Monday, September 6, 2010
Expecting, or why I am a ball of hurt
Two lines on the test. There were two lines. After 6 years of infertility, We had given up, put it out of our minds. God had blessed us 3 fold with our son, and our twin girls. What more could we have asked for really? But, there it was. Proof of our labor, two lines. Two lines, not expected, anticipated, but definitely wanted.
We were expecting! Looking forward to! Anticipating the arrival of our fourth (and final) miracle!
At the doctor they did another test. Negative. Disbelieving, heartbroken, crushed. Tears, oh so many gut wrenching tears! I recall being terribly ill the next week, being rushed to the ER. “Any chance you might be pregnant?” A sad shake of my head. Warm blanket wrapped around me. It smelled like the top of a newborns head. Baby. I was warmed, comforted by this, by the voice inside telling me to wait, be patient.
The ER doctor delivering the news, PREGNANT indeed! 9 weeks along, heartbeat on the screen, no denying this! Our little family was so excited, expecting! Looking forward to! Anticipating!
A summer baby! July. Weeks went by, filled with OB appointments, and morning sickness. Oh morning sickness! Like I had never experienced before! Hospitalized for dehydration. Hyper emesis gravidium they said. So sick, miserable. But still seeing the light at the end of the tunnel; baby.
Big belly, so big! I was so proud of that glorious belly! Our children touching my belly, talking to, singing to. And then! Day after Christmas, our baby moves! She’s moving, kicking, swirling, turning! Proof of life. More weeks go by, we are finally past the “danger” point, onto the second trimester, the “safe” period. Breathe sigh of relief. During my next OB appt, discussing tests, opting not to have the AFP. Feeling the need the urge to tell my OB something doesn’t feel right, but not wanting to be laughed at. Something feels wrong, something is wrong with baby. Can’t shake this. But she’s moving, twirling, pushing. Surely, surely I’m just paranoid. It’s been so long since I was pregnant, but not remembering this feeling.
On top of the world, big belly, so big! Driving and singing. The song “with arms wide open” coming on the radio. Crying. Such a moving song. Contraction, tightening! Odd. Too early for Braxton hicks, surely? Strange feeling. Not just the tightening of my belly, strange sense of foreboding. But tomorrow is our ultrasound! Tomorrow we find out if our bean is a boy or a girl! Home, lay down, sleep, surely the strange feeling will stop soon?
Next morning, drinking two bottles of orange juice, waking up baby for our big scan! Wake up baby, wake up! Joking, lighthearted.
During our scan, the scan with all our children present. The scan that is supposed to be a joyous occasion. Silence. Why isn’t the tech playing the heartbeat? Why does baby look so different? Tech tells us a GIRL! A girl a girl a girl! Oh! Happy! So happy, but something is holding me back, it all feels fake, pretend. I cannot imagine our family with a baby, let alone a girl baby. When will I feel happy, excited? Walmart to buy our first PINK things! My phone kept ringing, ringing. Number not recognized. Ignore. Ringing and ringing . At home finally answer. It’s the on call Ob. No heartbeat, no heartbeat she says. Come into the hospital and let’s check again. Animal keening, falling to the floor. No heartbeat. I knew. I knew. This baby. I knew. I knew I knew I knew.
Hospital ultrasound, silence. Too quite too quite too quite. No heartbeat, “I’m sorry she’s gone” No. No no no no no. Not true. Can’t be true! How could our daughter, our baby be gone? Dead? She’s dead and she’s my baby and she’s not here. I should have known, felt when her spirit left me! I’m her mother!
Upstairs. Quite corner of labor and delivery. Can hear babies crying in the nursery, am in a dream. Flower with a tear drop on our door. We are the family to avoid! Don’t come near us, our baby is dead! It might be catching, the dead baby thing! Stay away. People to be pitied! Dead baby!
Labor is started, phone calls. I don’t know who I called. People showing up to pray with us, comfort us. It doesn’t help. She’s dead. My baby is dead, yours isn’t. Life is not fair. I have to push my dead daughter out of my body. All the pain of labor with none of the reward. Physical pain with emotional pain. Labor. To work hard. Doesn’t begin to describe the journey we are about to take.
Sympathetic, pathetic. Dead baby in room 316.
Hours of labor. Hours of knowing what is about to happen, denying it. Hoping within hope that they are wrong! She’s not dead! Broken machine! Whoops!
Middle of the night, I awake from a restless sleep. Someone is next to my bed. There is a light, something next to me. Someone is speaking to me. “Let me go” its saying. “It’s time to let me go Mom” “No! "I say. I’m not ready, I can’t do this, don’t leave! It’s time. I love you, daughter. I loved you I love you.
My eyes open, my water breaks. It is time. I am not ready but it is time to push my dead daughter from within me. My womb. I push. I push I push I push. I lose track of what I’m doing. Eyes locked into my husbands. Don’t look away. If I look away surely, surely I will die. I want to die. She’s alone, all alone. One of us should be with her! She’s a baby! Alone. Tears are running down our faces. I push. She’s here. She’s here and it’s silent. It’s too quiet! I just had a baby, and it’s too quiet! No one says a word, makes a sound. The doctor holding her. She fits in her hand. She’s tiny, and not well, my daughter. She’s broken, and dead. My daughter. Why, how did I not know? I didn’t KNOW! I, maybe I could have done something? She’s dead, and It’s my fault and I wish it were me. It’s not fair. They won’t let me see her. She’s dead, and broken and they won’t let me see my daughter. Before they take her, I tell the doctor, her name is Leta Blue. Her name is Leta. She’s my daughter, my flesh and blood, she’s dead. Leta. Leta Leta. She’s taken from us. Taken from the only home she’s known. The warmth of my womb to the coldness of the morgue. What is going on? I have a child in the morgue? How can this be my reality?? I am torn. Empty. I am empty. I was expecting a baby, not a funeral! She can’t be dead, it’s a mistake! It’s a nightmare! I want to wake up. My husband crawls into bed and we hold each other. We are holding on for dear life. Sobbing for this horrible tragic thing that has happened. How did we become this? We aren’t supposed to be the parents of a stillborn baby! This cannot be happening!
Everything is a blur. We are given small mementos of our daughter. A bunting she was wrapped in. So tiny. This cannot be real. Her hand prints and feet prints. So tiny, so…so perfect. A blanket. A bracelet with her name on it. This is all we have. We have no pictures. We have no first outfit, we only have last. Last outfit. We have outlived our child This is not the way it should be. I feel like a mental patient. I have lost my mind. They should give ME a death certificate. Part of me, the essential part of me has died with my child. Me and my child died this day, this cold February day. Death without life. No birth certificate. Only death. Death death death. Dead. So permanent. So forever.
I’m in a hospital room with a teardrop on the door and our daughter is in the morgue. Dead.
I don’t remember leaving the hospital. It’s probably good I don’t. I do remember driving past the funeral home knowing my baby was there alone. So alone. She’s scared, she’s alone, she wants her mama!
Sitting in the funeral home, writing our daughters obituary. What do you say about a life that didn’t get lived? Born and died. Same date. Infant daughter. Born and died. I want to tell the people that she kicked when her brother sang to her. She kicked when her daddy touched my belly. I want people to know her, the way I knew her. I am grieving alone. Only I knew her! Obituary, infant daughter, born and died same day. Should never be this way. I should be buying pink nursery things, not writing an obituary, sitting in this funeral home smelling of death and sadness. I should be knitting booties, not picking out an URN for my dead baby. Alone in this room, the cloying smell of death in the air. My baby daughter is alone in some cold unfriendly room in this stinking hell hole. Dead. The smell of death seeps through my pores.
I don’t know how we got out of there. Don’t know how we are alive. Everything is a blur. Her memorial service was lovely. Good friends set up the whole thing. My husband and I spoke. I don’t know what we said. I remember looking out and seeing the pity, the absolute pity. The "I’m glad it’s you and not me" looks. The pity killed me. Don’t pity me! Don’t feel sorry for me! This could be your daughter! Your son, your child. Don’t pity us!
Balloons. We released balloons for our Leta Blue. Balloons sent to heaven for our baby daughter. Born and died. Died before born. Take these broken wings and learn to fly. You were only waiting for this moment to arrive.
Balloons for my baby daughter. I cannot hold you. I cannot nourish you with my breast. I cannot dress you up in frilly pink dresses, and parade you around, hold you, love you . This is all I can do. balloons. Balloons and tears. If tears were kisses I’d have kissed you a million times now. My baby daughter, you flew away. You left silently. You lived silently. You died silently. My baby daughter, gone. Hold tight to the legs of all your angels. You are my forever, my baby blue.