Thursday, September 10, 2009

Heartbreak

I took my pulse earlier. It was seventy-two beats per minute.

I was surprised. I was surprised I found a pulse at all. I thought surely my heart must have stopped beating. How could it still be beating?

And more importantly, why? What is the point in going on when my baby isn’t mine anymore?

I have never felt so low in my life.

My Roo is gone. My Roo. I have never been apart from her for more than an hour or two since she was pulled from my belly. And now it's been more than four hours, and I am lost.

She isn't mine anymore. I signed a paper that says so, one that had a lot of horrible things on it including the word "sever," which has never been so ugly to me as it was tonight.

I held myself together remarkably well until I got into the car without my baby. I felt like I was going to throw up. I wish I had, I might have felt a little better.

I did not throw up. I wailed, I screamed, I cried. I made a lot of sounds like a wounded animal, inhuman sounds I have never made before. The clacking of the unfastened car seat buckles - the Roo-less car seat - undid me.

“Did I really just do that?” I asked a few times. No one answered. I had moments of calm interspersed with screaming fits. I used up about three dozen Kleenexes. I wailed that I wanted to die. I did want to die. I think I still do.

A beep sounded from my diaper bag – my diaperless bag. My BlackBerry’s battery had run out. How perfect. My battery ran out, too. I slumped in my seat, sobbing, clutching the burp cloth Roo had rested her head on as I’d held her earlier.

I couldn't bear to get out of the car when we got home. How was I supposed to go home to an empty house? How was I supposed to go in without my baby? I couldn't. I sat in the car for a few minutes, one hand in the empty car seat, staring at the space where Roo's head should have been. I could almost see her there.

My mother had to pull me out of the car, lead me inside. The house felt wrong. My arms felt empty, so empty they ached. I shuffled into the living room, curled up on the couch in the fetal position, and came undone. I raged, I screamed, I moaned, I wailed, I made more wounded-animal sounds, inhuman sounds. I wasn’t quite there. My eyes wouldn’t focus properly. My mother tried to console me. I scarcely wanted to be touched. I cried out for my baby, my precious daughter. I said over and over that I just wanted to die. My mother said it would be okay. I pummeled the arm of the couch with my fists, kicked out at the air.

“Nothing is ever going to be okay again!” I shouted. I lost my strength, curled up again.
Again, I said I wanted to die. My mother said she understood. I turned on her.

“Don’t you ever say that!” I screamed at her. “You will never understand! Don’t you dare say that!”

I sat up quickly, clutching a wad of used tissues.

I calmed a bit, apologized. I went into the other room. And I cried. Roo’s tiny laundry was stacked on the couch. I re-folded a few Onesies, made a neat little stack.

I clutched the blanket M gave me. I held it like a baby, stroking the imaginary back and fuzzy head.

Over and over tonight, I have said: I hurt. I want my baby. I miss my baby. How could they drive away with my baby in their car? I want to die. I feel lost. I don’t want to have another baby someday, I want this baby, my baby, my Roo. What am I supposed to do without my baby? How am I supposed to breathe, to eat, to go on?

I miss Roo so much I could die from the weight of it.

My grief is selfish. Roo is going to have the most wonderful life with P and M. I know she will be okay. She will be more than okay, she will be happy, she will be safe and loved and cared for. She will get more cuddles than she can stand, more attention than she wants, and more love than she can fathom.

But what about me? What am I supposed to do without my baby? She isn't my baby anymore, either. And on a deep level, I know that, and I am okay with it. I know in my heart that Heavenly Father meant for her to be M and P's baby. They are her parents, I don't doubt it for a second.

But it's so hard! I was her mommy for two months, for nine weeks. Nine of the happiest weeks of my life. I was so blessed to be Roo's mommy. I feel as though that is all I have ever been. I don't know who I am without her. What am I supposed to do now?

I pray that I will know what to do now. I pray that this won't be my undoing. I know that I made the right decision for my sweet baby. I know I found her family. I just hate that what's right for her is so impossible for me.

What am I supposed to do with my life now? I have plenty of time to figure it out, I suppose. The future stretches out before me, endless and interminable and lonely.

I hope Roo is adjusting better than I am. I pray that she is. I have prayed every night for weeks that she will know that P and M are her parents and that she will not miss me.

One thing I have learned about myself over the years is that I can do hard things. But I'm so tired of doing hard things! I wish things could be easy for me just once.

Before I got into the car, when I was still holding Roo, she started to fuss a bit. I tried to make her happy but she got crabbier. I panicked. I didn't want to leave her this way. I kissed her cheek and handed her to M. She calmed almost instantly. She looked content, if a bit thoughtful, not quite sure what was going on. That M calmed her made me feel I had done right.

"You just needed your mommy, didn't you?" I said. I think I said it twice. And I kissed her cheeks, touched her nose, and told her that I love her. Then I did the hardest thing I have ever done. I turned and walked away.

And I am forever changed.

6 comments:

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

This is beautifully written Jill. Your words have me in tears as I remember what the placement day of my own sweet girl was like over 11 years ago. I believe that you will be so grateful in the future that you have this all written down. Even 11 years later, I still go back to that day mentally and try to remember the feeling of my baby in my arms. It is the most strange feeling to have such peace in your soul, knowing that you are making the right choice for your baby...but also experiencing such physical agony as you ache to be a mom. I can tell you, it will get easier. You will never "Get past it" as some annoying people might suggest, because she's a part of you. But that peace will expand, and the agony will shrink.

Michelle said...

You don't know me but I found your blog through another blog. I just wanted you to know that as I sat here and read this post I cried for you and what you went through. I have never placed a baby or adopted a baby so I definitely won't say that I understand what you have gone through. You are a very strong woman and I will pray for you.

Heather said...

In a place far away from you & far away from the date that you wrote this, I am sitting in my bed with my laptop, reading your words and crying and feeling pain (I almost typed "your pain"... but I don't believe I can claim to feel or know the pain you must have felt- I haven't 'been there'). Again, I just feel I have to tell you how well written your words are, how strong I think you are. It doesn't seem right to have read what you wrote & have felt so strongly because of it, and not to leave a comment to tell you that you have touched me so deeply.

Kylie said...

Another who found your blog today, and am sitting here with tears rolling hotly down my cheeks. As a Mum of 3 (and no links to adoption), it is somewhat hard to read your words, but I feel grateful and privileged in doing so. You are an amazing person. I haven't read the rest of your story, but will continue to do so now. Thinking of you and Roo from Australia.

Alysa . . . . and Reed said...

I found your blog a year or so ago from a friends blog. I too am a birthmom, and I almost couldn't read this post because I knew how much it would hurt to read. You have an incredible way with words. This is exactly the way I felt. The tears still come to me anytime I think of my own placement day, no matter how many years ago it was. That day just hurt.

Laura Proctor said...

I don't know you, but I really wish I did. I'm not adopted nor have I adopted a baby, but I did however stumble across your blog by mistake, and I'm so thankful I did. In the many posts I have read, I've seen the ultimate sacrifice no mother should ever have to face, but I guess if you loved Roo an ounce less you would have kept her. I'm glad to admit, laying in bed yesterday I had tears streaming down my face, at your bravery and sheer love for your daughter. You are an inspiration, what you did for your daughter was so selfless, putting her wants and her needs before your own, even though you knew it would break your heart is what is so amazingly beautiful. The love you have for her is in-describable and seeps from your every word - that is evident. I will never claim to understand how you 'felt' or how you continue to 'feel' to this today, because I will know or experience that sheer viciousness of pain, or physically aching like you have. You said you didn't know how you were still 'alive' and neither do I, but you are and you should be so proud of yourself, for all you've done, and all you will do in your life. What's so amazing to me, is how you never let your own guilt, darkness or pain to consume you entirely, I bet you've thought about it on occasion, but you've never let your own needs cloud your judgement, you did what was best for Roo, and that is what makes you an exceptional mother. Roo was lucky to have been your daughter for those nine weeks, anyone who can love so selflessly deserves the up-most respect, and you have mine, in it's entirety.