On this day two years ago on January 26, 2021, my daughter, Summer Aaliyah Irene Walker passed away. She was just born five days prior, at only 25 weeks. I was six months pregnant and was diagnosed with a rare form of preeclampsia resulting in an emergency c-section. Sometimes, I have to say it out loud or write it to myself, to know it’s real. That I really was pregnant, I really had a baby, and my baby died.
Yeah, I know. It’s heavy.
I found out I was pregnant in early August 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the world was still halfway shut down. Masks were still mandated and folx were still quarantined in their homes. Most of my family and friends didn’t even see me pregnant. Some colleagues and associates still don’t know that I had a baby. At times, I feel like I’m in the Matrix and that COVID, my pregnancy, and Summer didn’t exist. Until January and the prospects of a new year comes along.
While most people came into 2023 with high hopes of starting over and a fresh new start, I welcomed the year in pure shock. I can’t believe it’s been three years post-pandemic and two years since my baby was born. People are still getting infected with COVID and my baby is still not here. Yet, life miraculously continues to move on.
At times, I feel heavy.
I feel a croak in my throat, restricting my tongue from moving, and preventing words from forming. My tears are so dense that my contact lenses won’t stay in my eyes. My lungs become so full of air, I exhale long dragged-out slow sighs, and my heart so hardened, that I can’t even breathe. That’s how grief feels to me. So unbearable that it becomes hard to look at pictures of Summer when she was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), of when she was still here. While I’m actively working on my healing. Moving on requires a level of acceptance, which I still struggle to grapple with; that I wish I can forget. There are several realities that I have to face:
- At 25 weeks pregnant, my blood pressure was extremely high and it was discovered that I had protein in my urine- How?
- Summer was underweight, weighing only 1.2 pounds at birth- Why?
- I was diagnosed with early stages of Preeclampsia and I could have died – What?
- Less than 12 hours after checking out of the hospital, overnight, Summer’s oxygen became compromised, and moments before I reached the hospital, her lungs collapsed and she was gone – no words.
- I have to explain this to family and friends who had not seen me and could not visit me at the hospital because of COVID restrictions – FUCK COVID!
If I received a dollar for every time someone asked or assumed I was stressed or under a dark force/ spiritual attack, I won’t be rich, but I definitely would have a lot of money. I’d be rich if I got paid for the amount of “Do you have/want children?” questions I receive. I try not to fault anyone because you don’t know what you don’t know. However, it bothers me how ignorant we as a society are when it comes to Preeclampsia and pregnancy/ neonatal loss. Meanwhile, celebrities such as Serena Williams, Kim Kardashian, and Alysson Felix have all experienced some form of Preeclampsia.
Serena suffered blood clots and was later banned for wearing a compressive Catsuit during a match, Kim Kardashian had her two last children via surrogate, and Alysson Felix, a highly decorated track star experienced a near-death experience after the birth of her daughter; who was also born at 25 weeks. And still, I find myself giving mini-lectures about the disease and how I didn’t know or wouldn’t have known, I had it- had it not been from that regular scheduled prenatal visit.
It’s a lot.
But, I manage. I cry, pray, read my bible, practice yoga and write. I decided to publish this because I wanted to put words to how I’m feeling right now- in real-time. I wanted to be able to document this moment, because, if I’m being honest, I’m just getting through the day, one hour, one minute, and sometimes one second at a time.
Who is Mechellé? Mechellé is an Educator, Marketing Professor, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Manager. Creatively, she’s a blogger, content creator, writer, and aspiring yoga teacher. At home, she’s a daughter, sister, aunty, and mother to an angel. To myself and others, I’m Just A Girl From Brooklyn trying to leave my mark on the world.
One response to “Today is the day my daughter died…”
Well that was a powerful statement
Just know that you’re not alone many women have experienced the same thing that you have and they have survive and you will to, Try to imagine summer looking down on you winter spring and summer, and wanting not to see her mommy sad, that should give you the motivation to saty strong, you have to know that she is ok and that she wants the same for her mommy, if she was hear you would not let down so be strong and courageous for her and yourself.