Nick was ecstatic. He wanted to be a dad more than anything! Watching his excitement throughout my pregnancy helped calm my nerves and diminish my fears about becoming a mom. His enthusiasm provided me with strength and created a sense of well being and anticipation within me as well. Nick read all the baby books, while I was reading all the pregnancy books. He would highlight passages in books about child development and share with me ways we were going to parent Nora when she was 6 months-old to 10 years-old. Nick researched baby products and sent in all the recall notification cards after we bought an item. He watched "The Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD with me and took notes about how to calm your screaming baby. He took the car seat to the police station as her due date drew near to make sure it was properly and safely fastened in the back seat of the small SUV he had traded in his two-door sporty bachelor car for. As I was quietly shaking with fear inside about becoming a mom, he was already a dad.
The man I had chosen to stand beside me as a husband, was already a devoted and loving father. I had chosen wisely when it came to picking a loving and caring husband and father to my future children and I was proud that I was the woman able to make this man's dream of becoming a father come true. So, when the moment came when we left the hospital without our little baby girl Nora, I felt like I had failed this man. His dream of being a father, of his little girl walking towards him as she took her first steps, or hearing her first word be daddy, or walking her down the isle at her wedding someday had all been shattered. They were shattered because of me, because I failed him. I failed her. I failed us.
I kept saying I was sorry in the days after her delivery to Nick. (I don't like to call it her birth, because I don't believe she was ever really born into this world, since she never took a breath outside of the womb). I was sorry for not being a good mom. I had failed in keeping my child safe. I had failed at giving my child life. She was delivered into this world dead. She never even had a chance and neither did he. My husband never had a chance to hold his screaming, breathing, and kicking daughter. He never got to experience her movement the way I did, he never got to see her eyes open and stare back at him. He never got the opportunity to be the dad to Nora that he had so lovingly prepared for. And this was because of me.
Did I cause the infection that killed her? No. Was there anything I could have done to save her? The doctors say no. I believe the answer in my own heart to be no. But, I still feel like I have failed my husband. In my guilt and blame of myself, I feared that it was my fault that she died not because of something I did, but because of something I didn't do. I didn't want her enough because I was too scared. I didn't get excited enough for her, so that must be why she was taken from me, from him, from us. I wasn't a good enough mom. I wasn't good enough to bring her into this world and keep her safe, and wasn't good enough because I had been selfish when thinking about my future. My worries had not been about her safety or her well being, but about my own. Was this why we weren't allowed to have a single moment with her outside of my body with her alive?
I know this is all what is called "magical thinking". I know that her death was some cosmic random act of the universe with no purpose, no meaning, and with me not having any control or hand in it. I know that it wasn't my fault. I know and am lucky that my husband doesn't blame me. He actually loves me more and more each day. As I do him in return. We have been brought closer by the lose of our daughter. He doesn't believe I have failed him. This makes me feel proud to be his wife.
The question is, do I believe I have failed him. Part of me does, yes. But mostly that part of me just wishes that things could be different. That instead of causing the man beside me to cry from horror on the day his daughter was born, I wanted him to cry from joy. I wanted to be the woman that brought his beautiful daughter into the world and bestowed on him that gift of true unconditional love that is between a daughter and her father. I know in my hearts of hearts my husband would make a great "girl" dad. I also know that Nora will be forever "daddy's little girl", but as a wish and a memory.
I know I didn't fail him. I know that I didn't fail her. I know part of me will always feel as if I failed myself. I know that most of all, I just wish it could have been different for Nora, for me, and mostly, for the man beside me.
~ Still Breathing...Lindsey