Mom to Makenna Allene
Born still September 1, 2012 at 39 weeks
I am the face of…a yearned for baby that was taken from me, full term.
Geoff and I had thoroughly discussed and planned for having a child; we thought this was the penultimate display of our love and commitment to each other. So, when I went for a fertility consultation at 38 years old and was told, basically, that I “should not” be thinking about having a child and that I potentially could not at “this age”, imagine our shock and surprise when I became pregnant a month later. We considered our baby girl, Makenna, a miracle baby from the beginning. We celebrated announcing our pregnancy with a party, and when we found out at 18 weeks that we were having a healthy baby girl we celebrated with another “gender reveal” party. Our friends threw us a huge co-ed baby shower. Every chance we could, we joyfully jumped headlong into planning for and celebrating her arrival. All through the pregnancy I avoided caffeine and alcohol, ate right, drank water, exercised, slept on my side – you name it, I did it.
At 36 weeks we were given a 4D ultrasound so we could see her chubby little face; she hid her nose and sucked on the cord. I felt that we were so close to seeing her face and meeting her for the first time that there could be nothing stopping us…until my 38 week appointment. I relive the anguish of that day over and over in my mind, trying to come to terms with the most horrible words any mother can ever hear: “There is no heartbeat.” I panicked, I bargained, I tried to make my life go into her – anything to bring her back. I just kept crying, “NO, NO, NO!” The doctor was frustrated and confused: “The fluid is fine! Her monitoring from the evening before – fine! I don’t understand!” But yet, Makenna wasn’t there.
My world shattered that day, yet I was faced with having to come to terms with what happened and come back to the hospital that night to start my labor induction on the first day of my 39th week. To know you are going through labor for stillbirth is inexplicably tough. But I did, and had the vaginal delivery with the help of a doula that we had wanted all along. Just like every other part of my pregnancy, labor was easy for me. We were able to see her face and hold her, once. I felt her warmth and her weight, and for that I am eternally grateful. She was a miracle baby, and we still consider her a miracle baby. She was so miraculous and beautiful, her spirit went on to live with the stars.
I am not ashamed. I see no reason to be; we never had a reason to be before, and she continues to be our beautiful child. I did not “lose” this baby like some trivial thing I would misplace – she was taken from me in a random and horribly unfair event. We wanted Makenna, we celebrated her, and she was such a source of joy in the time we had with her. I loved her and loved having her in my belly. I loved the chance I had to hold her once before I had to let her go. We had a memorial ceremony for her – one last event to celebrate her. Why would we not continue to celebrate her as we had all along?
Now that she is gone, I cycle through so many feelings: longing for her and missing holding her; anger at the medical profession, the world, the universe, myself; guilt that if somehow I would have known her cord was compromised and we could have gotten her out that she would be alive now; and most of all – sadness at how unfair life is sometimes. I also cycle through fondly and wistfully thinking of what was and what could have been. Geoff and I talk about what’s to come and having another baby, so that Makenna can be a big sister. We have saved everything, so that in time and in my healing process, we have remembrances of her. We love her always and will never forget.
You can contact Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org.