search discussions

glow in the woods

front page
the archives
what is this place?
the contributors
comment policy

Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

for one and all > 7w PP Visit, Due Date, Birthday

This week has tested my strength. Not that I have a lot of strength; just shy of 2 months since losing Carter, but the little I have has been weakened. I knew it would be difficult; I just didn't realize how difficult it would be. Monday I had my 7 week postpartum visit with my OB (back at the hospital), Wednesday was suppose to be Carter's due date, and today is my 33rd birthday. It's been a shitty week.

I love my OB. She wasn't the original physician I had been seeing. She was the on-call physician when we arrived at triage. She was there for my case and Carter's case. My primary OB was out of town. So I continued with her for postpartum visits. I just feel more comfortable - she knows what happened and she met Carter. There is a connection. It was hard being back at the office. A lot of anxiety. I learned at the visit that my placenta and umbilical cord all checked out. Nothing abnormal on the pathology report. Still waiting on Carter's autopsy report (which has been a LONG wait). Also, have a referral to the MFM physician. Pre-conception counseling to see if there are any additional tests they want to run. It's a bit overwhelming on top of everything else I'm feeling.

4/5/17 was Carter's due date. The day that I always looked to from the beginning of pregnancy. I know Carter could have come earlier or later than this date but it's the meaning behind the date. Where the next chapter of my life was suppose to begin. It was a date of excitement and joy and love. All my dreams and hopes came to reality with that day. And now, those hopes and dreams are shattered. I'm not holding my sweet baby boy in my arms. There will be no sleepless nights, no singing in the rocking chair, no diaper changes, no walks outside in the stroller... the list goes on. My mind up until this point had said, "you should still be pregnant." Now, the due date has passed. My mind tells me, "I should have my son in my arms." But, I don't.

Today is my 33rd birthday. It isn't happy. I don't want to celebrate. I feel the grief is at an all time high. I have been having some lighter days. But this week and, particularly today, has hit hard. From the day I found out Carter's due date, my birthday was wrapped into his story. There was even a running joke that he could be born on my birthday. I always associated this day with either having Carter already in my arms or at least in the hospital awaiting his arrival. Today it's hard to breathe. The sadness and pain is excruciating.

I've felt lately I'm standing at the bottom of a mountain watching an avalanche race towards me. It's this swirling mixture of all of my emotions - pain, sadness, despair, anxiety, longing, anger, and fear coming towards me. I see it happening. I see it building speed and coming towards me. I have to brace myself for impact. The avalanche is too powerful, I'm thrust inside it. All I can do is hold on until it slowly stops. I'm broken and bruised. There's 10 feet of snow on top of me. Complete darkness and it's suffocating me. I see a small light above me. A decision has to be made - do I let the darkness overtake me or do I fight. I begin to make my way to the light. Battered and bruised, digging myself out. Reaching the light. Reaching my way to another day. A way forward. Only, to wonder when the next avalanche will hit.

I read a quote the other day, "The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you'll never have" by Soren Kierkegaard. Feels pretty accurate today.

I miss Carter everyday. There is a vital part of me missing. I know he doesn't want me to suffer. And I'm doing my best to find a way forward. It's just so hard without him.
April 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJenna
Dear Jenna,

I am so sorry for the loss of your wonderful son, Carter.
My husband and I lost our only daughter in November - she was born at term but suffered severe birth trauma and we also made the decision to turn off her life support. Although an incredibly hard decision I still feel it was the correct one.
After all that loss, having to go through all the usual post natal appointments and recovery without the joy of the baby is a real double whammy. My 6 week post natal appointment consisted of seeing a general doctor that I had never met before - he was very kind and sympathetic - saying I was fine and leaving again. On the way out the receptionist called me back to make a post natal appointment for my daughter as I had come to the appointment without her!
Our daughter also had a post mortem done and it took about 8 weeks to come back - we are in the UK. We are still in the midst of the coroner inquest scenario.
I did not celebrate my birthday in January, mainly because I couldn't cope with people other than my husband at that point. People trying to say Happy Birthday or congratulating me just made me feel undeserving and that the congratulations should have been when my daughter was born.

I absolutely agree with the avalanche metaphor - it does feel like that - a suffocating and clawing feeling that never truly leaves. Some days I do feel that I should climb out and breathe the air again - for my sake, my familys' and for my daughter's. But other days it is not so easy to feel that.
I hope for all of us that slowly, slowly the days we want to breathe again will increase until perhaps in some unspecified time they will outnumber the days that coming out into the light and air seems pointless. We have to hope for that but I also actively strive for it on the days that I can.

Wishing you a peaceful birthday

April 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKE
Jenna, that sounds like one taxing week. Your avalanche analogy is absolutely perfect. In so many ways it describes exactly how I feel now and have felt at many points since I began on this awful, very unwanted, baby loss journey. You are not alone. The loss of your sweet Carter is still so new and fresh. I think you sharing your story and engaging in this community like you do shows tremendous strengh.

The timeline of our losses are pretty similar, and I too struggled a lot around the due date. My little girl, Nina, was due 4 days before my birthday (which is right around Christmas). I had joked "she better not steal my birthday, Christmas already does!" and now that seems so, so very trivial and stupid. What I wouldn't give to have had her healthy and alive on that day. When December rolled around I felt I had to get far far away for that entire holiday season. My husband and I travelled to Japan (I'm from Canada) and while it was a nice distraction some of the time, I still thought about Nina non stop and everything that "should" have been. We went to see the snow monkeys in Hokkaido (on her due date) for a nice distraction and I found it hard to be around the monkey moms and babies. Who knew I'd be jealous of monkeys!

Keep breathing, and keep fighting.

Thinking of you and Carter.
April 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
KE, thank you for your kind words. I'm so sorry for the loss of your daughter. I agree, the decision to withdrawal life support is incredibly difficult. But, I know that was the right decision for us. I haven't had much guilt associated with that. We didn't want him to suffer.
I agree about the birthday wishes. I received a lot of those. I wanted to scream at everyone - there is nothing to be "happy" or "celebratory" about right now. I know they meant well though.

Amy, I said those same exact words, "he better not come on my birthday." Oh, how I wish he did. Your escape away to Japan sounds like it offered you a distraction. My husband and I have thought about taking a trip as well. I know I'll think of Carter the entire time but it may be nice for a change of scenery. Thank you for your kind words and I'm so sorry for the loss of your daughter, Nina.

Sending hugs and wishing peace to the both of you.
April 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJenna