As part of my mission to bring more awareness to losing a baby to stillbirth and infant loss I am dedicating Monday’s on my blog to other mothers and their babies. I have met so many moms who are living their lives without their precious child.
Many of them do not write or publicly express their grief because of the stigma surrounding stillbirth and infant loss. I want to give these women a voice and allow them a place where they can openly share their baby and their experince with others. To be heard. And for their baby’s lives to be recognized and validated.
Today I bring you to my first “Monday Mournings” post. This story is from a mother who I’ve had the pleasure to get to know over the last few months. She wishes to remain anonymous at this time.
Here is an intro about who she is and her experience:
“Our son was stillborn at 36 weeks. He died from a cord accident. His big brothers were eagerly anticipating his arrival, and I wrote this soon after his death. It is raw, and the pain is still there. Rationally I know I am not responsible, but what the heart feels is often irrational. Grief counseling has helped take some of the sharp edges off the pain, but we will miss Oliver every day for the rest of our lives.”
One sweet Moms story in her own words are as follows:
Three weeks. Three weeks since your death. Every day takes me farther away from the only hours I held you. Is it strange to say I long for those moments? The hardest of my life but the only ones I will ever have with my third beloved son.
Pictures of you arrived in the mail yesterday. It is both comforting and agonizing to see your face. It is so painful missing you, but without loving you I wouldn’t feel this now. I’ll take the pain in exchange for having had the chance to love you.
Grieving is horrendous.
Yesterday I saw the date of June 20 – the day you died. It was a trigger for a flood of memories. Your three year old brother greeted you that morning by climbing in bed and squishing you. You kicked back, like you always did. My biggest worry of that day was preparing for your arrival in the middle of a stressful season in life. I cried over being isolated, and anticipated how hard it would be after your birth. It was a difficult day, but your fingers tickling in my hip were a comfort.
And then, making dinner, I ran into the cabinet door. And you didn’t react. And I was nervous. And storytime with your brothers, you didn’t roll around. And I was worried. And then sitting on the couch, then lying on the couch, drinking a sugary drink, a bath. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. And I was anxious. Anxious enough to drive to the hospital alone at 9 pm, fighting away the nightmarish thought of how I would tell Jackson if you were dead. Imagining, maybe they could save you in an emergency c-section.
I had to stand at the security station in the hospital for five minutes while the guards chatted and took their time at shift change. Then, getting up to L&D my heart was racing. The Doppler didn’t pick up your heart, and mine began to pound. For one brief moment the nurse gave me a thumbs up, but it wasn’t your heart, it was mine. Thundering too fast. 140 bpm. Too panicked.
Nothing on the little ultrasound.
The nurse tried to comfort me. Just because I couldn’t find anything, she begins and trails off… I start to ask if there’s some hope and stop myself. She starts to reply, then changes her mind. “This is the worst thing ever.” The right words. Honest. The worst thing ever. I just couldn’t call your dad yet and tell him. I needed that one final, formal ultrasound before I called him and changed our world forever.
During the ultrasound, I was numb and exhausted. No more racing heart. No more hope. Just the dull, empty ache of waiting for them to finish and formally declare what I already knew. I began shaking. Terrible body tremors as all the earlier adrenaline drained away. The ultrasound tech finished. She made sure I couldn’t see the images printed off. A stupid thing really. You were my baby. How they think reserving that death pronouncement for the doctor is ok is beyond me.
I called your dad. I couldn’t protect him anymore. We sat in silence on the phone as the doctor came in. “I’m so sorry, there is no fetal heart tone.”
I hate remembering this day, but I need to write it out. I need to pour out these memories that haunt and hurt me. I failed you. It wasn’t my fault, but I feel the burden anyway. I couldn’t save you and it was my job to keep you safe. You died and I couldn’t protect you. And then I had to tell your dad. And your brothers. I hurt every person in our family. I could protect no one. Not you from death, and not your dad and brothers from the truth. Not my fault, but still my burden. And then I had to deliver you. I hold the memories of every broken heart in our family.