Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mom to Lyra Mae
Stillborn on December 18th, 2009 at 30 weeks
Wichita, KS

I intended to have very few children. And they would be a long ways down the road of our marriage. 5 years maybe? I wanted to travel and do my art and career. Husband was generally more open to the thought of children, and when we moved back to Kansas after completing school, we decided to try doing the trifecta of “the most stressful things in life”: moving, starting full time jobs, and getting pregnant after 3.5 years of marriage. We're pros at flying by the seat of our pants, so we just went with it, and told everyone from the moment we knew we were pregnant.

Despite being utterly scared and ignorant about pregnancy and birth, we were also very excited. Husband poured over cloth diaper options, and we bought clothes very early on, even without knowing the gender. When we found out we were having a little girl, we immediately decided her name would be Lyra Mae, but decided to keep it to ourselves so we had a little secret between the two of us. It was a picture perfect pregnancy. No issues, no concerns.

Once we made it to the third trimester, I started to breathe a teensy bit easier. It was all downhill from here, right? Three days make up the finale of Lyra's story. Three specific days in December which I look back on and wonder if we could have known.

Saturday, the 12th:
I hadn't felt her move as much, so I called my doctor's on call nurse at the hospital and she recommended coming in to hook me up and check out everything. Everyone was reassuring that it's better to come in and find out, than to wait and have something bad happen. Lyra was moving just as she should – with her heart rate right where it should be. They sent me home with a list of things to come back in for, but otherwise everything should be ok. I told Husband that we wouldn't worry so much. That my body would tell me if something was wrong – either by bleeding or cramping or pain.

Tuesday, the 15th:
I was a part of a county program to help educate families about pregnancy and labor. I figured I could always learn more, and plus I'd get to hear the baby's heartbeat each time we met. The nurse had a hard time finding the heartbeat because Lyra was moving around. Once she found it, it was quite a bit lower than average, but was still within the safe range. I didn't give it a second thought.

Thursday, the 17th:
I have my routine appointment with my doctor. I lay down and he can't find her heartbeat. He asks me when she last moved, and I think I felt her that morning. I do remember telling Husband the night before that she was sitting funny though...heavier. I question when I did feel her move last. I hadn't done the kick counts as often as I should have. He brings in the sonogram machine, and there's obviously no heartbeat. I have to call Husband at work, and we are sent straight to the hospital to induce.

I have an epidural. She's born breach on December 18th. The cord is around her neck and we think that's why she died. We don't get an autopsy. So many decisions to make. So many things we didn't really have time to think through - and it's like our brain is lagging behind. We buried her the 19th.

Fast forward to April, and we found out she died from placental abruption. They could tell from the amount of clots I had and the amount of Lyra's blood mixed with my own. I'm still processing this answer to her death. When did the placenta fully pull away? Why did it happen? I should have had pain, and bleeding. I had nothing though. Why didn't my body tell me? We could have done an emergency c-section and we could have our little girl with us. Sometime between Tuesday and Thursday she died. And I should have known.

Of course I'm not supposed to think it was my fault. That I couldn't have done anything different. But when my whole role was to watch out for my little girl, I could have done things different. I hope that Lyra knew how much we loved her – oh how we loved her! We had to write down the ways we prepared for her so we had something to hold onto – some tangible evidence that we were good parents.

And we are parents. It doesn't feel like it. I share the first half of the birthing process with other moms, but that's where it ends. Parents bring their kids home, and worry about them getting sick and hurt. I worry about weeds on her gravesite and if her tiger is still there. Someday I hope to share in those other worries, but for now this is how I take care of my daughter. Because I'm her mom.

Rachel blogs at Curls O' Fred
You can contact her at regierdesign@gmail.com


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