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Archive for October, 2011

Baby June

It has now been nearly two months since we lost our baby. Although the tears still come at times, the grieving has subsided and I am able to talk about our loss a bit more. The basic story is this: I was 18 weeks pregnant when we were visiting family in Washington, Missouri. I had some light spotting on Monday night, and woke up on Tuesday with some mild cramping and backache. We went to the emergency room where we discovered that our baby had no heartbeat. I was induced and gave birth to our daughter, June, at 1:15AM on Wednesday, August 24th.

That is a stiff, non-emotional rendition of the most difficult and exhausting event of my life. I can’t explain in words the heartbreak Leo and I felt when we were first given the news. Or the rage and sadness I felt when I walked into the labor and delivery room and was faced with the reality that we were never going to bring our baby home. The empty space on the whiteboard next to the “baby’s doctor” bubble letters sent me over the edge. I couldn’t even look at the side of the room with the rocking chair and baby bed. On that bed in a few hours, our nurse would carefully wrap our baby girl before handing her to us to hold for the first and last time.

I was surprised at the intensity of labor. Up until the point of pushing, it was very similar with Henry’s labor. I know I could have taken drugs, but I also knew that I could handle the pain and that I didn’t want to be at all foggy when our baby arrived. I wanted to remember clearly the short moments we had with our child.

We had an amazing nurse named Beth who helped us through every aspect of our situation – from bringing me ice chips and hot pads to grief counseling. She sent us home with a memory box containing June’s receiving blankets and a copy of her tiny footprints. We brought June’s ashes home to Arkansas with us. We placed them under a cherry tree we planted in our garden. I plan on making a sign that reads “For June – our little bird who flew away.”

A few days after the ordeal, Leo wrote this beautiful note. It captures the emotion of the situation so perfectly for me. He designed an image with a dandelion and the words artistically place on the page. It was such a perfect way for Leo to deal with his grief and I appreciated it more than anything. I am glad I have it because as time goes by, the memory of what I was feeling at the time tends to go as well. This note reminds me of what we felt during that time and I never want to forget that feeling because I never want to forget June. So here it is:

8/26/11 – Your little heart began to beat and brought your mama and me unspeakable joy. We were so excited to announce your presence to your family. Your brother Henry would point to you and say “baby!” as you grew inside of his favorite person. Much of your bouncing around inside was due to his antics. Your Babo says your brother is the smartest boy – we knew you’d be very special too. We were excited to learn if you were a girl or boy in a week. You were growing and we were preparing for your birth in January. We had discussed the who, what, and where of your birth and would never have dreamt we had the “when” wrong. Your mama didn’t feel well so we went to the doctor. After the first ultrasound was inconclusive, we prayed to God for a miracle. We weren’t ready to say goodbye – we hadn’t even said hello. After more tests, everyone kept saying they were sorry. I hugged your mama and we cried. We were forced to think about things that hurt our hearts in a way we’d never known. I wished I could take your place. Early the next morning your mama, hungry and tired, labored for a few hours. When it was time for her to push, she hesitated because she didn’t want to let you go. They wrapped your tiny body in a blanket and brought you to us. I held your mama, and your mama held you. We saw your little outstretched arm, five fingers, eyes. I was hesitant at first, but I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything. It was a helpless moment. Nothing could be done, but grieve the loss of our baby girl.  Our future had been abruptly altered. I envisioned holding you and hearing your first cry, your mama dressing you up, your brother teaching you how to play…. you would have loved Nana’s toy pile. We have to believe you’re in God’s hands and hope to see you again someday. We’re taking you back home with us – in our hearts and in a tiny box. We’ll plant a tree with your ashes and always remember our little baby June.

Leo

Now, two months later, I feel like we are healing and moving ahead with our lives. We still envision a large family and we are open to how that will happen. I am working with my OB/GYN and trying to find some possible reason why we might have lost our baby this late in the pregnancy. I am tired of hearing “these things just happen”. At first I WANTED to believe that it was just a random thing. It gave me comfort to think that I can get pregnant again and have a healthy baby no problem. But after researching, I’ve discovered that the possibility of it being a “simply” explained chromosomal abnormality is less than 5% (because of my age -under 30- and the late stage of the pregnancy). They are testing my blood right now and looking for the possibility of a blood clotting disorder (which seems like one of the more likely culprits). So we shall see. Leo and I are also exploring the idea of adoption. We’ve considered it for a couple years now and we are finally seriously looking into it. If anyone has any insight, feel free to share! If it comes down to spending thousands of dollars on tests or fertility treatments, we will definitely put that money toward adoption instead.

So, that’s where we are right now. That’s our story, our situation. Leo has been quite busy with work and I have been quite busy with our two-year-old fiddler, so we are thankful for distractions and for the other blessings in our life. Henry is amazing and this has made me appreciate him more than ever.

Thank you to everyone who prayed for us and supported us during this experience.

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