During this week eight years ago, I had a weird rash on my face. I went to walk-in care and was told that it was likely stress or hormones from giving birth. Theo was just fifteen days old at the time.
After Iris was born, a rash appeared on my face. Seventeen days after she was born. I had zero recollection of the previous rash, and headed to walk-in care. I cried when the nurse asked me the first day of my last period and had to explain that I had just lost my baby. Walk-in care wanted nothing to do with me and sent me upstairs to dermatology. The doctor there overreacted and did a skin biopsy, leaving a scar near my eye. If I had only remembered that a rash followed giving birth…
After Autumn was born a rash appeared on my face. Twenty-one days after she was born. I remembered the incident with Iris, but still had not remembered that it had happened after Theo was born. Not until seeing my own “On This Day” from this week in 2009 reminded me.
A few days ago, I looked at pictures of living children, comparing cheeks. At two months, they all had chubby, kissable cheeks. I naturally spend time comparing my babies: how they eat, how they sleep, their hair, their little cries. But I cannot compare them to Nelle and Iris. I had originally typed “my children that were born” but that isn’t accurate or fair. Nelle and Iris were born too.
On Friday, I went to the dentist. I went to the dentist after losing Nelle. I had pregnancy gingivitis. The hygienist told me that her sister was due to have a baby in January. Nelle was due in January. I went to the dentist again after losing Iris. I had pregnancy gingivitis, again. I started crying when I said that I was recently pregnant, but lost the baby. The hygienist rushed through my cleaning and I was fine with that. Now going to the dentist just reminds me of those visits.
And I know someone who is struggling with a difficult pregnancy right now. It is stirring a lot of memories of those ten days between learning that Nelle was growth restricted and losing her. How every moment felt like slow suffocation. How I didn’t want to talk about it, for fear that people would say “it’s going to be ok” when I was sure it wasn’t, or wouldn’t know what to say. How when the OBGYN spoke the words “I’m sorry… I don’t see a heartbeat” that the suffocating feeling I had been feeling closed over my head and the last bit of air I had was gone. When I hear of other people going through pregnancy difficulties, it throws me back and I feel so much, so achingly and strongly. Because I know.
This week, so many moments. Returning to memories that hurt, sometimes in unexpected ways.