Grief and Gratitude

Posted by danielle on March 14th, 2014. Filed under: Recent Posts.

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.

What happened?

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?

No.

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?

No.

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.

7 Responses to Grief and Gratitude

  1. Pam T

    Danielle and Jeremy,

    I am so saddened to hear about the loss of your precious daughter. Your story leaves my heart broken for you. How absolutely brave of you to share your story and feelings with your family and friends on your blog.

    I can’t for one moment begin to understand how you both are feeling right now. As a Labour and Delivery nurse I have been a part of this situation on the caregiver side many times. It never gets easier or makes any sense to us nurses and doctors. Each case is so unique and so very sad. I am so happy that your own OB/GYN was available that day to care for you and deliver you. Having someone familiar that you trust with you is so important. Stories like yours deeply impact those of us in Obstetrics. There is never the right thing to say or do that makes much difference. I hope you feel that you had good care where you delivered and were offered lots of support.

    It sounds as though your health was not compromised which I am relieved to hear.

    You mentioned you are looking into a support group and counselling which is so important. I’m glad you are. There are so many resources out there and some parents are afraid or reluctant to use them. I imagine you’ve been in contact with a social worker at your delivering hospital to help you with referrals and programs. Make sure you keep in touch with them in the coming months. There job doesn’t end just because you’re discharged home.

    Please accept my most heartfelt condolences. If there is anything I can do for you, make sure to let me know.

    With caring thoughts,
    Pam Taylor

  2. Ruth Morgan

    Dear Danielle and Jeremy

    My heart goes out to you. I am lost for words. Could not imagine losing a child.

    My thoughts are with you
    Ruth

  3. Serafina Pupillo

    Thinking of you guys. I shared your story with friends of ours that constantly tell us that they liked life before kids. I hope sharing your story with them has altered their thinking. Ithink everyone should cherish and embrace their family friends and children. Thinking of you.

  4. Lara

    Oh Danielle. I had no idea. You sound so calm and graceful about this (and I would expect nothing less) but this is just awful. I’m so very sorry and very glad to hear you’re still taking your leave and seeking people to talk to. Condolences to you and your husband. Xoxo

  5. Barbara Zvanitajs

    Dear Danielle and Jeremy,

    The bravery you have shown in your explanations, answers to so many concerns we all have felt is so totally unbelievable. You are both so courageous and loved so much. Your little girl is so proud that she chose you to be her parents. When you do name her (and choose to share her name) we will all be honoured to know. Please know that she is the most precious Lunch Bunch grandchild, and will be loved by us all. What an amazing angel you will have, forever watching over you and your families.

    With heartfelt love,

    Barbara and John

  6. Steve Zweep

    So sorry to hear about this Danielle. I know this is a tough time for you and Jeremy – life sucks sometimes. Wishing you all the best and my thoughts are with you.

    – Steve

  7. Ron Richardson

    Dear Danielle and Jeremy. while being your uncle’ we never got to know each other very well’, but,. I was so sorry to hear about your loss .Your Dad and Mom were looking so forward to being grandparents.. Danielle, I don’t know what you believe, but I firmly believe your little girl is in the hands of God now. We do not know why these things occur, but, I am praying for you ,My prayer is, that God will be with both of you comforting and, helping you through this troubled time. Your friends have given excellent advice and comments,Nothing I could say t has not been said. I do hope that you decide to name her, as she will always be a member of your family Joan and Ron Richardson. .

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