But I have to. I am filled with rage, seething, actually jumping inside and feeling like I need to punch something or break something or run as fast as I can (which wouldn’t be very fast right now, unfortunately) while also screaming at the top of my lungs.
I’ve written before about my friend who is pregnant and was due at the same time as Anja had been due, and how hard her pregnancy has been for me. The last few weeks have been awful, with the last few days in particular making me sick and anxious and so fucking mad.
My friend is 40, and because of that, she was required to talk to an obstetrician about possible induction at term. Because the risk of stillbirth doubles for women who are 40 and older after 40 weeks of pregnancy.
She complained about this. She didn’t want to see the obstetrician. She felt really good and she could feel the baby moving and she was using her (motherfucking) intuition, so everything would be okay. There was nothing to worry about.
This made me mad when we talked about it when she was 37 weeks. It made me wonder if she thought I had somehow failed to use my intuition, and had let Anja die. If she thought that I somehow deserved to have a stillborn baby, but she was special. It could never happen to her: she was paying attention; she could control the outcome of her pregnancy.
If it made me mad at 37 weeks, it made me sick approaching 41. On Tuesday, we met for a walk and she told me how disgusted she was with having to go to have ultrasounds to measure fluid and non-stress tests to see how the baby was doing when she knew – she knew – everything was going to be okay. She knew.
Yesterday, at 41 weeks, she texted to say she had to go to assessment because her fluid levels were lower than they had been two days before. The OB she saw there wanted to induce her. Her midwife said that wasn’t necessary, that she could continue to monitor the baby herself and try some natural induction methods at home. The OB said if she left, she was leaving against her advice. ‘I walked out of there,’ my friend told me.
You know, I get that she wants to have her extra-special crunchy perfect birth experience. I know that’s what most people I know want. Fine. But don’t fucking flaunt it in my face. I birthed three babies. One by emergency c-section (which she probably thinks wasn’t necessary, just a bunch of hysterical Western medicine-types acting like robots); one scheduled c-section (which again, probably not necessary, right? More hysteria); and one induced dead baby. It feels like full on judgment to me: she thinks doctors don’t know what they’re doing, women are sheep, bodies know what they need to do and will do it on their own terms. By extension, I’ve been duped, my body has failed, I have failed.
And it’s not even that that makes me so mad. It’s the absolute arrogance. ‘I walked out of there.’ Because nothing bad can happen to me. So why the fuck did it happen to me? Am I not as good a mother as you? Not as fucking intuitive? You know what? My pregnancy with Anja was perfectly healthy. I felt perfectly great. She was a perfect little kicker and nothing was ever wrong with her. She died suddenly and even the autopsy showed nothing wrong with her. So why are you so special? Why do you think you’re immune? And most of all, why in the hell do you think it’s okay, that it’s acceptable, to talk like this to me? You know what I think? I think it’s cruel. I think it’s arrogant. I think it’s bullshit.
This morning she texted me to say she had the baby. ‘She fell outta me at [time].’ She fell outta me. Bully for you. You win the fucking birth medal. Step up on the podium and wave the fucking flag.
I don’t know if I can recover from this; I don’t know if our friendship will ever be the same. I wonder if I am overreacting, but you know what? I am also sick of questioning my feelings. This is how I feel. If it’s ‘overreacting’ so be it.
I shouldn’t publish this because I would not want her to see it, but I need to put it out there, even for a little while. I need to get this off my chest. Thanks for listening.
(I’m sorry I said fuck so many times.)