Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stepping back in time

We're in Plett for the week. The Band's folks randomly decided to camp at the lagoon again for the first time in many, many years and so we've come to join them. This is also the first time we've been back here since Sophia was born 4.5 years ago.

I've not known what to expect. Would it hit home at all or would I remain stoically numb and resigned as I mostly am? Would I fall apart in a dramatic heap? Not likely although sometimes I wish I was more in touch with my emotions. It's been lovely so far, despite the rain.

Today I got away from all the family to get some work done. I'd planned to sit at a coffee shop and catch up a bit, but instead I found myself driving the route I've relived so often, passing the same restaurants we patroned in the days leading up to That Day. The restaurants where people gave me that knowing smile reserved for obviously pregnant women. All the while my baby was already dead and I refused to realise that.

I followed the road to the hospital and went in. It really is such a beautiful, peaceful hospital. No one stopped me as I wandered about. Partly I wanted to see if my memories were accurate or if they had been tainted or romanticised over time. They've not.

I stepped again into the room where I was first lead that morning. The room where they searched in vain for Sophia's heartbeat. That room and that moment which I've relived in my waking and my sleeping infinite times. It was only my second time in that room... after that moment they moved me elsewhere and for the rest of my stay in the hospital I couldn't even look in that room as I passed it. Today I could.

I peered into the room next door. The double room where we set up camp for our time there. Where Stef and I slept. Where my family and a few friends sat. I passed the courtyard where we ate delicious toasted sandwiches (for the ridiculous price of R6 each) while I bounced on a ball to try speed the labour along.

And I sat in the room where I delivered Sophia. Where we met her face to face and in the shock of it all and my exhaustion she felt so incredibly heavy in my arms. All 3.1kg of her. I saw various little stumps of candles on a shelf there and remembered the midwife had lit candles for her birth to somehow soften the blow of it all.

That midwife was amazing. She fought to give me a natural birth despite the gynae encouraging a caesar. She insisted on bringing in a woman who'd lost a child herself to talk to me and advise me - Claudine - she acknowledged the personhood of Sophia from start to finish with the most incredible insight. She treated me like a daughter rather than a patient. I saw her this morning. Sister Barnard. We reminisced. She remembered it all. A stillbirth is something which affects all those involved and nearly 5 years later it still affects her to an extent. I showed her photos of my girls. I told her how happy we are. I told her how I'd had to have caesars since and how grateful I was for my natural birth experience with Sophia. I told her how grateful I was to her for bringing Claudine in - Claudine who I will meet up with later today. I told her how my sister-in-law too had lost her baby and how we'd walked the road together. I told her how many countless others I've known to go through it since. And we agreed that it's a blessing I can be there for them, but yes and no. No... I'd sooner have my daughter with me any day than be a good friend and support and I've no doubt each one of those moms would understand that fully.


AngelConradie said...

Shoowee... I don't know if I would have gone back.

Anonymous said...

I discovered your blog probably a few weeks after Sophia's birth and have looked up your blog every few weeks ever since to see how you're doing. Thank you for sharing

Anonymous said...

pretty nice blog, following :)

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