Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Note: This post is pretty raw. I may end up taking it down, but for now, I just need to get it out.

I've always thought of myself as a strong person. No matter how many times life has knocked me on my ass, I've always managed to pick myself back up. Even when we've been through rough times, I've somehow found a way to see the positive until we could make it through. I can't seem to do that now. I'm struggling.

My emotions are all over the place. There's grief, of course. It's a rare day if I make it through without bursting into tears. Even when the cloud of grief eases enough I can feel halfway normal, something always comes along to remind me. A baby item that Steve missed when he packed everything away. A commercial on TV. An article in my Facebook feed. A baby crying in the store. No matter how much I try to insulate myself, there's always something.

There are days when I struggle to get out of bed. I just want to pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep in the hopes that when I wake up again, this will all just be a terrible dream. Then I look down and see my deflated stomach with its line of stitches or feel a throb of pain when I move and I know it's real.

There's guilt. I constantly find myself wondering if things would have turned out different if I had made different choices at certain points. Even though I've been assured by the doctors and the midwife team that there's no way I could have known since I didn't have any of the signs that would have indicated that there was a problem, I find myself wondering how I didn't somehow sense that my baby was in danger. I find myself asking "what if...?" and no matter how many times people tell me that I'm just going to drive myself crazy asking that question, I can't seem to stop myself.

I'm angry at the world right now. At parents who mistreat or abandon their kids. At friends and family members who I thought I could depend on to be here for me like I've always been there for them. At Steve's former employer because I have to stress about money for bills on top of everything else right now. At the hospital, who dropped the ball on the final arrangements, despite me giving them all the information they requested, so I'm still waiting to bring my baby home. At the doctors' office for not having a separate room set aside for women in my situation so I don't have to sit in a waiting room filled with pregnant women and moms with babies every time I have to go in. At life itself for being so damn unfair.

Even Steve is not immune to my anger. I came close to losing it with him last night. Him asking why I'm feeling down was bad enough, but when he started saying that talking about what happened wasn't going to change anything and that we needed to put it in the past and move on, it took everything I had to not start screaming at him. I had to walk away to another room so I didn't.

I know that he's hurting too and that everyone handles grief in their own way, but it still made me angry. I lost my child. The child I had hoped for and prayed to get for years. The child I nurtured inside me for 9 months. The child that I went through 14 hours of labor, nearly dying in the process, to try to bring into this world. I need to talk about her and what happened. I need to grieve. I can't even think about moving on until I do.

Today was the first day I've truly been alone since losing my daughter. My mom had been staying with us but recently went back home. Steve was off doing a side job and our oldest was at school. It was hard being alone in the house with nothing to occupy me but my thoughts. I couldn't even bring myself to get out of bed until the early afternoon. I probably wouldn't have got up then if not for a phone call that I had to take.

The sad thing is that I'm already on an anti-depressant. The doctor put me on one before I even left the hospital. It dulls the pain some, but I still hurt. I've lost loved ones before, but none of that has even come close to the pain of losing my baby. It feels like someone has ripped my heart out of my chest.

I want her back. I want to hold her in my arms while she nurses. I want to look down and see her smiling up at me. I want to see her first steps and hear her first word. I want to see her smash her cake on her first birthday. I want to walk her to the classroom on her first day of school and watch her walk across the stage at graduation. I want to be there when she falls in love and marries the love of her life. I want to see the woman she would have become. But I can't. And it sucks.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Prayers Requested

When I wrote my last post here, I thought the next thing I wrote would be an announcement of our baby's arrival. I never imagined that I would be writing this post.

Yesterday evening I was released from the hospital after spending five days in the maternal-fetal specialty unit. I came home with empty arms and a heart filled with grief. I had been rocking my homebirth, but after fourteen hours of labor, I developed serious complications and had to be rushed by ambulance to the nearest trauma center. There I was quickly evaluated and taken straight into surgery where the surgeons worked for over an hour trying to save me and our sweet baby. It was touch and go, but I made it out of surgery. Our beautiful little girl did not.

We've gone over and over things with the midwife team and the team of specialists at the hospital trying to figure out how things went so wrong. The doctors said there was no way of knowing that it might happen, especially since I didn't have any of the classic warning signs, and that it was just bad luck that it happened. The first sign that anything might be wrong was when I passed out. They even relieved my guilt that my decision to birth at home rather than a hospital might have played a role in all this by telling me that things happened so fast that the outcome would have been the same regardless of where I was.

They credited my midwife's quick actions for saving my life. She called an ambulance as soon as I passed out and argued with the ambulance staff about where to transfer me. They had wanted to take me to the local hospital, but she insisted on the trauma hospital that's a little further away. It turned out to be a critical decision. One doctor told me that I likely would not be here if I had transferred to the local hospital since I needed a massive transfusion of blood and the local hospital doesn't keep that much blood on hand.

Our family is reeling right now. To lose our child and nearly my life as well was something we never anticipated happening to us. I keep hoping that I'll wake up and find that this is just some terrible dream, but unfortunately, it's all too real.

Our oldest is terrified to let me out of her sight. She refused to leave the hospital and camped out in the chair beside my hospital bed. Now that I'm home, she finally relented and went to school today, but only after repeated reassurances that I was going to be okay and that Steve would watch over me.

Steve would spend hours every day at the hospital with us before returning home to feed our animals and put away all the baby stuff we had gathered so I wouldn't be faced with it once I was able to come home. Now that I'm home, he's been hovering over me like a mother hen refusing to allow me to lift a finger. Since I have to walk several times a day to prevent blood clots, he supports me as a I hobble around. It's hard for me to feel so helpless, especially since I can see how exhausted he is trying to take care of me.

Even my mom, who I'm normally not on the best of terms with, has been great. She drove over and spent an entire day with me at the hospital. Thanks to the pain medication making me groggy, she spent a lot of time just watching me sleep, but it was nice knowing she was there. Now that I'm home, she said she'll come over and stay if Steve needs help taking care of me until I'm back on my feet.

My midwife and her assistant have been wonderful. They call or visit daily. Since Steve doesn't want to leave me by myself right now, they're even coming over today just to sit with me while he runs errands and picks up our daughter from school. While I was still in the hospital, they came to the house and cleaned so Steve didn't have to deal with the mess from the labor. Then they helped him pack away the baby stuff.

The hospital was nothing short of amazing. No matter how busy they were, everyone from the doctors right down to the lady that delivered my meals took the time to sit with me and talk, pray or just listen. Instead of taking the baby right away, they fixed it where she could stay with me until I was ready to let her go. Steve and our oldest bathed her and dressed her in a beautiful dress hand-made by a hospital volunteer. A photographer came in and took pictures of the baby with each of us. A grief specialist came in and worked with us to make some keepsakes.

Since finances are a concern right now with Steve out of work, they arranged a variety of financial assistance for us. They found a program to pay my entire hospital bill since we lost our health insurance when Steve was fired and we couldn't afford the COBRA payments to keep it up. They arranged assistance to cover the funeral costs. I had a counselor during my hospital stay and they've arranged for outpatient counseling for all of us at no cost now that I'm home. They even made sure I had my prescriptions filled before I was released so we didn't have to worry about coming up with money for them.

It's hard, but right now we're just trying to take it day by day. Everyone keeps asking what we need, but having never been in this situation before, we have no way of knowing what, if anything, might help. So for now we're just asking for prayers.