My baby's heart stopped beating, unexpectedly, at 14 weeks. I was induced and gave birth to my little Andrew. This is my story.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Another Angel's story....
This was a post (from a grief/loss community I frequent) from another mommy of an angel. It was so touching and described so well the emotions and the experience that many people could benefit in many ways by sharing it. She gave me her permission to post this, in hopes that her story will reach others, providing comfort and understanding. Remember our babies.
She was perfect. 10 fingers, 10 toes. A tiny mouth, two tiny ears, and a button nose. She just came too early. 18 weeks too early. Most are well aware that my water broke and I contracted a severe infection in my amniotic fluid. So severe in fact that my life was at extreme risk and if we had not went to the hospital when we did that I could have been hours away from being septic. In a matter of 48 hours my life went from a plan of joy to a nightmare.
June 22, "You are definetly having a girl!" A dream fullfilled. A little girl I've always dreamed of and had the name for since I was a child.
July 2, "Due to the uncertintiy we need to get you another week and a half along and you need to be on bed rest."
July 4, "We're so sorry. The heartbeat we thought we had was your own."
July 5 @ 6:40am a beatiful baby girl is born at 14oz and 10.5" long. Stillborn.
I couldn't believe what I had to go through. I sat their listening being told I had to give birth to my little girl who was no longer with us. How was I supposed to be able to do this? How is a mother supposed to birth a child with no life when the whole point is to give your baby life? Devestation. Pure and simple. I went numb. I couldn't do this with feeling. I had to separate myself. It wasn't fair. The only thing I ever wanted in my whole life ripped away from me. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I would take 1,000 needle pokes and 10,000 times this pain just to have her back safely in my womb.
It feels hollow. My womb, my heart, my soul. I never knew that a heart could actually hurt. I swing back and forth from sadness, desperation, anxiety, fear, hatred, anger, numbness, and helplessness. At times I'm able to put everything aside and laugh.
When I feel I can't go on, everyone is there. My experience was exceptional. We were able to hold our angel any time we wished. We would send her with the nurses for the night and get her in the morning. I would wake up panicked. I needed my daughter. How could I not hold her for forever? The nurses would ask several times if we were sure we wanted them to take her when we had her. At one point, even though we said we were ready, a nurse decided to give us a bit more time. The doctor's a nurses were so sympathetic. They let me sleep, cry, mourn, and laugh. They told us their stories. They told us how hard it was for them. They told us how beautiful our daughter was.
My family has been exceptional. My aunt never left my side except for a couple of times. Coaching me through my birth. I don't know how she did it. But her strength enabled me to push on. I know she was heartbroken. Helping me through the hardest thing any of us have ever had to face. When she wanted me to breathe I wanted to tell her I hadn't had time to learn any of this. When I was told it was ok to cry, I wanted to say I didn't want this to be me. My family has laughed with me and cried with me. They hurt with me, and sat quiet with me.
See there are things you can do and things you shouldn't do. We have been lucky. Everyone has been so supportive. You see it's ok to not know what to say or do. Because honestly, not a word you say will bring Ashley Elizabeth back. Not a word will ease our pain or take it away. It's ok to visit and just sit quietly with someone that lost a little one. We had people do that. No words were needed, just the support. It's ok to say how sorry you are for the loss. It's ok to say that you don't know what to say.
I can tell you that there are those who held our precious dollbaby and that meant the world to me. Because it meant that other people accepted her as being real and loved too. People would ask, afraid of my reaction, but my heart was never so proud. Because now I'll forever remember that she was held by someone other than myself. I'll remember the love and compassion that people looked at her with. The gentleness in how they picked her up. The love in their eyes. They're admiration of how even though she was so tiny how perfectly she was already made. Not everyone may feel that way. But she was real, and it meant the world to me.
It's ok to talk about her and to ask questions. There may be answers we know and answers we don't. There may be times when we want to answer and talk and times when we don't. All we ask, is that you understand and be supportive of us and anyone else you may know. Meals, prayers, cards, quiet visiting, they all mean the world. We never realized how helpful a meal was until we were in this situation.
It's ok to mourn the loss of our baby and the loss of the things we'll never do or have. We'll never here her laugh or cry. We'll never see her roll over, crawl, or walk. We'll never hear her first words or have her call us mommy or daddy. We'll never ground her, threaten her boyfriends, buy a prom dress, or have her walk down the aisle. There will be no graduations, skinned knees, splinters, christmas cards, fights, or pedicures. We will not have grandchildren by her. We won't see her get her heart broken. We won't see her first date. But we saw her. We saw her have no suffering. We saw her loved. We saw her 10 fingers and 10 toes. We saw her sleeping. And it is ok to mourn all of this for and with us. Because we wll not heal over night.
But please do not discredit our loss or anyone else's. Each loss is different. Some people it is much harder for some people it's not. At times I think my loss is so different then a miscarraige, and to an extent it is. But the fact of the matter is, a loss is a loss. A baby is a baby. You can see a little one's heartbeat as early as 8 weeks. Probably earlier. Don't say that at least she didn't suffer. Because as odd as it may seem, we grieve that we don't get to see her heartaches. Don't tell me that it wasn't my fault. Because even though I logically know it is not my fault and I could have done nothing, I am her mother and it was my responsibility to give her life and protect her and I feel as though I failed. Like my mother who stood on the sidelines watching me do the hardest thing I've ever had to do knowing we'd be having a funeral, I am a mother who was helplessly lying in a hospital bed wanting to do whatever the doctors wanted if it meant bringing her back and I couldn't. So while I know that I tried and did everything I could, I feel guilty and that is something I have to work through. So acknowledge those feelings and support me or anyone else you know. Because a mother's sense of love and obligation is indescripable and goes further than I ever thought. And please know I am always a mother. My husband is always a father. Our parents are always grandparents. Our sisters are always aunts. And our nephews and neices are always cousins. I may not always feel I'm a mommy because I don't get to push my daughter around in a stroller, walk her into her first day of school, or take her to Sunday school, but I had and have a baby.
We have had such a great experience except for one. And this is primarily for any medical personel. Never ever forget that a parent who has suffered a loss no matter how far along is grieving and it can only take one word to flip a wrong switch for someone. You see, as most also know, I had an emergent appednectomy less than two weeks after giving birth. Not once, not twice, but three times 1 nurse and 1 doctor later I was asked about my 'fetal demise' and if I had to 'expel the parts' of my baby. This infuriates me because I had a baby. I did not have a screw, a fan belt, a motor, a leg, or an arm. I had a baby. Please remain sensitive to this and change your terminology because it's NOT appropriate. No matter how far along I was she was a growing person with a heart, liver, lungs, intestines, brain, eyes, fingers, toes, and everything you or I have. Just much tinier. She could hear me. She could feel pain. She had nerves. She could even taste. Do not discredit that. Your beliefs may be different, but you need to assume to err on the side of caution that any patient believes their baby was and is a person. If I did not have the loving husband, family, friends, and church family I do, I might have or might decide to give up. A woman who has given birth, primarily to a little one she had to bury is at high risk for post-partum depression and demeaning her child could be the one thing to push her over the edge into a dangerous territory no one wants anyone to enter. So rememeber, miscarriage or stillbirth, a woman still had a baby.
Just remember, our baby is loved, with us or not. She is in the arms of Jesus. "Jesus loves her this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belongs. They are weak, but he is strong." And please don't forget that Jesus called the little ones to him, "Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”" This is not mentioned once but three times in Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, and Luke 18:16. Please take comfort with us that Ashley is in Heaven at the feet of Jesus and is in a place of no suffering.