Friday, December 16, 2011

An empty stocking

After an excited Emily bounced around like a rubber ball for three days, Rich was finally able to locate and hang our stockings. With care. I wasn't there for the event and hadn't really taken a good look at the stockings until the other night.

There was Abbey's stocking dangling peacefully from a reindeer holder.

My conversation with Allie post was a real conversation that I debated over whether or not to publish because of how personal it is. Shortly after I had tucked the girls into bed that night, I was working on one of my Shooting in Manual posts. Our conversation was still fresh in my mind and I wanted to replay it for Rich later so I clicked on the New Post button and typed it out so I wouldn't forget any of it. There it sat - an unintentional post.

And then I read something on the internet the very next day. I read something that made me realize that I have to be my daughter's voice. So that night, I published my unintentional post.

When I was pregnant with Abbey, I wanted to attempt a "natural" unmedicated birth in a hospital. I knew that there was the possibility that it may not work out that way but I wanted to try. I also did not want to be induced. I remember saying, "Babies come when they're ready. Right?" The problem is that I always had that question at the end of my statement.

My OB wanted to induce me at 41 weeks. I balked because babies come when they are ready. Right? She agreed to let me go to 42 weeks but there would be a non stress test and possibly (I can't remember now) an ultrasound at my 41 week appointment. Abbey died at 40 weeks and 5 days. I had successfully passed a nonstress days two days earlier.

When I arrived at the hospital in labor, almost all of the fluid surrounding her was gone. My water had not broken.

I later accidentally discovered, while flipping through my file at the MFM's office, that the tiny bit of remaning fluid had been full of meconium.

The autopsy results could not tell us why she died, only how. She did not receive enough oxygen.

Many babies do come when they are ready but sometimes something goes very wrong and they don't. The problem is that there is no good answer on how to resolve this.

It is my belief that if I had been induced on my due date, my child would be here with me now. And yes, it is true that our experiences define us and our beliefs. When I was pregnant with the triplets, I didn't care if an alien ship descended from outer space to suck the babies from my belly button. As long as they were born alive and healthy and handed over to a doctor, I would be happy.

When I rushed downstairs this morning to hastily iron a shirt to wear to work, I found the girls gathered around each other on the floor. They were drawing pictures, writing names and stamping stamps. Crafting. And then I heard Emily ask, "Which stocking is Abbey's?" She was standing on the hearth, clutching a little drawing to stuff into her sister's stocking. Abbey's stocking will not remain empty this Christmas.


Tina said...

Sarah, I stumbled across your blogs a few weeks ago and I have spent every spare moment reading everything you have posted all the way back from Day 1. I have totally enjoyed all your posts, from the weekend/vacation summaries to the silly things the girls have said, from your camera tutorials (I'm also an aspiring photographer) to your experience with Abby. I think you have created an amazing little place here that your girls are going to look back on very fondly when they grow up. They are so very lucky to have you as a mother - your nurturing and loving ways are evident in your words. What a happy, beautiful life each of your girls has been blessed with.

Thank you for giving the world a peek at what life is like with triplets, and what life is like after stillbirth. You are sincerely an inspiration!

Tina said...

Sorry - I incorrectly spelled Abbey's name above. My apologies. ;)

Karen said...

Your post brings tears to my eyes, we never know why things happen as they do and you address my worst fears as a first time mom at 41 and hoping for a second child now a few years later. I also had the same shift in ideology as you did. I also wanted to attempt a natural birth but through a series of events, my water broke the day before my due date so I needed to be induced and when the labor was not progressing, and I had an emergency c-section when my baby was later in distress. I had always been influenced by the ideology that natural is better, but my experience changed that opinion. I knew I made the right decision and that I was very lucky to live in a country where I had the access to excellent medical care and all the interventions available to us. Today, I am opposed to those who make flip comments about how natural is best, mom's should not be induced, overly monitored, and we should avoid intervention at all costs. Since I was "old" to be having a baby, I was given stress test twice a week and an ultrasound every week for the last month or two of my pregnancy. Fluid levels and and signs of age in the placenta were monitored regularly. I can only hope that these types of tests will one day be routinely offered to women of all ages. We are very lucky to have access to the best medical care on the planet, but women need to be made aware what is available to them and its merits. Hold your head high and I hope you and your beautiful family have a wonderful holiday season!

Wendy said...

Oh man <3 Wish I was there to give you all a big hug.

Belinda said...

Tears, tears, and more tears. I haven't decorated yet for Christmas. It's our first Christmas without Piper and it's proving to be harder than I anticipated. I have thought a lot about weather or not I will hang Piper's stocking. After reading your post, I now know that I will. Thank you for sharing all that you do on your blog.

Andrea said...

your kids amaze me every freaking day that i read your blog.

i want to change areas of nursing from something sad-neurology (stroke, brain tumor/injury, spinal cord injury) to something "happy"-labor-delivery, but I'm beyond terrified of being the nurse in a baby born sleeping situation. I couldn't cope, or even begin to help others cope.

Thank you for sharing your story and I'm SO SO SO happy that your girls know and love their big sister

Melissa said...

Your three girls that are living with you on Earth are amazing. I love that Abbey is still talked about often in your home and she is not kept a secret. I love reading your stories of Abbey and the girls love for her.

Sarah said...

I want to thank you all for your heartfelt comments. You have made me feel that what I'm doing here is good - and sometimes I need to hear that.

Belinda - my heart goes out to you.

TanyaMom23 said...

Sarah, this post brought me to tears. I have never experienced such a profound loss. I have a dear friend, Amy that lost her son, Ryan at 20 months old to SUDC. Your blog has helped me to understand the importance of keeping Ryan's memory alive by always talking about him and really listening when Amy is speaking about him... because he needs her to be his voice. I will keep Abby in my prayers this Christmas along with your beautiful daughters here with you.

I also would love to know if there were/are any support groups that you found to be the most helpful. I am sure that there is no person/group that can alleviate this type of loss and grief, but if there was a place you felt you could speak and be heard and supported, I would love any information. I work in Labor & Delivery and MFM at BIDMC in Boston and have always wished I could offer more personal references for patients that are dealing with loss.

I hope you have a very merry Christmas with your girls and I hope you feel very close to Abby.


TanyaMom23 said...

Oh dear, I looked to the left and misspelled Abbey's name as well. I am so sorry.

Wendy said...

Your little girls are so amazing. Love that Emily made a drawing for Abbey.

I'm really sorry for your loss of Abbey as well.

Hope's Mama said...

Hope died at 40 weeks 4 days and was born the day after. I also had no fluid left, though my waters hadn't broken. What was left, had merconium in it.
I had the same beliefs as you - let nature take it's course. And I did. And she died. The most horrible lesson to learn.
I proudly and happily walked in for the two caesareans after I lost her. Knowing I could get them out on time and alive was all that mattered to me.
Your little girls are so precious and hearing how they include their sister totally warmed my heart.

Anonymous said...

That really really scares me! This is far from the first story I hear where a baby died a few days past 40 weeks. Every natural book you read tells you how important it is to wait until the baby comes on its own, but what about stories like yours? How do you protect yourself and your baby from that outcome?

I can't tell you how much it scares me....
So what's right? Which is the safest way?

I can't imagine going through something like that- I am so sorry you had to....


Laura said...

I love the idea of Emily putting a drawing in her sister's stocking. Children are so sweet and innocent, and I think it is wonderful that you tell them about their big sister Abbey.

I get frustrated by people saying c-sections are bad, inductions are bad, etc. I was induced at 40 weeks 3 days and ended up needing a c-section last December. I had 4miscarriages before having my daughter and was worried until she was born that something would go wrong with that pregnancy as well. I had several friends/relatives tell me I didn't "need" to be induced, didn't need to have a c-section, etc. I'm just amazed anyone would question my doctor's decision to induce. My only concern was for my baby. Sometimes it feels like if people haven't experienced some type of loss of their own, they just don't understand how precious life is and how much we take for granted.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing Abbey with us. Kids are so accepting of everything and I love that they talk about Abbey and include her, naturally.

abbyrose said...

Sending you and your family much, much love!

Sarah said...

Tanya - I'm sorry for the delay in responding to your questions. The one thing that Rich and I did find was a lack of support groups specific to our needs. We found one at South Shore Hospital that was limited in size but accepted all early loss from miscarriage to infant. We did request to be placed on the wait list even though we were looking for a group just for stillbirth. We never heard back and then I became pregnant and had zero energy to leave the house.

Thank you for your kind words.