And then the stillbirth started.
From the moment those painful, body and spirit crushing contractions began, I shut my eyes tight and didn’t see anything anymore.
I didn’t know where I was, all I knew was that I was screaming for a c-section and they did not give it to me. I begged Oshik to do something, but he couldn’t do anything.
I couldn’t believe this was happening to me.
It is impossible not to focus on these contractions and the pain, and the screaming, and the false encouragements (“here she comes”) and more deceptive cheers (“any time now”) and more empty encouragements (“good Yael, good!”).
It was insane. I was so scared of childbirth. I never thought I’d be walking out of the hospital without my baby. And here I was – giving birth and without an epidural because who would push if not me? My baby was dead, she couldn’t push her way out. It wasn’t two who were working on this birth, it was only me.
And I was going to come out of that hospital without a baby.
Not the most encouraging thing to think about while in labour.
Thursday, September 9th, 01:10 AM.
Suddenly – relief.
And Oshik started crying.
Suddenly, my eyes weren’t shut tight anymore, they were just closed and I could breath in and out.
And I knew what Oshik was seeing, I knew exactly why he was crying. My brain commanded my hand to touch him but my hand didn’t obey. It simply couldn’t.
I opened my eyes and I thought I had changed rooms because it suddenly looked as if it was showered with lights, instead of that dark room we entered two days before. Where had all the light come from??
I asked to hold Ayelet.
I was given this wrapped baby. Still. Quiet. And beautiful just like in my dreams.
I held her.
I felt peaceful. Bliss. Proud to hold my baby girl, even though she has no life. She would have been perfect if only she wasn’t missing that one little thing that is life.
I was so peaceful that I nodded off for a few moments with Ayelet in my arms.
For the first time in two-and-a-half days I find comfort. Comfort within this baby that looks like me, with my husband’s lips, and reminds me of my son so much. Comfort in this little body that, until not too long ago, was kicking and moving and living inside me.
My chest filled with warmth and love.
And I couldn’t help but smile. I knew my baby was dead. I knew she wasn’t asleep.
It didn’t matter.
I smiled at her, talked to her, I sang the two songs I wanted to sing to her, I talked about memories from the pregnancy with her.
I focused on her head and face. I stroked her cheeks. I smelled her. I kissed her.
I loved her.
I was all smiles and I felt content.
Not a single tear in my eyes. My heart didn’t wish to fall apart. My spirit did not wish to crumble. All my being was concentrated on my beautiful Ayelet, a baby I made out of immense love with Oshik, the biggest love of my life.
Oshik took photos of Ayelet, and one short video of her and me together.
During the days afterwards, there were times I looked at those photos and cried, and times when I looked at them and was filled with love.
And for the first time in my life, I looked at photos of myself after such a difficult experience, and I thought I was beautiful.
This experience was so powerful, amazing and unbelievable. I remember showing my baby off to one of the doctors, who was reluctant to look at her. I now remember, as I write these words, that I made him look. All the doctors came to tell me I was a hero. Between you and me, I didn’t feel like one. I just did what I had to do.
I held Ayelet for an hour, then it was goodbye and that’s it.
I haven’t seen her since.
You can download my full story here.