That is what I told the manicurist today.
I swore that I would never deny my son and his existence. Little more than a week after his birth, I've already done it.
I don't even know why I was there. All summer I kept saying I needed a pedicure but there was no time or money or I was on bedrest. So it never happened. Dh went to see his family and was kind about me staying behind - a universal relief, I think. He was candid, saying that he knew I didn't want to share my grief with them, that we weren't on those terms. My mother was at work and so I was at a loss. I thought I might as well go do that.
I sat there and tried not to cry. What was the point? Gabriel is dead. Who cares what my toes look like?
And then I moved to the manicurist and she pushed up a sleeve. Of course I still have bruises from the blood draws. I always do. They gasped and asked what happened. I said it was from the hospital when I had blood drawn. They asked if I had been sick and I said yes. They asked if I was well now and I shrugged and nodded.
Then it came. The question I knew would come someday and that I was prepared to answer . . . someday. Did I have any children?
And I said no. No, I don't have any children.
And I screamed inside my head 'Yes, God yes, I have a son and his name is Gabriel and he was born last week and he died just after his birth and I am completely shattered and I don't know how to live the rest of my life without my son.' And I felt like a coward.
When I was done, I sat in the car and I cried and cried and begged him to forgive me.
I'm still crying hours later.
But I couldn't do it. I couldn't throw my son out there as casual conversation. I couldn't take my precious son who was born only a week ago and parade him in front of a stranger who doesn't know and doesn't care and won't remember me or him. He is too special and precious for that. I could not protect him long enough for him to live more than a few minutes, but I can protect him now, at least a little.
And yet, denying him . . . how could I? My sweet baby boy. . . I am so sorry.
I don't know how to navigate this. Who to tell and when. On one hand, I want to shout about him from rooftops, so everyone knows about Gabriel and how much I love him and how devastated I feel without him. And on the other hand, I cannot share him or my grief with just anyone. It is not for the world's consumption. It's hard enough without watching people look away, step away, as if you were contagious, as if the bad dead baby luck might rub off on them if they touch you or look you in the eye. And yet. . . Gabriel.
I want to curl in a ball and let the pain pour over and around me and bury me.