Jeremy and I just wanted to express our gratitude to everyone who has offered us condolences this week. We’ve appreciated all the kind words, offers of help, flowers, food, advice and thoughts. We understand that many of you don’t know what to say. We don’t either. Losing a baby at almost 40 weeks brings with it an unexplainable kind of sorrow. There really are no words.
We do know that our friends and family are tiptoeing around us, and are afraid to ask questions about what happened. Nobody wants to pry, and we appreciate that. We’re ok to talk about it though, so we thought we’d write this to address the some of the things we been asked already.
How did you know something was wrong?
On Sunday morning I noticed the baby wasn’t kicking. This was unusual, as she was a very active baby.
At first, I didn’t give it much thought, as with only a few days to go, things were getting tight in there, and I’d read that fetal movement slows as the due date gets closer. Still, it was gnawing at me, so I decided to drop by the hospital just in case.
This wasn’t the first time I’d been to the hospital for a minor abnormality while I’d been pregnant. As it was my first, there had been unfamiliar twinges and pains that I’d had checked out, but I’d always walked away with piece of mind. That’s what I was expecting this time.
Of course, what happened next was unimaginable. I was admitted to the hospital immediately but it was too late. She was already gone. We can only assume her heart stopped sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning. From here, everything happened like an out-of-body experience. My brain stopped functioning and I just started following instructions.
Right away, they began the process of inducing labour and sent us home for a few hours to rest. We returned later in the evening for the next step, which included the epidural. They’d predicted I would be ready to deliver by noon the following day, but when they came to check on me at 7 AM, the head was already visible. The staff sprung into action. They told me to push and I did. Within minutes it was all over.
The labour was uncomplicated and physically, it looks like I came though unscathed, aside from the usual post-partum discomfort. Also, if there was a silver lining to this horrible experience, it’s that my OBGYN was on the floor at the time and was available to be with me until the end. I am grateful that she was there and not a stranger.
It appeared to be a placenta abruption. We were given the option of an autopsy but apparently they usually come up inconclusive, so we choose not to.
Regardless, there was nothing we could have done differently, or no way we could have known ahead of time.
Did you see her? Hold her?
We decided this wasn’t something we could bear. The hospital took pictures that we can look at when we’re ready. We’re not sure if this was the right decision but we felt it was the best choice for us at that time.
Will you have a funeral?
While we realize this is something people in our situation sometimes do, we decided that it’s not something that would bring us much comfort or closure. We chose cremation and we’ll decide what to do with her ashes later on. We’re considering a memorial garden, a tree, or something along those lines, but we’re not really in a state to make any decisions that don’t have to be made right away.
What was her name?
We don’t know. We’re not sure about that yet, and it falls into the category of decisions that don’t have to be made right away. This is something we will revisit in the future.
What are you going to do now?
I’m still going to be on maternity leave until summer. The next few months are going to be hard though. We’re trying to prepare for them the best we can. We’re joining a support group, looking into counseling, and planning a vacation. We’ve also made a list of projects to do around the house. Then it will be camping season and we can get our little trailer back on the road. Staying busy and making plans for the future – we hope this will be the key to self-preservation.
Will you try again?
I’m hesitant to talk about this because I think baby making is such a personal subject, but the short answer is: yes. The prospect is terrifying to me at the moment though. The idea of another nine months of fatigue, morning sickness, heartburn and sleeplessness is daunting, especially since I’m still in the early stages of post partum recovery. Plus, there’s the possibility of having trouble conceiving. I’ve seen other couples struggle though this and I understand how stressful that can be.
Of course, there’s also the possibility of having to go though this again (although my OBGYN feels it would be highly unlikely). We’ve decided it’s worth the risk. There had been a time when we saw two paths: parenting and not parenting as equally satisfying lifestyles (we still do). If the last nine months have taught us anything though, it’s that we do really do want a child. Now that we’ve come this far, we can’t imagine giving up now.
Sadly, I know the next time we will be a less celebrated pregnancy and will be approached with so much more caution. I worry about spending nine months in constant fear, or even worse – apathetic. I’m hoping this is where counseling will be helpful.
In the meantime, I need time to recover physically, and together we need to process and heal emotionally, but we’re optimistic about the future. We hope that while we work though this, our friends, especially those with kids, don’t feel weird around us. We’re not bitter and we don’t begrudge. We are raw, but not fragile. We just want to move forward as we grieve.
Again, thank you all for your love and support.