Today’s Mommy Story comes from one of my newest blogger friends, Jin of Love, Loss, and Lacquer. She is an awesome young woman who exemplifies the meaning of the word perseverance.
Here, Jin tells the birth story of her daughter Jolie, born July 2, 2011:
Becoming a mother is something that I’ve always dreamt of. To our surprise, we found out in early 2011 that we were expecting our first child who we would later learn was a little girl. I decided to name her Jolie, which in French means “pretty”. Like any other expectant mother, I began planning my future around her and imagined all the things we’d do together. Unfortunately, my dream came to an abrupt end in a way that no one can prepare for.
On Saturday July 2, 2011, my daughter Jolie was born after spending just 23 weeks and 5 days in gestation at around 5 pm. After waking up in pain (which I later realized was labor ) and two trips to the hospital that morning, in which I was cleared both times to go home, my water broke in the bathroom at my sister’s house. As everyone scrambled in horror and panic to get me to the hospital, my body immediately began to push her out before my sister could get me cleaned up. Before I knew it, baby was born as I sat on the couch into her father’s arms as my sister called 911.
Jolie was born alive, and I watched her wiggle her fingers and toes. Because her lungs weren’t developed enough, she didn’t cry. She was so beautiful. The ambulance quickly arrived, cut the umbilical cord and had my husband wrap her up with a towel before whisking her away to the ambulance. I was quickly wrapped up as well and wheeled to the ambulance to an entire street of onlookers. We arrived at my hospital within the minute and my husband quickly carried our daughter to the awaiting doctors in the emergency room. I was wheeled into the emergency room where the entire staff stared at me in disbelief before I was quickly surrounded by doctors and nurses – two of which had sent me home earlier. I felt like I was in a movie or dreaming. My shirt was being cut off me, IV’s stuck in my arm and I was being asked a million questions only responding by asking if my baby was ok. I was told she was doing great and breathing on her own.
I was sent to the recovery room where all my family and friends quickly joined me. At this point because I was being told how great she was doing, I was mentally preparing my mind to having to have her stay for the next few months at a nearby hospital that specialized in premature babies. A short while later, two doctors came in and instructed everyone except the baby’s parents to leave and that’s when I knew things took a turn for the worse. I was told that because she was born so early, her body was starting to shut down and she wasn’t responding to anything. I asked if she would make it through the night, and the doctor shook his head no. I can’t remember the rest of the conversation as my husband and I both broke down at that point. I had the doctors tell my awaiting family and friends who came back into the room crying. At another point I was asked if we wanted to see her, and was taken by wheelchair to her. She was hooked up to a million machines and there was blood all over the table. I was told her organs were shutting down and she was bleeding out. I kept hearing the blood pressure machine dropping. I held her hand and smiled because I couldn’t believe this was the little girl I’d been growing in my body…and then I cried because I knew she was dying. I was taken back to my room. After a while everyone left after they prayed…I can’t remember if the doctors told them to leave..or my dad…I was in my own world. I had a nurse come into to help me go to bathroom and at that point the doctor came in again, I knew he was coming to tell me that she died. I saw him talk to my husband who turned his back to me, and then he left. When I got back in bed I asked my husband if she was gone and he told me yes. I can’t remember if I cried. The doctor came back in and told me that she “expired at 9:56pm”. I lost it. I don’t remember what happened after that.
A little while later I was asked if we wanted to spend time with her. I said no. In my mind, there was no way I could see my dead baby. A short time later I was asked again, we were told that parents are helped with closure by doing so, I said yes this time. At some point the nurse brought her in on the little cart. She was dressed in an outfit and still had the breathing tube in her mouth. The nurse gave her to me and after one look I said I couldn’t do it and handed her to my husband. He talked to her and gave her a kiss. Finally I felt ok. I held her, kissed her, told her I loved her and cried. She looked so peaceful. She just looked like she was sleeping. But I knew she wasn’t going to wake up. After a while it became too much and I had the nurse take her. I wish I spent more time with her and I wish I did have the nurse take a picture of the three of us like she asked but holding my deceased daughter was too overwhelming in that moment.
Jolie was cremated a few weeks later and her autopsy showed she died only because she was born extremely prematurely – no infection. Following her death, I became severely depressed and withdrawn. It was clear to myself and those around that I was not getting any better as the months went on. A medical professional recommended that I sought professional help, and after months of procrastination, I finally did. I was diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), which helped my husband and I understand and deal with all the symptoms that I was experiencing. Though therapy, holding on to my Faith more than ever and being surrounding with the most incredible support system, I started to slowly get back to being me.
At present time, I’m expecting my second baby – a little boy this time. Having another baby will never take the place of Jolie, but I’m so grateful to have been given this second chance at motherhood. Mentally it’s a strange place to be in, because we are still mourning our daughter yet we are so excited for the arrival of her little brother.
There is no way to prepare for what we’ve experienced, but through Christ we’ve found clarity, acceptance and peace. I thank you for taking the time to read my story.
Jin’s story reminds me that there is a God and He makes no mistakes. Her strength and perseverance and willingness to share are a blessing to me. I can remember first meeting her at a CurlBox event in July. She was full of life, smiling radiantly, working the room. At the time we were both around 4 months pregnant. I later found out about her blog, Love, Loss and Lacquer and read Jolie’s story. Jin was one of the first women I had in mind when I came up with the idea to share birth stories. She has been a great resource during my pregnancy; always posting updates and giving great ideas for expecting moms. She is a fellow naturalista and enjoys beauty and fashion more than I do! Her blog is more than just mommy-t0-be talk, it’s her lifestyle space.
I can remember praying that we both got past the 23 week mark and praying that all went well. Even during my two recent visits to Labor & Delivery, I thought of her (I’ll blog about that later). I will continue to pray that God blesses her family in their upcoming pregnancy. I know that her daughter’s short life had purpose and Jin is doing an awesome job of sharing that purpose on Love, Loss and Lacquer.
Thanks again, Jin.
FYI: November 13 was the start of Prematurity Awareness Month sponsored by the March of Dimes. November 17 was World Prematurity Day. As a former premature baby (who beat the odds, Thank God), I urge you to visit the March of Dimes site for more information on the premature birth rate in the United States and abroad.
Until next time, Be Blessed and Live Well