Thursday, November 5, 2015

November 5th

Today is November 5th.
One year since the worst day of my life.
One year ago, around 9:35 am, my life changed forever.
I had no idea how bad things really were though, at that moment.  The shock was protecting me from that.
Lydie was already dead before then, of course, but I didn't know it.
One year ago, I was living the stuff nightmares are made of.

Sometimes I wonder, one year later, how I did what I did.

I remember how my doctor was talking while looking for the baby's heartbeat.  I remember wishing she'd shut up, just until I heard it.  I remember the feeling of panic as we didn't find it.
I remember the pivotal moment of before and after where I knew, I knew, that my daughter had died.
I remember the silent Doppler.
I remember being ushered into the ultrasound room to confirm what we already knew.
I remember calling my husband, saying the words "there's no heartbeat."  I remember Dr. B taking the phone from me to talk to him some more.
I remember calling my mom, then my sister, telling them to come.  Come now.
I remember waiting while Dr. B held my hand, waiting for Justin to arrive.
I remember the tears in my doctor's eyes.  I remember her telling me it's not your fault, and I remember thinking, later, when I can comprehend this, I am going to think this is my fault.  That's why she's saying this.
I remember thinking I should be crying.  Why aren't I crying?
I remember it taking so long for Justin to arrive, but that moment he rushed in, his eyes wide and filled with tears, and tears finally, finally filled my own eyes.
I remember talking about our options.  C-section or vaginal birth?  How long to wait?  I remember looking down at my bulging bump and wondering if I was still considered pregnant when my baby was dead.
I remember calling my mom again on my drive home, then telling her I needed to go because I didn't trust myself to drive.
I remember walking in the door to my house and not knowing what to do.
I remember walking over to my neighbor friend's house.  I remember wanting to say the words out loud.  I remember she wasn't home and so I texted her instead.
I remember calling work to tell them I wouldn't be in.  Not today and not tomorrow.
I remember calling my best friend.  I remember she didn't answer so I texted her, and when she called back, I remember her wailing.  I remember saying calmly, "Sometimes these things happen."
I remember the phone ringing, and staring in disbelief as Ben's new school called me for the first time ever.  I remember thinking they were calling to tell me he was dead, that both my children were dead.  (He wasn't; he was merely constipated).
I remember Justin calling Dr. B, asking how soon I could be induced.
I remember sitting on the floor, with my back leaning against the couch, with Justin sitting next to me.  Staring out the glass door onto our patio, wondering what the hell to do.   I remember waiting for my family to arrive from all over.  I remember wanting them to arrive so I'd know what to do.
I remember my mom and sister walking in sobbing.  I remember the group hug.  I remember breaking down.
I remember my sister helping me pack my hospital bag.  I remember debating taking the camera, debating taking the blanket I had made for my baby.  I remember staring at the pile of baby things I had set aside, in total disbelief that I wouldn't be packing any of it.
I remember asking Justin: Do we still name her Lydia?  I remember thinking that Lydia was our name for our living daughter, not our dead daughter.  I remember we quickly decided this was Lydia.  Our Lydie.
I remember sitting down at my laptop to email close friends and family members.  I remember trying to find the words.  I remember writing that our daughter has no heartbeat and her name is Lydia Joanne.
I remember my phone ringing sporadically through out the day, those close friends and family members calling to offer words of support.  I remember being paralyzed as I watched the screen light up.
I remember a good friend, a mom of a friend, leaving me a teary voicemail explaining that she too had lost a baby.  I remember wondering how I didn't know.
I remember my family eating dinner, staring at them in disbelief that anyone could consume food.  I remember drinking a glass of wine, while staring at my corpse belly.
I remember leaving for the hospital early.
I remember the silence on the drive to the hospital.  I remember Justin hitting the curb as he turned into the hospital.  I remember closing my eyes and hoping it killed us.
I remember checking into the hospital, holding my belly.  I remember seeing the bassinet sitting there and I remember losing my shit at that moment.
I remember my doctor showing up, telling her how I felt the baby move.  I remember her doing another ultrasound to confirm she was dead.  I remember seeing the still heart on the ultrasound.  I remember her telling me the baby's bum was pushing against me in the amniotic fluid.
I remember my doctor telling me it's not my fault.
I remember the nurses checking me in, asking lots of mandatory questions.  I remember being asked: Have you fallen recently?   I remember thinking that's a terrible question to ask to a woman whose baby is dead.  I remember that question didn't help with the guilt.
I remember saying, no I haven't eaten or drank anything.  I remember lying about that glass of wine.
I remember the nurses asking how much I wanted to feel.  I remember having no idea.  I remember both wanting the physical pain and I remember wanting to be knocked completely out. I remember them telling me I could be on morphine because my baby was dead.
I remember being poked with needles, I remember the IV starting pitocin.  I remember the nurses being really kind to me.  I remember Justin climbing up on my bed and watching Netflix together in hopes that we could get our minds somewhere else for an hour.  I remember Justin being worried that the nurses would think less of us that we were watching tv at a time like this.
I remember my mom and Justin sleeping in pull out chairs next to my bed.  I remember the nurse walking in and asking if I wanted an epidural and I remember I didn't want to wake them up.
I remember laboring all night long.
I remember the chaplain coming to see us, the social worker.  I remember them asking if we planned to cremate or bury our daughter.  I remember that I had briefly thought about where my parents might be buried, I had never really thought about where I'd like to be buried, and I had definitely never thought about where my children would be buried.
I remember them asking if I'd like to hold her right away or if I'd like for her to be cleaned up first.  I remember having no idea.
I remember thinking that it's not right to have these conversations when you're in labor.
I remember my sister sitting on her laptop in the corner, shopping on Etsy for prints that said things like "I carried you for every second of your life and I will love you for every second of mine."  I remember thinking she was crazy that she thought that stuff could fix this.
I remember my dad coming to the hospital in the morning.  I remember him standing in the corner, with his hands in his pockets.  I remember how helpless he looked, how helpless I felt.
I remember it was gray and rainy.  I remember how appropriate the weather felt.
I remember asking the nurse to check me, feeling like Lydie might be coming soon.
I remember them asking if I could wait to push, telling me my doctor was on her way.
I remember telling them, she's coming now.
I remember pushing.
I remember screaming that I am a terrible mother.  I remember screaming I'm so sorry as I pushed out my perfect little girl into this world.  I remember 12:14 pm.
I remember the idiot hospital doctor announcing "There's something wrong with her cord."
I remember not caring what the fuck was wrong, I remember just wanting my daughter in my arms.
I remember how I couldn't stop crying as I held her.  How I couldn't stop crying as I examined how perfect she was.  I remember her full hear of dark hair and her big, flipper feet.  I remember her cherry red lips and her peeling skin.   I remember telling her over and over how much I love her and how sorry I am.

When this perfect baby girl's heart was still beating.


  1. Sometimes I worry that I've gone crazy, that I've made everything up in my head and that everyone around me is just playing along. But then the memories come racing back in. In short little sentences. There are gaps of time missing, but there's no way that between the words, "there's no heartbeat," to "she's so beautiful," that it could be anything but the best worst thing that's ever happened to me. You brought Lydie into this world with such strength and love, and you continue to keep her beautiful spirit alive every time you share your story. Sending so much love and many hugs today as you head into her first birthday.

  2. I'm so, so sorry. I love you, Lydie.

  3. I remember coming home from my horrible ultrasound and cleaning our toilets because our family would be coming to stay with us and I no longer had to keep Genevieve safe from cleaning products. Such a mystery how we all survive this.

    Thinking of you, Lydia, and your family.

  4. Thinking of you today especially, friend. Sometimes it feels like a dream I had, some horrible nightmare that is awful to think about but never really occurred, because how am I still alive, walking around after something like that?

    But we are, alive and walking and functional. It's absurd, and days like today, the one year, the due date, they force this remembrance upon us and it can be overwhelming. What you wrote is beautiful. It is beautiful and tragic and the most perfect way to describe the most awful day, and the most beautiful memory. I'm so sorry your Lydie isn't here, and I am so proud of you for making it through that day, and for making it through one year without her. It isn't easy, and it isn't fair.

    Hugs and love and strength to you.


  5. Crying so many tears for you and Lydia right now. So much of this, the "it's not your fault," the morbid sense of the banal going on amid a nightmare, reminds me of my miscarriages, but it's also different, the loss of a fully-formed daughter. Stories of horror. I am glad you are surviving this anniversary of horror today, I can't imagine asking you to do anything more than survive. And yet you've done so much more than survive in the past year, you've created an entire new life, and you've shared Lydie's memory with the world, including me, and you've built all kinds of meaningful memorials, including the cuddle cot. Just surviving that is already so, so much.

  6. I'm so sorry for this awful day. Happy birthday to Lydie tomorrow xoxo

  7. It's November 6th in your time zone...Lydie's birthday. Or whatever we call it.

    It's so strange to read this rundown...I could have written so much of it myself. It's also so strange how different some things were though...but the universal terror is all still there. Family bursting in...I was in the hospital at that point. Sometimes I'm so glad I didn't have to make any other trips after finding out Luke's heartbeat was gone. I'm not sure those were steps I could have taken at the time. I just collapsed into that hospital bed, not to move until he arrived, lifeless.

    It hurts to read. There's so much hurt, Heather. I'm so sorry. I hate that we walk this road, but I'm so glad I've found a kindred spirit in you, and deep down, I hope Luke and Lydie have found each other, somehow.

    I'll be thinking of you all day. Just know that. It'll be another day that you're amazed you survived. And then year 2 begins. And so it goes...

    All my love. Always.

  8. I too remember thinking, do we still name him Cale?

    I'm so sorry for all these painful memories, but I'm sorry that they are part of a painful reality.


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