A Story of Stillbirth- One Less than Planned

It took about ten hours from her delivery for me to be able to feel how sore my backside was. I’m convinced that I fractured my tailbone, because I still can’t sit on certain surfaces for too long, and it’s almost been nine weeks. While we rested, we ate, we talked, we cried. We laughed too, when we found out that epidurals take your ability to control certain bodily functions. We spoke with staff about what we would do with her body after all of the testing was done. We talked about how I was supposed to care for my body as I recovered from delivery. Husbandman’s boss told him about a local funeral home that did arrangements at no cost to families that lost children, and we worked on getting in touch with them. We made more decisions, about what tests to do or not do to try and figure out what caused Cora to die. I made all of these decisions in a haze, half unbelieving that this had happened. Sometimes, it still doesn’t feel real. Sometimes, it all still feels like a bad dream from which I will wake up and find that my little girl is still in my womb, safe. Instead, I know that she’s not with me, but that she’s safe with the Lord.

My doctors said that I would be allowed to go home that day if I felt up to it, but because I was so numb from the epidural, we decided to stay until the next day so that I could gain control of my faculties a bit more before being without nurses and doctors. Mercifully, we stayed in the room in which she was delivered, instead of being sent to the “Mother and Babies” part of the hospital for recovery. We heard one baby cry the entire time we were in the hospital, and we all cried. We didn’t cry because we begrudged that baby it’s life or that mother her child, but because we knew that we would never hear Cora cry.

That night, another nurse let me sleep as much as I could. I feel like I’m still catching up on sleep. When we woke up the next morning, we heard a decent amount of screaming from at least two other rooms, and assumed that a couple of other patients were having rough deliveries. My nurse that day was the same as the day before, and when things quieted down, we spent a decent amount of time figuring out how I was supposed to be taken care of, physically and mentally. When you lose a baby, you’re at even higher risk than normal for anxiety issues or post-partum depression. Husbandman was given a prescription for an anti-anxiety medicine that he still is keeping in his wallet in case I start to have anxiety issues. I’m still being watched for postpartum depression, which can show up six months after delivering a baby. My doctors said that I wasn’t allowed to think about going back to work until after I’d been seen for a two-week follow up appointment, and that it could take “a while” for us to get test results back. Spoiler: “a while”, it turns out, is up to three months. We’re still waiting.

When we finally left, we loaded our bag and paperwork onto a pushcart, and me into a wheelchair. They pushed me to where Husbandman was picking up the car, and helped load the two of us, only the two of us, into the car. My nurse, the same one that I had the day of Cora’s birth, hugged me goodbye.

As we drove home, we cried. We never ever thought that we would go home from the hospital after enduring labor and delivery with just the two of us. We went home with one less than expected. I didn’t get to think, “why are they letting me take the baby home? I’m not ready.” All I could do was cry and feel the emptiness that had taken up such a large part of our lives in such a short amount of time.

God offered us redemption. As we drove home, even before we got to the interstate, the funeral director called us to tell us that he was on his way to pick up Cora’s body from the hospital. I felt so much relief to know that even though we didn’t get to bring her home with us, her body would not be left in the hospital alone. Her body would be in our small town with us one last time.

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here

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