I'm glad we made the effort. The local NPR station was there, and just as we were getting our coats on to leave, they asked to interview me. Caught me by surprise and I wish I would have managed to say "you know" less (apparently that's my space-filler?) but I am honored to have the opportunity to share my daughter and raise awareness of stillbirth.
You can listen and read here:
Columbus is the first major city that has Cuddle Cots in every single hospital. It's ground-breaking, really, and I'm so glad that my work, as well as the financial support from family, friends, and even strangers, has made this possible.
And I also wish we had the chance to use a Cuddle Cot. I wish we had more time with Lydie. I wish Justin had bathed her. I wish I had sang to her "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine." I wish there were some moments that I would have been able to stop crying while she was in my arms. I wish we didn't have to witness our daughter deteriorate. I wish the image of her face wasn't already blurry in my mind, not quite 15 months later.
A few days ago, Benji, Josie, and I met the two nurses that delivered both my daughters for a playdate and then lunch. Between breastfeeding our babies, wiping noses, squeezing ketchup packets, and hauling toddlers to the bathroom, we talked about our time with Lydie. I said I have some regrets, but that I was operating in such shock. That no one should ever be asked whether they would like to cremate or bury their child while they are in labor. They asked me what those regrets are, how they could help other parents have fewer regrets. I told them that when I was asked how much pain I wanted to feel in labor and how mentally present I wanted to be, I had no idea. How mentally present would you like to be when delivering your dead child? I could have really used some guidance there, because now I know the answer: VERY. Very mentally present, please lay off the morphine. I told them about how Justin burst into tears when he read how another dad gave his stillborn baby a bath. How Justin had always planned to give Lydie her baths just like he bathes Ben. How he realized Lydie had one bath in her life and he wasn't the one to do that. How nothing will ever change that regret for him, how it's something we just didn't think of at the time. How maybe a nurse saying, "Hey, would you like to help me clean up your child?" would make a big difference in that father's life.
I'm not criticizing these nurses. They are incredible. They were so compassionate in their care of both Lydie and me. They asked to be with me for Josephine's birth, and they were just as compassionate with me in those highly emotional moments. They have played such an important role in our family's story; I will always hold them so close to my heart and I am so glad we have become friends.
But when you haven't experienced those moments yourself, it's hard to know how to handle them. And when you are experiencing those moments, you are in such a level of shock. You are making impossible decisions about things that have never crossed your mind.
The nurses asked both Justin and I to be on a panel to help educate other nurses. I can't wait. I'm so glad they are looking for opportunities to do better.
Thirty years ago, stillborn babies were whisked away without their parents even seeing them because it was believed that would be too traumatic.
Fifteen months ago when Lydie was born, not one Ohio hospital had a Cuddle Cot. Now they are in every single Columbus hospital.
Things are changing, and Lydie's part of that change.