Friday, May 21, 2010

Tough Questions

This is personal. Extremely personal. But instead of keeping it in my heart, I write. To be a voice for the thousands of families out there who are exactly like us. This is real life.

In some unspoken way, Rich and I both agreed to tell the girls about their older sister from the beginning. Well, really, what were we supposed to do? Hide that she ever existed and then one day when they are older, surprise them with it? I refuse to hide the fact that she died and that she was born so the girls know about her but they obviously just don't understand.

The girls have been asking questions with respect to everything lately. Each answer provided leads to yet another question. You would be amazed at how difficult it can be to answer some of these questions. Their thought process is incredible.

Last weekend, we purchased flowers (purple per Allie's request) at the nursery and headed over to the cemetery to plant them around Abbey's headstone. It had been some time since the girls had been there and for this visit, we allowed them to walk around and help us.

As with all typical three year olds, they were a bit curious and I really had to keep an eye on them to ensure that they didn't swipe items from other sites. What I found so touching and heartbreaking at the same time was that they all wanted to touch Abbey's toys and angels that are lined up along the back of the headstone. They took turns reaching over and touching the top of each item, their little fingers lingering for a just a moment.

The girls asked questions. "Where is Abbey?" I always tell them that she is in heaven and that leads to more questions. "Can we go see her?" Please God no, not now. "No, honey, we can't see her now. Someday, we will see her."

Etched on Abbey's headstone is a baby angel cradled in two hands. When it was time to leave, I told the girls to say goodbye. Allie ran back to the headstone and started waving while saying goodbye. She then reached over and placed her hand against the baby angel on the headstone and asked, "Who is holding her?"

  • One out of 100 to 150 babies is stillborn.
  • More than 50% of stillbirths occur in the third trimester.
  • 15% of stillbirth deaths occur during labor and delivery.


Summers Family said...

Oh Sarah, I don't really know what to say. I'm sorry that your family has endured such pain and loss. Hopefully writing about your experience at the cemetery has helped a little with your sadness. I believe you've made a wise choice to tell your girls about their sister. Family is very important.

I wish you peace in your heart during your difficult days.


Meg said...

I wish I had something better to say other than I'm sorry and that you're in our prayers during this difficult time.

Belinda said...

Hi Sarah, I am dreading the day when I have to explain to Andi and Bella what happened to their sister, Piper. I pray that Piper will live long enough for Andi and Bella to remember her, and to know what it feels like to be triplets. Thank you for sharing your story. Your girls are just precious.

Pyjammy Pam said...

I can only imagine that recent events have hit close to home for you. I'm so sorry for that. :(

Jayme said...

When Raime was stillborn, we already had three little ones- my oldest at the time was 5. They've always known, and always talked about it randomly here and there, so our kids who came after all know. It still is hard to explain to the little ones :(

Anonymous said...

I am sorry Sarah. That you went through this, and that you have to explain to their sisters what happened to Abbey, and that you have to take visits to her grave. I agree with you, though, it is important that they know. We tell our girls about their sister, even though they don't understand a word we are saying. But we can't pretend we didn't give birth to triplets, and we can't pretend that Caitlin never existed, and so as they get older we will tell them more.

Hope's Mama said...

Just brings a tear to my eye. I'm so sorry this is your story. I'm so sorry this is my story. I am so sorry when it is anyone's story.
Stillbirth is real. It still happens. God I wish it didn't.
Thanks for sharing Abbey with us.

His Mom said...

This time of year is so hard. I know there will be questions as Claudia and Cole get older and questions I can't answer. I agree about telling the kids from the get go, no surprises. I have a co worker who had twins premature and one didn't survive. She had a daughter after and the daughter is 12 now. She has not told her she has TWO older brothers but one died. And now she doesn't know how to tell because it has been 12 years and the girl will flip out. So it is hidden. A big secret. There is going to be resentment.

JEN said...

I can't imagine what your family has went through. My daughter had an Apgar of 3 at birth and I was afraid she was going to die before we took her home.

You're in my thoughts and prayers.

Kelly said...

I agree with Hope's Mama....thanks for sharing Abbey with us. Your stories are so touching.

Sarah said...

Thank you all for your kind comments.

Belinda - I hope that Piper is with you for a very, very long time. I think of her often.

Krissy said...

Tomorrow I will be joining my family at the cemetary. My mom lost her first daughter in 1975 after a pre-term delivery (she weighted 2.6) and a hospital stay (for my sister) of 9 months. My brother came next, healthy in every way. I was the runner-up, born at 32 weeks, 4.2, with major kidney problems. The last child to be born of my mother's womb was stillborn at 7 months. I believe that was in 1982.

Tomorrow, we will be moving Jennifer to be buried with Ronnie (they weren't allowed to be buried together at the time.) after all these years.

I have always known about my other siblings, and my family has never ever hid the fact that when we get to Heaven, we will get to meet them for the first time.

Tomorrow should be hideously hard, but will provide some peace after all these years. Incidentally, it is also my mother's birthday tomorrow.