Every morning, I place a silicon patch on my C-section scar to help it fade. Every evening, I peel it off before my shower. It doesn't hurt anymore. It isn't tender. But, it's still there. A mocking smile about 4 inches below my belly button. It reminds me every day about what happened to me, of what I don't have, and of what is left behind. I hate it.
It is the line in the sand to divide the before from the after, the inside from the outside, her life from her death. This small, pink line is so much more than it seems.
To the average mother, a C-section scar is a badge of honor. It shows what her body went through to give her children life. To me, it is a reminder of death. It is a reminder of the absolute worst day of my life - the day my child was ripped from me both literally and metaphorically.
I am fully aware that I had an option to not have my scar. I could have delivered Kenley through regular labor. I could have been induced and waited in the hospital for contractions to begin. I could have been in pain for several hours, utilizing all the breathing techniques I learned in my birthing class, to deliver my daughter. My dead daughter. Instead, I took the chicken way out. I couldn't bear to go through labor knowing the end result was a lifeless baby. I needed to get it over with. I needed to not feel. I needed to forget. I've read so many stories of women in my situation who chose to labor. They explain the reason for their decision being they needed to have those last few moments with their baby. They wanted the pain because it made them feel closer to their child. And I feel instantly guilty that I chose to go to sleep. I couldn't handle what has come naturally to women since the beginning of human existence. I ran away. One minute I am awake and sobbing, pregnant with my dead child, the next I am emerging from a drug induced sleep, numb and emptied of the life I had failed to keep safe. In my panic, I chose to leave behind those last few moments with my baby. I didn't savor the time I had left. I was afraid, and I deserted her at the end. And so, now I have a scar.
Looking back on it, I probably still wouldn't do anything differently. In a way, that makes it worse because I am still a coward. After all I have been through and worked through, I am still not strong or brave enough to go through the birth of my daughter. I couldn't even do that for her. My logical brain reminds me that she was very tightly wrapped up in her cord - and I wouldn't have been able to deliver her naturally anyway. I would have labored for hours only to have to resort to a C-section in the end, but that doesn't really matter. Without that knowledge, I still chose to escape, and I feel guilty that I couldn't - or wouldn't - face those last few moments I had with her. Just because I was scared.
My scar reminds me every day not only of what I lost - but of who I am. The ugliness of both is overwhelming. Physically, it will heal into a thin, white line. One day, it may be only barely visible. But, I will always know. Every day. For the rest of my life, I will remember what I did and didn't do when it mattered the most.