Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Erin and David
Parents to Rosalynn Patricia Foster
Grew her wings on April 20th, 2010
Columbus, OH

I say "We" because both my husband and I lost our precious girl. He is my rock and without him I could not have made it through this!! So,yes, "We" are the faces of stillbirth. This story comes from 4 separate excerpts from my blog.

Rosalynn Patricia Foster
On April 20th 2010, my perfect life came crashing down. The most vivid parts of my pregnancy are now the last 24 hours of it.

Monday morning I woke up not feeling well. I talked to my Aunt on the phone that morning complaining that I felt weird but really could not put my finger on why I was feeling like that. I did my fetal kick count, and made myself some breakfast. I started some loads of baby clothes, because I had just celebrated my baby shower with friends and family the Saturday prior. I still did not feel right, so I called off of work, and decided to lay down for a nap. At 2pm I woke up with the overwhelming feeling something was wrong. I called David to see if he would be home early, but he said he had a lot of work to do, so it would be the usual time. To this day I wonder if I had just gone to the hospital myself, if I could have prevented what happened. Around 5 pm I noticed I had only felt one movement since 2, a slight movement of Rosie's head next to my ribs (she was breach). However, I had not felt any kicks, rolls, or her little hands in my ribs that I had gotten so used to over the past few weeks. I called my friend. She happens to be a nurse, and also pregnant. She had a fetal heart monitor at her house, and only lives 4 miles away. She told me to come over and we would find the heartbeat. Around 9 o'clock, after searching for the heartbeat with no success, Foster and I headed to the hospital.

Our drive to the hospital was pretty lighthearted. We talked about the possibility that we may become parents that night, but neither one of us brought up the conversation we did not want to talk about. We checked in, and got to the Labor and Delivery Triage room. The nurse brought in the fetal heart monitor. When she found a heartbeat, it was 125 beats per minute. I let out a sigh of relief. Until I realized my heartbeat was abnormally fast. Sure enough, when the nurse compared the monitor to my pulse, they were one and the same. Then everything started moving in slow motion. The Ultrasound tech came in, started searching, stood up and said "I need someone else to look at this."

Now, when an US tech says that you KNOW there is something wrong. They do this for a living, so they are probably better qualified than most doctors to let a patient know how the baby is. However, after closer examination by the doctor, there was no heartbeat. I heard someone scream, a low, hurting scream, almost animal like. I realized it was me. My husband was squeezing me so tight and sobbing into my shoulder. We had lost our baby. The nurses exited the room, and allowed us to process this news as a couple, a set of grieving parents. "What was it?" I demanded of my husband. I had decided at the beginning of the pregnancy that I wanted the sex to be a surprise on that wonderful day I gave birth. However, David had decided he wanted to know. So for the last part of the pregnancy, he had kept this big secret, and now I needed to know more than anything what the name of the child within me was.

"It's a girl." He told me after much hesitation. I started sobbing. My poor Rosie. She had been picked way before her time.

It seemed like people came out of the woodwork. Jess, Kate, Kyle and Matt all were in my triage room within minutes of David and I finding out we had lost our baby girl. My Mom and Dad were there within 45 minutes of finding out. Nurses were coming and going in a steady stream and I don't even know what they were doing, because it all was a blur. My sister, Kate, stood over me with a helpless look on her face. She is a Neo-natal intensive care unit(NICU) nurse, so all she deals with is little sick babies. She put her hands on my belly, and said "I want them to take her out now! I feel like we could still save her! I feel so helpless." She didn't understand why babies of 27 weeks gestation can survive, but her niece who was a healthy 34.5 weeks gestation didn't make it. Everyone cried with me. Everyone felt my pain, because each and every one of them had hopes and dreams for this baby. Rosie was the first child amongst this family we had created. She was going to be, and is, the loved niece and the spoiled granddaughter.

One of the nurses needed to ask some questions and draw blood, so we asked everyone to leave. I saw David sitting in the chair across from my bed and asked him how he was doing. "I feel like I need to go for a run," he replied. Foster loves to run. He has participated in 3 marathons, a few half marathons, and more 5Ks than you can shake a stick at. It is his escape.

"Well," I replied, "you are dressed for it. You can take a run around the medical campus." When we left the house for the hospital, we did not expect to be there for more than an hour or two, so he was wearing basketball shorts, a t-shirt and tennis shoes.

"No, I can't leave you," he said.

'I can't leave you.' Those four little words meant so much to me at that moment. David is not known for his emotions. If you were to ask any of his fellow soldiers to describe his personality, they would probably say that he is level headed. It is very hard to tell when he is angry, sad, happy, excited, etc. He keeps his emotions indistinguishable and his face as uniformed as his clothes. So when these four little words were uttered from his mouth while tears welled in his eyes, I knew at that moment I was not alone in my pain. His first instinct was to run the pain away. In a way I think it represents what he emotionally wanted to do also. If he ran away, pushed his emotions down, then he would not hurt and life would be easier. I know he felt this way, because I felt this way too. But instead, he knew how much I needed him there physically and emotionally.

My doctor entered the room and wanted to discuss our options. Unfortunately, being in the medical field, I was very aware of what the next step was. I had to deliver this baby. I had to deliver a baby that I knew would not be crying when it came out, A baby that I would not be able to take home with me. The idea scared me to death. How is that for cruel and unusual punishment? First your baby dies, and now you have to go through the pain of labor just to bury your silent baby when it enters the world.

"Your baby is breeched, so that poses a few problems," my doctor said. OF COURSE!!!! Nothing could be easy for me. It turns out that there is a good chance of a breeched baby, who has already died, to get stuck in the pelvis because it has lost some of it's elasticity. I had to make a decision. If I wanted to be induced, it could possibly take up to 2 days to actually give birth, AND it could still end in a C-section. However, if a C-section was the route I chose, it poses other risks. A C-section is major surgery, I could potentially die from it, and potentially it could make it harder to have children naturally in the future.

I looked at David for guidance. I didn't know what I wanted to do. "I don't think I can motivate myself to push this child out of me," I cried, "I don't think I can wait around for two days to deliver her," I wanted him to make the decision. Actually, I wanted him to make everything all better, but I knew he couldn't. He didn't know how to respond. The thought of major surgery and the possibility of losing his child and his wife in the same night terrified him. However, he didn't want to see me go through any more pain than I already had.

"There is a one percent chance of maternal death with a natural birth, a two percent chance with C-section, and a 25 percent chance of the baby getting stuck in your pelvis," the doctor explained. Great! More statistics! Less than .1% of women get pregnant on birth control; when I was bleeding in the second trimester I was told that a sub chronic hemorrhage only happens in one percent of pregnancies; 3 plus pitting edema only appears in ten percent of pregnant woman; and fetal deaths only happen in less than one percent of pregnancies after thirty weeks gestation. I WAS THE STATISTIC!!!! MY WHOLE PREGNANCY WAS THE STATISTIC!!! We are the people that everyone bases their chances off of. If you bet ONE dollar on me in Vegas, you would have won close to one million dollars!

At about midnight on April 20th, the nurse helped me and David gather our things and move to the labor and delivery room. As I shuffled my socked feet down the hall, I felt like a prisoner walking to the lethal injection room. In a sense, I was a prisoner of my own body.. My body had failed me for some reason. Millions of healthy babies are born a year. A woman's body is supposed to be able to carry a baby and deliver a baby, but for some reason, my body did not want to follow through. I turned the corner and examined my new room. Immediately, I started to cry. As my family filed in quietly behind me, I realized this scene was supposed to be playing out differently. The calls should have been ones of happiness for me going into labor, but they were calls of sadness, of loss. The monitors next to the bed were supposed to be turned on in order to monitor contractions and the baby, but instead they were dark and silent, just like my womb. The baby warmer bed was supposed to be lit up and warm, ready to accept a newborn, but instead it was dark and filled with random equipment that we would not need for this delivery. The room seemed so cold and quiet, because instead of a healthy crying baby, my family was waiting around to say hello to a little girl we would have to say goodbye to at the same time.

I got comfortable in bed, and waited. We had decided that a C-section would be the best option for the circumstances, and we had to wait until 5:30 AM before they could preform the surgery. A nurse wanted to know if I wanted anything to relax. I did not. I don't know why, but I felt like if I fell asleep, I would be abandoning Rosie and I did not want to miss a moment of her inside of me. I could still feel her little head popping in and out below my rib, and I think a part of me was still hoping, still praying that they were wrong. Most of all, I did not want to fall asleep, wake up, and have that moment of realization that this was NOT a nightmare, but it was really happening.

After much encouragement from my husband and family, I agreed to take some medicine. They all felt like I needed to rest before the surgery. I fought it. I fought the effects of the medication for as long as I could before I finally drifted off. The last thing I saw was my darling husband drifting off in the chair beside me. In my medicated haze, I slightly remember doctors and nurses coming in to explain the procedure, the medications, and options with me. However, I was getting annoyed, because when I was asleep, I was back in my perfect life, dreaming of a time before my world came crashing down.

At 7:30 AM the doctor came in and told me we were ready. Apparently my surgery got pushed back because another woman had come in in preterm labor, and they had to deliver her baby. I said a little prayer for her, hoping that her baby made it through okay. The nurses prepped me and rolled me into the OR. The anesthesiologist administered my spinal, and I slowly faded into a twilight zone. I had asked the doctors to give me as much medication without putting me completely under. I did not want to remember the surgery, or them taking Rosie out of me. They did a good job, but I woke up twice during the surgery.

The first time I woke up was because my eye itched. When I woke up I tried to scratch it, but realized my arms were tied down, and I couldn't reach. I asked the nurse sitting by my head to scratch my eye for me, and I drifted back into my haze.

The second time I was roused from my drugged stupor by crying. At first I thought I was hearing myself cry, but then I realized the cry was coming from the other side of the drape, "Is that you crying Dr. T?" I asked.

"Yes, Erin, it is me," she responded through sobs.

"It is okay, Dr. T, it will be okay," I said. She sounded so sad, and I wanted to console her.

"No," Dr. T cried, "she is too beautiful, and too perfect. This should not have happened."

Following the C-section, I was rolled out of the OR with my doctor at my side. She was still crying and told me that as soon as I was more alert and Rosie was cleaned up, she would bring my daughter in to see me. I told her I did not want a single drop of pain medicine until after seeing her. My family had been trying to get a hold of our priest at St. Pius, or the priest that married us, an old family friend, to Baptize Rosie when she came into the world. However, we could not get through to anyone at St. Pius, and our family friend was in the Hospital down the road with Bronchitis. So the hospital found us an amazing Catholic chaplain to help with the ceremony of Baptizing our silent daughter.

I cannot remember a lot about the following 12 hours, but the parts I do are comforting to me, and I will hold close to my heart forever. One of the hospital's chaplains had Rosie dressed in a beautiful dress, booties, and adorable bonnet. AS soon as she handed Rosie to me, I marveled at how perfect she was. She was absolutely beautiful, and looked as if she was just sleeping. I took off her bonnet to see her blondish hair, I took off her booties to touch, count and admire her tiny toes. I held her fingers and was mesmerized by the fact they were big for her body, just like mine. Her lips were the perfect shade of rose red, and I gazed at her peacfully shut eyes, expecting them to open at any moment and stare lovingly into mine. The world around me disappeared. Although there were easily 20 family members and friends in that hospital room, the only two I could see were David and Rosie.

The Catholic priest had brought a beautiful shell to baptize her with. David had asked if he could do the honors of pouring the water over her head and blessing her. The priest opened up the private ceremony with a beautiful prayer, and David proceded to trickle water over her tiny head while through tears saying "I Baptize you, Rosalynn Patricia Foster, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." It was such a beautiful and intimate moment to share with so many people who love and care for us.

As I sat in that hospital bed with my husband at my side, my daughter in my arms, and completely surrounded by people who loved us, it felt as if Jesus was standing amongst the crowd, crying with us. Surely the presence of the Lord was in that room!

Erin blogs at
You can contact her at


Shannon Renfro said...

Erin, what a beautiful story. I felt like you were telling the story of what happened to us just over a year ago when we lost our daughter Savannah at 40 weeks and 3 days. I commend you for being so open and honest about your feelings. I am so grateful that you were able to have so many of your friends and family around you. I also really admire that you were able to have Rosie baptized. We were not allowed so I am glad that you have such precious memories. Blessings to you and your family and may you find peace in knowing that as parents, you did your job and got your child to Heaven.

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