Christine’s Perinatal Loss
We were so naive about what it would be like to expand our family. We didn’t know any couples who had experienced any difficulties having their children. After a few months of trying, the best news came….we were finally pregnant!!!! We were thrilled to tell our families, we just couldn’t wait the 12 weeks before sharing this wonderful news. When the doctor told us the due date, it fit perfectly during our summer vacation to give us time to spend with our baby. As if things couldn’t be better, our best friends were also pregnant and our babies would only be three weeks apart. My first and second trimester went well and with every doctor’s appointment, we got more and more excited. The baby’s first kick was magical, feeling the flutter of our baby placed a permanent smile to my face.
At 39 1/2 weeks, during our routine doctor’s appointment and amongst the chatter about the soon coming sleepless nights; the doctor suddenly left the room and came back with another doppler to check on the baby. Suddenly, the energy in the room shifted. It was appallingly quiet as now the doctor and a nurse looked for my baby’s heartbeat. They couldn’t find anything, but my due date was just three days away. When the doctor uttered the words: “I am so sorry, there is no heartbeat.” We were in complete shock—shattered and utterly heartbroken. The nightmare of the next few days is one that I would never forget. I wasn’t going to keep my baby. I was scared, but I knew I had to deliver her. After being induced and hours of laboring, I held our daughter Annabelle in my arms. Holding our perfectly still daughter, sleeping and the thought that she would never open her eyes left an open wound, a physical emptiness that is raw, and a grief that is unbearable. A pain that left me feeling broken!!!
Losing my baby has changed me and I don’t know if I can ever be the same again. How am I going to share this news with my daughter? How will this experience impact my marriage? How will my friendship with my friends, who have been spared this sorrow, ever be the same again?
The causes of many stillbirths are unknown. Therefore, families are often left grieving without answers to their numerous questions. Stillbirth is not a cause of death, but rather a term that means a baby’s demise during pregnancy. Many mothers often blame and isolate themselves in their pain. This traumatic life event can cause complicated grief reactions that may increase the risk of having psychological and physical distress to the mother, father and siblings. The bereavement journey in this valley is filled with anguish and agony. In our EMBRACE, we will provide you and your family support in your healing. You are not alone!! We encourage you to seek support with psychotherapy or support group treatments.