The First Could-Have-Been Birthday

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It's here.  Today is the first day that Eve could have been born safely.  Her due date was January 20, but the safe window for her birth was from January 6 to February 3.

Today is the first could-have-been birthday.

There will be another tomorrow, and the next day.  A month of could-have-beens.

I don't know how I will survive.

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Now it seems impossible that I was ever pregnant, that there was ever expectancy, joy.

I can't believe that this happened -- that this is still happening.

There is a sharp line drawn in the sands of my life.  On one side, my life before I learned that babies could die, that my baby could die, inside me.  On the other, this new life where everyday is a new opportunity for pain.

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The first life, it is abhorrent to me.  How could I have been so naive?  So unaware?  So foolish, it seems now.

I hate looking at photos from before.  At anything that reminds me of before, of that life that is no longer -- journal entries, art, blog posts, Pinterest pins, scribbled notes in my Bible, our dogs.  I find my former optimism revolting.

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And so here we are -- a world where babies die, and babies die often.  Where one in four pregnancies ends in death.  Where every year approximately two million women lose their babies, and I am one of the 26,000 whose babies are stillborn.

Where a heart that had so recently been opened by God's healing is now broken and bloody.  Where prayer is a joke and God feels far away.  Where my days are exercises in fear and panic and pain.

This life no longer feels like a life.

I want to break things.  I long to smash every delicate thing near me, to ruin every mug, bash every window.  I want to shatter like I have been shattered.  I want to destroy like I have been destroyed.

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Other women whose babies are dead, they tell me that it will get better.  But I think that "better" is the wrong word, because to me "better" means "fixed."  But this cannot be fixed -- the only thing that could fix this is Eve alive again, Eve never dead.  That won't ever happen, not in this life.  And so I will never be better, I think.  I will only become more accustomed to it, to living with a part of me gone.

No matter how agile he becomes in his recovery, a man who lost a leg is still missing a leg.

A woman who lost a baby is still missing her baby.

This change, this losing, it is forever.

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I am a different person than I was.  Perhaps someday that person will be an improved version of the person I was before, of the person that I am now.  But regardless of how it turns out, I am not the same.  I will never be the same.

I could have held my daughter today, in a different world.

That world is dead.

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