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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.