“I don’t think most people truly understand how much is lost when a baby dies. You don’t just lose a baby, you lose the 1 and 2 and 10 and 16-year-old she would have become. You lose Christmas mornings and loose teeth and the first days of school. You just lose it all.”
Anger. It’s one of Kübler-Ross’ stages of grief.
Until recently I hadn’t considered how anger and grief intertwined. When my paternal grandma died, the day before her 95th birthday, I was sad but I didn’t feel angry. She had a wonderful and fulfilled life–married to her husband until he passed 21 years prior. She raised two sons, taught for 40 years, and spent time with her 3 grandchildren in her retirement years. Two years later my maternal grandpa died. He was 86 years old and had suffered from dementia for several years prior to his death. He had a long life, raised 6 children, worked incredibly hard, and in his later years spent quality time with 12 grandchildren. I felt sad but almost relieved that he was no longer suffering. I wasn’t angry. I have wonderful memories of these grandparents.
But when my baby, my 2nd daughter, died inside my body, when I experienced contractions, nausea and exhaustion while pushing her out, I became furious. Not immediately but weeks later. After the shock and numbness dissipated.
I am filled with rage.
I am angry that when, at 37 weeks, I noticed decreased movement, but convinced myself she was moving normally and didn’t seek medical attention.
I am angry that I was skeptical of the safety of ultrasounds and did not have any in the third trimester.
I am angry that I endured a pregnancy of nausea and vomiting, heartburn, sleep deprived nights, and uncomfortable-ness only to have my baby die.
I am angry that if I were destined to lose my daughter it didn’t happen at 9 weeks, 12 weeks, 18 weeks or 26 weeks. Anything but 40 weeks.
I am angry that I said things like “I’m never doing this again,” “thank goodness this is the last time I’ll ever be pregnant” and “there won’t be any trying for a boy.”
I am angry that my careful child spacing failed–that my living daughter will either be an only child or not, but she will not sing to, read to, or play with a sibling who is four years younger than her.
I am angry with my body for betraying me and my baby.
I am angry that I failed to keep my baby safe–perhaps the most important job a mother has.
And I am furious that I do not have memories of my daughter, for when a baby dies, it is dreams that are lost.
We’ll go to the beach with a 2 month old and 4-year-old. I’ll have my summer maternity leave with my baby. At Thanksgiving we’ll need to bring two car seats on the plane. Next summer we should visit my parents, the girls will be one year and five years. We’ll go to Disney World when the girls are five and nine. The girls will have each other to play with and color with. Eventually they can have the two downstairs bedrooms. Or will the want to share a room? We should remodel the downstairs bathroom so they have space for hair dryers and makeup…
Lost dreams, lost life. Not just the loss of my baby’s life, the loss of my family, the loss of my dreams for all of us.
What short-term and long-term dreams were lost when your baby died?