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:
- 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.
- 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)