My eyes were practically glued shut from dried tears. I could barely open them. A fleeting thought passed my mind “hmmmm perhaps I would never be able to open my eyes again? OMG what if it were possible for eyes to be glued shut by dried tears.” I started to rub my eyes open and reality set in. That silly fleeting thought disappeared into thin air and I was faced with the sickening feeling of the heavy weight of my deceased child in my belly, and my heavy heavy heart. Above all I was straight pissed off. I was so seething with anger I was seeing red. The feelings that coursed through my veins were wretched. I started to pound my pillow and punch the back of my bed. I just wanted to feel something in that moment other than the seething anger and loss. Finally Eric opened his eyes and looked totally startled by my aggression. He stood up and gently rubbed my back. He looked so lost. Half asleep and half angry too. The morning nurse walked in and started to sooth me and rub my back.
“I am so sorry Anita. No Woman should have to go through this. I am here. Just tell me what you need.” I could feel this Woman’s gentle soul and I could tell that she had done this before. I mean it is a completely awkward situation to be in. You are this stranger taking care of someone who went through something so personal and devastating. It is really hard to know how to act in that situation. She treated the situation like a professional. Like she was a professional baby loss nurse or something. She made me feel safe. As I laid there staring off into space as my anger started to clear the nurse suggested I take a shower, and just do something with myself. The contractions were becoming pretty heavy and growing closer and closer together. I looked at Eric in panic. “I think I am in labor!” This was at 10:00 AM. We walked to the shower and I pathetically washed myself. I sat on the bottom of the shower and I let the water wash over my body. I had no energy, and no will to stand up. Finally I willed myself back into bed and the pain started to really come. I had studied Hypnobabies (the birthing program) so fortunately I was able to really breath through the pain.
Soon my beautiful Family started to roll in like warriors coming to be by my side and fight through this battle with me. First my Mother in Law who looked very serious about making sure we got through this in one piece. Next, My sister in Law. I will never forget that hug she gave me. She walked in, put her arms around me and held me so tight. She looked at me and I knew what she was feeling and thinking. It is only a feeling two Mamas who love their babies more than anything could share in that experience and moment. She understood my pain, and I could tell she felt it with me. Next my amazing Doula and midwife arrived. I had the best support team ever right there, and in that tragic moment I felt loved and I felt safe. I thought through the entire experience “I wish this team was here with me to welcome a healthy ALIVE BABY. This is absolutely bitter sweet. More bitter than sweet.” I had the set up for my dream birth experience. It felt like a waste.
Between contractions I heard a very familiar and beautiful voice outside of my room. It was my Scarlett. My dear best friend had watched Scarlett the night before when we left for the hospital and brought her in. Scarlett looked terrified to see me. I remember watching her beautiful long legs hesitantly make their way into the room. “Mommy do you have ouchies? What’s the matter Mommy? Is my Mommy hurt?” I did not want her to be scared, I did not want her to be worried for Mommy, but I did want her to know what had happened. I wanted her to have a realistic idea and understanding that her brother did in fact die. We grappled and struggled with how we would tell her. Do we tell her her brother is sleeping forever? Do we tell her that he is flying around in the sky with angels? Eric and I are still figuring out our answers to her about life after death and how we want to raise her. We had no idea how to bring this news to our 4 year old. How would she understand?
I will never forget her sweet little face with tears rolling down her cheeks. “My Mommy has ouchies?” She kept asking as she rubbed my arms. I leaned over the bed to kiss her. “Yes sweet heart, Mommy has ouchies in her heart. Mommy is very very sad. Baby Jack is gone.” I didn’t know how else to tell her. I was so lost. I decided that after Jack was delivered we would show him to her and tell her that he was Dead. Would this be to much for a 4 year old? I thought it would bring her closure and to also help her to remember that she did have a brother at one point. I did not want to confuse her with such words as “gone” “asleep” “away.” This is an area I still struggle to explain to her to this day, but she does know that Baby Jack no longer lives.
As my family got settled into the waiting room I started to get settled back into labor. No one knew I was actually in labor! I channelled my Hypnobabies practice and went way deep into myself. The pain was very mild. I was very quiet, and kept my eyes shut. Finally the nurses suggest that I get in the tub and relax. I stayed there with Eric for 45 minutes. He rubbed my back and trickled water over my belly. I opened my tear filled eyes and said to him “I wish this was different. I wish this was us welcoming our son into the world honey. I wish I could feel him move inside of me, and I wish this moment right here was a moment full of joy.” Eric looked at me with his tear filled eyes and nodded “This just isn’t fair. None of this is right. I am hurting for you and for our baby.” I went back into my breathing and Eric went back to comforting me.
We decided to get out of the bath and get ready for this baby to come out. Finally I stopped the tears and I got lazer focused on getting this job done. I just wanted it all to be over with. The nurses said it could take days. I was not interested in that happening. I wanted this done right then and there, and I could tell my body was ready. I looked up at my nurse and said “I don’t have to go through pain for this labor. I don’t want to. I am terrified, and just so sad. Please give me the epidural.” She quickly gave me Stay dal and told me the epidural was coming. Soon the hospital Chaplin entered the room. By this time the Stay dal had hit me hard and I was completely out of it. Eric reports that I asked her where her jack was from and giggled when she prayed. Not my finest hour or my most shining moment, but who can blame me!? At that very moment I was numbed to sadness and felt pure anger at the world and at God. She was just the messenger and I basically shot her with my giggles and my lack of care attitude. After she left the room got quiet again and I went back to work.
All of sudden I felt my contractions go from 5 to 10. I screamed “oh please where is that epidural!?!” The nurse checked me “Okay Anita there is not cervix left, we don’t have time for an epidural. I had no idea you were this far along.” I had gone from a 4 to a 10 in an hour. It was time!
Imagine the pains of active labor. Imagine the pains of losing your son. Imagine combining those two things together. I will never forget that hour of my life. I will never forget that sorrow. I screamed in pure emotional agony, and I screamed in physical pain. My Doula holding my arms whispering “you can do this Anita, you can do this.” My sister in law rubbing my shoulder encouraging me. My midwife preparing herself for the baby to arrive. Two pushes. Two agonizing forceful pushes. And he was here, and there I was… exhausted and empty. I looked through my legs to see his lifeless body lay there. I could see his blue back. He was the color blue. I could see the cord wrapped around his neck three times. “Anita, do you want to hold him.” I shook my head no out of fear. I laid back and I sobbed as Eric grabbed him…
and then the love poured in. “Okay please give him to me.” As his body was placed on my chest, the knife was pierced into my chest and then it was turned. I thought I knew pain before…
This… this was the absolute most painful moment of my life, and I believe if forever will be.
please stay tuned for part 3