Thursday, October 12, 2017

An empty bassinet

I took such time and care in selecting items to furnish the baby's nursery.  We had opted to wait until birth to hear the surprise of "It's a girl!" or "It's a boy!"  As such, the nursery was painted in neutral, pale shades of green and yellow, knowing I could later incorporate pink, purple or blue.  I hemmed and hawed over a bassinet, a safe space for the baby to sleep at night near us.  I was perusing through all things baby on the Pottery Barn website one day when I stumbled upon the most perfect bassinet. It was constructed of white wicker and the pale green bedding matched the nursery.  I knew it was a bit of an extravagance. Hundreds of dollars on a piece of furniture a baby could use for only a few short months.  Rich balked at first, wanted to discuss other alternatives, but I had my heart set on that beautiful bassinet.  I still remember loading it into the car at the Natick Mall, my shirt stretched tight against my swollen midsection.

A few months later, that bassinet would sit so very silent and empty

As I was cleaning out and organizing the upstairs linen closet this weekend, I found the once crisp white and soft green skirt belonging to the bassinet, which currently resides in the finished portion of our basement. As newborns, the girls napped in the bassinet.  But it wasn't the same.  It felt like a frivolous item borrowed from another family, belonging to another baby.

I attach meaning and memories to objects.  I don't know if I should apologize for this.  It sometimes makes me look like a hoarder.  All these years later and I cannot part with that bassinet.  One of the girls asked me why we still have it.  It represents innocence and dreams and the person I used to be.  

Two stillbirth related posts in a row is unintentional.  Late last night, I found myself reading studies attempting to explain unexplained stillbirths.  Over the past eleven years, I've come to the conclusion that many unexplained stillbirths can be explained.  These pregnancies simply went longer than they should have, but no one wants to admit to this.  Think of the legal ramifications.

No one has ever been able to explain why my amniotic fluid was basically nonexistent when I arrived at the hospital.  The doctor, who saw me when I was admitted, insisted, in a condescending manner, that it must have broken and I didn't realize it.  It was later confirmed that it had not broken, that the fluid had been too low to protect an umbilical cord from crushing.  This is despite the fact that I'd had an ultrasound a few weeks prior to determine the baby's approximate weight.

No one has ever been able to explain why my placenta wasn't in the condition one would expect from a typical pregnancy.  I was told that it had measured small but the size of the placenta from the autopsy report wouldn't have been able to produce a seven pound, ten ounce baby.  A discrepancy no one wants to touch.

Some will argue that there must have been an underlying issue.  It used to seriously piss me off when people asked/assumed that there was something "wrong" with Abigail.  I delivered at one of the top rated hospitals in the country.  They ran every test possible on me and her after her death and no scientific explanation is available.  Some of the more recent studies I've read are starting to point to due dates and how long is too long.  It's a step in the right direction.        

As always, I share this not to scare but to inform.

Happier posts coming soon.      


MeghanF said...

I can't even imagine going through what you went through/continue to go through.

I was 8 days past my due date, and went in to be induced and baby was in distress. The day before I had an u/s to determine if there were any issues (why I hadn't gone into labour), and half my fluid was gone (it did not break, I hadn't noticed anything). They sent me for monitoring and to be induced and then couldn't do it because too many women came in in active labour, so they sent me home. I was so scared, because when I had asked to go home to get my things, they said no - it wasn't a good idea (I lived 20mins from the hospital), but then they sent me home overnight. Baby was fine when I left - no signs of distress. THe next morning, full on in distress and I needed an urgent c/s to "save the baby". Scariest moments of my life. I am so thankful she ended up okay, but not sure if she would have had my planned induction been pushed any further.

Thank you for sharing your story so openly. I hope you do get proper answers someday, though it will never make it okay.

Thoughts are with you and your family.


Stephanie J. said...

Sarah, I've followed your blog for a few years (and I love your Instagram and stories now, especially the girls' dance routines - they are SO good). Anyways, I just gave birth two months ago, fortunately, to a healthy baby boy. But, throughout my entire pregnancy I thought about you and your Abigail many, many times. Always with what you've shared of your experience in the back of my mind. My heart breaks for your loss, something I'm sure you feel just as strongly today as you did eleven years ago.

I had an anterior placenta so it was difficult to feel the baby move and kick counts gave me so much anxiety but I knew they were important because of what you said. I went in for fetal monitoring multiple times - likely unnecessary but I wanted assurance and I was never turned away. I was petrified of going past my due date and I was actually grateful when they sent me to the hospital two days before my due date to check on things. They decided to unexpectedly induce because his heart rate and fluid were low.

I'm sure it's different with every doctor but perhaps recommendations or procedures are changing? My doctor told me the risk of stillbirth doubles if you go past the due date and that's why they order weekly ultrasounds (not just check-ups) if you are past due. Of course, none of this changes the heartache you and other mothers have experienced but I was informed because of your story and I do think that made a difference. Thank you for sharing.

Merks said...

<3 I have nothing profound to share...just love from a fellow mama. I know this is a love poem, but this truly sums up how I feel about my kids.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)

The other night as I was lounging in bed with one of my daughters, I told her "I love you so much." She asked how much is so much. And I immediately thought of that line. I didn't realize how much I could love another person until that first baby was there. A piece of me is with them always and it's painful to have your heart walking out there without you.

Krista said...

Everyone has their own story and they are all different. My cousin has gone over three weeks overdue twice, and her babies aren't "overdue" looking. Maybe a miscalculation of dates? Or long menstrual cycles results in the egg dropping later? Her sisters have also gone weeks past their due date with no complications. I know this doesn't bring you comfort, I just wanted to point out that all babies and pregnancies are so, so different, and that the "due date" isn't a perfect calculation of when baby should come.

Bree at Clarity Defined said...

I just wanted to send some extra love your way with these last couple of posts.

Jojo said...

Hi Sarah,

Thank you for those two posts. I try to imagine what loosing Abigail in this way... and in any way at all.... must have been for you and know I don't even come close. I didn't want to read and "walk on the other side of the street" and yet no words would ever be enough. So all I'm doing is sending you a huge virtual hug, if such a thing.