Friday, October 15, 2010

For Infant and Pregnancy loss remembrance day, I remember

Though those who know me know will know what I'm talking about, some do not. This blog post is personal and not positive. If you don't want to be saddened maybe don't read it. If you don't mind being saddened please do.

I got married young. That wasn't my best idea ever. We starting trying to have a baby right away. Also probably not my best idea ever in light of the aforementioned bad idea. That's another blog. It took some time, several months, but it happened eventually. I was thrilled and in the only way I could, I prepared. A lot. I picked an OB. I read. I shopped. I decorated. I was thrilled to be having my first baby. I knew she was a girl. I wanted to name her Jordan.

Around Mother's day. I felt her first kicks. Then nothing. I wasn't very far along in the pregnancy and the OB told me it was normal not to feel movement until 20+ weeks. OK. Fair enough. I went to my regular appointment. My OB had to cancel it due to an emergency. Two weeks later I went back. We were getting ready to have an ultrasound soon and I was anxious to have my suspicions confirmed. The OB used the doppler to listen to the heartbeat which could not be found. He then reassured me that often babies hide. He'd just get the ultrasound machine an find the baby. So he did.

When I saw the first glimpse of my baby that I'd not seen since early after conception, I was delighted. My baby was no longer just a blob. Arms. Legs. Hands. Feet. Fingers. Toes. Beautiful.

But no heartbeat.

I'll never forget the look in his eye when he sat on his rolling stool and said nothing except, "Oh my God, Joni. I'm so sorry. I can't find a heartbeat."

And my world literally crumbled. All around me.

He sent us to a radiologist. They repeated the same procedure. Cold gel. Blurry black and white screen. No heartbeat. And the radiologist..."Your baby is dead. Sign this form. Where's your insurance card? Have a nice day." Other things I don't remember.

What came after that can only be described as the worst several days of my life.

She was in fact a girl, as I'd suspected. the OB gave us options. Wait. Induce. Have a D&E (similar to a D&C but using kinder words so that mom doesn't feel like she's aborting her baby). I was paralyzed with pain and sadness. I looked pregnant. I felt pregnant. This couldn't be. How could the baby I dreamt about and planned for just suddenly be gone? I cried and cried until I was out of tears to cry and then I cried some more. I took her nursery apart piece by piece. I sat in the floor and cried. Day after day. I went to bed. I slept. Then I couldn't sleep. I wanted to wake up from this nightmare.

My body refused to let Her go.

I thought once she was born I'd feel better. Normal. Not consumed.

I was wrong.

People said stupid things.

"At least you can have more." I don't want more. I want this one.

"At least you're young." Because it would hurt less if I were old?

"It was God's will." To make me suffer?

"At least you weren't full term." Oh because I love her less since I was only 20 weeks. OK. I get it.

"There must have been something wrong with her." Like I would have cared.

"Someone else needed that spirit right now." Oh really? Well I'm going to go find them and get MY baby back.

"You'll meet her in heaven." Uh huh.

What was there to say?

I'm sorry.

That's all.

This experience of losing my daughter changed me. It changed my marriage. It changed my life. I was crippled with fear of losing another baby. Paralyzed with sorrow. Even the arrival of my next baby wouldn't heal the wound of loss.

Later in my life as a nurse, I'd care for women like me. Losing their babies. No one really ever wanted those patients. So sad. So depressing. But I wanted them. I wanted to hold their hands. I wanted to cry with them. I wanted to tell them I knew exactly how they felt. I wanted them to know it would hurt. For a long time. Maybe forever. I wanted them to feel safe to grieve, to cry, to scream. I wanted to tell them that people wouldn't understand and that they might say stupid things. I wanted to say, "I'm so sorry."


Elizabee said...

Joni, I remember. I remember hearing from Jen all the dumb things you were told. People just don't know what to say. But the one about it beings God's will bothered me the most. God did not create anyone to see them destroyed. That is so far off His radar. That baby is as precious to Him as she is to you. His heart broke with you. I too lost a baby, not very far along at all. Never ever ever did I blame God. I was glad He saw fit to embrace that baby, and care for me as well. I am so glad you were there for the women who needed you. I believe that was His will in that situation. Not the death of your precious little girl. Love-so much love- for you Joni.

Patty said...

Found this post through blog to lose, all I can say is you are not alone. Every bad thing that was said to you I heard as well, and felt the same way. I still 6 yrs later get very emotional on and around Sept 3. Still cry. I wish someone like you had been a nurse at my hospital, instead I had to listen to nurses looking at baby photos (someone had a grandchild) while I waited for my D&C procedure. Thoughtless, and cruel adding salt to my wounds. Please do, if you are still a nurse, take those patients, they need someone like you.

Susan said...

Your are one of the most beautiful women I know, you have the heart of an angel.....

Veronica Fischer said...

I cried. You did a fantastic job telling this very sad story. I'm sorry that you and I have this in common, though I never even made it far enough to think about hearing the heart. I don't understand it. Not any of it. I will never understand why I had to go through this - THREE times, no less. AND an adoption that fell through just this past January. The pain is still there, though I try not to think of it often. I'm so excited for the precious baby that James and I are soon to be blessed with. (I really wish you lived closer - I think we'd be good buddies!) V


Anonymous said...

I have just come upon your blog, through BlogtoLose...this link intrigued me and I think sometimes I just need to cry it out a bit like I did today while reading your words. Thank you for putting words/responses to the thoughts that we have when people try to comfort us. My miscarriage was early on...but I still had to pass what I thought was going to be my baby, and that was hard. That's all there was to was hard. And devastating. And sitting in front of the very beautiful & pregnant girl who did my processing/intake into the hospital for my final and only ultrasound is a memory that I will never forget. I almost lost it there, and frankly I'm surprised that I didn't. Seeing your beautiful family, and the beautiful babies of the other women around me who have gone through a similar situation, though, helps and gives me hope. Soon we'll have our homebirth experience, where I will tackle all the pain and add a wonderful little person to our family. I can't wait - thanks for your inspiration :)

Matilda said...

Thank you for sharing this post and thank you for being such a giving person and nurse. I too lost my baby girl at 23 weeks and 2 days due to unknown reasons. I just sent into perterm labor and they couldn't stop things. She didn't survive. People do say the stupidest things but I don't think they realize sometimes it is better left unsaid. As I sit here today pregnant with my second child a litlte boy at 23 weeks an anxiously wait to see if I'll make it past my previous pregnancy the memories still hurt and I cried reading your post, but I can also remember the good and the blessing it was to have her while I did. Thank you.

Joni said...

Matilda... I know exactly how that feels. Try to breathe. I know it'd hard momma. Blessings to you.

Transformation said...

Joni, I share this story with you. I was young not married though. But I will never forget that day no matter how my life changes. She would be 15 this year matter a fact she will be 15 on the 18th of this month. And oh how I miss her I always try to imagine her voice or her smile.

Thanks for sharing your story.

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