post that really helps describe stillbirth, I think this is really appropriate for this part of my story.
“I don’t think that most people understand me when I say that my daughter was stillborn. That phrasing makes it sound passive, like it was something that just happened to me, externally. But that’s not what a stillbirth is, and I imagine that’s not what a miscarriage is either. A stillbirth isn’t something that happened to me, or my daughter, or my family. It’s something that happened inside me. That I was forced to participate in.
I keep trying to think of an analogy to explain how devastatingly non-passive enduring a stillbirth or miscarriage is, but nothing seems adequate. Perhaps it comes close to say that it’s like having cancer or another horrible, soul-draining, body-emaciating disease, only that the cancer that is within you is slowly killing someone else. Someone precious to you. And you are forced to come along for the ride, to participate in the killing.
The simple fact is – there is nothing like stillbirth. There is nothing like going to the hospital to check on your baby, only to have the incredibly sweet joy of pregnancy replaced in an instant with the dull, moaning emptiness of knowing that you are still going to have to endure labor and birth and filling breasts and the weeks of bleeding. Only your baby will be dead. Your labor pains will produce nothing but a shell of this most precious person. Your arms will be empty, and there will be no way to soothe your aching breasts.
And that doesn’t even factor in the grief, or the guilt, or the wondering of who or what in this wide world you are now that death has crept into your life, into your body, in such an insidious way.
Now ask yourself; what if you had to participate in the death of your loved one, to help bring their ending of breath into being? Then how long would it take you to heal? Stillbirth didn’t just happen to me. It doesn’t just happen to anyone. Your baby dies, and then you give birth. To your dead child. It’s not passive. You participate, even though you don’t want to. Even though it makes you want to scream and scream and scream in horror. You participate, and it keeps you up at night for weeks and months and years.
It’s been 2 months since I birthed my daughter’s dead body, and that is still what blooms large in my mind every night as I wait for sleep to descend. I don’t ask for the memories to come – they are just there. I can’t escape. I birth her again and again in my mind, hold her again and again for the first and last time, feel the lingering ache of afterbirth that prevents me forgetting even for a moment the nauseating reality of what just took place.
Stillbirth does not just happen. It’s not clean and surgical. Instead, it is messy and active, and it opens a wound whose pain throbs on long past you wish it would. And it changes you.” -Stillstandingmag.com
Giving birth to Liams' still body was the most traumatizing experience I will ever go through and I am still getting through it, because he is my son that I never got to meet.