My contractions started around 5pm and got steadily stronger. By 7:30pm we were checked into the hospital. Even on the drive there, my version of a "worst-case" scenario was a c-section and a premie in the NICU. We just thought everything would be fine. My doctor had declared the baby "perfect" at our last appointment.
But the doctors at the hospital couldn't find her heartbeat, and they told us that our baby girl had died.
Less than an hour later, she was born.
I had a short, unmedicated, relatively easy delivery, and Eliza was born weighing 3lbs and 9oz, 18 inches long. Developmentally, she was exactly where she should have been for 34 weeks. All tests on her determined that she was perfect. All of our (extensive) tests came back normal.
There's simply no explanation for why her little heart stopped beating, why she slipped away from us, the baby girl we loved and wanted so much.
Eliza was part of our lives from the very moment we saw two pink lines, and we never expected our story would take this turn. We're still navigating through the sorrow and the anger and the grief, but we're not blind to the gifts that have come our way as well--especially in the form of kind words from friends and strangers who've come across this blog.
If you're here because of baby loss, I'm so terribly sorry. It's the most fucking unfair thing in the world. I know nothing can give you the comfort you really need, but it did help me to discover that I wasn't alone. And not only that, but actually in really good (though obviously miserable) company -- it turns out that bereaved parents are not defined only by their heartbreak (although it can feel that way), but are otherwise smart, funny, witty, and charming people. It helped me to discover that, somehow, those qualities continue to exist, even if they're muted or twisted for a while.
One of the things that saved me in the early days (besides therapy and mindless television) was reaching out and connecting with other parents who were walking the same path on a similar timeline, or a little bit ahead of me. I started with blogs and commenters at Glow in the Woods and connected with more people through the Stirrup Queen.
If you want to start at the beginning of Eliza's story, you can go to the archives and begin reading in December 2010.
If you're here because you know me, or you know someone suffering a loss, or you're just a curious blog troller who doesn't know how you ended up here, you're welcome too. I'm not sure I have any brilliant insights to share with you, but in addition to grieving my daughter, there's plenty of complaining about the general unfairness of life, sharing DIY mishaps with various projects, discussing my love for questionable-quality television programming, and detailing the many idiosyncrasies of my dogs, and talking about parenting a charming and incorrigible toddler, so I like to think there's a little something for everyone. Well, maybe it's more of an acquired taste...
This blog used to be trivial and fun and then it became something else entirely. In the possibly misquoted or entirely invented words of a country song, it ain't pretty, but it's real. More than anything, this blog has helped me work through my grief by naming it and owning it, and I welcome your comments and insights. I debated whether or not to write about Eliza, but I've found it's worth putting my heart and soul out on the interwebz because sometimes you really do get back what you give.