Mom to Lilith “Lily” Aurora
June 8, 2002 – September 17, 2002
Lost October 2012
Saint Paul Park, Minnesota
I was 19 when I found out I was pregnant for the first time. I was nervous and kind of scared when I found out. My boyfriend at the time wasn’t much of a boyfriend, as he had cheated on me a few times before, he had no job, and no place to live, since I kicked him out when I had found out he cheated. Why I was attracted to him in the first place eludes me now. The only reason I can think of why I reconnected with him after his infidelity, was that I was young, lonely, naive, and he was my first.
I didn’t know what I was going to do. I always dreamed of being a mother, but I didn’t know of I could do it on my own. My sister, a single mother herself, was a huge support for me, and I looked to her for advice before deciding anything. She was the example I saw that conviction me that I could do this; I could have this baby.
I went to the doctor to confirm my pregnancy with a couple of my friends in the waiting room, supporting me, and my boyfriend waiting in the car. I drove everyone home and proceeded to go to work. On my way, after dropping off my boyfriend, a boy came out of nowhere and skateboarded into my car. I tried to swerve and I slammed on the breaks, but the boy continued right into the front side of my car. Rolling into my windshield, flying over my roof, he landed behind me, while my car screeched to a stop. I immediately got out of my car and approached the boy lying in the street. A man and a woman, who had seen the accident were already tending to the boy and calling an ambulance. The boy was not responding. I was in shock. The police arrived and asked me questions as I was trying to pull myself together to answer.
I should have figured this was a sign of things to come, but who would have even thought of that at this point. However, that was only the first of many incidents that occurred during the course of my pregnancy. A few months later, my boyfriend and I witnessed another accident while I was driving him to a job interview. A car beside us rear ended the car in front of them at a red light. As we drove by, the driver of the car that rear ended the other, spilled out of the driver side door, holding her very pregnant belly.
On at least 5 different occasions, I encountered deer that were very determined to hit my car while o was driving. Some disappeared before I could see what happened to them, the last one was the worst. When I was at 8months I was driving to my dad’s house, on a country road, at dusk. I was driving 30mph in a 50mph zone, knowing that deer could be around. As I turned on a curve in the road, a deer darted in front of my car, smashing into my passenger side headlight. My car came to a stop, and I got out of the car to see the deer lying in the road 30 ft ahead of my car. A couple from the house of which I was in front of, said that they saw the whole thing and even they hadn’t seen that deer coming until I had hit it. It came out of nowhere. It was unavoidable. As we discussed what we should do, and who we should call, DNR or the police, the deer suddenly came to life, scrambling on its side for a few seconds before hobbling to its feet and running back into the woods from where it came. With my headlight demolished, I slowly drove the rest of the way to my dad’s, with one headlight.
The next day I drove back to my home in the cities and went to my 8 month check up. It was there that I was told I had high blood pressure, hypertension, and at risk for pre-eclampsia. Until now, I had no signs of complications and everything had been normal. I worked 8 hours a day on my feet, overnights, at a bakery on the assembly lines. I was ordered to bed rest and told I needed to see a specialist the next day to see the severity of it. I went to the specialist the next day and they told me I was dilated 5 cm and could go into labor any day. Again, I was told to take it easy and stay on bed rest. I went home with my mother and step father. It was his birthday, and we celebrated with pizza and cake, and went to bed.
At about 1:30am, I woke up to mu first contraction. I sat in bed and timed them: 20 minutes,15mins, 10…and then my water broke. I woke up my parents and told them. As they got dressed, my contractions got stronger and more frequent. My step dad drove with his flashers on 5 mins to the hospital 20 miles away, passing a cop with someone already pulled over. I had 3 contractions during that time. At the ER, I was put into a wheelchair and brought to an ER room. Within minutes, I have birth to a baby girl. She was cleaned up and wrapped and set in my arms. I held her and I was proud I was holding something so precious that was a part of me. As I held her, she started turning blue and the nurse took her. Within seconds I was passsed out.
I woke up a couple hours later in a maternity room, as a nurse walked in to check on me. She informed me that my baby girl was breathing again, but they had her hooked up to oxygen and a feeding tube, but that they wanted me to come down and see if she would latch. I saw her laying under the heat lamp with tubes sticking out of her, and I could see how tiny she was. Born 4 lbs 6oz and 17inches long, I put finger in her hand. I held her, and for the second time since she was born I was overwhelmed with joy. The nurse told me they would need to keep an eye on her and be sure she was improving before she could join me in my room, and that we’d probably be staying a couple days longer than normal. To test her latching ability, I stick the tip of my pinky to her lips. She began sucking immediately. They asked what she would be called. Lilith Aurora; Lily.
I spent the next couple days resting, feeding and trying to get a hold of my boyfriend.
Waves of family and friends visited, including his family. But, he never showed. By the third day in the hospital, everything was looking good. She was feeding on her own and her breathing was normal. The doctor came in for our check up before discharging us. She was 4 lbs even and the doctor listened to her heart She said she could hear what could be a murmur, but could not be sure because of her size. It could just be the sound of everything in her body at once. She ok’d our discharge, buy said she wanted to check it out again in a few months when she had grown some more.
I spent the next couple months at home with my mom and step dad. Lily grew little by little. In the beginning, she would sleep most of the time. She would rarely cry. She was so tiny, she was often mistaken for a baby doll. I took her with me to a movie in a theater and she didn’t wake up once. Not even at a moment when the whole theater jumped out of their seats from surprise, Lily jumped as well, but just relaxed again, states quiet, and fell back asleep.
As the weeks went by, she slept during the day less and less, and responded to playing more and more. After 2 1/2 months, it was time for me to go back to work and back to my own place. While I worked the overnights, Lily stayed with Nana and Papa and slept almost the whole night, and I would bring her home after work and we’d play in between naps. She’d sit in her rocking chair and watch movies with me, and listen as I sang along to the songs on Moulin Rouge. When I would sleep she would sleep beside me, in my bed as she would have it no other way, or she would just cry in her crib.
One day, I brought her home after work and watched movies and worked on her belly time. At her last check up, she was weighed in at 8lbs 5 ozs and starting to lift her head. She was starting to roll over on her own but was not quite there today, so I set her down so we could get ready to nap. I laid her down with me in my bed like usual and played some more with her, tickling her belly and kissing her cheeks. At this time I realized I had never listened to her heart beat before. I brought my ear to her chest and listened to her heart beating. She laughed and cooed, and I was overjoyed with amazement that I had created such a perfect little girl. As she fell asleep, so did I.
A couple hours later I woke up and turned my head. To my shock, Lily was not beside me. I sat up in a panic and looked around. On the other side of the bed, there was a gap between the wall and the bed and lining that gap was pillows and blankets. On top of the pillows lay my Lily. I picked her up and her eyes were half open and her face was blue. I repeated to myself, “No, No, NO!”, as I laid her back on to the bed and checked for her heart beat, just like I did before we fell asleep.
I heard nothing.
I picked up the phone and called 911. The operator stayed with me and instructed me in CPR as I waited for the ambulance. The ambulance took her and the police had me stay and answer some questions. They allowed me to call my mom and when my parents arrived we left for the hospital. When we arrived, I was told they did everything they could, but that she was gone. My heart broke in two. I began sobbing uncontrollably. We were taken to a room and they brought her in, wrapped in a swaddling blanket. I held her motionless body and kissed her forehead. Her skin was cold to the touch. I cried harder and held her tight. I didn’t want to let her go. After a few minutes, I allowed my mom and stepdad to hold her and say goodbye. I was not ready to say goodbye. How could I? A nurse came in and asked what we would like to do. My mother asked if a priest could come in and bless her. She asked me if I would like that. I told her it was up to her. I was not a horribly religious woman, though I was brought up Catholic. I stopped going to church at age 9, when my parents divorced and were no longer ‘welcome’ I’m the Catholic church. Having my child baptized or blessed did not do anything for me, but if it made my mother feel better, she could have it done. I was upset with God at that moment. How could he have allowed this to happen? How could he have taken such a sweet, innocent child so young? She was the only thing in my life that made me feel like I had a purpose. I suffered through depression through high school and after: I felt so lonely and useless. Lily gave me a reason to live and something to live and fight for. I held her one last time, before they took her away, and I went numb.
My parents decided it would be best that I go home with them, so I wouldn’t be alone. On the way to their house, two deer ran at the car on the freeway. One hit the passenger side door and the other hit the rear wheel well. We got to my mom’s house and I took a Valium the doctor gave me to help me sleep. I felt drunk, but it didn’t make me feel any better, nor did it help me sleep. I couldn’t sleep without her.
The next few days, my family help make arrangements. They asked what I wanted and I answered when I could. She would be cremated; most of her ashes put in an urn to be buried in a plot at my childhood church’s cemetery, and a small portion of her put in an urn they I would keep. It was a small pink urn, decorated with lilies.
The night before her funeral, a couple of friends picked me up and we went for a drive. We drove to the cemetery to look for the plot where Lily would be buried the next day. As we approached the area where most babies were buried, the headlights shown on a deer standing in the middle of the cemetery road. Our car came to a stop and the deer just stood there, staring at us. A couple minutes later, the deer slowly walked away. I haven’t had a deer hit my car since, and every time I am near a deer in nature, I can get so close, and they will just stop and stare, but if I get to the point of being able to touch them, they run away. As if to say Lily is there with me, watching me, but I can never touch her, or hold her again.
The results of her autopsy showed the cause of death was positional asphyxia. Everything else looked normal, however there was a tiny hole in her heart.
It’s been tough through the years. For so long I’d run through the events of her death and thought of what I could have done to have prevented it. If only I didn’t work so hard while I was pregnant, maybe she would have been stronger when she was born. If only I had made her sleep in her own crib instead of in bed with me, she would still be alive. If only I stayed with my parents a while longer, there would have been someone else there to watch her while I slept. I’ve blamed myself for so much, and I still have many thoughts of regret. I’ve had many lonely days where I sat alone in my apartment and thought of suicide because the pain of missing her is so intense, I could not stand it anymore. The only thing that kept me from doing anything was the thought of what my mom and dad would go through. I am the baby of four for my mother, and I am my father’s only child. I could not inflict the same pain I felt every day on my parents. They didn’t deserve that, no matter how much pain I felt. So, I let my heart break over and over again every time I think of her. I try to hold back my tears when the most prevalent memory of her is when I found her laying next to my bed, lifeless and blue. The first year, I was terribly lonely, and in my loneliness, I sought out a relationship with someone I thought was my friend. I stayed with him out of loneliness and low self esteem. In this relationship, I was abused emotionally, physically , sexually , and psychologically. It took 1 1/2 years of abuse, a black eye, and two fractured ribs before I finally got the courage to tell someone, and go to the police.
It was then that I decided to take a break and really look at myself. I took a couple years to myself, to learn to love myself, try to forgive myself for everything that has happened. I feel as if I have been punished enough, by God and by myself.
Over the years, I’ve been asked by many people I’ve come across who have asked me if I have any children. I hesitate, but usually respond with a simple ‘no’. I have such a hard time answering a question like that. If it is asked by someone I don’t know well or don’t plan on speaking to again, or if don’t have the time to go into the whole story, I will respond with ‘no’. If it is someone I am comfortable enough to talk candidly with, I may respond with, ‘I had a daughter once, but she passed away when she was 3 1/2 months old.’ I am prepared to respond to the question of how, but I usually just say SIDS, as it is less painful to explain what that is than it is to go through the entire story, and then relive the painful memory of how I found her.
Since I’ve had my introspective period, I have met a guy that has respect for me, treats me with love, and kindness, and has even spoiled me when I insisted on being independent. He has become my best friend, who understands how I think and has patients with me in my difficult times. We have many childhood experiences we share, and both have shared a meaningful loss. He lost his stepfather, his primary father figure at the time, to a heart attack at age 9, so he understands what sorrow is, and shows support when I need it. We’ve been together for what will be 7 years in two months, and the only reason we are not married yet, is that we have not been able to afford it. We’ve hit a couple bumps in the road, financially, and we struggle to get by paycheck to paycheck.
Ten years to the month of Lily’s death, I missed my period and I took a home pregnancy test. It was positive. A jumble of emotions came upon us. I was happy that I have another chance to become a mother, but was also nervous and scared that something bad could happen again. I currently work a job that requires me to be on my feet 8-10 hours a day 5 days a week. I don’t make much and know it will be a struggle. My boyfriend just started a new job after recovering from a debilitating injury at his previous job. I do have the comfort of knowing I would not be alone in this, and have the support of a kind, loving, and dedicated partner, who would be around as a loving and dedicated father. We had started to discuss names and other plans we would need to discuss in order to prepare for this child. At nine weeks, I decided to tell my mother and step father, and both were ecstatic, and my mom started to cry. I let them know that I have not told my father yet, and that it should be hush hush until after I get the chance to do so.
The next day, while at work, I started to spot. Concerned, I immediately called my boyfriend and arranged for someone to cover the rest of my shift. We went to the ER, and waited patiently in the waiting room to be called. While waiting, I used the restroom and noticed more blood. I sat back down and noticed the lady next to us was a lady I had served only a couple hours earlier, and she turned to me and said, “Didn’t I see you earlier today?” I nodded. She asked, ” Are you ok? You looked fine earlier.” I didn’t know how to respond, so I didn’t. An hour later another lady that had been there before we arrived was talking on her phone, and I overheard her say she had been waiting for three hours. It was at that moment, I completely broke down. All I could think was that I was going to have a miscarriage right there in the waiting room, before I even get the chance to be seen.
Three and 1/2 hours in the waiting room, and I was finally called back. After many pokes and prods, ultrasounds and blood tests, I was told my pregnancy was looking normal, however, the size of our baby and the hormone level indicated that I was at 6 weeks, rather than 9 weeks, and the baby’s heart rate was slower that it should be. I was told that it was a threatened miscarriage and that I should take it easy until I get a chance to see my doctor in a couple days for a check up. At the check up, they took more blood, and called me the next day with the news. It wasn’t good. My hormone levels were dropping; I was having a miscarriage. I am currently still miscarrying, as this all started a week ago yesterday. I am sad that this child could not have stayed with us. My boyfriend stayed positive through the whole testing process, and may still be in denial that it is over. I cannot afford to keep that hope. I am still waiting for the results of my last blood tests that will show my hormones continuing their descent. I was told we could try again in a couple weeks, but we haven’t had the chance to grieve this one fully to decide if we will try again right away, or just let nature decide when we are ready.
You can contact Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org.