What it feels like to lose a child.

 

Gosh, thinking about losing your child has to be the worst nightmare of any parent. It is something we don’t talk a lot about in our society. I received an email from one of my followers asking me about my story. Afterwards, I felt compelled to tell people what it is really like to experience something so shockingly dreadful. Let me just say for the record; that this blog post was extremely difficult for me. I was in tears and very emotional most of the time writing it. It is deeply personable and I’m sharing this not for sympathy but, for a better understanding for other people who can’t imagine such a horrendous experience. This was one if not the most, difficult thing I have ever experienced in my entire life. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason; that through the darkness and the pain something of value will and does come from it. That good and bad things are supposed to happen.

Everyday I think of my son who I lost, Dylan. I occasionally ask myself the questions I shouldn’t; you know the what if’s? I still have moments when I feel like it was yesterday. There is nothing that can heal this type of heartache but, time and support does make it more tolerable.

When I was 23 years old, I  was pregnant with my first child. I was so excited; I wanted a family so badly. I felt like it would make me feel complete and that it would fill the void I felt. Family is something I felt like I never really got at this point in my life.

I went to my first doctor’s appointment and found out I was about 6 weeks pregnant. At some point I had to go for routine lab work. My labs came back with a chance of Down syndrome and a few other issues so,  my OBGYN recommended that I see a “high-risk” provider that was in her office. She scheduled me an appointment for the next week.

I remember going into that appointment nervous and with my now ex-husband. The doctor told me she was going to do an extensive ultrasound and she would talk to us, after she completed the test. She put the warmed gel on my abdomen and began her monitoring of my baby. It was the first time I had ever had an ultrasound. I can remember how astonished I felt.  It was amazing to seeing a living child growing inside of me and it was a part of me.  The ultrasound took some time to complete.

When she was finished she told me I had something called, Oligohydramnios. That my placenta had very little amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord didn’t seem correct. She said my fluid index was below a 4 and normal was considered between 8 and 18. That basically, the fluid measured around the baby was not enough for a healthy pregnancy and that things did not look well at all. She told us that our baby would not make it to the end of the week. (I was 10 weeks pregnant) That I was an extremely high risk pregnancy and I would be on bed rest until the inevitable would happen. She spoke the words so coldly and without any remorse, empathy or compassion.

I felt the tears shedding down my face as she continued to tell us the worst news, I had ever been told. She told me that I would continue to come in weekly until the baby passed; that I would stay on strict bed rest, and that we should try to prepare ourselves for the worst. I cannot describe the depth of hurt and pain I felt.

Week by week I went into the doctor’s office. At 23 weeks pregnant she told me that she was amazed that I was still caring him and that even though he lagged 4 weeks behind in growth that things were moving alone; that around 25 weeks she would recommend a cesarean delivery due to the complications. 

I remember going to bed that night upset because, I felt so alone. My ex-husband had stopped coming home at night and spent as much time as he could away from me. I think it was his way of dealing with everything. However, in the process of that and not having any family support, I never felt more alone or depressed. That night I cried myself to sleep and prayed to God for a healthy child.

A few days later I woke up on the sofa in the living-room with the urge to use the restroom. As I made my way to the bathroom I felt fluid going down my leg. I wouldn’t say it was a gush but, it was steady. When I looked down my leg and at the floor all I seen was blood. In pure panic and fear I called my husband. Not long afterwards, I was being rushed to the hospital.

When I got there an ultrasound was done and I was told by my doctor that there was no fluid left. That the baby was in distress. I was prepped for emergency C-section.

I remember going into surgery thinking everything was going to be okay. When they were getting ready to start I asked where my husband was. The nurse bent down to whisper into my ear that my husband decided to not come into the delivery. He had told me before I went into the operating room that he was going to come in with me.  Moments later the surgery started and I was told I had a little boy. I laid there watching as the nurses and the doctor rushed him from my surgery room to take him away into the NICU.

Once in the recovery room my husband, his grandmother and the NICU doctor came into the room. His grandmother was in tears, my husband fighting back tears and I knew before the message ever came out of the doctors’ mouth. I knew the news wasn’t going to be good, that something was wrong. She stated his lungs were not strong enough to breathe on his own and that he wouldn’t make it. We were told that we could see him soon and they would let me know when, after I was placed into my room.

About an hour or so later, I was in my private patient room and my husband told me he was going to go home and that he didn’t want to see the baby. He left without ever seeing our son. To this day that still affects me and I’m sure him. 

I found myself alone as usual once again, waiting to see and hold my child. I felt completely responsible because for some reason at that time, I felt like it was all my fault. That God hated me and I felt angry.

The nurse brought in my son to me. I held him and cried until I had no tears left inside of my eyes. I apologized to him for not being good enough.  I felt like it was all my fault and that I did something wrong. It was my body that could not give him what he needed to survive. I felt unbearable guilt and grief. In those moments my heart forever changed. I’m not sure how long I even held him, but it was awhile. He looked like a very small normal little boy with reddish-brown hair, with ten little toes and fingers. He was simply the most beautiful boy I had seen before.

I held him and cried until they came and took him away. I had no one there with me. I realized even more in those few moments, that throughout everything, the entire experience, I was and had been utterly alone; not just physically but, emotionally. Loneliness became my best friend for a long, long time. I felt such despair and sadness that there are no amount of words that could express or prove the shattering heartbreak, pain and hurt I felt.

After I went home I was in unimaginable pain; not just emotional but, physically as well. I was so angry. I was angry at God for giving me him and taking him away. Why, would he not give me a child I so desperately wanted and yet, people who did NOT want them could have them. The emotional torture felt like it would never end. Everyone who approached me, despite of their efforts only made me feel worse. They could not fathom such loss or grief and I can’t tell you how many times I was told, “I couldn’t imagine how you must feel” from someone.

Day by day, the pain in my heart slowly got easier to deal with, but it doesn’t go away. Almost a year to the day I lost him, I remember thinking back to each moment. It was at this time; I realized God showed me grace that I couldn’t understand at the time. Dylan looked normal, but mentally he probably would have not been healthy. My placenta stopped getting blood at some point and half of it had turned necrosis. The umbilical cord only had one of two arteries it should have had. There was nothing normal about the way my fetal anatomy developed. I remember the nights before losing him feeling alone and the praying for a healthy child.

Later, I was blessed with two children and both also, high risk pregnancies. I would ask that anyone who has experienced this to consider getting involved in a support organization with other people who have also, lost their child. Talk to people you trust and your doctor about the emotions you are experiencing. Even though we feel alone, we are not alone. Know that it does get better with time but, healing takes more than just time. I also, recommend www.griefhaven.org. It is great resource tool and offers hope, comfort, and love.

 

If at any time during this blog I emotionally hurt someone I sincerely apologize.

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