Original Date: 2-2-10
February 3, 2002 I gave birth to a perfect little 6lbs7oz girl. I named her Zoe Rayanne. She was perfect in every way. Ten fingers and toes, dark hair, and the sweetest eyes I’d ever seen.
Zoe was the product of a relationship gone badly. Her father and I broke up when I was only 9 weeks pregnant. He was scared and didn’t want the reasonability of a child. During my pregnancy I would try and call him or give updates through mutual friends. He would say that it wasn’t his kid. He knew it was his child but would lie to our friends to keep them off his back. He called me a slut more than once. I guess this made him feel better. It took me a few months to realize that he wasn’t going to change. By my 3rd trimester I was ok with having my baby on my own. I had my family to help me and I was a strong determined women. I also had a 5 year old DD to worry about.
February 2, 2002 – We were having a birthday party for my 5 year old when I started having some labor pains. Her b-day is Jan. 31st. So here I am with a house full of screaming girls and going into labor. This was a sleep over so we had the party, got the girls ready for bed. My best friend stayed with them and my mom took me to the hospital. The doctor checked me and said “yep, we’re having a baby”. She was a few weeks early, but he said everything would be fine. At 10:23 the next morning she was here. My little brother who was 18 at the time was my stand in dad. He cut the cord and was my strength through it all. She was perfect! We had the normal stay in the hospital for a day and then went home. The first night was a little too easy. She wasn’t a crier. She woke a few times to be fed and then she was right back to sleep. I made remarks at the time that she had the best temperament. She was calm and didn’t really cry. The next day (3days old) she was sleeping and I knew something wasn’t right. She would sleep for long periods at a time and I would have to wake her up to feed her. She also wasn’t latching on (I was breastfeeding). So I went to the store to buy a pump. While I was gone my mom said she noticed that her breathing was real slow. I took her to the ER right away. They started running tests and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. She was lethargic and non responsive. That night was the beginning of a very long journey. She was sent to another hospital with a better NICU and they still had no clue what was going on. By her 6th day she was transferred to a children’s hospital and put on something called ECMO, this is baby life support. She was unresponsive and they could only think that she had contracted a virus and weren’t sure what if anything they could do to reverse what had already happen to her body. On her 8th day of life the doctors came to me and said that she had suffered extensive brain damage. She was brain dead and I needed to make the decision to take her off of life support. This was by far the worst thing anyone has ever said to me. I alone had to make this very powerful decision to end my child’s life. By now news had spread through our friends that the baby was in the hospital and he shows up to inform me that he has a say in what was is going on. So being the mature and caring person I am I held back the fact that he hadn’t been there for all the months’ prier and tell him that I had decided to take her off life support the next day. He insists that he hear everything from the doctors for himself. After a clear explanation from the doctors we deicide that removing her is the only option we have. Also let me be clear that this wasn’t a decision that was made lightly. I’m a firm believer in the pursuit of life. I believe that if she had not been declared brain dead I would have left her on there forever if that’s what it took. I at one point I told the hospital staff that I didn’t care if I had to change her diapers for the rest of her life, just make her better.
On February 12, 2002, I took Zoe in my arms. She was nine days old now and I hadn’t held her in six days. I held her as they removed the machines and stopped all the IV’s. The mood was calm and peaceful. 28 minutes later she drew in her last breath. I look back now thankful that I was there to welcome this angel into the world and I was there to send her out. She was at peace.
The next few days were a blur. Funeral arrangements, the music, the flowers, the officiator, and all those details that you never think you will have to do with a child. These weeks were supposed to be a time of cute and cuddly things. Finishing up final touches to her room. Showing her off to my friends. Talking about how much she looked like her sister. Laughing about all those sleepless nights.
Going through this changed me. It made me stand back and look at the world in a new way. I used to be petty. I used to think that I was weak. I used to think that love alone could protect my child. I used to think that I needed a man to complete me. I used to believe that I had to be perfect. I truly know sadness now and all the other things just don’t add up. I know now that I am a strong, determined mother who has been to the bottom and some how came out of it alive.
I spent weeks and months feeling sorry for myself. I got all the normal “oh I’m so sorry for your lose” comments from everyone I knew. Everyone made a point to remind me that she was in a better place. Oh and the big one was “everything happens for a reason”. You know all those things you’re supposed to say to some one who’s suffered a loss of a loved one. I confess that I hated it all. I would think in the back of mind “how and why do you care”, “no one knows what I’m going through”, “screw that better place she was supposed to be with me.” I was bitter. I was hurting. I was mad. I went through all the stages of grief.
The day it all changed was the day my 5 year old climbed in my lap and said, “Mommy, I love you. I’m still here” then I knew that I had more to live for than I had remembered. She needed me to be strong. She needed me to be her mommy. We had both lost some one and she was just as hurt as I was. Along with losing a sister she was slowly losing her mommy. By then we had moved back home with my mom and I had taken a leave at work. Months of lying in the bed crying about it had almost killed me. I realized that I had to do something. I searched for support groups in my area and found nothing that dealt with infant loss. I wrote journals. I went to church. I was looking for something to fix what had been broken. My mom said I needed love. I went out with friends. I tried but nothing and no one was going to fix my broken heart. I had mended enough to take care of my child and also go back to work, but there was still something missing.
So here I was a single mom alone with a broken heart. I had a friend that had been my friend for years. He was in the waiting room when Zoe was born and he was there when she died. He was purely my friend. Months after her death he and I started hanging out more. He was originally my brothers friend so I kind of thought of him as my brother. He and I started talking about life and what we wanted, come to find out we had more in common than we ever knew. He was the strength I needed. Friendship grew into a love I had never known. He and I were inseparable from that point. 7.5 years have passed and we’re still together. He is the most caring man I have ever known. He knew me before the tragedy of losing my child, he knew me before I was tarnished my bitterness. He was the one to help me find my way out of the dark places that my mind would wonder. He is also the best role model for my daughter. It took him a few years to convince me to marry him, but March 1st we’ll celebrate our 2 year anniversary. Jan. 2009 we decided to start another chapter of our lives. The pain of losing Zoe had healed enough that he and I were ready to start TTC. I wanted him to experience having a child of his own. One year later here I am. I cry every month when AF shows up. It’s like losing my baby all over again. The failure of another month gone by and still no BFP. Through it all DH stays positive and optimistic. Once again he is my strength. He makes me smile everyday with the simple gestures. He leaves me a note taped to the bathroom mirror saying he loves me. He calls during the day just to say hello. He is incredible at finding ways to make me smile.
Though I’ve been dealt some bad hands in life I’ve also been given the best prizes. I have a beautiful 13 year old daughter, a loving and wonderful husband, and a sweet guardian angel baby to watch over us all.