Thursday, July 15, 2010

10 Thursdays ago

Dear Stevie,

There’s a red plastic water bottle sitting on my desk. The bottom two inches are filled with old, almost cloudy water. It’s the same water from 10 Thursdays ago, my last day at work, the day before I found out you were gone. That Thursday, like every other day since finding out I was pregnant with you, I forced myself to drink 64 oz of water during my work day—two full water bottles full. I guess I didn’t quite finish before leaving my office that Thursday. Why does that make me feel slightly guilty?

10 Thursdays ago started out like any old Thursday. My alarm went off, I hit snooze like four times, and finally dragged myself out of bed with about 15 minutes to get ready for work. I took a shower, brushed my teeth, threw on a stretchy skirt, my favorite maternity tank top, and a white cardigan, kissed my dogs goodbye, and ran out the door with my hair still soaking wet.

I drove to work, sat down at my desk, chugged a bunch of water. Checked some emails. Thought, “did I feel Stevie moving around at all this morning?” I wasn’t worried, just started to pay attention. Chugged some more water. Checked some more emails. Waited.

I sat in on a webinar called something like, “Finding the Stories That Will Raise Money for Your Nonprofit” (why I remember this, I have no idea). Stared at the screen. Rubbed my belly. Chugged some more water. Took some notes. Rubbed my belly some more. Said, “oh, she’s good,” when one of my coworkers asked, “How’s the baby?”

I went to Subway for lunch. Asked for extra jalepenos. Thought, “that’ll wake you up, baby.” Nothing. Chugged some more water. Nothing.

I sent an email to Dad: “Hey Bear, I can’t remember the last time I felt Stevie move. I’m kind of worried. Should I call the doctor? What are we doing for dinner tonight?” Went to the bathroom. Poked at my belly. Chugged some more water. Poked at my belly again. Sat on the toilet and whispered, “Come on, Baby, wake up for Mommy.”

I drove home. Tried to sing along to that happy Michael Buble song (“I Just Haven’t Met You Yet”) on the radio. Texted Dad, “Hey, where are you? Call me.”

I pulled in the garage. Let the dogs out. Drank half a carton of cold chocolate milk. Ate a few handfuls of baked cheddar and sour cream potato chips. Laid down in bed. Poked my belly. Waited. Flipped over onto my side. Waited. Flipped to the other side. Waited. Got out my Doppler. Moved it around and around on my belly. Pressed down harder. Turned the volume up, then down, and back up again. Pressed down even harder. Static. Opened my laptop and logged onto my online pregnancy support group. “I can’t remember the last time I felt my baby move, and I’m having a hard time finding her heartbeat with my Doppler,” I wrote. I heard “Oh I’m sure she’s just hiding under your pelvic bone,” and “just call your doctor for some peace of mind.”

I called my doctor’s office. Five minutes too late. Heard the standard, “if this is a medical emergency, please hang up and dial 9-1-1. To speak to the on-call nurse, press 1…” Decided to do neither. “I’ll just call in the morning,” I thought.

When Dad got home I told him I was getting really worried. “Well, should we go to the ER?” he asked. “I don’t know,” I said. “I don’t really want to pay the $150 co-pay for an ER visit if I can just go and get everything checked out by my doctor tomorrow morning.” “It’s up to you,” he said. “I’ll just go in the morning,” I decided.

Maybe, deep down, I knew something wasn’t right. Maybe I was scared. Maybe I just wanted one more night with you.

So 10 Thursday nights ago, I put on my maternity yoga pants, rubbed cocoa butter lotion on my belly, watched Dad kiss my tummy, and said, “goodnight, Stevie, I love you”…all for the last time.

It's hard not to feel guilty when I think back on all that happened 10 Thursdays ago. What if I would have gone in earlier? What if Dad would have insisted on a trip to the ER that night? What if I would have finished those last 8 ounces of water like I was supposed to? I know it's silly. I know it's pointless. I know that once I noticed you weren't moving, you were probably already gone. But still, what if?

I miss you more than I can even explain, Stevie. 10 Thursdays ago I woke up happy, truly happy, for the last time. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever wake up happy again.

Love you,



Melissa said...

Oh, Kristin honey. Reading this made me cry. Sending you hugs through the internet tubes. :(

Nicole said...

Wow, Kristin. My life ended on a Thursday as well. 18 Thursdays ago... I know exactly what you mean when you say you were scared and put off going to the hospital/doctor. I felt that too. As soon as I suspected something could be wrong, I wanted to just deny it, think I was being silly, and try to avoid it. But I think that was our minds trying to protect us from finding out what our motherly instincts already knew. Please don't feel guilty. I have learned that that doesn't help at all. We're going through enough without our little girls, we don't need to add guilt on top of it, right? It was nothing we did. Our sweet girls died the same exact way and it really sucks (for lack of a better word) that there wasn't anything we could do about it.
I'm always thinking about you, Kristin. You cross my mind so often. I hope you know what an amazing Mommy you are. Never doubt that. :)

Brie said...

I love this post. I often sit and think about my last days and moments of happiness before we learned Denise had died. My last TRULY HAPPY DAY was May 17, 2009

Emily said...

Oh the coulda/shoulda/woulda game. It's kind of like gambling. The house always wins.

But yeah...just know that with a blood clot, it was likely the way a stroke or heart attack patient appears...fine and then all of a sudden...not fine. If you had been admitted, in the hospital, on monitoring, unless the doctor was poised over you with a scalpel ready to cut, Stevie very likely wouldn't have been saved.

But as her mommy it's natural for you to wish you could have saved her. See my post here:

Love to you at this 10 week mark.

Michelle said...

*Bawling* mine was a Thursday too. I could have written so much of this myself. I know the what if's all to well and at even 10 months out I find new what if's. I love your writing style, I hope it ministers to your soul the way it does to those who are reading.

cainml said...

ohhh...great post...I'm so sorry for your loss (again). No words. But you WILL be happy again...a little more each day that passes. Stevie will always be with you.

Julie said...

this makes my heart hurt. like you, there are things i wish i had done differently from the moment my water broke. maybe one little thing would have meant the difference between life and death for kenny. and yet, you and i - and all the rest of us - did the best we knew to do at that time.

also like you, i have so many times run over the events of that day leading up to my water breaking. it was such a normal day. it was, in fact, a beautiful day, and i had all the windows open in the house. i even remember the status i posted on facebook 2 hours before it all started. it's funny the details we remember.

Dana said...

Oh, the what-ifs are terrible....I really don't think that anything could have changed the outcome. If you had gone to the hospital that night, she was most likely already gone. Even if you had gone during the day on Thursday.

I have also thought about the last day that I was truly happy....May 30, 2010. I even have 2 pictures from the morning on May 31st, the day I was going to the doctor's office. I was truly happy in those pictures, excited to hear Jacob's heart beat that day. Those pictures are so hard to look at now.

I also know the counting of the days. Last Tuesday was 6 Tuesdays since I held Jacob. Maybe that stops sometime, but I can't imagine it happening.

Lara + Chris said...

Kristin, I know that I wasn't as far along when I lost Caleb, but I have the same "what if." I believe my water broke a few days before it was diagnosed as having broken, and I think about that all the time. What if I had gone into the ER like I wanted to instead of waiting until the morning? Chris tries to tell me it wouldn't have mattered, but I at the same time know it WOULD have and know it wouldn't have. If that makes sense??

HUGE hugs.

rebecca said...

Oh Kristin, reading this I couldn't help but incredibly unfair. I too have gone over in my mind a million times what if I had done this or that differently would it have kept her with me? It's so hard to live with the unknowns. Thinking of you!

Violet1122 said...

Those days, the last "happy days", re-play in my mind over and over. It's like every little detail is there, perfectly recalled, in my memory. And even though there is nothing I could have done to change the outcome... I can't help but wonder. What if???

I don't think we'll ever stop wondering.

I'm thinking of you on this 10 week anniversary. Sending you peace...

Antoinette said...

Kristin....I read your blog all the time as you know, but THIS post really let us into your heart and your pain...the what ifs are the WORST because deep down we KNOW that nothing could have changed the outcome and yet we still play the what if hurts me to know that Thursdays will remind you of this time...I stopped feeling her on a sunday...I played the poke game, juice game, left side, right side, and all the while getting braxton hicks, which I later found out were full blown contractions...i guess I can handle pain because it was not until Monday when I called the dr and he had me rush to L&D...and Mondays will forever be my sad day, which was why I jumped onto the "Marvelous Mondays" quickly so I do not have to be so sad on that day...I was induced and delivered her on Tuesday and so Tuesdays to me, the day she was "born" are really hard to swallow...I tried to invent terrific tuesdays but it didnt just too sad those days...i like to think at least that last monday She was still in my body and so that was a good feeling all on its own...even with the circumstances...xoxoxo

Anonymous said...

oh kristin.. this post made me teary also... wish i could hug you right now... x

Dannii Melfi/Olson

pennynjon said...

Try not to drive yourself crazy with the what if's. I often do that to myself too, my situation is different but I think what if I hadn't dyed my hair before I knew I was pregnant?, did I take baths or showers that were too hot?, what if I had been taking a pnv before I got pregnant?-I am sorry that you are going through this. You are in my prayers.

Courtney said...

*Tears* The what if's really drive me insane. I am constantly going through all of them almost on a daily basis.

Sending you lots of *hugs*

Andrea said...

"What If", the two words that continue to haunt me...and I too wonder if I will every wake up feeling happy, truly happy again. I've been in "fake it till you make it mode for SO LONG".

How can the one thing that made me so incredibly happy now be what makes me so sad??? I ponder this thought often.

Reaching out and giving you a BIG HUG Kristen...sending you lots of positive vibes and some sunshine.

Ashley said...

Hi Kristin. I found the link to your blog on Toy Poodle Forum. I am very sorry to hear about your loss and think you are an amazing woman to share all your feelings like you have. I am 17 weeks along myself and cannot imagine the pain you must be feeling. I will be praying for you.

Maggie said...

Oh Kristin, this post broke my heart. I know we have all been there. I remember the day exactly. It was like any other day. Normal morning routine until....everything changed. Thinking of you & Stevie so much. The "what ifs" are the worst. Try not to think of them and know you did everything you could have done. (I know, easier said than done!) XOXO

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that I read your blog every day just to see how you are doing. My heart goes out to you. It is the favorite part of my day to check in on you. You are so real and honest and open and that is so refreshing. I first saw you on TV and then looked at your blog. Now I have you bookmarked and you are like an old, dear friend. I love your writing and I wish you all the best. I promise to stay connected and continue to see how you are doing. You have so many people who care about you. This is the first time I am writing to you though. I just felt like it was time. I think you are so wise beyond your years and are helping so many people thru your experiences. I don't have any children myself but your raw emotions and grief and pain are so human and relatable and intense. My prayers and thoughts are with you on this journey. God Bless you and your husband and Stevie Joy. Take care - Amy

Anonymous said...

Hello. I sincerely hope that you do not find my commenting on your post too strange, as I am an actual and complete stranger to you. I was reading the Sullenger's comments and yours spoke to me, so I clicked, and, well, here I am.

First off, may I say that I am so incredibly sorry that you did not get to enjoy your sweet Stevie as you rightfully should have? It just is not fair. Period. I suffered a miscarriage at 12 weeks and will not begin to compare my experience with yours, but I understand just a smidge.

Your letters to your daughter are so sweet...your love for her transcends this life and there is no doubt in my mind that you are a beautiful mom to her. I realize it is not in the capacity that you'd like it to be, but again, I believe your words and love are so powerful that they transcend...she knows and feels it. Maybe that sounds odd, but I believe that.

I think your writing is both articulate and profound. I particularly got a kick out of your post entailing what people shouldn't say. Oh, how I can relate! How people can tell a grieving mother that it "happened for a reason" is beyond me! People are well-intentioned and yet, somehow, they struggle to just leave it at the essentials of "I'm so just plain sucks."

Anyway, I just felt compelled to offer my entirely unsolicited thoughts. And again, I am so sorry for your pain. I do hope that somehow God may provide with the strength you need to carry you through. I think you are doing a beautiful thing by keeping Stevie's memory. She is blessed to have you.

Jennifer said...

I've been lurking, er...reading your blog for quite some time and it's only now that I've had the courage to leave a comment. This post made me think of my own 'what ifs' with my son, Kai. The first few weeks after he died were so tough because I kept re-living over and over the details and thinking of all the 'should haves' and 'what ifs' that we could have done to save him. It's a vicious cycle. It's like being stuck in a temporal causality loop and you can't do anything about it to change the outcome into a happy one. Like you said, it's silly, it's pointless, but I think we can't help but think about them from time to time since they're as much a part of the memories of our babies as any other pregnancy details we hold dear in our hearts.

Peace to you and your darling daughter, Stevie. And thanks for checking out my blog. Btw, my husband and I also have our share of fun photo booth pictures.

Lori said...

Hi Kristin and all other Moms in the baby loss community. I wanted to post a quote from one of my nurses at North Memorial that has stuck with me through my grief journey. "If you had anything to do with these circumstances, Hope(my stillborn daughter) would be with you now." In other words, there is absolutely nothing any of us could have done to keep our babies alive, because if there was something we could have done, we would have done it.

I keep reading your blog and reading all of the Mom comments and my heart hurts remembering that first year after losing Hope. But, I'm living proof that you can be happy again. Happiness is a choice, or at least it was for me. I did not want to be stuck in grief for the rest of my life. It took a good year and a half for there to be some sort of "happy" in my life but its there now. Just please remember to nurture yourselves and get the help you need throughout this time.

Love to you Kristin and all moms experiencing a loss.

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