I am reading WTF’s blog. And it is funny and raw. She is like this in real life too, at least with me, but her honesty, charm and craziness comes out so beautifully when she writes.
As I read her blog, my own gratitude and memories of Little Charlotte’s birth/death are surfacing. They surface in little waves. My gratitude for how WTF and Rocket Man are helping us right now fills this space in me that also holds all that they have been through. I am aware in that moment of all that WTF has witnessed me survive, not just TTC, but in our friendship over the last 7 years.
It must sound strange to you all, that she and I are in this donorship situation. We have been through a great deal together. We have witnessed each other’s darkest moments. I saw her journey to hell, and her slow return. She is still returning.
WTF had wanted me to be there for Charlotte’s birth, ever since she found out she was pregnant. That was before we imagined anything tragic could happen. She was going to beg her doctor to let me be in the operating room during her scheduled C-section. She wanted to share her birth with someone besides Rocket Man, and she wanted to have a different, less clinical, birth experience.
When WTF found out about the uterine infection, she called me.
She called me from the hospital, before they knew for sure that Little Charlotte would die. I waited for a few hours. Then I got the ‘it’s really happening’ call.
You know those moments in life when the planet stops spinning. An ache begins to expand in your belly.
Sad beyond the deepest sad.
I have not written about this time before because it was so utterly devastating to witness.
I remember driving through a rainstorm, a nasty one, to get to the hospital. I cried almost the whole way, and it was a long drive.
I had to ‘handle’ her mother, who I hope WTF blogs about at some point because that women is a piece of fucking work.
WTF was in labor. Labor.
WTF has to have C-sections, so it was actual irony (as opposed to the stupid shit people try to pass of as irony) that she was finally getting her hippie vaginal birth, with pushing and all, to birth a dead baby.
While she was laboring, and fevering, my breasts ached. I was still nursing my son and I had never left him for so long. I had to bring my breast pump.
I remember pumping in a secret doctor’s sleeping room, so I did not have to remind WTF about her milk, which would come in soon, with no baby to drink it.
I remember WTF delirious with fever, 106 to be exact, naked on the bed as we tried desperately, really, to cool her down so she would not die. It was a grave situation. Mother or baby. It felt mediaeval. If the baby did not come out soon WTF would die, if her fever did not recede her brain would cook.
I remember the small laminated picture of a rose stuck to her door. It was the mark of death. It meant “this couple’s baby will die, so tread lightly.”
The rose moved with them to another room when the birth was eminent. Little Charlotte’s birth/death happened in that room. The details I will leave for another time, but she was born, into silence. No heartbeat monitors, no rushing…no pushing after all. She was just there, tiny bottom first.
I remember WTF and Rocket Man holding Little Charlotte after she was born, dead and too small. I remember WTF rocking her in her arms the way a mama does. Rocking and whispering.
A mama who knows how to be a mama. I remember what they said to her.
I wrote down and helped them perform a short and loving ritual for her tiny body and soul.
I can still see WTF, a week later hunched over her dining room table sobbing the deep sobs of someone whose grief is go great they are rendered unselfconscious. There is nothing to say during moments like this. Nothing. You just show up.
Last week she and her husband handed us small glass ramekins of sperm, so that S and I can have a baby.
Helping a friend deliver her dead baby.
Helping a friend have a baby by giving them half the genetic material to do it.
These are things you cannot thank someone for. There are no words for acts such as these.