Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Send some prayers this way please

I haven't updated in a long time and I think that is a good thing. I have only really used this blog to express my sadness, well, at least since March last year, and it seems to be getting a bit easier now. I do still have bad days and bad moments but have been keeping quite busy and by the time I get around to sitting in front of the PC I usually no longer have the urge to spill my guts as it were. Else I just don't have the time.

Today I do have something on my mind but I am hesitant to write about it because it is not about me but someone else. My good friend L had problems falling pregnant and eventually resorted to IVF. This worked first time around and we were all thrilled for her. It was twins. All was going well until the 22 week big scan where they do measurements and everything. They were not growing as expected and the placenta was not looking good. They are a boy and a girl but the girl is much smaller than the boy. She was booked off on bedrest and had to go back to check the heartbeats every week. Last week was only her 2nd week of bedrest and her husband was away for work so I took her for her checkup. We were so relieved to see 2 heartbeats but then he checked her blood pressure and it was very high. There was also protein in her urine. The doctor booked her into hospital straight away. It was only supposed to be for the weekend but now they say she will be there until the babies come out. It is pre-eclampsia. At 25 weeks pregnancy the little girl weighs under 200g and the boy about 450g.

The reason I am posting about this is twofold. I want to ask everyone out there to focus your positive energies on those babies, pray for them or whatever works for you. They really, really need some sort of a miracle to get them and L and her family through this with a positive outcome.

The second reason is that I am looking for input from those of you who have been through something similar. I have read a lot of blogs about loss and I could find more to read about on the Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss Blog Directory but I would not want to direct her to read through certain blogs at this point where there is still hope. She is really being extremely brave and I find myself putting on a brave face for her when I know how she must be feeling inside. We were discussing at what stage babies get birth certificates or death certificates. How does it work with a stillbirth so early? Should she see the babies if they have to remove them now before they are considered viable? She said she does not want to and on one hand I think maybe it is better that way, maybe she will get over it quicker but what if she regrets it later? In the end that is a personal decision and they will do what is best for them, it is just interesting to hear how it was for others. I even found myself offering to take photos of the babies for them. It would be really hard I know but it just seems like the right thing to do. I have read on this site about photographers who take pictures of stillborn babies and do not charge for it and was thinking that it would be a good thing to start in this country but I decided that I was not brave enough to do it. This is certainly not how I would want to get it started and I wish it was not necessary at all, for anyone. Another thing we were wondering about is that the doctors said that if they think they can save one of the babies then they will do a caesar but if they think neither will make it then she must have natural birth. Does anyone have any thoughts on what the differences would be psychologically if they say either way is ok medically?

Tomorrow they have another scan and will find out what the situation is. It is really not fair. Why should some people struggle so much to have a child? Please, everyone think about them and send all your prayers and positive thoughts to L and her babies in Cape Town.

Edited to add: see new post for update

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi V

I think you are doing a wonderful thing being so supportive of L.

I don't think anyone is more equipped than you to understand the emotions and been able to give encouragement and understanding.

I will certainly be thinking of you during this time and praying for L and her twins.

All the best

niobe said...

I felt heartsick as I read this because almost exactly the same thing happened to me: twins, learning at the "big" scan that things did not look good, one twin much smaller than the other, put in the hospital for preeclampsia at 25 weeks.

My story does not have a happy ending. Ultimately, I lost both twins. If your friends wants to get in touch with me, she's welcome to, but she may not be in a place right now where she wants to hear from someone whose pregnancy ended so badly.

Catherine said...

We were discussing at what stage babies get birth certificates or death certificates. How does it work with a stillbirth so early?

I'm not sure how it works where you are. In the USA, 20 weeks is considered a stillbirth, but you do not get a birth certificate...only a death certificate. Individual states are also now issuing a "Certificate of Birth that Result in Stillbirth."

Should she see the babies if they have to remove them now before they are considered viable? She said she does not want to and on one hand I think maybe it is better that way, maybe she will get over it quicker but what if she regrets it later?

You don't "get over it." And, quite honestly, I've never known anyone who didn't have regrets whether they choose to see the babies or not. The whole situation is filled with regrets when you're trying to pack a lifetime into a few short moments.

For me, the THOUGHT of seeing my dead babies was scarier than the reality. I almost didn't see Alex...but changed my mind after talking with the coroner about him. I don't know what it was, but something made me WANT to see him. With Travis, at 20 weeks, it was different...but I'm still glad I saw him. They were both real...they were my children...and I needed to hold them just once.

I even found myself offering to take photos of the babies for them. It would be really hard I know but it just seems like the right thing to do. I have read on this site about photographers who take pictures of stillborn babies and do not charge for it and was thinking that it would be a good thing to start in this country but I decided that I was not brave enough to do it. This is certainly not how I would want to get it started and I wish it was not necessary at all, for anyone.

That is exactly how NILMDTS got started! One photographer went to take photos at the request of one woman...a friendship and a cause was born. It really doesn't take bravery...just love. And I can tell from the way you talk about your friend that you certainly have the love.

Another thing we were wondering about is that the doctors said that if they think they can save one of the babies then they will do a caesar but if they think neither will make it then she must have natural birth. Does anyone have any thoughts on what the differences would be psychologically if they say either way is ok medically?

I had a c/s for my first pregnancy (successful...living child). I had natural deliveries for both my stillbirths. The surgery was very difficult to recover from even with a living baby. I can honestly say that I would not have wanted surgery AND dead babies. I think it would have been too much for me to deal with. At least with my c/s I had the baby to balance out the pain. If I had had surgeries with my two dead babies, the physical pain coupled with the emotional pain probably would have driven me over the edge. But if there is a CHANCE to save even one baby, I would do whatever it takes to give that baby a chance. Even if, in the end, I could go home with a surgery to recover from and no baby at all.

I hope your friend gets good news and you won't have to use any stillbirth information at all.

Rachel said...

You are a good friend and she is lucky to have you. I really hope that the bedrest helps and she is able to hold have delivering the babies until the can survive.

I lost a baby at 10 weeks and I think it was helpful to see the tiny baby even though it was hard. It has been about 6 months and I kind of wish I had a picture just to remember the baby by.

I had a friend who lost her baby at 37 weeks and didn't want to see him at first. The nurses encouraged her to hold him after he was delivered(they even put him under a warming light so that he was not cold) and later my friend was very glad she did hold him. All of her sons grandparents, aunts, and uncles were also given the opportunity to hold him and most of them chose to and were glad that they did. They also took many pictures and at first they didn't display them but now they have some framed and hanging up around their house. My favorite picture is of the hands of my friend, her husband, and their son all holding on to each other. It is precious.

No matter what your friend decides I would encourage her to allow you or one of the nurses to dress the babies and take pictures. That way if later she wants to see what the babies looked like she still has the opportunity.

I really hope the little ones survive so these hard decisions don't have to be made.

Beruriah said...

My G-d. Why?

Should she see the babies if they have to remove them now before they are considered viable?

Catherine is right. She will probably never get over it - she'll just relearn to live life in a new state of normal. I wish I had held our son for longer, but I recognize that no amount of time would have been enough. No one asked - the pediatrician just brought him to us. I have no idea how your friend will feel, but for me I have no regrets from having held him for a bit, and as time passes, the feeling of love when I see the pictures and remember holding him has begun to overwhelm the pain. In fact, I find the memories and photos comforting when I have my worst moments.

delphi said...

I have no regrets about holding my stillborn son - only regrets that I couldn't hold him longer. We spent hours with him, until we could no longer stay awake and we were afraid that we would drop him (sort of a silly fear). I regret not taking more photos. If you are willing to take photos, get in touch with someone from NILMDTS (http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/) for recommendations on what photos to take. They do such amazing work. You could look through one such portfolio here: http://thejourneyfromhere.spaces.live.com/

All the best of luck. I hope that your friend has a miracle come her way.

Rosepetal said...

Hi V.
I also have never heard of anyone who regretted seeing or holding their stillborn children. Like Catherine, the thought of it, of being so close to death, is more scary than doing it. If it comes to that (which I so hope it doesn't), this is something that you can help your friend prepare for.

When Moksha was born, he was a fullsized baby. But I was so shocked and scared, I didn't hold him for long enough. I wasn't used to newborn babies. Even though he was dead, I was frightened of not doing it right.

I regret not holding him more and more closely. In the first few months afterwards, the guilt I felt at this was overpowering.

My husband took pictures and he felt awkward, as though he was like a paparazzo. But my god, if I didn't have those 13 pictures now, I would be regretting it so much.

A. was born at 16 weeks. I was frightened of seeing him but I knew from my previous experience that I had to. I am so glad I saw him and held him.

Everyone is different. I can only tell you what helped me. If it comes to the worst, encourage and support your friend to see her babies, to hold them and to take pictures of them. To name them. To look at them closely. This is the only time she will ever get with them.

We did not have the benefit of a professional photographer but we had a digital camera and that is what we took our pictures with. A picture of her with the babies is good. The point with the pictures is that you don't have to look at them if you have them. If you don't have them you can never ever get them later.

When I found out that Moksha had died at fullterm I asked my OB for a Caesarean. I could not imagine childbirth when my baby was already dead. I was shocked and frightened but she persuaded me not to and I can say that I am glad. The physical recovery is easier and less painful.

Catherine's words are so true. You never ever get over it. You just learn to live with a different reality, one you scream to reject but which you cannot.

What you can do as a friend is be there for her, in the afterwards as well, do specific things for her rather than generally saying "let me know if I can help".

I so so hope for your friend that all of this advice will not be necessary. Please keep us posted.

(((hugs)))

Birdie said...

As Mama to a stillborn daughter...6 months ago she was born still.

Sweetie, encourage your friend to see and hold her babies for as long as she can.

Also, I suggest contacting the "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" organization for her.....if this all becomes neccesary.

After our daughter Birdie was born, it was SO important to be encouraged to hold her, and have her in our room with us for as long as we could (3 days). Those 3 days were and are sacred, that was our only time to make memories with her, and allow our family to see and hold her.

The photographs that we now have, taken by myself, my husband, family members and a photographer from the NILMDTS organization are so precious, and they help us to remember and grief in a healthy way.

If we had not been encouraged to keep her with us, to hold her, to just be with her...and take photos I fear we would not be in the place we are today.

We can gaze at her photos, remember her beauty...and how it felt to hold our child.

To some this might seem to make the death of a child harder, but truth be told it does not! It is healthy and meaningful, more than you can know at the time you are living that reality, right after the death of your child.

Please encourage your friend and her family to hold those babies, to take photographs......

 
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