As you may or may not know, October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. In an effort to honor, acknowledge and hold space for women and families who have experienced this pain we are focusing our blog posts for the month of October on the topic of loss. I (Piper) will be sharing bits and pieces of my personal story and truly hope that you will find comfort in knowing that you are not alone.
August 8, 2017 was probably the hardest day of my life. Yes, even harder than laboring and birthing my stillborn daughter (which I’ll get to in future blog posts, likely next week).
On this date, we were scheduled for what should have been a typical, uneventful 20 week anomaly scan. My husband and I had discussed baby names the night before so we could announce to our family if we were having a boy or a girl the evening after our ultrasound and I was so excited because I was almost certain that we were going to announce that our Tinleigh was on her way. I remember driving to the doctor’s office that morning fighting with my husband about medical insurance and being really irritated as we waited in the waiting room that our morning started that way. I also remember, if I’m being honest with myself and after a year of reflection, counseling, and much more, that something in my mama gut didn’t sit quite right – something was off.
I remember the silence of the ultrasound tech for 15 minutes until we heard the words “I need to go get the doctor”. I remember looking at my husband and seeing worry in his eyes as the feelings we were harboring from earlier in the morning melted away as if we knew we were going to need each other in a way we’ve never needed each other before. I remember the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach while we waited for another 15 minutes for the doctor to come into our room and then another 15 minutes of silence as she slid the wand around my belly. And then, I remember the moment the doctor said, “I’m sorry but your baby isn’t compatible with life” as if I was even supposed to comprehend what that meant but also remember the feeling of not being surprised. I think I knew, maybe subconsciously, from the time we found out we were expecting Tinleigh that our journey would be different.
I remember many unanswered questions and the desperation for all the answers so I could fix it! I remember not liking or accepting the answers I did receive. I remember my husband and I sobbing in each other’s arms. I remember calling my mom so she could relieve my sister of babysitting duties (for our 1-year-old son) since we were going to be longer than expected, but instead her showing up as we sat in a room waiting for the full ultrasound report. I remember my mom holding Dustin and I as we sobbed and I remember asking her “What did or didn’t I do? What lessons didn’t I learn soon enough? Why us? Why is God making us go through this?” and I remember her simple reply of “Oh honey, you know that’s not how this works”.
I remember wanting to go barge through the door of any doctor who could provide me any hint of any answer and there were lots of doctor’s office doors in the particular medical building we were in. I remember the quiet, helpless drive home feeling numb and uncertain of what was to come. I remember arriving at home and telling 1-year-old Kiptyn that his baby sister was probably going to go to heaven and his sweet, innocent reply of “bye bye baby?” and the tears that ran down my face as I said, “yes, bye bye baby” and his ease in accepting that.
During this time, I remember immense desperation to fix it – to save my baby. I think that this is something that most loss moms and parents have felt. At this point, a little over a year ago, my baby still had a heart beat but what hurt more than anything is knowing that at any moment her heart could and likely would stop and I had absolutely no control over that.
“If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.” — Author Unknown