Finn, Infant Loss, Stillbirth

Recently, I was telling Finn’s story to a lady who has known me for a few years. She wanted to see pictures of Finn. Looking at the pictures of me holding my lifeless baby, she remarked with surprise, “You look so… happy.”

And I was happy. And sad, numb, in shock, confused, and excited, all at the same time. Even in that haze of emotions, I knew I wanted to look back on the short amount of time I had with Finn and remember the happiness above all. His birth really wasn’t the saddest part of the whole experience. Giving birth to him was part of the original plan; it’s something I was expecting to experience. Our photographer captioned one of our photos with “Nothing is worth more than this moment.” and there couldn’t have been a more fitting description of the moment she captured. It was one of the happiest times because Finn was still with me, or his body, rather. He was in my arms and my little family was together for the only time it will ever be on this earth. I experienced the happiness mothers feel when they see their older child meet their new sibling, and for a short time,  both of my babies were snuggled up next to me. Continue Reading

Finn, Infant Loss

Last night, I dreamed that Finn came back. I held him and I could feel his feather-light weight and soft skin as though he was right there with me. In the dream, I was even thinking about how that couldn’t be possible because his body is ashes now (I often debunk my own dreams), and I said, “If this is a dream, it’s a good one” while holding Finn against me.

I had been hoping to see Finn again in a dream and this is the first time I have since he died. I also dreamed of eating a huge bowl of vanilla cream and I could taste its cold sweetness. I was about to dig into a deep dish pizza when I woke up. I haven’t had either of those foods in a while, so this seemed to be a vivid dream of experiences my body has been longing for.

Yesterday, I was talking to Jaxton about how Finn is in heaven, which is too far away for us to visit him. Jaxton said, “I know, I can fly!”. He flapped his arms, and realizing he was getting nowhere, he said “It’s not working. I want to fly like baby brother.” I feel the same way. I know it sounds a bit crazy to place so much emphasis on a dream, but when it is the only way you have left in this life to be with someone you love, it takes on new meaning. So for now, I’ll keep on dreamin’.

Finn, Infant Loss, Stillbirth

To think about it from the outside looking in, finding out your baby is dead and then still having to go through the process of labor and give birth to him, and then the subsequent recovery, sounds nothing but torturous. The reality, like many experiences I’ve had so far in this grief journey, was bittersweet.

For seven months my baby was connected to me by a cord, plugged in essentially, and he was in constant, vital need of me to survive. He needed me to eat, take vitamins, and stay hydrated. My blood flowed through his placenta, supplying him with the oxygen and nutrients he needed to grow and thrive. With every beat of his heart, that demand for sustaining his life was there. Continue Reading

Infant Loss, Stillbirth

All of the statistics I have found surrounding chromosomal abnormalities:

The risk of having a child with Trisomy is not higher than normal unless one or both parents have chromosomal abnormalities. Our chromosome test results were normal, so we have an average risk.

The risk of having a child with chromosomal abnormalities does increase with age, from 1/526 at age 20 to 1/8 at age 49. At age 27 my risk was 1/455, so still fairly low, but somebody always has to be the ‘1’ in statistics.

About 95% percent of embryos with genetic problems are miscarried. Chromosomal anomalies are responsible for about 60% of early miscarriages.

About 1 in every 160 pregnancies ends in stillbirth. Chromosome disorders account for 15-20% of all stillbirths.

Only 2 -3% of live-born infants have chromosomal abnormalities.

Infant Loss, Stillbirth

With empty arms, I kissed my baby goodbye and touched him for the last time in my life. The hospital man said he would take good care of him. I watched through tears as he was wheeled out of the room until he disappeared from view.

With empty arms, I walked down the hallway of the maternity ward that seemed to stretch a mile, past the nurses’ station receiving many the sympathetic look. It felt like the walk of shame, with nothing to be ashamed of.

With empty arms, I left a place that held so many new lives, one already finished. From one of the rooms, I heard a newborn cry, the first cry since I arrived. The cry of a new life just beginning, still so many kisses to be given.

With empty arms, I walked through the double doors, down the elevator, through the lobby, and waited by the front doors. A proud father walked out with a smiling big sister to bring around their car.

With empty arms, I waited for our car with my nurse. I looked back inside the building where I had parted with my baby minutes before. In the lobby, another nurse stood behind a mother in a wheelchair, a cart next to them bearing gifts and a car seat with their most precious gift of all.

With empty arms, I sat in the passenger seat with a memory box on my lap, all that remained of my baby to take home.  Empty arms, empty womb, full of memories.