Mom to Chloe Isadora
Stillborn at fullterm on July 30th, 2009
I think I was maybe the last to know that I was actually pregnant. It was November 2008 and my husband Robert, daughter Mavis and I had traveled from Amarillo to Austin to spend Thanksgiving with his family. I was in all sorts of denial about why I’d been sick and that my period was late it had to be because of the vast amounts of stress of traveling with a two and a half year old and visiting my in laws.
My husband and I hadn’t been trying but we were also not trying to stop it from happening and I know his family was waiting impatiently for us to come out with the news that we’d be giving them their first grandchild. They’d always accepted Mavis as their own but I understood it wasn’t exactly the same, not for Robert and not for them.
It was actually my husband’s cousin who approached me on the Sunday of the long weekend with a pregnancy test. She and I happen to be very close and spent lots of time chatting and comparing parenting stories seeing her son was just a bit older then Mavis. She is almost like the sister I never had so we share a lot of things and she knew that it was actually an option. She sat in the bathroom with me while I did my thing and peed on the stick. She held my hand when I went to tell my husband that I was pregnant. He smiled hugged me and told me “I knew it!” . We decided to wait to tell the rest of the family seeing we would see them all again at Christmas time.
For most of my teen age years I suffered from an eating disorder which made my pregnancy with Mavis so very difficult. By the time she was born at 32 weeks I’d been at my lowest weight ever and of course she was very ill. I was so afraid that this pregnancy would cause a relapse when I’d been doing so well. My therapist and I agreed on all sorts of ways to make sure that I didn’t back slide into bad habits that would hurt me and my baby. Came up with good ways to deal with gaining weight and a stuck to them all! I did so well and the baby was growing so healthily.
As I entered my second trimester the morning sickness subsided and things looked to be going so well. At the time I was working at a daycare center full time, one of the children was sent in while contagious with the chicken pox. Now I didn’t know not until Mavis came out with spots, but still I wasn’t too worried I’d had them as a child. Well it wasn’t too long after Mavis broke out with the pox that I did too! It was unheard of to me, chicken pox for the second time at age twenty.
I was so scared that this infection would hurt my poor growing baby seeing I was only sixteen weeks. The doctors assured us that the chances of a problem were less then two percent and I just had to keep faith that we would not be one of those two our of a hundred.
After that we had no complications what so ever, at twenty weeks we found out that we were having a girl. The technician wasn’t supposed to tell us we wanted a surprise but she let it slip by accident. I wasn’t too upset it meant I got to plan a room and buy all the pink little things I wanted.
I was slowly getting huge and my husband knew that it was hard for me to deal with so he’d come home from work most afternoons with a little surprise for our baby girl. They were little gifts but things we needed like a pack of cute diaper pins he’d seen or a onesie. He was so excited to be able to be a daddy from day one seeing when he’d first meet Mavis she’d been almost a year old. The three of us would lay in bed and read stories to Mavis and the baby who we’d decided would be named Chloe a dear friend who had passed away earlier that year.
When I reached 32 weeks I didn’t think anything could go wrong after that, I’d already dealt with a preemie, one much smaller then Chloe was already! I could do that again if I had to but everything was blue skies and happy times. I don’t really know how I could be so blissfully ignorant now, I wish I had known it could all go wrong even when we were in the green zone.
Summer came and I was just so ready for our princess to be born, I don’t know if anyone has spent much time in Texas in the summer but it is HOT and well Chloe was stubborn. July 25th (my due date) came and past and I was miserable but now I would trade anything to go back to those last days I had with her. I would of told them to induce me, to cut her out to get her out while she was still safe.
On the 27th I had an ultrasound to see how she was doing, to see if she was getting too big which they seemed to think she wasn’t and that she should stay put until she decided it was her time to join our family for real. That was the last time I ever saw my baby girl alive and it breaks my heart that I was in a bad mood and just wanted the appointment over with. I wish I had asked for the pictures they took but I thought I’d be bringing home a baby any day that I wouldn’t need another picture like that.
July 29th was like any other day, Robert was off at work and Mavis who was now three and I lounged around in the air conditioned house enjoying our last days together before our family of three became a family of four. Mavis was really excited about having a baby sister. We had dinner as a family and I went to bed early after I put Mavis down. I just lay there for a long time feeling Chloe kick and squirm in the little bits of space she had left.
Some where around 12:30 am of July 30th I woke up in the most pain I had ever felt in my life. My first thought was that maybe full term labor just hurt a lot worse but it was almost instantly knew something was wrong, the dampness I thought was amniotic fluid from my water breaking was actually the most blood I have ever seen in my whole life. I don’t remember screaming but Robert says I did, and that is what woke him up. I don’t remember a lot of things, and only know because I was told after. Robert told me later that he didn’t think he just scooped me up and ran. He didn’t bother calling 911 which saved my life. He left Mavis asleep in her bed but called a neighbor from the car while he speed through the sleeping city to get me too the hospital.
The ER was such a rush and I just remember the bright lights and Robert’s face above mine, looking scared and sadder then I have ever seen him. He is a strong man I have maybe seen him cry twice but I saw him breaking before my eyes and just kept trying to tell him that everything was okay.
Everything else that happened the night is all what I’ve heard from I don’t remember anything besides Robert’s tears until I woke up again feeling so incredibly empty. My baby had been cut from me to try and stop the bleeding that had been caused when her placenta ripped away from my uterus. My precious Chloe who had been kicking and alive hours early had died so quickly by something that no one could of know would happen.
Robert was there when I woke up and he had our beautiful perfect Chloe in his arms. I knew instantly that something was wrong, she was too still, too quite and the look on my husbands face told me it all. I didn’t cry then, something about seeing our daughter, finally holding her after so many months I couldn’t be sad. I longed with every bit of my soul that they were wrong that she was just sleeping because she looked so perfect.
I held Chloe in my arms for the next six hours loving her, memorizing every finger and hair. Robert sat by my side and just held the both of us the best he could with all the wires and tubes they had going into me. I regret that I was in so much pain, that I felt too tired that I let them take her after such a short time. There will never have been enough time though and I understand that now but at the time I prayed for my body to give up its fight so that I could just be with her again.
I left the hospital empty handed five days later, all the funeral plans has been made by family and it felt like there was nothing left for me to do. I tried to throw myself into taking care of Mavis, put all myself into something but even that I couldn’t do with how weak I was. It honestly felt like Chloe had died and took part of my life with her, slowly after she was buried on a rainy day I began to slip into a deep dark place.
Three weeks after Chloe was born still I checked myself into the hospital again, I couldn’t leave the house because who knew what person might ask about if I’d had the baby yet or say that awkward sorry that you know they feel real uncomfortable about. But at the same time I couldn’t stay in the house that was filled with ghosts of what would never be. I would be caught off guard by what I was sure was still her kicking safe inside or wake from a nightmare filled sleep because I could hear her crying.
Now its been a year, and everyday is still a challenge, though the good days now out number the bad. I know that Chloe wouldn’t want me to stop living but I know I won’t ever be the same woman I was on before my body failed her.