Surviving the Loss of My Stillborn Baby by Kelly Calderon
Written by Kelly Calderon.
On November 7, 1992 at 25 weeks gestation, I had an unfortunate occurrence of having a baby girl that weighed 1lb. She was not alive at the time of her birth and is know as a Stillborn baby.
My pregnancy was just like any other pregnancy, with no problems besides the normal morning sickness. I didn’t drink, smoke, do any drugs or take anything unusual, not even aspirin. I was fit at only 125 lbs with no health issues and this still happened to me. I was married and worked at “The Happiest Place on Earth” so no unusual stress to speak of there either.
One Friday night while going to the movies with friends my stomach started cramping and off to the hospital I went. I had to have my daughter with no pain medicine all natural and she was breech, so even that was a rough way to go. The doctor didn’t put me on the maternity floor after delivery because of the other mothers with their babies crying and visitors. He didn’t think that would be a good idea for my mental health.
Struggling to Cope
I didn’t have the courage to look at my daughter because I was horribly afraid of death and dead things. Even though this was my child, I couldn’t look at her or hold her. I just told the nurse to “get that dead thing away from me”. The hospital was very nice and gracious to me they gave me a card with her footprints along with her weight and her hospital band, I suppose they gave her that for morgue. I had the option to name my Stillborn daughter or not, which I did for the death certificate. There was no birth certificate because she was not born alive. I let my husband take care of signing all the paperwork that dealt with her funeral and death certificate.
It wasn’t until years later that I contacted the cemetery I thought she was buried at, for them to tell me she wasn’t there. My husband had in his grief marked the wrong box, he marked the box that donated her body to science! Now that was one horrible day for me! I cried for about a day and listened to gospel songs all day because I had finally mustard up the courage to go to a cemetery and visit my child’s grave. I think that if I found out years earlier I would have been more distraught. We don’t know how or why things happen in our lives, but I do know I am a stronger woman because of the things I have went through.
Why Me? What Went Wrong?
Working at “The Happiest Place on Earth” had it’s difficulties as well. It was very hard seeing those happy families walking around the park while I wondered, “Why Me”? I absolutely love kids, babies and always wanted a family of my own. I had done a lot of soul searching and was asking myself a lot of questions. Was the water too hot that I showered with? Did I clean the tub enough when I took a shower? Had I used too much chemicals when I cleaned? Was there cleaning residue left in the bathtub that somehow got into my body? Maybe it was those hot wings or that curry chicken that I ate? Was it that breakfast I skipped because I was running late for work? All these types of questions lurked in the back of my mind.
We as women ask ourselves ridiculous questions in hopes that we can answer these questions as to why this happened. Did we get enough or too much sleep? Was my morning sickness and vomiting non-stop every morning take a toll on my uterus to affect my baby?
There were questions from women of what happened when they didn’t see me with a baby but knew I was pregnant. There were also stares of the ones who were afraid to ask me anything because of fearing they would upset me. I don’t really know which ones made me feel the most inadequate, even looking back on it all these years later.
I did get the answer to my question “why did this happen to me”? However, it was only after four more miscarriages. I had a Incompetent Cervix, a condition where the cervix starts to dilate when the fetus gets a certain weight and your body tells you it’s time to deliver even though you are not to term.
How Did I Heal After My Loss?
A saying I have is “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed”. If you are hungry but you don’t tell anyone that you are hungry they don’t know to feed you or offer you food. So, in other words if no one knows what you are feeling or going through they can’t offer you any aid to help you.
Even the people closest to you can’t read your mind so if you don’t open up, you can’t get your healing or start feeling better until you do.
I immersed myself in social gatherings and not being by myself for very long periods of time. I noticed being inside away from people only made my depression worse and time to think about my tragedy. I had a great support system of friends and family that were there for me, let me vent, cry, take me out of the house, out to eat, shopping and were just there for me not allowing me to wallow in my own misery.
I didn’t isolate myself away from friends or their kids. It was actually therapeutic for me to be around babies and get to interact and go to birthday parties and baby showers. I started even volunteering in my Church’s Nursery. I began babysitting for friends and single moms to help them out as well. A lot of people thought it would be rude or hurt my feelings to invite someone who lost a baby to social gatherings with or for children. But it is actually the best way to show someone they are not a misfit. A Stillbirth can happen to anyone no matter how careful you are or how healthy you eat or how fit your body is.
Writing in my journal helped me get my feelings out and not keep them bottled up. No one really understood the hurt and the depression I was going through. All of my friends had normal deliveries and left the hospital with a baby, so no one I knew had any idea of what I was going through. There were no support groups that I knew of, just my Christian faith and belief that God would take the pain away and one day bless me with a child or children.
I even started pampering myself to take my mind off my situation by joining a spa for massages and facials on a monthly basis. Traveling was also one of my outlets. I felt being stuck inside the four walls of my house kept me feeling depressed, while going out and enjoying life made me feel better and kept my spirits up. The Bible story that kept me going was the story of Sarah and Abraham.
If God could bless Sarah in her old age with a child then surely he can do the same for me.
God did bless me with a child 7 years after my Stillborn. I am honored to say that I was able to give birth to another daughter, Adrionna she is now 18 years old and I have an 11 year old son named Aiden. Their births took me on another journey. The journey of being a NICU mom.
I had no idea that a post on Facebook would lead me to helping other women that are going through this same issue. I am a very private person, so some of my friends who have known me for years didn’t know that I had this experience. I didn’t speak of it again once I called myself healed of the pain. I just thought it was something I went through in my life and didn’t realize what an impact I could have on the life of someone going through this same issue. Some of our tests or trials in our lives turn out to be our biggest testimony’s.
Stay tuned for Kelly’s NICU Mom story and the miracles of Adrionna and Aiden’s lives.
If you’re interested in more encouraging stories of healing after pregnancy loss check out these inspiring stories on SincerelyMrsMommy.com: Melissa Austin’s story Healing in the Face of Miscarriage and Sarah Davis story Getting Over Infertility and Pregnancy Loss