Monday, October 17, 2011

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
Many of you know about infant loss and still birth and miscarriages. Sadly, many do not.

This mom (client now friend) has had to return to work after the loss of her daughter at 32 weeks due to a rupture of her placenta. Sadly, she has had to define the word stillbirth to coworkers. Please help others understand this loss and the depth of the pain it comes with.

Click here for the birth story I wrote for this couple. As all my birth stories are,
 it is written to the sweet baby....

Sweet baby Alaina,

Under your mommy’s heart too short a time, but in it forever....

I first heard from your mom in an email on June 22, 2011. Even though she trusted your daddy, she was looking for additional support from someone who might help fill the void of not having her own mom present. I understood that longing in her heart and was honored to be invited to share in your birth.

From there we began to talk through email and arranged a lunch meeting. I instantly liked your parents. They were funny, enthusiastic and kind to each other. I knew in just a few minutes I would enjoy helping them through your birth.

I arranged to stop by your home on a sort of unofficial visit and chat a bit. Your mom showed me how beautiful she had decorated your nursery and the furniture your dad had assembled. I saw pictures of your big brother and the spaces on the wall they were saving to add pictures of you.

I had no idea the value of that short visit. It was on Friday July 15th. On Tuesday morning your mom sent me a text saying she was concerned about you and was at the hospital. I rushed to her as quick as I could. They were doing an ultrasound so I had to wait in the lobby.

It wasn’t long before your dad came out to get me. I didn’t know what to say to your sweet mommy. She looked so concerned. All I had to offer her was a long hug.

After a few minutes I spoke to the nurse and asked to be moved to a private room to wait for the Doctor. The wait began to drag on and I felt it was time to talk about what was happening to you with your parents. They were so hopeful that it was just a scary moment, that you would soon be smiling in their arms. I don’t recall the words I used, but I can still see the pain in their eyes as they learned your time with them had already passed. We all wept as the reality of your short life set in.

Sweet Alaina, I can’t tell you the height of love and depth of grief in that room; two of what I believe are the strongest human emotions we are both blessed and cursed to experience.

Your mom and dad decided to return home and rest and see her doctor the following day. It was the beginning of a sweet and intense farewell.

On Wednesday afternoon, your mom asked me to join them at the hospital where she would have labor induced. This began a few minutes after 5 p.m.

Your Gramma Eva was with us and the four of us settled in for the night. We had moments of silence, laughter, tears, dice games and pizza. Yes, your parents ordered pizza and played games! I was so proud of them. You are a gift to be celebrated and while this was a painful night, it would never be forgotten and I was thankful they choose to add some fun and humor to it!

The night was restless and long, with little progress as far as labor went. We had a great nurse who let us rest as much as possible. Your dad and gramma ran back home to get a few things for you; your pretty flower headband and soft blankie.

By morning your mom had not rested well so we requested some medicine to help her sleep a bit. At 7:11 am she received a second dose of Stadol and fell into a restless sleep. It was 8:45 when she woke up feeling a little sick. Her contractions had become more intense but still tolerable. Her stomach became upset so I asked your gramma to call the nurse as I had a feeling your arrival might be close.

Your mom did a beautiful job bringing you into the world around 9:15 on July 21, 2011. Although there were moments of tears being shed, there were also smiles of love. She was relaxed and calm the whole time! I was so proud of her, and your daddy did an amazing job loving and supporting her. You were perfect and beautiful weighing 3 pounds 9 ounces.

We knew you were a special little bumpkin, but you made sure we knew... you were born breech and in the caul. Your breech position is known as “frank breech”, meaning you were born tushy first! Being born in the caul means the water bag you were in didn’t break until after you were born! I personally feel this was special for your family because it is so rare and makes you even more special. It is sometimes viewed as a sign of completeness and peace, or contentment.

Once you arrived your parents held you and kissed you and loved you with every tear and touch and many sweet whispered words. I heard your mommy tell you that you were “just too perfect for this place”.

We dressed you in a pretty purple sundress and put a pretty flower in your hair for the pictures.
Your little hands and feet were so tiny and perfect and you had the most beautiful red lips! Your gramma cut a little bit of your hair to keep and we took prints of your hands and feet. When it was time to say goodbye, we wrapped you in a pretty blanket and let you spend some time with your mommy and daddy.

On August 12th, the memory box your parents made for you was complete and they begin a journey of healing and finding peace. Your mommy wears a ring she made just for you. It has a Ruby to represent the month of July you were born in, a pink stone to represent you as the daughter they love and miss and your name engraved on it. Your mom says she wears it on the finger next to her wedding ring to symbolize the love you were created from and that you are forever a part of their family and in their hearts always.

Alaina you are a gift and a blessing. You have taught your parents about the depth of love and the preciousness of life. You made a young woman named Chelsea a mommy and a young man named Jake the daddy of a sweet baby girl. These are treasured gifts only you could give. You will always be loved and deeply missed.

In loving memory,
Shannon Santamaria,
your mommy's doula

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