i have been mad at yoga for not saving me from the pain of my loss. before he died, i knew how to ground myself and breathe deeply. i have survived hard things before. i could sink my energy and breathe. but when he died i couldn't breathe. every breath was so, so painful. and my breath cycle adjusted to accommodate the pain. my nervous system was destroyed like i had survived a bomb explosion.
but in truth, my very sick baby boy died peacefully in my arms.
none of it makes sense.
my first class back as a student, i was held by friends who knew what happened to nathaniel. i sobbed for a bit, but i made it through the whole class without exploding.
my second class back, i ran into an old friend who didn't know what happend. the last time i saw her, i was big with nathaniel. she came up to me with a big smile and said how is your family?
i thought fuck. she doesn't know. i was hoping that she had found out through. . .someone else.
i had to tell her that my baby died. where do i even start?
few people know his story. i have shame, or something, about the fact that he was sick and we didn't know. i'm absolutely embarrassed, even here, about the fact that i was 37 years old and i didn't have any kind of ultrasound or genetic testing. please know that i wanted to, but i didn't for complicated reasons.
the truth percolates down to the fact that my husband is afraid of doctors and the mainstream medical establishment. he has a degree in science from an ivy league school, so ignorance is not the issue. just fear.
in retrospect, i should have had the testing i wanted, the testing i knew was best practice, considering my age. considering his. but i wanted more to have a baby with him. i wanted for us to be together. and he wasn't going to get on my side of the issue.
so i agreed to a homebirth, for him. i agreed to no testing. and then at our 36 week appointment, when the midwife suspected our baby was breech, she requested that we get an ultrasound as soon as possible to confirm position.
and the story of our loss begins there.
and now i don't know how to tell nathaniel's story to my friends. the fact that he was sick absolutely colors the loss. the fact that he was sick somehow doesn't ease my grief.
it doesn't make sense.
my third time back to the studio i talked with two different friends, both of whom knew about nathaniel. one of them had gone to nathaniel's service, and i hadn't seen her since. we hugged and kissed and hugged and kissed and laughed to see each other. the other friend was the photographer at my wedding, and i had run into him at the grocery store about six months ago. i told him there that my baby had died. i don't think he knows the details.
when i think about how to tell other people about the loss, i don't want the fact that he was sick to dismiss or diminish the loss. i don't know what details to include. i don't know what details to leave out. i don't know if i can show them his picture. some people think that a photo of a dead baby is morbid.
how am i supposed to talk about nathaniel? it's still so awkward and the narrative is pocked by vulnerabilities, shame, embarrassment, and challenges within my relationship. it's also marked with making difficult medical decisions. about life. about resources and statistics, about complex and controversial medical procedures. about severe, global disability. all of that is part of nathaniel's story as well.
how do i tell his story? what story do i tell?