Friday, September 30, 2016

Morgan Elizabeth {36 days postpartem}

 See that little girl? Holding on to her Daddy's arm? That is me. I was 9 years old, and I was crying for my cousins. I was standing with my Mom and my Dad, pawing for more tissues. I was looking at cousin and her husband, who are very near and dear to my heart. My cousins were looking at a casket. A tiny little casket, that held the body of their lifeless little girl.
     Before the funeral, I was confused. I wasn't able to wrap my head around what was going on. I remember my Mom telling me not to ask questions, and not to talk about it, unless Laura talked to me about it first. I remember being so confused about WHY. WHY could this happen, what happens now? And honestly, I remember thinking that it was odd to go to a funeral for someone I had never known. I don't think I had ever been to a funeral before. I think I had begged my Mom to let me go to my Great Grammies,  but I don't think I went. Although I was close with my "Grammie Chick" I don't remember much about that time. I do remember Morgan's funeral. Sweet Morgan Elizabeth, their tiny little girl, in a tiny little casket. I remember that that was the first time I understood what it meant to love someone you never got to know. I didn't understand until I stood there with my parents, and wept for my cousins. I saw all the pain on there faces, I knew, at nine years old, that they would never ever feel more pain, than they were right there.
     Their house warming was a few days later, and in a search for normalcy, the family decided not to postpone. Again, I was told not to talk about Baby Morgan unless her Mom or Dad brought it up first. That never became an issue. Laura asked me immediately if I wanted to see  picture, of course, curious little Kassie did. We were standing in the hall way of her new home, beside her stairwell. There is now a photo of me, with her, on that wall, from a couple years before, when I was a flower girl, in their wedding. She handed me a tiny polaroid picture of her tiny daughter. Morgan was premature, so she was just an itty bitty thing, but she was perfect, she had ten fingers, and ten little toes. There was a stuffed animal in the picture beside her, I believe it was a bunny, I think it was almost as big as she was. Never once was there a question that Laura, and her husband Jon did not answer for me. Some times the answer was, "I don't know honey", and that was there honest answer, they didn't know why this would happen to them. Still, every question was meant with a raw, and honest answer. She never cried when I asked her, or if she did, she protected me for that. She never once, made me feel bad for my curiosity. Morgan was never a secret. Morgan was never Taboo.
     I text my cousins, every year, on their daughters birthday, I let them know I am thinking of them, and I talk to Morgan every year, I never forgot her. I still ask her questions, about her pregnancy, about Morgan, about anything. I don't ever remember, after her housewarming, a day that went by that I was afraid to ask her a question. Morgan's life has had a profound effect on my life, she always will be with me, forever in our hearts.
     The unfortunate truth of this blog post, it's not entirely true. That little girl, is not me.That is not my Dad, and that is not my Mom. Those are my cousins, and that is Morgan's sister. She looks on at her cousin, she looks on at me, as we look on at the casket that holds the lifeless body of our sweet tiny little girl. But that could have been me, I have walked in those shoes, I have felt her feelings, and cried her tears.

      I'm sure she has questions, and I'm sure her Momma and Dad answer them with full honesty, even if that answer sometimes is "I don't know honey". I hope no one ever looks at a child, who has a question about my daughter, and hides her from that child. My daughter will not be taboo. She will not be a secret. So when a different one of my little cousins, who was adopted into our family long after Morgan, asked me "Didn't your baby come out dead?!" I took a deep breath, steadied my voice, and answered him, to the best of my abilities. I will do my best, to never make ANYONE, feel guilty about any conversation that revolves around my daughter let alone, a child.
     I said that the worst part of this blog post, was that it was not me standing there. It's true. It sucks, that after all the pain they felt over ten years ago, they have to watch someone the hold close, go through the same thing. BUT the best part about this, is, that that is there little girl standing there. Morgan has a sister, who is happy and healthy, and living, partially because we know what caused Morgan's life to end. Morgan has two happy and healthy sisters. Her parents are standing with there arms around one of their girls, while another one of their girls shows my baby around heaven. That little lady, is a representation of hope, of life, and light after darkness.
     I would do anything, to have either of them back, but we can't change it, even though we would. Our children have purposes in life, all of them. One of Morgan's was to save her sisters, but years later, we are still finding those purposes, one of them, I'm sure of it, was to help me through this. My daughter was able to help five others with her organs, but I hope in ten years, I am still finding reasoning in her life, and not focusing on her death.
     You will never be forgotten, sweet girl, you too, are forever in our hearts.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

35 Days Postpartum. Telling the world we were pregnant.

     We wanted to tell people in person. We stopped at Walmart and picked up a tiny gift box, some tissue paper and a tiny tag. A five word question from Baby Warren was written on the tag, wrapped in paper, and placed inside the box. My best friend cried and cried when she opened it, and read the words "Will You Be My GodParents" they obviously accepted and congratulated us 100 times, on our up and coming little one.
     My  Step Dad was out of town, so we had to wait until he got home to tell him and my mom. Mom and I picked him up from the airport, I stressed all the way home on how I was going to tell them. When we got home, I planned on going to get Matthew, and telling them together with him  but before I was even able to mention babies, or pregnancy my mom called me out on it. I was sitting at the small table in her living room, when she stopped dead in her tracks, turned around and said "Are you Pregnant?" I think a small part of her still expected me to say no. She looked at me slightly confused when I said "yes". Some how Mommas always know.  Until the moment I woke up in the operating room I never thought much about Mothers Intuition.  I honestly think I already knew my daughter didn't survive birth, before Dianne even told me, this mothers intuition, it's a thing, I'm telling you, it is. 
     I can't say I was afraid to tell my Dad, Yes I was only twenty,  kind of young for pregnancy. My Dad  has always been the one to Congratulate even if the situation isn't ideal, like when my sister went to the courthouse with a moron, and took his last name on a whim. I had already called his wife, and told her on the phone, I made her promise not to tell my Dad, I wish I had been there when told her, but i remember hearing her voice crack, as she pulled over on the side of the road to cry happy tears for me. Dad asked me if we were going out that night, I told him we were staying in. He said "What, no partying and Drinking?!" knowing all to well that that wasn't my scene.
     "Can't Dad, I'm Pregnant" He kept making his coffee like it was no big deal, and said "Cool" as he put the milk away in my grandmothers fridge. "I'm serious Dad" "Cool, Babe, you'll be a good Mom". And that was that, we were sitting at my grandparents kitchen table, My nan, my Pa, and my Dad all said congratulations, and that was that.
     I told so many people that day! They were all so happy and excited. We told my mother in law, at her work. We stopped at the bank to see her and tell her the news. I knew she would cry, she had adopted me into the family when I was just 13. Matt and I dated on and off, but I was always her daughter since she knew me, regardless of my relationship with her stepson, I was always her "spare child". Now she would get to see her new grandbaby one day. I went to tell a very special cousin of mine next. She was at the pool with two of her daughters. Before my loss I would have written that differently. I would have said she was at the pool with her two daughters. Now I am extremely aware of her Angel Baby Morgan who is showing my little girl around heaven, and feel that I need to write this differently, as Little Morgan is actually quite essential to my story, and my coping. I told my aunt next, Morgan's grandmother, and then I went home to tell my gram, and call my sister in New Hampshire. My grandfathers response cracked me up! I asked him when he was gonna quit smoking, and he told me he would when he was dead.
Well, your new great grandbaby isn't going to like it!

 What? You pregnant? I was starting to think Matthew wasn't man enough!!  And gave me a big old bear hug, with my congratulations.
My sweet LeeLee was loved already, so many good  memories of the people I told, I went to my Dads ex girlfriends work to tell her, she was so happy. I called my cousin, who was also pregnant, she just didn't know it yet. She has several siblings, and as she screamed to her mom I heard them all yelling in excitement in the back ground. I brought my ultrasound down to my Photographer to immediately set up her newborn session.
      Everyone cried for me, every one cheered for me, and 8 months later, they all stood at my hospital bedside and cried for me again.
Her loving God Parents.

 Her Mammie Jo, and Pappa PJ
 Morgan's Mom, and Grandmother. Leeonas Cousin, and Aunt.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

21 days postpatrum. 21 days with out my baby.

  It's been 21 days... My daughter has been dead for 21 days. How is that physically possible? How could it have been that long already. My friends, are all going to concerts, or the county fair, their lives are all moving on, and I am here, stinking up my bed, wondering when I showered last. My god son, is learning to crawl, although he seams like he will be better at walking soon, than he is crawling. My sister is having some stronger Braxton hicks like contractions. Everyone's world is moving on, and ours isn't. My baby will never learn to crawl, she will never walk, I will never see her again.  Why?
     Shit like this just shouldn't exist. You shouldn't burry your child. It's awful. I think about it all the time. Her perfect little lifeless body under dirt, and rocks, and getting rained on. It's fucking awful. We could not process the thought of cremation though, as awful as what's going on out there right now, I couldn't imagine, burning her perfect little body. We already damaged her enough.
     Renata is another one of the midwives that work at our hospital, she came into our hospital room and began a conversation that I really didn't want to have. It was time to start discussing organ donation.  Immediately my mind said NO. NO. You ae not cutting up my baby... We had already had that discussion once when they asked if we wanted an autopsy. Not happening.  Here she was though, asking if we wanted to at lest have a discussion with an organ bank. I looked over at Matthew, and could see he had already made a decision to. He wasn't shaking his head, or saying anything, but I could tell by the look on his face, he was gonna let these people cut up our baby. So there, was my couple minutes of panic. How could I let this happen? Would I? Should I? Somewhere in those moments, looking at Matthews face, I knew I had to. I knew I Should. We were both organ donners, on our licenses. We both knew that once we were gone, if someone else could use our body parts, then they should be able to. I started to think "What ifs" what if she could save a baby, what if another set of parents didn't have to go through this, because of her. The choice was made. There was no way we couldn't. I wouldn't wish my pain, on my worst enemy, and if I said no, then I was handing someone else this pain. I couldn't do that.
     Before Renata had finished her sentence, all of this had gone through my mind. To make the hardest decision of my life, all I needed was a tiny smile from Matthew, and I knew what the right answer was. If it was not for him, I wouldn't have even considered it. He never said yes, he never told her we would do it, he asked me what I thought and told me that what ever I wanted, we would do.
     So, we did. We told her we would talk to them. So we made the phone call, and after much reassurance from them that we would still be able to see her after her surgery, we agreed. We were told at four o'clock we would need to turn her over to them, to be "Chilled". I still can't get through that sentence without getting choked up when I talk about our journey. "Chilled" they "Chilled " my baby.
 A hug, from Renata, At the Funeral.

     Any way, I watched the clock until four came around. I SOO did not want to let her go. I knew though, that I would get her back. The whole donation process was much different than I expected. First of all, the donation bank came to us, around midnight that night, the woman who would be doing her surgery came to meet us, upon Matthew's request. They had come in from Boston, 5 hours way.  She told us about her son, and how a transplant had saved his life, he was born with a large hole in his heart, and the only reason he lived, was because someone had made the same choice we were making. Again, in that moment, I knew, we had made the right choice,  as much as I hated the thought. One of our nurses, Connie, followed the surgeon down stairs, and for learning purposes, watched the procedure. For her, it was learning, for me; it was comfort, to know that someone who had taken such care of me, would be there with my daughter.
     So there she was, 15 hours after birth having parts of her heart removed. I didn't even know, before, that they were able to use parts that far out from death, but here my baby was 15 hours after birth, saving the lives of strangers.
     We found out later, that she saved my life too. She was taken, by a blood clot in the placenta. Often times the blood clot is not a major heath issue for the baby, it often times only effects the mother, which in turn can kill her, and the baby. Normally the clot would have amassed in my body, stopping my blood flow, and taking both of our lives; because it took just her, I was able to live. I know my family takes a lot of comfort in that. As does Matthew, but it's hard to be grateful for that, as a mother I am supposed to protect her, the one place she was always supposed to be safe, was in the womb. I was supposed to worry about the world, once she was in it, not about her, in me. I failed her, women are created, specifically to make babies, by body was built for this, and I was unable to do that for her.
     I am grateful to have her amazing Daddy, because alone, this wouldn't be survivable. So I suppose, for his sake, I am glad she saved me. Dying with her, would have hurt so much less, but I can't imagine the pain that would have left for my family, for Matthew. I am grateful that I have these moments to apologize, to mend my regrets. I apologized to her  Daddy, for begging him to come with me into the OR, when they were refusing to let him in. If I had died, that would have been the last thing he herd from me; me begging him to do something he couldn't. I would have regretted that. I do.
     I wish I could have stood outside the door with him, when they called "Code Blue to OR 4". By that point, thankfully,  my parents were with him, and his step mom, Jody. We had an ultrasound the morning before, and Leeona received an 8/8 health score, so my Mom assumed the code blue was for me. I wish I could have been there. I wish I could have held her hand to tell her I was okay. Matthew didn't know what it meant, thank god, for 2 more minutes, he got to think that everything was okay. I wish I had been there for him, when they told him everything wasn't okay. He collapsed, and was put into a wheelchair, after that, and demands from him, our baby was placed into his arms. I wish I could have been there for that. I wish I could have pulled my Mom and Jody off the floor when there knees buckled. I wish I could have been there for it all.
     Unfortunately I was just waking up, in another room, being told that my baby didn't make it.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

18 Days Postpartum. My Birth Story.

     I am 18 days Postpartum. It's been 18 days since my emergency c section, it's been 16 days since my scheduled due date, and it's been 18 days since I woke up from anesthesia and received the news that my daughter did not survive.
     I was still very heavily medicated, but I remember that moment with great clarity. It was just like the movies, just like TV. I don't know if I had asked already, and was being ignored, or if I thought I was asking multiple times, and was in fact to drugged to speak, however it felt like I had asked 100 times; "How's my Baby?"
     Dianne's face came into my view above my face, just like the movies, the space around her face was still blurry, the noises around us were faded, I heard her voice clearly though; "Your baby didn't make it, hunny." Dianne is my Midwife. She is in pain.
     I remember feeling her pain more than my own. I couldn't feel anything quite yet, but I remember hearing the pain in her voice. I remember thinking that she was speaking to me like I was a child. Not in a condescending way, instead like she was approaching a child who was scared. A gentle, calm, "It's going to be okay" kind of voice. Nothing was okay, but I hadn't quite processed that future yet. I then  have a faint memory of Dianne telling me, that my baby was with her Dad.
     The next thing I  clearly remember was seeing my grandmother, and my cousin crying, as they wheeled me into the elevator. My cousin had lost her daughter shortly after her birth at 22 weeks. Now she was watching me feel that pain.
     Vaguely I hear my Moms voice, I can't see her yet, or hear what she's saying, but I later find out that they tried to tell her she couldn't follow me up in the elevator. Her baby just lost her baby, if they think they can stop her from coming with me, then their plans will soon change. Suddenly I can feel her hand holding mine, she's rubbing my arm. I start to cry. I'm starting to understand what's happening. My baby is not coming home. I ask her to call my photographer, Zelli. "I need Zelli, call Zelli... I need Born To Fly." I'm starting to fall back asleep, and everything is getting foggy again.
     "Born To Fly is a non profit organization that provides bereavement photography for families who's baby's get there wings too soon" That is how Zelli defines her services, it is an extension of her business "Zi Photography". Born To Fly, I'd later find out, is so so much more than that. While I was in that elevator I didn't know much, what I did know, is I needed a picture of my daughter. I wanted a photo.
     A lot of my other memories haven't returned to me, they likely never will. I kick myself all the time, because I don't remember the first time I saw her. I don't remember the first time I held her. How does someone not remember that? Even with everything going on, even with all the meds in my system, if I can remember hearing about her death, if I can remember seeing my gram in passing, or begging for a photographer on the elevator, why can't I picture the first time I held her. Why is that a memory that never stuck out? What kind of parent can't visualize that. The only thing I remember from that moment was being surprised that she was still warm. I was holding her lifeless body, but she was still warm.
     She is perfect, other then the fact that she is not breathing. She is the most beautiful baby I have ever seen, she looks like Matthew, she looks like my mom. I created this perfect child, and my body failed her, her heart was beating when we got to the hospital. Now, it's not. She was so close. 39 weeks and 5 days. If I could have kept her going for more hours my world would be perfect. Instead my baby is dead, and it's all my fault.
     I thought denial was the first stage of grief, I couldn't deny what was in front of me, I never denied it for a second. I accepted it the moment that Dianne told me.  Guilt however, I'm mastering this stage.
     Right now, we are home. It's been 18 days, I have survived this horror for 18 days. Her Dad is cooking me dinner, we are watching Sunday night football. From the outside looking in, everything is just as it always was. We are different though. So different. I should be endlessly trying to put my baby to sleep. Our lives seriously, are quite the same as they always were, but we are so, so, different.