I'm sitting there listening to everyone crack jokes, pretending to laugh. "Stop being so negative Stephanie, when you think bad things they happen” says one voice in my head. “But I just ate ice cream, it always moves when I eat ice cream" said the other voice. It was
February 6th at about 8:30 pm and I was 39 weeks pregnant. I had been pregnant enough to know that something was wrong. I waited an hour until I got home alone and I ate a great big bowl of caramel ice cream. This was once my favorite past time, but after not feeling my child move for a second time it gained a new meaning.
I called my dad to drive me to the hospital and waited for what seemed like hours. With the first ultrasound and no heartbeat I knew my baby was no longer living, but to spare the feelings of everyone else in the room I kept quiet until I was officially told by the head doctor. "I'm sorry Ms. Crawford but your baby has passed away", that was the last thing I heard as my mind started to wander. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but it was something in between "Am I dreaming" and "Why is everyone smothering me?" The process after that was long and a complete blur.
I was put in a hospital bed, blur, an IV was put in my arm, more blur, and then contractions started. The contractions were just like everyone said they would be, painful, but I was going to do it natural like I had decided from the beginning. Then, I started to have an anxiety attack with every contraction. Every time I felt pain my chest got really tight, heavy and I couldn't breathe. I was dying just like my baby and no one believed me. All the doctors and nurses would say is "its anxiety Stephanie, just try to breathe, you can breathe". What was their problem? After that 3 month mark your baby is safe from miscarriage, so it must be me who's dying, couldn't be my baby.
The delivery doctor rubbed my back as my last contraction set in. She sat on the bed next to me and said “I know you really want to do this natural, but I don't think you should. I went through this some years ago and well, it's not the same feeling it is when you’re not getting the reward in the end. I want you to go through this as comfortably as you can. It's your decision but this is horrible and you shouldn't have to be in pain." So I decided to get an epidural. Then in comes the anesthesiologist, blur, then in comes the delivery midwife who tells me it's time to push.
My mom held one leg and my step mom held the other, I pushed for 15 minutes and at 11:45 am on February 7th the midwife said "It's a boy". My first thought was "Does that even matter now?" My whole pregnancy I hadn't found out the sex just to find out that I had a dead baby boy. They cleaned him up, wrapped him and put him in the bassinet anyway.
I could see him through the plastic side of the bassinet, I knew as soon as I look at him that I was afraid of him.
My biggest fear has always been death and anything that has to do with it, so I wondered why on earth God would make me birth it?
After contemplating in my head for minutes, I finally decided to hold him. He...was...beautiful, amazing, cute, and ....... Dead.
How, could he be dead and be so cute? It still didn't click, "so I can't take Him home?"
And I couldn't.
Well at least not right then, and not outside of plastic wrap inside of a paper bag.
I had Simeon Jelani Crawford, cremated, all 8 pounds 2 ounces and 22 inches of him.
That was 7 years ago and today it still plays over in my mind sometimes as if it were just yesterday. No matter what year it is, on February 7th, I write the date as 2/7/11 and I can’t get a grip on what day or time it is. I still cry and certain triggers still bother me, but nothing beats all of the different emotions I went through over the last 7 years.
It would be easy for me to say that life has been hard, that I cry out of frustration every time I see a 7 year old and it's not Simeon. It would be totally understandable if I said i'm sad and this pain will never go away. You might even relate if I said I deserve to stay in my bed every day. The blessing is that I can't say that every day has been hard, I can't say that I've stayed in my bed for the last 7 years and I would be lying if I said i haven't smiled or laughed since Simeon. One day I woke up and decided that this life I live will become a life lived to the fullest in memory of my little boy who did get a chance to live his. I still do get sad when I see a child his age, holidays are still tough and I miss him like i've know him all my life. I'm as passionate about my pain as I am about my healing and plan to use this passion to help other mommy's heal and honor their babies without fear or shame.
My hope is that I motivate, inspire or encourage you to turn your pain in to a purpose you are passionate about.