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Mom to Ivy Kathryn

June 1, 2017

South Africa

I had visited my cousin’s for the weekend. I came back on the Monday. The Tuesday I noticed she wasn’t moving and told my midwife that I hadn’t felt her or rather can’t remember when last I felt her. I had started before then to do a kicking chart and did it that night also, as my midwife instructed. I did everything. Drank juice, lied down on my left side. I rested. I moved, tried to feel her, talked to her. Deep down I knew something was wrong. I made an appointment with my general practitioner who I’ve come to trust although I planned on doing water birth with a midwife.

My partner did not go in with me. I later saw messages on his phone that he told his mother that he was so stressed for the doctor’s appointment but that he chose to not go in with me and should it not be good news, he wouldn’t know how to deal with it. It’s these little details one never forgets. The image of her in my womb, dead. Lifeless, my body had failed me. How she felt when she died. Did she feel? These thoughts haunt me, daily. 

During my pregnancy, I was fairly stressed. The worry of another child, how we must prepare, how we must prepare our 16-month-old baby boy for his sister got to me and my relationship. Still, my partner stayed. I try to believe and accept that it wasn’t her time and that it is not my fault. Heaven needs her more.

I went into the doctor’s room. I started the consultation by asking the doctor for something for depression or something to calm my nerves and broke down, as I have always felt ashamed to ask for help, emotionally. As if this makes me a weaker person. He said [it was] no problem and then I mentioned that why I was actually there was because I couldn’t remember when I last felt her moving. It did not quite register that there was no heartbeat and that he was looking at my placenta and that there was a tear right there. I was waiting for him to tell me everything is fine, just take it easy and go home, start your anti-depressants. Ivy is fine.

“There is no heartbeat, Yolande.” She was 30 weeks. These words started my journey as the mother of an angel. I couldn’t believe it. I shook as I heard and cried for my baby girl. A euphoric feeling which I often still get when thinking or writing about my experience [came over me]. My baby girl dead, inside me. What did I do? Did I kill her? Why? Did she feel any pain? Placental abruption. I am 24, I have an above healthy boy, I am healthy. The doctor said it hasn’t even been more than a day. As if I knew immediately. They called my partner in the car and when he came in and saw me crying, he knew. He went into shock that would last a few days. I do not blame him. And he immediately told me he doesn’t blame me.

I was induced for natural labour the next day at 12:00pm approximately. I went into labour at 15:00 with contractions. I did not give birth at a hospital but at a serene guesthouse outside the town where we live. This time was way different than my first. They gave me pain meds which I didn’t have with my first but was thankful for this time around. The doctor broke my water. I had to start pushing her down earlier than normal and just as I was about to call the doctor, he came in. He told me I was fully dilated and that I must push. In that moment, drugged and all, I knew. Now I am letting go of my baby. I couldn’t push her out as nature’s force was not there to help and after 15 minutes of pushing he had to remove her with clamps. I felt her, every piece of her come out. I didn’t look for a few seconds and when I quickly glanced, I stopped. I wanted her all to myself with no distractions. When the placenta came out, I held her. My partner could not get himself to be in the room with me but luckily joined later. We took photos and looked at her little body until they came to fetch her. I kissed her goodbye several times [but] I will always feel it wasn’t enough. I miss her every day; her presence. Her life teaches me new things daily. She will be the best thing that has ever happened. We will learn to accept the fact that we will never understand why she is gone now. 

I would like to dedicated this piece to my daughter in heaven. Rest peacefully, my Ivy. Your name will be known and your presence will be felt. I wish I could be your mommy and care for you but we will get to that one day when I see you again.

You can email Yolandé at yviljoen55@gmail.com and read her blog at http://deathofababycopedealandheal.blogspot.co.za/.

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  1. I know the pain you feel and the questions that you ask yourself. Even 5 weeks later I still question what I could have done differently, all the while knowing there was nothing I could have done. I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet baby Ivy.

  2. Yolande <3

  3. I am very sorry Jolandè for your loss.The pain of loosing a precious child is unimaginable.. Xoxxo Ameli

  4. Precious Yolande. You are so loved! Ivy is in Heaven, safe with the Lord God. With His help, you will see her again. Stay strong. I will keep you in my prayers. I am deeply sorry for your loss.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss.

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