*Warning: This post contains what are my memories. Considering I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I have severe Amnesia about this time in my life, you should take it for what it is; MY memories and feelings about this event. Also, you pronounce her name shay-a.
It never fails, get a room full of mothers together and they start talking about birth stories and the pros/cons of boys verses girls. It’s a major anxiety trigger for me. I sit calmly and quiet. I try to drown out their stories with my own thoughts, but sooner or later someone will say something that makes my stomach turn so intensely I actually think I might throw up:
- Stating how they are so happy they don’t have any girls.
- Complaining about their ‘girl’ children.
- Nonchalantly talking about a miscarriage.
- Bragging about car accidents. (Okay, this is one has nothing to do with mothers, but it’s a HUGE trigger for me.)
My body will start shaking. I’ll get up and walk away. I’ll remind myself that these women/people don’t mean any harm. They don’t even know that what they said shakes my soul to the core. They haven’t been what I’ve been through. They can’t understand. No one can.
My daughter turns twenty tomorrow. I know, most of you who know me or have read my blog/followed my Facebook page for a bit might think: “What??? I thought her daughter was like 17?” No, my step-daughter, Kelsey, is seventeen. My daughter, Shea Marie, turns twenty tomorrow.
I remember her birth like it was yesterday…no, wait…I don’t actually remember much of it at all. You see, I was nineteen years old and I was stupid. My boyfriend/fiance and I were super broke. I know I wasn’t working and I don’t remember what he was doing at the time, probably construction with his brother? Anyways, we would often go out to his mom and step-dad’s house in the evening because his mother would almost ALWAYS give him money. Usually it was $50 – $100, but sometimes it would only be $20. After our short visit we’d get into the car and I’d excitedly ask him how much she gave him. That particular night, I think I remember it being $100.
I know for sure what we did next, because it’s what we always did: We went to go double our money at the casino. Yes, you read that right. We went to go double our money at the casino. (Now you’re nodding your head about that nineteen and stupid part, right?!?!)
When we got to the casino, the main parking lot was full. We had to park over at the ‘old’ casino and take the shuttle to the main casino. That was okay. I mean, we would have to wait an extra fifteen minutes before we could start doubling our money, but I guess the time waiting was worth it. We were going to be doubling our money, you know?!?!
I don’t remember gambling that night. I was pregnant and BIG and I had a hard time maneuvering around all those machines. Shea Marie was quite the kicker and rib ‘tickler’, so I’m sure I spent some time trying to get her legs out from under my ribs. When we had finally
doubled lost our money and we were ready to go home, I remember stepping off the shuttle bus:
And then? My memory starts to become really, really fuzzy. In fact, most of it’s blank. I don’t even remember getting into the car.
There are things I can put together though.
For example, we went to the casino
often a lot all the fucking time (nineteen and stupid) so I know the way we took home and I have some vague memories of Highway 101 being under a lot of construction at that time.
I was told that the *night before*, on our way home from the damn casino, we were on Highway 101 and in order to maneuver around the construction, we needed to take a right on Highway 5, go a bit, and then take a left to get back onto Highway 101.
I was told the construction crew had done a lot of work within the 24 hours between <eye roll> casino visits, because as we pulled up to the intersection (remember the night before I was told we needed to turn right, go a bit, and then turn left) my boyfriend stopped at the red light and was going to make the right hand turn.
I was told that I was looking around – deciphering the road signs and blockades – and I’ve been told that I said, “Hey, don’t you want to go straight?”
I was told my boyfriend straightened out the car and went straight across the intersection.
Right into on oncoming car. The oncoming car hit us directly on my door. I was told that I started screaming.
Obviously, the ambulance came and took me to the hospital.
I was told there was some confusion in the emergency room.
I was told that my doctor induced labor the next day. My baby girl was going to be born a few weeks early. I have ONE memory of my labor and delivery:
I looked up into my father’s eyes and I said, “Is my baby dead?”
And he looked at me, full of tears, and he said, “Yes.”
I remember nothing of the next few days….someone arranged Shea Marie’s funeral. Someone paid for it. People came. I don’t know who.
I know I went. I was told the doctors didn’t want me to go.
I know she was buried with a blanket I was in the middle of cross-stitching for her.
I know I loved her with everything I had.
I know she is gone.
I know that I have spent the last twenty years with her on my mind (some days less and other days more). I have tried dealing with the guilt I feel about telling my boyfriend (at the time) which way to go that night. I feel responsible for her death.
I continue to cope with not only the emotional side of my loss, but also with the physical issues I have as a result of that car accident. I had fractured my pelvis and my spine¹, and I have permanent nerve damage and a slight paralysis from it. I cannot curl/grip with the toes on my left foot. This might not sound like a big deal, but if I try to use my toes too much, like walking on a rocky beach, my foot will seize. If my foot gets too cold, it will also seize.
A Facebook friend of mine posted a picture with this saying:
“It has been said that time heals all wounds, I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue, and the pain lessens, but is never gone. -Rose Kennedy.”
Yes, the pain lessens, but it is never, ever gone.
¹I was told the doctors didn’t know the extent of my injuries before I gave still-birth to Shea Marie and that if they had known how badly I was injured they would have preformed a c-section, including a hysterectomy. I am lucky that I was able to have two more children, both are boys and both of them mean the world to me.
P.S. I am thankful to have a husband who, not only comforts and helps me through the physical pain, but also helps me with the loss of a child that is not only ‘not his’, but a child he never met.
Also, I am thankful to my sissy for not letting our memories of Shea Marie disappear and caring for me during that time. Sissy, you were so young, but just like now, so strong.