“Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever,” he said. “You might want to think about that.”
“You forget some things, don’t you?”
“Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.”
-Cormac McCarthy, The Road
For the first time since I started the grief writing course, I wanted nothing to do with today’s prompt. What do you want to remember? What do you wish you could forget?
Because my babies died before they were born, there is little that I want to remember. The ecstatic rush of the positive pregnancy tests were short-lived. I am haunted by all of the memories that were their births. I already wrote about those unforgiving experiences, for both Nelle and Iris.
When I wrote previously about the experiences of their births, I glossed over the most horrifying: the actual moments of them being born, and feeling them leave my body.
It is ironic to write about this today, as it is my younger son’s 4th birthday. His birth story is typical in its expected elation. Being a repeat c-section, the day/time were scheduled, but I went into labor and he was born a day earlier.
After two c-sections, being told that I was going to be induced and deliver vaginally was awful. I knew that I would feel more than I wanted to feel, more than my body could pretend to ignore. I knew I would never be able to erase that from my mind. The exact minutes of their births, knowing that it was over, are burned into my memory. I could not look and I cannot picture it. Yes, a baby was born, but nothing like how anyone would picture a baby.
30 hours. 5 hours. 26 hours. 14 hours. The hours of labor for the births of each of my children. Two born alive, two born dead. Two c-sections, two vaginal births. Two boys, two girls. Two born to our joy, two born to our tears.
I went to a Bikram Yoga class today, my first ever. 90 minute class in 90 degree heat. The intensity and focus required allowed me to forget, if only for 90 minutes. If I didn’t focus on the practice of yoga, I would have fallen over. For 90 minutes it was only about my limbs and spine and strength. The sweat that dripped from my body was particularly cleansing. I left the class feeling lighter.