PORTFOLIOS > Lost and Found

Forget me Not
Forget me Not

Part 3- April 23, 2007

Deliverance- 1. the act of delivering someone or something : the state of being delivered. especially : liberation, rescue. Though numbed from the waist down by the botched spinal block, I was fully awake. My arms outstretched to my sides, tethered by wires, Mark stationed to the east, holding my hand, my doctor stationed to the south holding a scalpel, and a host of doctors and nurses gathered above me- stations of the cross.

I felt the first tugs and pulls of my body being sliced open from hip bone to hip bone. I felt my abdominal muscles being separated and clamped open, I felt my organs being moved aside, my intestines temporarily lifted out for space to operate. I did not feel, yet I knew when my womb was opened. The once bustling operating theater grew silent.

Two amniotic sacs revealed. Incisions made. Baby A was delivered first. In the early ultrasounds, she was the most active baby. Ams and legs in constant motion, even her tiny mouth opening and closing as if in conversation with her fraternal twin; breathing in amniotic fluid, a small aquatic creature, full of life. I couldn't see her face from beyond the drape that separated us, but heard my doctor ask me- "Do you want to see the baby?" This took my breath away. I hadn't known it was possible to see her. I didn't know what was left of her. What did four months of decay do to a small body? I could not allow myself to imagine. I gasped out- "what does she look like?" Though not prepared to hear the answer. A pause. "She is...sort of... flat. " She said other words after that, but I could not take them in. Time passed as she waited for my answer. I had reached a crossroads. I could choose to look upon the misshapen corpse of this child and forever have that image seared into my memory. With a vibrant imagination like mine, the wide open eyes of an artist, this seemed like it might blind me permanently and I could never see anything- ever again. In the moment- the decisive moment- I had to make a choice.

Though I have questioned my choice all these years- up until to this very day, I chose life over death. I chose, in that moment,  NOT to see her. Oh it hurts to say it. Did I betray her there in that space? Did I dishonor her? Abandon her? Break our soul contract just when she needed me, her mother, the most? Did I let her go without  so much as a goodbye, having never been held close to her mother's heart? 

I had made a decision that day to finally let her go. I chose to make April 23 a birthday for my living daughter, not a funeral for the dead. I chose joy over despair. I had to go on living after she died 4 months earlier to save the life of her sister. I had to go on living now to save her again. And ultimately save myself. I have lived with her ghost ever since.