Mom to Angel Eternity Stewart
Stillborn on August 11, 2011
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My name is I have hesitated in writing about Angel’s story for a long time now. Not because it isn’t important. In fact, it was probably the most important time of my life to date, and has forever changed me. There are so many things I’d like to be able to articulate about meeting Angel, however I am not sure I can fully describe the feelings in a way that can be understood. The only way to understand this journey is to walk it in your own shoes – and this I do not wish on any other person.
Jeff and I had looked forward to meeting Angel with full hearts and a sense of great anticipation and hopefulness.
The day we found out I was pregnant with her, we were so excited we couldn’t sleep that night. We felt like our lives had almost instantly changed – and that night, and over the next 7 months, we talked about our hopes and dreams for our baby. We called her “baby ringo”…a name Jeff picked out, out of the blue and it stuck.
My first trimester was relatively easy. I was tired and had some nausea. I remember opening the fridge in the morning and getting a whiff of food and my stomach turning. I also caught a couple of colds early on and I didn’t take anything at all, I was even leery of halls candies for fear of taking “too much vitamin C.” Jeff jokes that I gave up “the sauce” too for the full 7 months and what a sacrifice that was since everyone knows I like my pinot grigio.
The day we had our NT scan at around 11 and a half weeks, we felt like we were “in the clear” so to speak. Everything looked so perfect! We felt relieved and happy and just in love with our baby. I couldn’t wait any longer to tell my family so that night I emailed the ultrasound picture to my parents and my brother. I think they were surprised, maybe because I had kept it a secret for so long already, and I suppose it seemed out of the blue! But I know they were excited for us too and excited to meet “ringo.” We also told Jeff’s family over the next week or two, and they were just as thrilled for us.
I started seeing a midwife in my 2nd trimester and everything seemed to be progressing normally. I loved hearing Angel’s heartbeat at each visit; it was such an amazing sound. I remember seeing her dancing and waving at me at the 20 weeks ultrasound. The midwife would also measure my belly at my visits, and answer any questions I had about what to expect. I felt reassured there were no signs of any issues and it was a “normal” pregnancy. I began to feel movements – pokes and kicks and swishes. I felt them often first thing in the morning – like she was telling me she was hungry, and then after dinner when she was well fed. I started to get really excited for our baby’s arrival.
My husband Jeff and I started preparing for Angel’s arrival and we did a childbirth class and a newborn care class together. We had her nursery setup and many items already purchased and ready for her when she came home. I went to baby shows and baby shopping with my best friend who was also pregnant, and we talked about how our babies would be close in age and could be best friends or even boyfriend and girlfriend. I was also excited that my cousin’s daughter would have a playmate so close in age.
Jeff and I bonded so much with Angel during those 7 months. We would sing and talk to her, and rub my belly. We had so much fun doing that together. I cherish many moments during that time and I will never forget them.
At my 29.5 week appointment I was told I was measuring a bit behind but again this was “normal” and nothing to worry about. Two weeks later, at my 31.5 week appointment I went in and that’s when my world came crashing down. The midwife could not find the heartbeat. I was rushed to the hospital for an ultrasound, which confirmed our baby girl was gone.
It is unbelievable how many emotions I felt – fear, shock, numbness, disbelief…deep, deep sadness & despair. I actually think my brain shut down though. The tears…well they came later, came in floods, and came often.
I was induced that day, August 10th, and Angel was born sleeping at 2:45am on August 11, 2011.
I have decided not to write in detail about the moments leading up to and the actual labour and delivery. Labour was long and painful but nothing compared to the pain from losing our baby girl.
After the delivery, we held Angel and kissed her and spoke to her. I touched her little feet and hands. We took pictures. We said goodbye. I will never forget that time with her. Letting her go from my arms was the most difficult moment of my life.
I hope this story it helps others relate to how Jeff and I are feeling during and after this traumatic experience in our lives, and maybe it will help you share the journey with us.
Losing a child is quite different than losing a parent, grandparent, sibling, close friend. I have lost someone that was literally a part of me, and lived in me.
A parent always believes their children will outlive them. What Jeff and I have lost is an imagined future, and our hopes and dreams for our daughter Angel. We ask for patience, understanding, empathy and support as we come to terms with this loss and try to integrate our way of remembering Angel into our lives.
You can reach Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org.