I still can’t believe this is real…
HANES, Pauline Annette - 64 years old, mother, wife, sister, aunt and friend passed away on April 8, 2012 at the Espanola Regional Hospital and Heath Centre. Pauline leaves behind her husband of 40 years Roy, and her daughter Angela Williams (Mickey). She was predeceased by her mother and father Lucille and William Piche, by her brother William (Georgette), and her granddaughter Leia Williams. She will be lovingly remembered by her brothers and sisters Betty Laffin (Eric), Barbara Rattee (John), Ike (Cecile), Kenny (Karen), Danny, Jimmy (Patricia), Margaret Shorr (Doug) and Jackie Thibeault (Roland). Aunt Pauline leaves behind many nieces and nephews who loved her dearly, as well as her KFC family. She will be sadly missed by sister-in-law and friend Helen Goodchild (Remmie)
Growth and acceptance
Something happened today that made me realize just how much I’ve grown in the last 2 years. I am very very proud of how I handled a really crappy situation, and that in it’s self says a lot about the person I am now.
I went to a baby show, where vendors new and old sell stuff. You enter draws, browse and there is usually a free photo. Last weekend we went to the vibrant living show and won a door prize, and a prize from a vendor. I am hoping someone calls us tomorrow to say we won something. But if not then I know that how I acted today is a win.
I knew going in that there was a slim chance I would see the midwife that we had (and whom I hold accountable partly for Leia’s death) at the show. I know she isn’t allowed to practice but can still assist the other midwives, and be part of this new place. She got fired from her old job, and did loose her license. She had to go back to school and do a LOT of stuff before getting it back, so I doubt she has it this soon. I hate this woman. With a passion. For a year, I had nightmares about her final words to me - “as long as you aren’t bleeding then there is no need to worry”.
2 days later my daughter was pronounced dead and I would start the journey of bringing her into the world. 3 days from the day that I went into the office with worry and doubt that she would survive. 3 days from the day we heard her heartbeat and the other midwife would tell me I was being foolish to worry. 3 days from her also saying that she could give me an ultrasound but it was unnecessary. I begged for it, but she didn’t get me in that day or give me an non stress test. She didn’t call the hospital, but sent us home to do it. When we called they gave us a hard time and said that it’s not our job to book them, but in fact the midwife. I’ll call her C. TFB (Her name starts with a T but i think you can figure out that I’m referring to her as The F**king B*&ch) is the one we saw today.
Friday Sept 30 2011 was the last time I heard my daughter’s heartbeat. I left the office still uneasy and worried. I didn’t believe C when she told me that she was fine. No reason to be upset. I cried. Saturday Oct 1st 2011 I called TFB who was my primary midwife to tell her I was still worried. That I had a bad feeling. That I wasn’t feeling much movement. She told me those words. No blood no worry. Ultrasound isn’t important.
Monday Oct 3rd 2011 at 2:10 pm we were told that our first child, the love of our lives was dead. No heartbeat. No reason. No life. No perfect ending. It wasn’t until Thursday Oct 6th 2011 at 4:23 pm she was ‘born’. Born after death. Breech. No cries.
That’s a WHOLE lot of time to carry a dead baby inside of me, a lot of time on the L^D floor. A lot of time to hear other babies be born. TFB did try to come to be with us. I refused. I screamed something about her murdering Leia. That I was going to murder her. I don’t really recall.
She truly was a very very horrible person. NO bedside manner. Was never friendly to us. I asked to switch to an OB after our 2nd meeting because of this. If you know me IRL you know that I love everyone. There is not 1 person I can think of that I don’t click with. Except her. Even C, I can’t be really mad at her fully because she was doing her ‘job’ although she needed to do it better. Now it’s hard for me to say this because maybe just maybe we went to the ultrasound on Friday, and Leia was still alive. Maybe they did a NST and she passed. Chances are she wouldn’t have and still died. She wasn’t growing properly. Proof when she was delivered silently at only 4 lbs. Almost 37 weeks pregnant the same gestation that I was with Ryder Who was almost 7 lbs.
I was robbed of the chance to ever truly know. I will live with the what if’s , should have, and what did I do wrong’s forever. What if we went
Today TFB was at the show. Right in front of the booth of my favorite people at my moms group. I spent a lot of time talking to the woman there, and was staring down TFB. But not once did I want/need to leave. Not once did I feel like I was going to have a panic attack, or feel the need to go gouge her eyes out.
She sat alone at her booth, with very few people going to talk to her. Once she made eye contact with me and smiled. She was walking around as we were, and headed to the bathroom. I was heading there myself. It took EVERYTHING for me not to go in at the same time. To talk to her, ask her if she regrets telling me this. If she was sorry. I didn’t even think to go dunk her head in the toilet or beat her to death. That sounds like a job but honestly I thought about nothing more for year.
I have seen her before, in hindsight it was the day after Ryder was born at the same hospital as his sister. She was walking around with another midwife from this new clinic having a tour. I didn’t realize it was her until the other time we saw her. We only met in person 2 times during my pregnancy, I saw C more often and also a girl L. I wanted nothing more than to see an OB but there was always some excuse. It wasn’t until I finally freaked out that I was just delivering my baby alone in a field that they got me to see one. But I never got to see her until that Monday after the fact, because my appointment was the next week.
Anyways, I didn’t talk to her today. TFB stood there in front of me and I did nothing. It doesn’t matter if she told me she was sorry. She might not be. It would be worse if she told me she wasn’t, or didn’t remember Leia. So I didn’t do it.
Finishing my facilitator training for BFO has helped me with acceptance. I’m not over my grief. I have accepted that it is part of me. That it is okay if I have a bad day, or even if I have a good day. I’ve grown, and today has proved it. I have spent far too long being angry. It’s time to be happy.
In Twenty Minutes
In twenty minutes, a mother who has been laboring, in pain, terror, disbelief and anguish, will give one final push, and her silent, stillborn baby will be born.
In twenty minutes, a father, shocked, in horror and in terrible amazement, will watch as his lifeless child, perfect but still, is carefully swaddled.
He will watch as the doctor awkwardly and uncomfortably asks his distraught, grief stricken wife if she wants to hold this unmoving bundle of bleach smelled blanket and lifeless form.
The mother, wet from tears, sweat and blood, will be shaking, broken, overwhelmed, and will, with uncertainty, recieve her baby in her arms. Both parents will feel ill-prepared and terribly alone.
In twenty minutes, this baby’s older brother, a surviving sibling, will face weeks, maybe months of distraction and mood swings from his parents. He will wonder why mom is crying, or shouting, or throwing things for no reason. He will wonder why dad doesn’t come home from work on time anymore or why he yells at him or his mom or why his dad retreats so often to tinker in the garage.
Yes, in fifteen minutes now, an ill-prepared loved one will soon tell this mother not to worry, because at least she has the older child.
Still another ill-prepared loved one will think to tell the parents that they can try again.
The distraught father will try to protect the mother from the mounting pain, anger, confusion and devastation. He will try to minimize his grief in an effort to minimize hers.
The baby who is born will not need a carseat. Returning home from the hospital, the birth will be unmarked by visitors bringing the family a warm meal.
Verily, in twelve minutes, a volcano of emotion, tension, and destruction will be brewing in these parents hearts.
The mother will wonder why everyone she knows and loves are demanding her to be so unloyal to her feelings of sadness and loss.
She will turn against those she loves as she retreats internally, trying to lick her own wounds while filling with resentment at being ignored and overlooked.
The surviving sibling – remember him? In ten minutes, he will not know it, but the family plan to attend church this Sunday will be vanished.
After a weekend of hiding quietly in his bedroom, listening to the sounds of wailing, hushed whispers and shouting from his parents, he will return to school on Monday, confused and lonely. He will wonder if his friends think he is weird, if his parents were bad, or if he somehow hurt his mom and killed his little sister.
He will begin to wonder if his parents love him. Or if they even should.
They will feel that others around them are rushing them to move on and forget. Forget that their child is not alive.
They will feel that others around them don’t want them to count their child. That because nobody else knew their child, that their child doesn’t count.
These parents, this mother and father, will look upon that bundle wrapped in a hospital blanket, and will wonder if they should push it away.
They will imagine – for just a moment – that pushing that bundle away, not looking, not touching, will help them move on faster.
Will help them forget. People they know will reflect this sentiment, time and time again, in the months and years to come.
But in three minutes, their hearts will be so heavy that they won’t be able to move. They will be held there, in that moment, holding their lifeless baby.
In the United States alone,
- 600,000 mothers endure pregnancy loss through miscarriage
- 26,000 mothers endure pregnancy loss through stillbirth (source)
71 mothers today will give birth to a stillborn baby. 71 families will be changed forever, their spiritual health, relational health, marital health and even physical health will all be threatened. Illness and injury manifesting as silenced grief will affect each member of the family, causing time off of work, time out of school, and time stolen from family bonding. All 71 of these families need to know that they are not alone. That there is hope. That there is healing. That there is stillbirthday.
Every twenty minutes a stillborn baby is born, in the US alone.
It is happening,
Tell your loved ones, your co-workers, your neighbors, your medical providers, your religious leaders, that pregnancy loss is still birth.
That the birth experience is only the beginning of a lifelong process of living in grief, a lifelong quest to make sense of it and to find your place within it. That even the earliest miscarriage deserves to be honored as the birth, and the death, that it is. Tell them, tell them now:
A pregnancy loss is still a birthday.
The Doctors TV Show
Today on the Doctors a baby loss mom friend Jessica and her husband were on it talking about their losses.
Yes losses. Not just 1 stillborn baby, but another born too soon that did not live. Heartbreaking enough, but they now have a daughter Pheobe who is the light of their lives.
I am so proud that she shared her story with the world. this is my goal in life. To never stop talking about Leia. To talk about our pregnancy journey.
Here are 2 clips to watch:
They are so right about taking a subsequent pregnancy day by day, sometimes moment by moment. The end result is so worth it. A hard as my pregnancy with Ryder was, I can NOT wait to do it again.
Day 25 #sayitoutloud
I’ve actually been dreading this day, which is weird because I talk about Leia all the time.
I want the world to know that I am NOT over it. I have no desire to be over it. My heart will heal but the pain will always be there, and rightfully so.
I gave birth to my daughter, stillborn, and breech. It took 4 days and 2 full days of labour. The epidural didn’t work, so I felt everything. I needed to feel something. I cried the whole time.
I couldn’t leave the house for months afterwards except to go to the hospital. I needed to get help but was afraid to ask for it. My face was numb, my mind frozen. My left arm was swollen, bruised and numb. I was in shock. I lived on pills to put me to sleep. I needed them in order to leave the house.
I want people to ask about her, not just to say I’m sorry, or I can’t imagine but to truly listen to what I have to say. Not just for a cautionary tale but to help me too.
People are afraid to talk about the loss of a baby. No matter if its stillborn, miscarriage, sids or a car accident. They think that by talking about it, somehow they will catch it. That if they think about it too long, then it will happen to them. I know this, because I felt that way too.
Just before we found out Leia’s heart stopped beating, a friend of a friend’s son drowned. I read it on facebook, and said “oh no I can’t imagine the pain of losing your child.” Then a few days after that a relative suffered a painful miscarriage and had to have a dnc. I went to that place again and worried that something would happen to Leia. I made a doctor’s appointment for that Friday.
Friday we heard her heartbeat, but I was still not reassured. Of course in my gut I knew even though there was no reason to know. I thought it was because I said those words out loud that she died. That I did something to make it happen.
I didn’t listen to my gut. I was NEVER told about kick counts, or had any ultrasounds after 20 weeks. No follow up was ever done, or routine checks on me. I was overweight. The notes that the midwife put as her thoughts on why my daughter died indicated this. Yet there was no follow up. She stopped growing at 20 weeks and was tiny at birth. Had I been told about kick counts I could have saved her.
The midwife refused to see me at the hospital when I called her the Sat before. I told her I was worried. She said “AS LONG AS YOU ARE NOT BLEEDING THERE IS NO REASON TO WORRY”. I want people to know this isn’t true.
I want the world to know that stillbirth’s happen. Babies do die. It’s not like in the movies either. It’s messy. It’s real. You will hear other babies be born all around you happy, healthy babies crying.
We only had a short time with our angel. I regret not spending more time with her. I can’t get that back. I can’t.
On being a bereaved mother..
Some days hurt more than others, when you are a parent of a dead child/baby. The “anniversary” of the day you found out they had no heartbeat.. the day you delivered.. the day you said goodbye.. the day they were due.. the list could go on and on.
But there are other non important days that get to me too. Christmas is a given, but Halloween is an unexpected one. I am shopping for my living son but still glancing at the girl costumes for 2-3 year olds.
I saw a active black haired little girl running around the children’s store just now. Caught my breath as her mom called her Leila. So very close to Leia. I’m not sure how old she was but it didn’t matter. Suddenly I had to get out of the store.
Usually I can smile through the pain and ask how old/what’s her name etc. But not today. It was too much.
Grief is like that. One minute you are happy and looking forward to seeing your child in costume, the next I want to disappear.
Sometimes we forget that its not just holidays that can be a trigger. We can’t turn it off and on. It can be something as simple as seeing that little girl.
The ironic thing is hearing her actual name used in the contents of star wars doesn’t hurt. Seeing princess Leia doesn’t make me cry.