Our lives changed forever on Friday the 13th, as my daughter, who was one week short of her due date, called. “Mom, the baby has no heartbeat! You need to be strong for me I will need you for a very long time to get through this!” This is not really happening ... a perfect pregnancy, a happy pair of parents-to-be eagerly waiting for the birth of their first child. Time stood still; shock and denial quickly set in as my husband and I rushed to the hospital to support and comfort our daughter and son-in-law.
As we entered the hospital room, Jen and Dave were sitting calmly—no words could ever express the pain and sympathy. She informed us that she was going to deliver the baby vaginally. “Oh why God are you doing this to our baby? Labor and delivery is so painful, even in the best of situations—please have a c-section!” We soon realized that my racing thoughts were not important; we had a strong and courageous daughter who chose the best route for a difficult situation.
Shortly after, the doctors reported that the baby was a boy—they had previously decided not to know the sex of the baby. “Oh thank God,” she sobbed—“if it was a girl, I could never deal with the loss.” We all believed she was carrying a boy. In addition, her nurse’s name was Caroline, who we referred to as William’s guardian angel, who in fact was heaven sent. (The previously selected name for a girl was “Caroline.”) We, all four grandparents, were allowed to stay in the labor/delivery room, while Caroline monitored and comforted Jen throughout this much dreaded experience. We were directed to leave the room during the delivery.
After a brief time, Jen called us in the waiting room, “Mom, come in and see your new granddaughter!” We were in utter amazement; we had seen two doctors perform the ultrasound and both agreed that it was a little boy. As I was the first one to enter the room, I prayed, “Please, God—don’t allow her to be grossly disfigured!” In Jen’s arms rested a beautiful, fair-skinned, pink-cheeked little darling! “Mom, she looks just like me when I was a newborn!” As I examined her little face and fingers, words only a grandmother could speak rolled off my tongue—“I love you, sweetheart. You are such a beautiful baby, and we have waited a long time to meet you.” As Dave placed her in my arms, a sense of peace draped over my shoulders. As each grandparent held Caroline, a special bonding and tranquility permeated the room, as we greeted and simultaneously said hello and goodbye to our little angel.
Three months have passed and I am looking for ways to keep Caroline’s spirit alive and to help others. I have read many books, researched online, and talked to many people about stillbirths. Does anyone have any ideas on how to help others who have gone through what my daughter and our families have endured?