One a Week

Incision update: I feel minimally better today. Will be calling the doctor at 9am sharp tomorrow. I really think I just overdid it somehow.

*****

We went to a birthday party today and I spoke with several people who didn’t know what happened. The last they knew I was pregnant – and I still look it. It was hard to tell the story. It was good to tell the story.

One of the people I talked with is a photographer who works with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a national organization of volunteer photographers who go to hospitals to take pictures of dead babies and their families. I didn’t know anything about them, other than the fact that someone called a photographer to take pictures of Benjamin. At the time, being just out of surgery, suffering from grief, shock and blood loss, I didn’t want to be anywhere near a camera. Now I wish I’d made a different decision. I imagine the feeling of his weight on my chest will fade over time.

Oh you should have called me to take pictures, she said. If only I had known. I told her someone had been called but I didn’t know who. She mentioned a name and that this woman was the organizer for the local chapter. She does about one a week, she said. She what? What? She takes pictures of a dead baby about once a week in a town of 103,000 people? Then take into account the parents who don’t know, or refuse. Those numbers are incredible to me. More than fifty dead babies a year in one small city – from second trimester losses to babies who die sometime shortly after birth. There are thousands upon thousands of us grieving our children in this country and NO ONE TALKS ABOUT IT except those who’ve been through it, mostly in our own little community. Society leads us to believe that if you make it through the first trimester, you’re home free. It’s just a matter of getting through labor.

Even I, who knew several women who had babies die, thought pregnancy loss was an anomaly. Yet here I am and now I know. I grieve for all of us who have suffered this loss, many of whom have been through it more than once. I hold space in my heart for all of our healing. My doctor’s voice rings in my head, an impossible situation.

In all the blogs I have read, with all the mamas I have spoken to, I have yet to hear one say I wish I hadn’t gotten pregnant. We all wish there was a different ending to the story. We all desperately wanted our babies to live. Some of us have live children, some of us do not, but we are all mothers and fathers who love our babies dearly. Society doesn’t want us to talk about them, but we need to acknowledge their existence. So if, one day, you happen to ask a pregnant woman if this is her first, or a woman with a child how many she has, and she turns to you and says, I had another but he died, please don’t change the subject, or walk away. Take in the gift you’ve been given and give one in return. I’m so sorry, you must miss him terribly, or I’m so sorry, that must have been devastating, or even I’m so sorry, I don’t know what to say but my heart aches for you. Whatever. Say something honest, say something genuine, just say something. And if you know someone whose baby died, when you see them for the first time afterward, acknowledge what they’ve been through. Ask how they’re doing or tell them you’ve been thinking of them. Don’t worry that you’ll make them feel bad – they already do. Talking about it won’t make it worse.

If you are reading this and are pregnant, remember that the odds are in favor of you having a healthy, beautiful baby. If you are a baby loss mama (or papa), my greatest wish for you is that a rainbow baby will come into your life when you are ready. And for all of us experiencing this life on this earth, I pray we find peace with whatever life hands us – that we grow through our challenges, heal from our losses and find joy wherever we can.

Amen.
Ubuntu.
Namaste.

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3 Responses to One a Week

  1. Jessica says:

    My friend asked me a couple months ago (while still pregnant) if there was ever a time when you were home free. When you there would be no problems with my pregnancy. I told him I wish the answer was yes… but we all know all to well that the answer is no. I agree society does not want us to talk about it. They want us to get the heck over it and it pisses me off. How dare people judge who have no idea what us mom’s who have lost our babies are going through. There is no time limit for grief. We in this little community are in this together… I’m walking with you. xoxo

  2. Stacy says:

    Yes, Lay Me Down to Sleep, is a wonderful service. I did not know about this until after I loss ALexander and started doing my research. I have since gotten involved where I can and bought a camera. I hope one day to have enough practice and training to take pictures for them.
    You can go to “iGive.com” and sign up to donate to LMDS each time you search for a product or buy something on-line. It’s a way to leave something better than the way you found it.
    Hugs!

  3. Melissa says:

    I am so sorry that you didn’t get to use NILMDTS for pictures of Benjamin. We were fortunate enough to have that experience and it is still my favorite memory with Mikayla. I agree, it’s hard when you are physically and emotionally in such shock. I almost told them no we did not want pictures, but my nurse kindly said, “I think you’d like to have the memories and most families are glad they did it.” so I agreed. I was truly in such shock and having to make all those decisions that you never dreamed in your worst nightmare you’d have to make was hard so soon after my surgery. I too was oblivious to all of the baby loss that occurs, and am shocked at how many of us are affected. People do need to talk about it more, it makes us mothers who lost our children and still love them dearly feel so alone.

    Glad your incision is feeling better. I’m 12 weeks out from my emergency c-section now and occassionally if I’m way too active I can feel my incision more too so I hope what you are experiencing is just normal.

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