My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:15,16

Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
John 11:40
See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands… Isaiah 49:16a

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Zoe's Birth

Honestly, Zoe's birth was less than ideal in many ways, but it was what it was. This post is part of a letter (with names removed of course) that I wrote to tell my doctor and the other appropriate staff at the hospital, about the night Zoe was born.  I was encouraged to write it by a grief support person who knew that this was not the norm at our hospital, in order to bring change where it was needed. I no longer feel angry about it and I have chosen to forgive and ask God to bring healing and peace.......Here is her birth story....Part 1

Our story begins when my husband and I found out the middle of April that we were expecting our seventh baby. This would be our fourth baby here on earth with us as three of our babies are already in heaven. To say we were excited is an understatement. This was to be our last child. The completion of our family unit. Everything was going fine as the pregnancy progressed. The baby was perfectly normal and healthy according to all ultrasounds and check-ups. We were hoping for another little girl, but of course would have been very happy with a little boy too.
I had my twelve week ultrasound and the baby was moving lots, jumping around, and the heartbeat was perfect. The baby even appeared to wave at us once during the ultrasound. We got some beautiful pictures that day that I am very thankful for as that is almost all we have left of her.

My 20 week ultrasound was scheduled for July 20th. Our whole family was very anxious to find out if this new member of our family was going to be a boy or a girl and to have a glimpse of this blessing of life on the ultrasound screen again. When I went for the ultrasound that Tuesday, I never would have guessed the grief and devastation that would follow. My 8 year old daughter came with me to the ultrasound because she wanted to be there when I found out if it was a sister or a brother for her. The Dr did some measuring and we were trying so hard to be patient. Then the worst words I have heard in my life came out of his mouth. He said "I have some bad news. There is no heartbeat, I am really sorry." I thought I MUST not have heard him right. There must be a mistake. He must be kidding, but how could he joke about something like this. I looked at his eyes, they were very serious, I said "Pardon me?" He repeated the information. It felt as though all the air had been taken out of the room and I was falling into a dark hole. I could not stop the tears. He asked if there had been any indication of a miscarriage. I said no, this had been a completely normal healthy pregnancy so far. I asked if he was sure and he explained his diagnosis. Time from that moment on has become very surreal to me.

In the days following the ultrasound, we prayed for a miracle for our baby. Desperately hoping, as I am sure any parent in our situation does, that something would change or that this was all a big mistake. An appointment was made for me with my family Dr and through consultations with the two specialists, it was decided that it was safe for me to continue carrying my baby for up to two more weeks, as long as no other complications arose. I did not want another D&C unless it was absolutely necessary, as I regretted that decision with my other miscarriages. I wanted to deliver my baby in the way that she was supposed to come into this world, not have her removed from my body. I did not want to be induced either because I knew that my body could handle the delivery and wanted our baby to be born in it's own time.

I talked with my Doula, with others who had been through this and read people's stories to try to prepare myself for the insurmountable, unthinkable task that was in front of us. We had not been here before.  We have delivered live babies, I knew what to expect there, but never one who has already passed away.  I did not know what we were going to see or how this was going to feel.  I read many stories about how couples, even though they are going through one of the hardest, most horrible times of their lives, are able to have some items that help them remember their baby. They are given pictures, footprints, hand prints, gown, blanket, hat and memorabilia from the birth of their baby. These things give them some measure of comfort and something tangible to say that their baby existed.

If that indeed was how our birth experience would have gone, then at least I would have something that had been in contact with her to hold onto now and remember our little Zoe by. That is her name....Zoe. To us, she was not just "the products of conception," "the fetus" or "the IUFD" as the medical profession calls her. She was our much desired, anxiously awaited, precious, beloved baby girl. She was Jinaea, Jaron and Kyler's sister that they were so excited to have coming as part of our family.
She already had an identity to us and was very much a big part of our lives in the 22 weeks she was on earth.

I started experiencing cramping and some bleeding on the morning of Aug 2nd, at 22 weeks. We went into the hospital right away as my family Dr. had instructed us to. We were expecting to be delivering our little baby soon but desperately wishing the outcome was going to be different. We were sent to Emerg. The nurse in Emerg took my papers and listened while we explained our situation. She was very kind and caring. We were told to wait out in the waiting room and they would be with us as soon as they could. Moments later she returned to tell us we were to go up to the labor and delivery ward because the specialist that was on wanted to see us there.

When we arrived on upstairs and gave my papers to the nurse, it seemed that she was not very happy about having us there. She was a bit abrupt and said she didn't know where to "put" me. She said "It is going to be awhile before the Dr. can see you as he is finishing up a procedure." We said that was fine, we didn‘t mind waiting. She then said "Follow me, you can wait in here I guess." She took us into the non-stress test room, but then said that if we wanted we could wait in the sitting room around the corner because it would be awhile. It was not so much her words but her lack of a smile and lack of kindness in her voice that made me feel sort of unwelcome. I thought that surely if she knew what we were there for, that she would treat us with a bit more kindness. We waited for about an hour for the OB/GYN and when he arrived we went back into the non-stress test room......

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