Thursday, December 11, 2008

Letter to Shiloh #3

Shiloh, my sweet baby, I miss you so terribly much. You are constantly on my mind. Not a day goes by where I don’t envision the smooth lines of your jaw, the texture of your skin, the magnificence of your face. Sometimes I even feel like I am still pregnant with you. I think I feel your rapid heartbeat and your eager kicks. But eventually I wake up to reality- the depth of my sorrow and the ugliness of life. G-d, I feel so mortal.

The past 6 weeks have been unbearable. I’m so tired and I feel that my life has turned into one big cliché… “just breathe”, “one day at a time”, “one foot in front of the other”, “there are no words”…. I know that everyone wants to help us get through your loss, but I don’t know that I want to get through it. I want to hurt, I want to yearn for you. You should be here on earth, with us, but you’re not.

I was the happiest woman on this planet the entire 40 weeks of being pregnant with you. I read so many books, checked weekly on how you were developing, ate well, took prenatal vitamins, exercised- everything a good mom should do. Towards the end of the pregnancy, I even started to worry that I wouldn’t be able to wrap you properly in your sling or receiving blanket, to breastfeed you, or to remember all the words to the nursery rhymes, but I never once worried about losing you. The thought was inconceivable. Little did I know….

There is this misconception that, after the first trimester of pregnancy, losing a child never happens. How untrue. I am so angry with my doctor for telling me that your death was a freak accident, that the chances of it happening a second time are almost nil. Again, entirely untrue. It has been shown that women that have an umbilical cord accident in one pregnancy have a 5-fold chance of having another cord accident in a subsequent pregnancy. Why do doctors think that they know everything? Why do they not keep up with current research when it can save innocent lives? Didn’t they go into obstetrics because they like to welcome lives into this world…?

Since you’ve passed away, I’ve been beyond distraught and hungry to hear about other women’s losses, to feel like we hadn’t been singled out, like we hadn’t done something to deserve this terrible fate. I wanted any and all information I could find on cord accidents, and have searched endlessly for the last 6 weeks. I was instantly directed to the Pregnancy Institute headed by Dr. Collins in Louisiana. Dr. Collins is the only doctor that I know of that has been researching cord accidents- he has done so for that last 25 years. Luckily he gave his contact information on the website, so I emailed him for some answers and asked him how I go about being a part of his study in the future, so I can be sure that your younger brothers and sisters-to-be come safely into this world. He called the next day and talked to me about you for almost 2 hours. He tried to assure me that there was nothing that I could have done differently to save you, short of being constantly monitored by a doctor before the critical time. Nevertheless, this does not make me feel any better. You are still gone, and this, most unfortunately, will never change.

So I’ve gone from being the happiest woman in the world, to being the most miserable and bitter. It is now such a slap in the face when I see a pregnant woman or a woman with a baby. And all of the sudden, there are pregnant women and babies everywhere! Before, I loved seeing families because I was well on my well to having my own, and I loved seeing pregnant women because I knew that they could relate to my joy, that we had an unspoken bond of sorts. But now I’m just broken-hearted and empty-handed, making wishes on fallen eyelashes.