I Cremated My Mother and Buried My Daughter (Part 2)

The following is Part 2 of the 3 Part story I received from a grieving dad that lost his mom and daughter over a 2 week period.  I must admit this part of the story was very difficult for me to read and it triggered some tears.  It is very similar to my experiences during loss of my two children.  It is kind of graphic, but I think its important to understand the trauma that people experience during such an event.  Many peole expereince this but never have the opportunity to express how they feel since a lot of people feel uncomfortable hearing such a story.

A few days after I cremated my mom, my wife’s bleeding started.  She was now about 22 weeks along in the pregnancy.  She talked with the doctor and we went to the ER.  The doctor put Mary on bed rest and observation.  Once the bleeding slowed and seemed to stabilize, we felt a little more at ease, but started to dread the possibility of up to four months of bed rest in the hospital.  Since I was already off work for the week, my days consisted of getting up, taking my son to daycare, driving 45+ minutes to the hospital to spend the day with my wife, leaving around 4 p.m. to drive 45+ minutes to have drive thru dinner and get my son and head back to the hospital so my wife could spend some time with him, and then driving back home at night.  I usually was able to sneak a shower in there somewhere each day.  I was putting about 120 miles a day on the truck and, especially after the loss of my mom, began to feel I was wearing very thin – I was so selfish.  So, since my wife’s bleeding was almost stopped by the end of the week, I started pressuring her and the doctor to get her home so my life would be easier and I could have much more time with her and my son.  I just didn’t think I could handle that for four months, but now wish I had because we would probably have my daughter today if it were not for my selfish pressuring of my wife and her doctor.

We got home about noon and I had to turn around at about 5 p.m. and go back to the ER with my son since he had a high fever that neither Tylenol nor Motrin would touch.  He had pneumonia, which was extra unsettling at the time since mom had just died of complications from pneumonia/H1N1.

The next day I ordered a Doppler fetal heart rate monitor so we could listen to my daughter’s heart.  That night my wife passed a large clot and we called the doctor.  The doctor asked a few questions and said she did not need to come in to the ER.  I had ordered the monitor with overnight shipping, and we got it and used it to listen to my daughter’s heart.  That night my wife’s water broke.  By the time we got into the triage room in the maternity ward, there was no heartbeat and no movement.  My daughter had died in utero two weeks to the day after my mom.

My wife had been having regular contractions since we had left home for the hospital, so she was contracting for about four hours.  Just after midnight, I was alone in the room with my wife when she said she felt like she needed to go to the bathroom.  So, I helped her to the bathroom and waited outside the door in case she needed me.  Fairly soon, she groaned, and then said, “Something came out of me.”  I stepped in immediately and could see the fear of the indignity that she had just delivered our baby, so I held my wife with one arm and pulled the emergency cord with the other.  Two nurses actually ran into the room closely followed by a third.  They got their gloves on, retrieved my daughter and took her and my wife to the bed still connected.  This all happened so quickly.

My daughter died in utero and was delivered on January 13th, 2010.  She was 11 ½ inches long and 1 lb. 2 oz.  One of the nurses cut the cord and took her away to clean her up and dress her so that we could see her, hold her, and spend some time with her before taking her away.  The nurse that dressed her also made clay imprints of her hands and feet, made ink footprints, and took a few pictures of her for us before we saw her and while we were holding her.  While the nurse was working on my daughter for us, I left the room and called our former priest.  He gave me explicit instructions on how to baptize my daughter and said he would come see us immediately.  I went into the side room off the maternity room where they store the baby warmer and where the nurse was still working on dressing her.  I asked the nurse for something to put some water in and she gave me a clam shell.  I put some water in the shell and poured the first water saying, “I baptize you in the name of the Father,” poured more water saying, “and the name of the Son,” and pouring again saying, “and the name of the Holy Spirit.”  Then, I dipped my finger in the remaining water and put a cross on her head, blessing her in the same way.  Because of her appearance, I expected her skin to feel dry and scaly, but it was soft as a baby’s skin should be.  Then I left to let the nurse finish preparing her.

Soon after, the nurse brought her in to us wrapped in a pink blanket dressed in a small white gown and bonnet.  My wife held her held her and looked at her for a while, trying to etch our daughter into her memory.  Later, my wife offered our daughter to me and I held her for a while as well-doing the same.  We both touched her little hands and face and told her how sorry we were that we were not going to be able to be with her and raise her and hear her laugh and cry.  At some point while we were with her, our priest came in and baptized her again (just to be sure).  Later, we let the nurse take our daughter, and eventually we were moved a recovery room, still in the maternity ward on the side with the new mothers.  We finally got to bed about 4 a.m.  Later that morning we had some visitors and our friends brought our son back to us around 11 a.m.  Most of that day is really a blur to me because of the hours we kept and the extreme devastation.  That afternoon, we wanted to see our daughter one last time, and one of the nurses went and got her for us so we could hold her one more time before we left.  Both of us still wish we had spent more time with her.

Our hospital offered an option to have our daughter buried with several other babies who had died in utero during the last quarter in a place called the Garden of Angels at no charge, and we thought that, since she wouldn’t be alone, that would be a nice option.  However, we also wanted to have a service of our own for ourselves and our family, so we called our priest.  We had a full Catholic funeral for her on January 28th.  She was buried on the 29th.  We also went to the multi-family service at the Garden of Angels where she is buried on February 13th, 2010.

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This entry was posted in Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of parent, Grief, Grieving Dads Words, H1N1, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Miscarriage, Stillbirth, Trauma. Bookmark the permalink.

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