A lot of you may not know this about me, but Noelle is not the first child I have lost.
Soon after Brett and I were married in 2007, I became pregnant. My pregnancies with Jack and Lilli were high risk. My doctor severed my uterine artery delivering Jack and I almost bled to death. Lilli's delivery was dicey as well. My doctor recommended I get my tubes tied, but due to scaring and multiple adhesions, he couldn't perform the surgery.
I read the information packet, took the pill, and breathed a sigh of relief. Bullet dodged. I thought I was safe from this unplanned pregnancy. Until I missed my next period. The morning after pill did not work. I was pregnant. Brett was ecstatic. I was scared shitless.
Looking at those two lines on the pregnancy test, my heart sank. I was back in an OR bleeding out listening to my doctor telling his staff, "She won't stop bleeding. I don't know what to do. Let's try this...not working...OK, try this..." and after what seemed like forever. "There...the bleeding has stopped."
What had I done? How did I let this happen to me? I had finally found a man who loved me, loved my kids. We were supposed to have a great life together, but I would more than likely die giving birth to his child. A child some other woman would raise, and what about my other children? I hated my husband in that moment.
Six weeks later, I was spotting and experiencing the worst pain imaginable. I was miscarrying our baby; the baby I never really wanted. Driving to the hospital, I prayed for God to save that baby. Because suddenly, I wanted it. I felt terrible for my resentment towards Brett and I knew that if the baby died it would be my fault. I took the morning after pill and one of the side effects was tubal pregnancy. I could not be responsible for killing my own child.
My fears were confirmed in the ER. I had a tubal pregnancy. The pain was unbearable and once again my life was at risk. If they didn't get me into surgery before my fallopian tube ruptured, I could die.
The surgery was a success. After a few hours in recovery, they sent me home. Brett helped me out of the car and I threw up in the kitchen trash can. I slept on the couch because I couldn't get in and out of bed by myself-and I grieved.
I had nightmares, horrible nightmares of dead babies. Fetuses screaming in pain. I was a baby killer. I could not forgive myself. Even after my post op appointment with my doctor when she told me, "Sweetheart, you could have never carried that baby, your poor uterus is too damaged." Still I was distraught.
I couldn't stand to be around babies. If I saw a baby in the grocery store, I cried. Pregnant women made me cry. I was afraid to sleep at might because those angry fetuses wouldn't stop tormenting me.
One of the soccer moms on Noelle's team gave birth to twins. I watched her games from my car because I couldn't be near those babies.
My happy marriage became unhappy. I was slowly losing my mind. Antidepressants didn't work. Eventually the nightmares stopped, but the guilt was still there. I killed my child.
I couldn't rationalize that the child could have very well killed me. All I could think of was how I had failed my husband. I couldn't give him what he wanted most. He was a great father to my kids. His relationship with his children was strained, at best. I wanted him to experience fatherhood. To raise his own child in his home and not be confined by distance and a volatile relationship with his ex.
Losing that baby changed us. It altered the course of our relationship.
It took me three years to recover. To be in the same room as a newborn.
We moved to a new town and the first person I became friends with was pregnant. Her daughter was in Lilli's class. When Rylee Nicole was born, Lilli insisted we go see her. I didn't want to, but I'm so glad I gave in. That baby soothed my heart. She and her mother.
I babysat as often as I could. I saw her take her first steps. I am her BeBe and she is my Rylee Rae.
When I got he news that Noelle had been killed, Melinda was the second person I called. Brett was the first. I knew she would know what to do. She has been in my shoes.
When I collapsed in my bedroom floor, she held me and cried with me. No words, just tears. She was hurting as much as I was.
A few weeks after Noelle's death, Rylee saw me crying, "Don't be sad, BeBe," she said to me. "Her's with God." Once again, that baby soothed my heart.
There are days when I hate Verdigris. I tell myself if we hadn't moved here, Noelle would still be alive. Once again, I am blaming myself for my child's death. But if we hadn't moved here, I would have never met Melinda. I wouldn't be Rylee's BeBe. There would have been no late night karaoke sessions in my bathroom singing into toothbrushes. No back porch dancing. No one to cry with me over dead daughters.
Whether I like it or not, God had a plan for Noelle. Her life was pre-destined. She was put on this earth to do a job, and once that job was done, He took her home.
I don't like it. I will never like that she was taken from me so early. Deep in my heart, I wonder...it took me three years to recover from the grief of losing a child I never knew. A child I never held in my arms. How long will it take my heart to heal from Noelle's passing? I'm afraid the answer is never.
But, Her's with God, and every day I try to find solace in that.