It is baby loss awareness week. This is a letter written by Cherry to her daughter a month after she lost her at 24 weeks pregnant. It is sad, and may be triggering, but gives us a tiny insight into what losing a baby is like, and that is I think important for us to understand in some small way.
My dearest Baby Angela Zae,
A month ago today, I received the most devastating words I have ever heard in my entire existence – “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat.”
I was speechless, my body’s shaking, and tears run down my cheeks as my OB explained what needs to be done to remove you from my body. I was in denial. I feel like it was just a bad dream. I didn’t even know how I was able to go home after that doctor’s appointment.
On my way home, I couldn’t stop crying. I have a lot of why’s and I was questioning God why this happened. When I finally got home, I wept, even more, when your siblings asked what took my doctor’s appointment so long. I cried my heart out, but it seems like my tears were not enough. Your papa was doing his best to calm me down, but I just couldn’t stop crying. While I was grieving your loss, a part of me was worried sick thinking about where we will get the funds that instant for the hospital and funeral bills. But God was still good, He took care of our financial needs.
When I was finally back to my senses. The first thing I did was to get your sisters’ old receiving blanket and crocheted a beanie and a blanket for you to wear. I felt terrible that I wasn’t even able to buy you any clothes yet. I didn’t want you to feel cold as if you will feel anything once you’re out of my body. I wanted you to feel how much we love you in any possible way I could.
As soon as I was done preparing your stuff and our hospital bag, I called my OB to let her know that your Papa and I decided to go with cesarean delivery instead of trying to get you out the normal way. We’re worried that you might break into pieces because you’re still too small and your body is still soft as the doctor explained, plus a normal delivery would also be too risky for me.
We have also decided for me to undergo bilateral tubal ligation. After what happened to you, I don’t think I will ever be emotionally capable of carrying another child. Your loss has been traumatic for me. Until now I still ask myself every night what I could have done wrong. Even though my OB already explained that your case was a congenital anomaly and that there were many factors involved in why you didn’t develop properly, I still thought that maybe, just maybe, I could have done something to prevent it. I couldn’t sleep the whole night thing about you.
The next morning, I tried my best not to break down. I didn’t want your siblings to see me hurting, I know they feel sad too. I did everything to look strong for our family, but deep inside, my heart is broken into million pieces.
We were scheduled to go to the hospital at 4 pm that day. While waiting, I kept myself busy looking for funeral homes and cemeteries for your final resting place. Never in my life have I imagined myself planning for a funeral before giving birth. And then I texted my OB and told her I wanted to be awake during the operation. I requested for them not to make me fall asleep so that I could see you for the first and last time.
It’s been the longest day of my life, taking care of a lot of things and at the same time making sure your siblings will be okay while your papa and I are in the hospital. I didn’t know what I should do first, one minute I was crying, and another minute I was contacting people for help for your funeral. Your papa is also doing a handful. He had to do grocery shopping so that your siblings will have everything they need while we were away. He also did some last-minute computer fixing and trained your brothers on how to attend zoom meetings for their online school.
When we were finally at the hospital, everything started to sink in. To say I was scared was an understatement. I gave birth to all four of your siblings via Normal Spontaneous Delivery and it was the first time I underwent a major operation. I fear that something bad might happen to me. It was another night of crying and praying.
Then the morning of my operation came. I was scheduled at 8 am but the nurses came early, around 6:30, and started to prep me. At 7 am, they took me to the operating room. I glanced at your Papa one last time before they closed the door. Everything happened too quickly after that. I didn’t have the chance to be scared anymore as the operating staff were busy prepping me.
When I saw my OB, the anesthesiologist, and the surgeon, I silently prayed, “This is it. Lord, let Your will be done.” Fear started to consume me. I fell in and out of consciousness the whole time. I felt like I was hallucinating, I saw flashbacks and images of different people, but I could still hear the nurses and doctors talking. Then images of your siblings crossed my mind. At that moment, I felt a string of courage. I told myself that I needed to overcome this at all costs. I have to be strong; I need to come out of the operating room alive for your Papa, and your siblings.
When I woke up in the recovery room, I couldn’t remember my OB showing you to me. She said she did, she even told me my eyes were open when she carried you near me, but I couldn’t remember a thing. I didn’t know how that happened, probably because of the anesthesia. I felt bad that I wasn’t able to touch or kiss you. Even when I was already back in my room, I still wasn’t able to do so. Your papa wouldn’t let me sit down so I could see you in your tiny box, he said I will just end up crying again. He just took a video of you instead so I could see what you looked like. You were so pretty, my love. Not fully developed yet but for me you’re perfect.
A few hours later, the funeral staff came in to take you. They said they’d put you in the morgue first so that your little body wouldn’t start to decompose because you wouldn’t be cremated until 9 am the following morning. Unluckily, we weren’t able to find any open cemetery nearby and all funeral homes that your Papa contacted could only do cremation service due to the ongoing community quarantine. We didn’t have any choice but to have you cremated. The only consolation we have was we can bring you home with us immediately.
The next morning, your papa had to leave me in the hospital to go to the crematorium and attend to your cremation. It was another heartbreaking moment; I wasn’t there for you. My OB wouldn’t allow me to leave the hospital 24 hours post operation. I was alone in the hospital for almost two hours crying and grieving quietly. No words can describe the pain I felt at that time, and when I was finally able to hold your urn, it was overwhelming. I was supposed to hold a baby in my arms, not an urn. I kept asking God why I had to go through all the pain of giving birth to you and then be left empty-handed. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t worth it.
Even though a month has already passed, it is still painful as day one, my love. I don’t know how long this will take or if this pain will ever go away. Not a day has passed that I don’t think of you. I mourn not only for losing my baby but also for losing the future you. I can’t help but think of too many what if’s. What if we didn’t lose you? What if you’re still inside Mama’s tummy? I wonder what you would look like when you grow older. I wish I was given the chance to hold and kiss you. I would trade the world for just a minute with you.
I have too many what if’s but no definite answers. I guess I’ll just be contented holding and kissing your urn for now, until I can do so when we meet again in heaven.
Fly high my Angel Star. You may no longer be with us physically, but you will be in our hearts until eternity. We love you so so much, my Baby Zae.
Love and kisses from here to heaven.
Missing you every day,
Here at Hoopsy we send our love to all the Mamas and Papas out there who have lost a baby too soon. We can’t understand how horrible it was for you, but we do care xxx