There was a point where, every single night, I would have trouble falling asleep because I was re-living the day Calvin was born and trying to make it right in my head over and over. I would imagine everything I would have (should have) done differently.
I kept thinking about how I should have insisted that they try to take Calvin’s footprints or how I should have offered to take them myself. I would have this conversation in my head, and sometimes I would end up with a perfect, tiny set of footprints. Other times, I would just have unrecognizable smudges, but it didn’t matter because I would know they were his. On bad nights, it felt like the nurse lied about his feet being too small and just said that to not tell me that his lower body was missing; those nights I hated feeling so morbid.
I would think about how I should have opened his blanket and looked at every part of him — I didn’t even see his hands or feet. I felt like he was too fragile to touch. I only knew his weight through the blankets. That same fear about his body being incomplete, I felt it at the hospital. I was holding Calvin after I got out of surgery to remove the placenta, and I started to open up his blanket. Then I froze with fear. I think maybe it was the anesthesia still messing with me. I wish, I wish I could go back to that moment with a clearer mind.
I agonized (I still do sometimes) over not holding his hand in my fingers. I feel so jealous, and sometimes like such a failure, whenever I see photos of a baby’s tiny hand on their mommy’s fingertip or when I see photos of babies holding their parents’ wedding rings. If he wasn’t too fragile to be dressed and cleaned up by the nurses, then I should have been able to touch him — Why couldn’t I have figured this out then?
I would also get frustrated with myself over not having more photos of him. Why didn’t I think to take pictures? Why didn’t I ask someone to bring a digital camera? Why didn’t I use the entire disposable camera on photos of Calvin?
My biggest regret from that day though is not sharing Calvin with our family. If I could only change one thing, as much as I would love to see his hands and feet, to kiss his little fingers, I would choose to go back and let my family see and hold him. I would allow them that physical connection of knowing his weight in their arms and being able to look into his face directly, not just through photographs. I would imagine Calvin held by my family and cry at the thought of how I fractured their relationship with him. I keep telling myself that we chose what was right for us at the time, but I feel like I robbed my family of knowing my son a little more. It still really hurts thinking about this.
With each of my babies I wish I could have a redo. I wish I could go back do some things differently. I wish I had my own “Ground Hog Day,” so I can go back and do right by my babies, so I could do right by me, so I could do right by everyone else I love, so I could have had a better chance of keeping them.
What is your biggest regret?
If you could go back and change things, would you? What would you do differently? How has this regret affected you?