Friday, November 11, 2005

In Memoriam, Part II - Conclusion

...continued from yesterday's post...

It was the day of the scheduled D&C, November 11, 2004, and OB had instructed me about the no-food-and-drink and to come to his office in the a.m. to review what would be happening. I was given the order-form and sent over to the hospital. I checked in with the receptionist who requested to see my order and told her I was scheduled for ambulatory surgery. She looked it over and then snidely said, “Well, what procedure are you here for?” Like it’s any of your fucking business, I thought and then without a word, I curtly tapped on the order with my finger where it said, “Dilation & Curettage” while I glared at her. “Ooops, sorry about that. [insincere apologetic smile] Go ahead and have a seat and we will get you checked in.” I walked over to a chair and started crying…again. What made that whole experience more horrible than it should have been? I work at the hospital. She knows me. Just about everyone knows who I am, and she was a bitch to me and I have never spoken to her again.

Once I was sent to ambulatory, the nurse came in to go over standard procedures which included asking if I wanted to see anyone in Spiritual Care. No, absolutely not, I answered. What about social services about grief counseling? Not today, but they have permission to at a later date.

Jerry did not accompany me, but would be there as I was coming out of anesthesia. We had nothing left to say at that point and every time I saw him, I would apologize for losing the baby, as if it was my fault. He apologized for not being able to take my pain away. We were tired of saying sorry to each other and thought maybe it was G*d’s turn to apologize. Sometimes I think I am still waiting.

I don’t remember much after that except being asked to wake up post-procedure. I remember thinking what if they were wrong? What if Baby May had been alive and the tech read the US wrong? I fought against the reality and tried to stay asleep, dreamless, just for a while longer. Jerry called my name and I began to cry some more.

That was a Thursday. I didn’t come back to work until Monday, and I didn’t know how I was going to be able to get anything done without breaking down and I dreaded the questions, comments, polite sympathies and dreaded platitudes. Instead, my co-workers avoided me as if I carried the plague, and I grew angry. I found out that no one knew what to do so they were instructed not to mention it, as if it had never happened. I spoke to the co-worker I consider the closest to me and I explained that I HAVE to talk about it or else my heart will explode. And so slowly they stopped avoiding my office and made eye contact and I told them about my pain. I felt minutely better…that was until V. from social services called me.

The conversation started innocuously enough.
V: I would like to send you some pamphlets that we send to our patients who have experienced this type of loss, yada, yada, yada, and I also have the baby’s footprints.

Stunned silence.

DD: What do you mean you have the baby’s footprints? You mean like a poem called The Baby’s Footprints, right?

V: Oh, no. The pathologist who was there always tries to get footprints for the parents and during the D&C she was not only able to get footprints but some handprints as well of your baby.

DD: I can’t talk right now.

And I hung up on her and started bawling all over again. I was shocked and angry that she had the complete brain-fuck to not deliver that surprise to me in person so I could have ripped off her head and vomited down her neck. They took MY UNBORN BABY’S FOOTPRINTS AT 15WKS GESTATION!!!!!

Even OB was upset that he was not notified of this supposed “courtesy” that the pathologist was providing. To him, that info should be sent to the OB who would then discuss with HIS patient whether or not she would like to be provided that type of “memento.” He would talk to the path and get things squared away.

V. then showed up at my office all apologetic about dropping that bomb on me over the phone. She left a packet of info with me and told me that the envelope with the baby’s footprints were inside.

I had to have my friend S. with me when I opened the envelope with “Baby Lastname” written on it. I pulled out a card, the kind they use in the maternity ward to take the newborn’s foot- and handprints. Right there were 3 very tiny handprints and 2 miniature footprints. Blurry, but without a doubt handprints and footprints, all no bigger than the bed of your pinkie-nail. I handed the card to S. We both started to cry.

Several weeks later it was confirmed that Baby May had a chromosomal anomaly. Jerry and I have both tested negative for the corresponding gene, so Baby May’s death was a “fluke”. It wasn’t because I wasn’t taking my pre-natal vitamin regularly; or drinking cola and not enough water; or that I ate a hot dog. OB was right. This loss was not my fault.

The reality is I am now the mother of 2 children. One is now days from turning 4. The other is buried in a small plot the hospital owns, which I have been to only once. I will go again today. OB said that I can find out the sex of Baby May when I am ready. I had planned on finding out when we got pg again, except I didn’t know that we wouldn’t as easily as we had hoped. I then thought on the one-year anniversary of the D&C, I should know if I was having a boy or a girl and give Baby May an official name. I can’t. The wound is still too fresh and bleeds with every touch, every reminder of what I don’t have.

For those of who have suffered through a loss, you eventually do stop crying every day, but it can take weeks, if not months. Even now a year later, EVERY night when I lay my head on the pillow, I think about Baby May. My ass-vice? Don’t push those thoughts away. Keep the memories, even if think you will never be able to look at them again, including the HPT with the faint 2nd pink line, the US, the cards of congrats, the cards of sympathy, and the pressed flowers, all in a special keepsake box. I will now share my most precious memory of Baby May:

6 Punches:

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Catizhere said...

Oh Dawn.

At 10:31 AM, Anonymous mm said...

There are no words. I'm just so sorry.

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Julie said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It is very touching, and I'm so sad for you.

At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Kath said...

Your story has left me stunned and sad and touched. Thank you for that; it must have been so painful to write. I hope it helped a little, too.

Healing takes so long, far longer than the world expects. I wonder if it ever completely ends...

At 5:47 PM, Anonymous joie said...

Not sure what to say, I have no idea the pain you went through. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing your story, I hope it helped you to tell it.

At 6:55 AM, Anonymous Artblog said...

Can only add to the sorry's already received. its one of the worst experiences any woman has to go through! Keep strong...


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