Welcome Mothers, Fathers, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Friends and anyone else who needs an ear...Please come with an open heart.

This is a place for anyone who has felt the loss of a child. Treat this as a communication haven regardless of how or when you felt your loss. My definition of loss: miscarriage at any stage, still birth regardless of week gestation, infant death at any month, and loss of a child even if your child was all grown up. For me they all hold the same root of devestation. None are more profound or more "easily" dealt with than another.

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Please tell your story

Monday, September 22, 2008

Crossing Bridges?

Today I was scheduled to do something rather amazing, even to my checklisted brain. I was supposed to go back to the childbirth center where Emma was delivered. I was supposed to meet with Lisa, the nurse who is currently teaching parenting classes. ( I suppose you are picking up on the past tense...but I'll get there)

I called on Friday and had a lovely phone conversation with her. My main intention when I called her was to ask about the very different packets they send home with mothers who birth live babies vs. us dead baby moms. I am interested for two reasons:

  1. I remember there being some gaps (gaping holes actually) in the packet of stuff I finally got the courage to flip through after a few weeks of losing Emma.

  2. I am doing some on-site research for the book and want to be accurate about what kind of information is currently being distributed.

I have a feeling that the "loss" packet isn't updated nearly as often as the "live birth" packet regardless of the title, breast feeding or bottle feeding as Lisa reported "about 4 stillbirth babies a year". Obviously I live a VERY rural area.

Now, I have BEEN back to that hospital for a variety of reasons over the last eight years: blood work, kids appointments, and even a trip into the ER, but going to the fourth floor and walking past all those perfectly framed pictures of sleeping babies was never part of the plan. (In case you are wondering I had my two other girls in different hospitals)

Even as I dialed the numbers for the switchboard and heard myself asking for the childbirth center, I knew my questions couldn't be answered over the phone. I knew our conversation would lead to a face-to-face meeting in the exact location where I had labored and delivered my still baby. So, I was midly prepared (cognitively anyway) when Lisa said, "I'm on again both Monday and Tuesday. When would you like to come?" We made an appointment to meet monday, "if they weren't busy with laboring moms."

I put the phone down and thought, Can I do this? Can I truly walk back into that space where they couldn't find a heartbeat and my whole word collapsed around me without falling apart all over again, and for that matter, this close to Emma's birthday? Then, I recalled the rest of our conversation. We hadn't just talked about pamphlets and books.

Lisa was EXCITED! her voice conveyed the appropriate sympathy but a "holy grail" kind of enthusiasm that she had finally located (or been located as the case may be) by someone who had come out the other side of the horror and was ready to help out. Feeding off her, somehow our conversation covered the topics of how they don't have a package to send home with mothers who miscarry. Why the hell not???? I internally screamed, but calmly said, "Maybe I can be helpful with that as well."

We talked about the evolution of a support group in an off-site location for mothers with losses to come and feel safe sharing their story, not only infant loss and not only recent loss - but wherever they are in their greiving journey. "Sure." I said, "I'd be honored to lead such a group". And, lastly, Lisa said the most amazing thing. "Maybe" she said "you would be willing to be a liaison, an outreach for us to call after a stillborn baby has been born. We try, you know" (she said referring to the team of nurses) "but we really don't have any idea what these mothers are going through".

I hung up the phone physically swaying with the notion Whew - this is heavy stuff. So I sat for a minute and let it all sort out in my head, compartmentalize into then vs. now. Then, suddenly, the gravity of my own "bridge crossing" issue seemed less overwhelming than it had a few moments ago. I guess this is how you know that you are REALLY on the right path, whether in life, relationships, occuaption, or grieving. The name of the blog is Building Heavenly Bridges. I am attempting to build bridges for others, so (duh) I really do have to keep crossing my own as they arrive. Do as I do...not as I say...right?

So, this morning dawned and with it an outfit I hadn't seen (or fit into for that matter) for a LONG time. It was professional and exuded "I am here, I am OK and I want to make a difference". I even put on MAKE UP! (not something I often do in case that wasn't clear) I shuffled kids here and there, caught up on my ICLW for the day,then made . the . call!

She wasn't there. She was "in the bulding" but she wasn't "on the floor". Yes, sure they would take a message and she would call me back. She didn't. She works again tomorrow, maybe she will be available then.

(BIG sigh) - Isn't that just perfect? I wasn't sure I could go there then I got to a mental place when I was VERY ready to go there, then I am told ..."Today is not the day, maybe tomorrow". Maybe tomorrow. I used to put off so many mentally challenging notions with that very evasive phrase. In the past "maybe tomorrow" would have washed me with a sense of relief, a whew - I didn't really want to do this and now I don't have to AND - even better - I don't have to take the blame for cancelling! But this time my inner voice was screaming, NO! I want to cross that bridge! Let me across it even if I do have to come back and go over it again!

Another lesson learned? For today I remain behind the detour sign, but "maybe tomorrow" you'll find me on the other side of that bridge! (I'll keep you posted)


~Jess said...

Good luck! I'm not at all familiar with loss/still birth/miscarriage etc, but I definitely agree with you that there sounds as though there is a need for a support system and information in your area. Hopefully tomorrow :-)

Here via ICLW

Ronda's Rants said...

I will be thinking of you and very glad that you are doing may never know how much you will help someone someday! God bless you!

Dora said...

Cara, you are amazing. I am in awe of your ability to process all this and to reach out to others. I just read all your posts. It took a few Kleenex. I wish the blogosphere was here for you 8 years ago.

Adding you to my blogroll.

And I'm buying your book and I think I'm in love with The Comedian.

CLC said...

Wow, that is heavy stuff. But I know that newly bereaved Moms would love to speak with you. And I think you will find it incredibly healing as well. I hope to do this myself one day.

nancy said...

Although I don't know you, I am very proud of you. There isn't many who can tread back into that place. I know it will be hard if you continue to cross this bridge. There will be times you may want to go back across to the safe side, but the fact you are even waiting to cross it, well, it's amazing.

I actually came over here for ICLW because of your answer to me about heartache. What you said ("Just breath...and will eventually squeeze less") just hit me. About how I need to just feel it and time will do it's trick. And then I read how you really know about heartache with such a tremendous loss.

Yes, I believe you will be able to cross that bridge ahead of you.

seriously? said...

Here from ICLW. You are a very thoughtful person. After I had an early m/c, I got no support from my health care provider or anyone else. I had no idea how hard it would be to deal with. I wonder if there is something I could do for them...

Thanks for the ideas...

Stephanie, Phil, Kayla, Logan & Alex said...

You are an amazing person. While I have not lost a child (suffered infertility) I have witnessed it with my best friend. There truly isn't enough support for families that lose their babies. God bless you!


Cara said...

Thank you everyone for you amazing faith in my ability to meet the needs of hurting parents.

The most overwhelming part is if YOU haven't been effected (here's hoping) then you tend to KNOW someone who has.

Send them this way. I will always return emails and support with whatever words I have that day.

MrsSpock said...

Good for you for advocating for other grieving parents!


kccat said...

Good luck. You are doing great things and that hospital and any women you help in the future will be very lucky.

junebug said...

How brave to walk thru your pain and come out on the other side seeking to help others. Fingers crossed that the meeting happens.
Here via ICLW.

DrSpouse said...

That would be really lovely, if you could do something like that.

(Return comment from ICLW)

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