Saturday - September 27th, 2008
Well, I did it! I went back to the birthing center where you were born. I know you wanted me to. I have felt you calling in these last months, not just to write the book, but also to reach out and make a difference for others, to build heavenly bridges. Thank you for leading me for I now know how great the need is.
As I drove to the hospital this morning I looked down, and for just a moment I was eight years younger driving a green Ford Escort and my stomach protruded in such a rounded shape that it pressed against the steering wheel. You were with me during that drive in just the same way you were today, angelic form, for although I was blind to the truth, you had already died inside me. Today, I took a few deep breaths and reminded myself that I had to do this, not just for me, but for others, primarily for others. Even so, I took the stairs as a way to walk a different route, a way to differentaite this experience from the memories that wanted so badly to return.
I have to say, the nurses have come so far. I was ushered into their private lounge to meet. Lisa, the childbirth instructor, had the presence of mind to know that it was the one space I had never seen and would be an emotionally safe meeting place. I am so grateful for her forethought. She had also taken the time to have all the loss materials ready for me to pour over. They have the same "grieving" pamphlet and a small book focusing on stages of loss, but they also have a home-made wooden "memory box" now they pack with mementos of the baby: a lock of hair, their hospital band, tags with name, weight, and height, a picture and whatever else you might want in there. What a lovely gesture. Unfortunately, they are down to their last one (lots of loss this last year...be with those babes honey) and the woman who designed the boxes has also passed away. I'm thinking of asking your daddy if he will make some. Wouldn't that be a wonderful way for him to get involved?
Speaking with Lisa I learned so many things. I already knew that the nurses, these underpaid and overworked employees - both emotionally and physically, did MOST if not ALL of the work during a labor and delivery. But as I listened to Lisa talk about how they are affected after a baby's demise I was really struck. They process too, they grieve right along with us, but they are also astute enough to recognize that they can't relate from the emotional standpoint. Beyond all this, they still have a job to do: uterus massages, blood pressure readings and checking stitches are just three of their post-partum duties to ensure that we, the moms, are physically safe after the delivery. They escape to the hall for a good cry, then return to do their job.
I proposed many new additions to their current loss packet that all come from an "I've been there" perspective. We are going to add (and keep updated!)a list of resourceful reading material with short descriptions of each book so newly grieving mothers don't have to do all their own legwork to find the right read for them. We will have a personal invitiation to come to the monthly off-site support group to listen, talk, or just cry. I'm still chewing on a few more ideas like maybe some "what your body will do even though..." information and ...well it will come together.
For the meantime, I have an open communication with the birthing center nursing staff and they are going to call me whenever there is a loss to drive over and sit with the mom and support her. I was specific in my concern that little or nothing is done for mothers who miscarry before 15 weeks. Often, they are never even sent to the birthing center. I hope to make a BIG difference in the way this is handled by having a set of my cards in the ER too stapled to the support group invitation. Walking away with just a prescription for vicodin and a verbal promise that "it should take care of itself naturally" is not ok.
I look forward to being a catalyst for healing and I am so grateful to have you as my daughter, my first born. You are the reason I can be who I am today and you are the reason I am ready to reach out to others. Thank you for walking me across this bridge my sweet girl. Stay with me for the best is yet to come.
(LADIES - IF ANY OF YOU HAVE IDEAS THAT WOULD MAKE A GOOD ADDITION TO THE LOSS PACKET, MAYBE SOMETHING YOU WISHED HAD BEEN DONE FOR YOU BUT WASN'T OR SOMETHING THAT WAS DONE FOR YOU AND YOU HOPE IT CAN BE AVAILABLE FOR ALL...PLEASE COMMENT OR EMAIL ME WITH YOUR IDEAS!)
CATCH UP FROM THE START!
TO READ MY STORY FROM THE BEGINNING CLICK HERE THEN READ THE 7 COUNTDOWN POSTS TO EMMA'S EIGHTH BIRTHDAY!