I don't know why this has been so hard to write about. I've stopped and started so many times and yet no words I put down can fully capture the aching emptiness I feel at giving birth to babies and coming home from the hospital without them. What we endure to bring our babies into the world is easily forgotten when we cuddle the thing so hard won. When we smell its soft head, trace our fingers down a chubby, pink body, whisper silliness and love into its ears. But I don't have that now. I sit alone in rooms and wonder about the new lives I just ushered too early into the world. I carry guilt heavy in my chest. Why wasn't I strong enough to carry them to term? What defect brought on labor at 33 weeks?
Also, I carry envy. As I endured an extremely painful recovery from a C-section, I was exposed to the sounds of happy moms and healthy babies in their rooms. Sweet, hungry cries for the bottle. High-pitched mommy voices soothing and playing. My room was eerily quiet at times, nothing but a frigid wind against my window. A phone ringing followed by congratulations that felt hollow and meaningless. The nurses told me to walk. So I did. Walking the long hallways of the maternity suite, I bore witness to a new horror. Affixed to the walls were picture after picture of babies. Pink-cheeked, happy, healthy babies. A baby in a flower pot wearing a crooked hat. Two babies dressed up like purple cabbages. Anne Geddes knock-offs that were even creepier than the originals. Everybody's perfect baby. Everybody's but mine. Thanks so much for hanging these prints on the walls, morons. It's just torture to see a robust newborn baby hatching out of an eggshell, when my babies have tubes coming out of their faces.
I know I shouldn't compare. If we were to really play that game, there are preemies much worse off in the NICU than my little guys. Teeny-tiny preemies that will fit in the palm of your hand. That isn't cute. It's a fucking tragedy. My babies have been given a great prognosis. They will come home in several weeks and most likely be completely healthy. But right now, they are not. Right now, they struggle to do the normal things. Sucking a bottle is a difficult undertaking. Even breathing was hard for them at first. They been here a week and I've held them in my arms maybe 3 times. I've given one bottle to their sweet, hungry mouths. I've changed one diaper.
I know once they're home it will feel like they've always been. But right now I'm in purgatory. I sit at home with all these nurturing chemicals searing through me and strangers are caring for my babies. It just plain hurts a whole hell of a lot. That's about as eloquent as it gets these days, folks. My heart is just broken.
7 hours ago