I was driving home from my sister’s house, buzzing down the familiar back roads that led back to the highway from her house in the foothills, having just enjoyed a sunshiney, spring day of snacking and silliness with my nephews and niece. Being almost 8 months pregnant, and out of work, brought lots of fun days of relaxation like this, counting down until my little girl’s arrival. The weather was perfect, and I zoomed carelessly down the winding roads until…
Suddenly, at almost 50 miles per hour, the road suddenly ended. A stop sign was there, immediately to my right, and I was careening into and across the road that ran perpendicular to the one I was on. Directly in front of me–a drop off into a freshly leveled field. I gasped, with the stabbing clench of my gut, and frantically turned the wheel to the left, desperately trying to keep control of my little SUV. I felt the driver side tires of my vehicle lift off the pavement, and I screamed “Oh my God!” knowing I was about to flip…
Then, after the sound of screeching rubber against the road ceased, and the swerving of my car straightened, I was back in control, and driving forward. I breathed out for the first time, and came to another stop sign only a few yards ahead. I stopped.
I started crying. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” I kept repeating. Who was I apologizing to? After I’d said it a few times, even I found it strange that that was what first thing that came to my mind. I was shaking and in shock that I had just become so tuned out, driving down a road I had driven so many times before, that I’d almost flipped my car. The expanse of woods that previously marked the end of the road I was on, had been newly leveled, taking away my visual cue to stop. Still stopped, crying, and trembling, I touched my belly, my baby, and continued, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Quickly, I realized, I was talking to her. I was so mad at myself for putting my child in danger. It was one of the first moments I realized how much I truly loved my daughter, Georgia.
I haven’t, until today, thought of this moment again since her death. And I can’t stop thinking about it…the comparison of this event and what was to come. I was driving along, happy and carefree, much like I was in life and my pregnancy. And then, without warning…scary, chaotic loss of control. A perfect portrayal of how the morning of April 23 felt. Down to the repeated I’m sorry’s…
It’s now almost 8 weeks from this day… our life’s devastating crash. In so many ways, I’m back in control. The hum of normalcy has returned. My hands are back on the wheel. I’m driving between the lines. But, I’m still shaken and weary. I still can’t believe what I’ve just survived.
The struggle of not knowing what ended my little girl’s life remains with me everyday. My mind explores every possibility of what could’ve happened in hopes of offering some sort of closure that will never come. Like most mothers of stillborn babies can probably attest, I have questioned, is it something I did? I know it wasn’t. But it’s just one of those things about being a mom–the desperate wish to ensure you did everything you could to protect your child. How tragic it would’ve been to have lost her that day in a car accident. Yes. Tragic, indeed. But any less, or any more tragic than the quiet and non-chaotic way she departed while I slept that night in my bed? Gone is gone– but only from here. Her life still had living to do that day. It wasn’t her time. (Or mine.) Her life’s purpose and impact was still growing and thriving in my womb. My love for her was still growing, too.
She only lived one more month after that day that could’ve taken both of ours. Some days I feel like I accept that her life was meant to be lived and completed in her nine months on my inside. Some days, I just don’t. It doesn’t feel fair. I feel like I got so far on a not-so-easy journey with her, only to be forced on another, not-easy-at-all journey without her.
Make no question though: I rejoice for every day I had with her. Days spent feeling content, and days spent feeling scared. They all taught me something about how I want to go on in this life. I thank Georgia so much for that. I can’t be scared to press on. My goodness, I probably think to myself daily, “If I can live through this, I can live through anything.”
I almost crashed my car that day because I didn’t know what changes lay ahead. Now, I know. I anticipate that stop sign. I come to a standstill.
But then… I keep going.
Rachel Sellers, 30, a cardiovascular nurse rom NC, married for 6 years to her most cherished husband, Kevin. After an ectopic pregnancy, followed by a few more years of trying to conceive, she became pregnant with and carried her most loved girl, Georgia Linwood, for 9 sweet and enjoyable months (37 weeks.) After a long night of simply not feeling Georgia move, Rachel gave birth to her, only to say goodbye to her, on April 23, 2015. Georgia’s life, brief and beautiful, has had profound purpose for theirs.