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Old 10-16-2006, 10:59 PM
poincaraux poincaraux is offline
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Default Dealing with a loss (stillbirth)

At 11:45am on Saturday September 2nd, my wife delivered Allan Frederick Lerner. He was stillborn.

My wife and I have a lot of support from our close friends and family, but 2+2 is a big place, and I thought I'd post to see if anyone here has anything to say about this, or a similar situation. I had planned on posting a few short sentences, but I wrote a little more than that. I didn't go back and edit it, and I doubt it's easy stuff for most people to read.

My wife was 40 weeks pregnant. On Wednesday, we felt our baby hiccoughing, as he did frequently. We felt him moving throughout the day on Thursday. Thursday night, my wife began to have light contractions. We managed to get a few hours of sleep, even despite our growing excitement. Contractions usually start and stop several times before a baby is born, so we didn't know if we should expect to see our son Thursday night, or in a couple of days.

On Friday morning, we went in for a standard pre-natal visit. Our normal doctor was out of town, so we saw a different doctor. She fumbled around with the heartbeat monitor for a while, and then said she was a little inexperienced with it, so she was going to get another doctor to help her out. All of a sudden, we started to get worried. We'd heard his heartbeat at each visit for as long back as we could remember.

The other doctor showed up, and they told us the same terrible news: there was no heartbeat. They brought in an ultrasound machine to try to find something. When we looked at the ultrasound images, he looked absolutely perfect, and horrifyingly still. There was no heartbeat. There wasn't even a hint of a heartbeat, and they wouldn't perform an emergency C-section because, in those few minutes, we'd gone from proud parents to two people without even a glimmer of hope.

The doctors left us alone for a while, while we cried in shock. Lifting my wife down from the hospital bed was the hardest thing I'd ever done. We wanted to scream at the doctors "DO SOMETHING!!" but we'd already done that, and there was nothing they could do.

There are so many decisions you have to make so quickly, when you're completely unequipped to make them.

Opening the door to leave that room was the hardest thing I'd ever done. It took me three tries before I could open it, like things were somehow more real outside of that room. Outside of that room was where, until a few moments ago, everything had been so hopeful. Outside of that room .. wasn't the world I wanted. It seems like each successive thing I did was the hardest thing I'd ever done, and it was.

We drove home in shock and began the awful task of calling our parents. It wasn't supposed to be like this. There was so much hope in their voices when they answered the phone, expecting to be shouting out congratulations. We're both only children, and I've never seen our families as happy as when we told them that she was pregnant, and that they'd be grandparents.

Her mom got in the car immediately, and my parents booked the next flight out.

There are so many terrible decisions to make.

We had just finished everything in the nursery. The walls were painted, the crib was ready, the clothes were put away. We went into the nursery and talked about him. I sat in the rocking chair, she sat on my lap and we rocked him together. I couldn't believe it then, and I can't believe now, that it was the last time we'd be able to do that.

She used to sing to him and play him music every day. I read books to him at night. He knew both of our voices. We knew what sorts of music calmed him, and what made him excited (he loved string quartets).

So many terrible decisions. We picked out an outfit that would be his outfit (his *one* outfit? He was supposed to wear so many ..), a blue, yellow and white lion outfit.

They told us that it would be better (psychologically) to wait one more day before coming back into the hospital, but we couldn't do it. Full term babies are floating in a lot of fluid. Even though he was dead, he was still floating around, and it felt exactly like he was moving. We couldn't bear to go through the night like that. We felt him kick all day Friday.

One of our neighbors is an ER nurse. She drove us to the hospital and helped us check in (there's one area where they deal with pregnant women, and we were in the same room that we would have used for delivery if things had been different).

We couldn't stand to look at people, so we wore our hooded sweatshirts with the hoods pulled closed. Everything is a reminder of him. We ran a trail marathon the last three years. This year, we just volunteered because it wasn't safe to run with the pregnancy. They gave us those sweatshirts for volunteering.

When you have a C-section, it leaves a scar. That can make it harder for the placenta to implant, and it can cause some problems (including increased risk of placenta previa) in subsequent pregnancies, so she had to deliver him.

I remember almost everything, but I don't think I remember it all. I do remember the first doctor that came to see us in the room. She was pregnant, and she kept rubbing her belly. I'm sure that she meant well, but it was just too much for us, and we asked for another doctor.

The nurses and doctors were wonderful and kind. Our doula did everything she could to help too. Everything about that night was the hardest thing I've ever done.

My wife is the strongest person I've ever met.

Most women push for many hours. My wife pushed for 15 minutes. Five pushing contractions, and three pushes per contraction. The doctor delivered his head and shoulders, and we were able to deliver his body ourselves on the next contraction.

At 11:45am on Saturday September 2nd, my wife delivered Allan Frederick Lerner. He was stillborn.

I didn't want him to be alone. I didn't ever want him to be alone.

My wife tore, so I took him to another room to clean him up while the doctor stitched my wife back up. I stayed with him the whole time.

I cleaned him so carefully. I held him so much, and so tenderly.

We had taken infant and child CPR and first aid classes. Sometimes, logic doesn't matter. What if everyone else was wrong? What if the ultrasound machine was wrong? What if there was still a chance for my son?

I tried CPR, just like in the class.

It didn't work.

I cried, and told him how much I loved him. All of my hopes and dreams for him. How I was going to teach him everything. Everything.

I cleaned him up, making sure that I touched and knew every part of him. Each vertebrae, his hands, his feet, his knees and elbows. He had such big hands. We're short parents, but he was so long (21.5 inches, 7 pounds, 0.9 ounces). Every part of him seemed like a part of our family. He had my wife's upper lip, my lower lip, my uncle's nose, my wife's ears, her uncle's long, skinny build.

I put a diaper on him, dressed him in his lion outfit and brought him back to the room. We held him for the rest of the day. We talked to him, told him stories, told him of his family, told him our hopes and dreams. Our parents got to see him and hold him.

He looked so perfect. Every part of him.

There's a doctor, Dr. Barr, who devotes his life to understanding what went wrong. He does all sorts of tests, from obvious physical characteristics, to things too horrible to think about, to molecular analysis. It takes him between three and six months, after which you get a report and the cremated remains of your baby. The funeral homes in town all provide free services, as soon as you want and need them.

So many terrible decisions.

We gave his body to Dr. Barr. Maybe they won't be able to figure out what happened to him, but maybe he can be some data point on some graph somewhere that helps someone figure something out, helps save some other baby.

I've tried to think about what we've done since that day. It all seems so fast, and yet so long ago and so distant.

Our friends have come to visit. Two of my friends came out for a week each when they found out. They didn't want us to be alone. People always say they'll be there for you, and that means a lot. It also means a lot when they are. I never thought I'd have to ask for help, and they never made me ask. They just split up the time between themselves, told their bosses and families they'd be gone for a while and came.

Some people are afraid to talk to us, afraid to say something wrong. They think that, maybe, there's some *right* thing to say. There's no right thing to say. There's nothing that will fix things, make things better. The only thing that helps is that people say *something.*

My uncle doesn't talk about emotional things much, if at all. He sent one of the cards that I remember the most. "I hope your grief will somehow lessen without forgetting what might have been."

It's been over six weeks. I could write a novel about everything that's happened. We've learned so much about each-other, and about how much our friends and family care about us.

On Sunday, we planted a tree for him at my wife's parent's house.

We can't see a path back to being the people we were, but we're finding small steps, and making things better each day. Someone said that it's like walking with a lantern, rather than a flashlight. That seems about right.

At 11:45am on Saturday September 2nd, my wife delivered Allan Frederick Lerner. He was stillborn.
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  #2  
Old 10-16-2006, 11:05 PM
private joker private joker is offline
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Default Re: Dealing with a loss (stillbirth)

This is the saddest post ever written on 2+2. I have goosebumps.

Sorry, man.

[img]/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]
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  #3  
Old 10-16-2006, 11:13 PM
4 High 4 High is offline
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Default Re: Dealing with a loss (stillbirth)

[ QUOTE ]
This is the saddest post ever written on 2+2. I have goosebumps.

Sorry, man.

[img]/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

[/ QUOTE ]
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  #4  
Old 10-16-2006, 11:15 PM
lippy lippy is offline
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Default Re: Dealing with a loss (stillbirth)

That is an awful thing for a parent to go to. I feel for you and your wife.

I hope writing this up was therapuetic... as I'm sure you need as much of that as you can.
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  #5  
Old 10-16-2006, 11:16 PM
IggyWH IggyWH is offline
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Default Re: Dealing with a loss (stillbirth)

poincaraux,

Here's a question for you to ponder. My mother had my sister and wanted a second kid. The second one was born stillborn, so they then had me.

Am I that stillborn given another chance at life or was I given life at the cost of another?
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  #6  
Old 10-16-2006, 11:22 PM
bottomset bottomset is offline
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Default Re: Dealing with a loss (stillbirth)

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
This is the saddest post ever written on 2+2. I have goosebumps.

Sorry, man.

[img]/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

[/ QUOTE ]

[/ QUOTE ]
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  #7  
Old 10-16-2006, 11:23 PM
inside?? inside?? is offline
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Default Re: Dealing with a loss (stillbirth)

My condolences at your loss. I think it is a very important message that you have delivered to other posters. Don't worry about not saying the "right" things. Be there for your friends in time of need. When I had cancer some years back I had some friends who visited me and some who stayed away. Please if you have friends or family who are ill or suffering do not avoid them because you are uncomfortable. If you have questions, ask questions. The most important thing it to be there for support.

You truly have great parents and a couple of great friends to be there for you in your time of need.

Best of luck to you in the days ahead.
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  #8  
Old 10-16-2006, 11:26 PM
skunkworks skunkworks is offline
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Default Re: Dealing with a loss (stillbirth)

There have been a handful of posts that have made me laugh, but none that have made me shed a tear. My deepest condolences.
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  #9  
Old 10-16-2006, 11:29 PM
EMc EMc is offline
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Default Re: Dealing with a loss (stillbirth)

poin,

My condolences. If there is anything the 2p2 community can do, dont hesitate to ask.


EMc
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  #10  
Old 10-16-2006, 11:31 PM
funkymunky funkymunky is offline
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Default Re: Dealing with a loss (stillbirth)

[ QUOTE ]
This is the saddest post ever written on 2+2. I have goosebumps.

Sorry, man.

[img]/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

[/ QUOTE ]

My God. I am terribly sorry for your tragic loss.
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