Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Beginning of the End

I have struggled to decide how much I want to share on the blog.  I don't want to turn our private tragedy into some kind of public spectacle.  I didn't get the time I wanted with Eliza, so I feel resistant about sharing her with the rest of the world.  But if she had lived, I would have written all about her.  Ad nauseum.  So I talked to David about it.  And he thought it was a good idea to tell her story.  All of it.

The only thing is, what do you say about a baby who never lived?  That she was born beautiful and perfect and not breathing?  That her heartbeat just disappeared?  That her parents fell in love with her only to get their hearts broken before she ever reached her due date?

Her name is Eliza Taylor Duckworth.

She was born Monday, December 6th at 8:42pm.

She weighed 3 pounds, 9 ounces.

There was nothing wrong with her.

Except she was dead.

All day, I felt fine.  Absolutely fine.  Better than fine.  Sure, I was definitely getting more tired.  And yes, my feet were definitely getting swollen by the end of the day.  Elephant feet, I called them.  Ugly and uncomfortable.  But Monday was a good day.  First day of my last week of classes.  I was so excited about the end of the semester.  Yes, I still had a batch of grading to get through, but I was so looking forward to washing baby clothes and sheets and organizing the nursery and the closet and finishing Christmas shopping.  I'd been talking about it for weeks.

My classes went well.  I was even feeling like a competent teacher.  In my last class of the day, I felt some tightening/movement sensations in my abdomen that made me feel like I had to go to the bathroom.  I got home and went and figured that was the end of it.  

I changed clothes to be ready to go to prenatal yoga.  Before I left, I made myself sit down with a stack of essays, thinking I’d get at least a couple of them out of the way.

As I was making comments, the tight feeling in my stomach happened again.  Only now it was low back pain and cramping.  I picked up one of my pregnancy reference books and read the part about pre-term labor.  It said that if you feel contractions (“a tightening of the abdomen”) that you should drink a big glass of water, lie down, and time them.
I followed those instructions about 5pm.  I was freaked out to discover that the feelings were coming about 6 minutes apart and pretty regular.  Also, they were getting increasingly painful and then I started feeling like I had to go to the bathroom again at the end of each one.  But when I’d go to the bathroom, nothing would happen.  I didn't actually have to go.  And there was no blood, no water breaking, nothing.

David got home around 5:30.  I’m not sure he thought I was serious at first.  I told him I thought I was having contractions but since the feelings I was experiencing didn’t match the description of pre-term labor contractions, I just wasn’t sure.  Looking back, we realize that I was experiencing the feelings of late first-stage labor—the feeling of having to go to the bathroom was actually my body almost getting ready to push.  All those books I read, and we were just clueless about what was happening.  Nothing had prepared us for this.

Still, we knew something was going on.  David called our Bradley instructor and she said we should get checked out.  David called the hospital exchange and our doula also.  My doctor called us back and recommended that we head up to the hospital to get checked out.

On the way to the hospital, David said, "You know everything is going to be ok, right?"
My contractions were pretty painful, but I smiled at him.  "Yeah, I know."

We joked about this being our "practice run" to the hospital.  Just so we'd be sure to know what we were doing next time--when it was for real.

We checked into the hospital at 7:39pm.  They had us sit down and wait a little bit.  My contractions at this point were agonizing.  I couldn’t talk during them at all.  We were sitting by the labor and delivery elevators, watching people walk out with “It’s a Girl” balloons.  One guy passed by us and smiled and said “Good luck!”  I was trying to relax and breathe through the contractions.

We got to the labor room and the nurse had me take off my pants and get under a blanket.  She put the Doppler thing on my belly to find the heartbeat.   

It wasn’t there.  

She called the doctor on staff to bring the ultrasound machine, telling us that the doctor would be able to find “good heart tones.”  All through this, I was continuing to have contractions that made it difficult to lie on my back.  The lower back pain was so intense I wanted to roll over on my side.  I kept thinking if I could just hold still, she would have been able to find the heartbeat.  

The doctor came in with the ultrasound machine.  She moved around the ultrasound thingy on my stomach and I moaned through another contraction.  They had hooked me up to an IV at this point.  I did not want an IV, but I was still thinking at this point that they were going to give me drugs to stop the contractions and that is what Baby Duck needed.  So I did not protest the IV.

I had to roll over in the middle of the ultrasound because of a contraction and I thought maybe I hadn’t given her enough time to find the heartbeat.  It didn't matter.
The doctor looked at us and said, “I can’t find a heartbeat.  I’m sorry to tell you this.  I don’t know when, but your baby died.”

Then I vomited off the side of the bed.

They did a cervical exam.  I was fully dilated.  I told the doctor I thought the baby was lying sideways across my stomach.  She said no, the head was presenting.

My biggest fear on the way to the hospital had been that I was going to have a c-section and a premature baby who would be in the NICU.

How quickly my "biggest fear" was replaced by my own personal hell.

My own doctor got there about that time.  He asked me when I had last felt the baby move.  It was Saturday night, when David’s grandparents were here—I had David’s grandma feel Baby Duck kicking me in the ribs after we left the store.  We were so busy Sunday and Monday was a work day, and I honestly hadn’t paid much attention.  What if I had noticed that she wasn't moving?

I was continuing to have severe contractions and I was yelling at David to put pressure on my low back.  He and the nurse both pushed on my back and it helped.  The nurse asked if I wanted an epidural.  She told me--or maybe told David--that sometimes relieving the physical pain helps with the mental pain.

That sounded like the most insane thing I had ever heard.  The physical pain--as intense as it was--was a distraction.  At the same time, it hurt so much and I couldn't see the point of not having an epidural.  I was so intent on a natural childbirth because I thought it would be the best thing for me and the baby.  And now?  What was the point?  I didn't care what happened to me and the baby was already dead.

David leaned down and asked me if I was sure.  And in the short pause between contractions, I thought about the strong possibility that it could slow down my labor.  I couldn't let this drag on longer than necessary.  Plus, I was already so helpless, already such a pawn, that I didn't want to lose further control.

So I refused the epidural.

It felt good to say no, to have a firm answer.
So I refused the anti-nausea medication.
I refused the narcotics.

I ended up on my hands and knees, which the nurse encouraged since my back was hurting so much.  I was crouching on the bed with the blanket over me and the nurse kept saying to listen to my body and do what it said.  So I started pushing.  It was the most agonizing moment of all.  I yelled out, “Oh my God, it hurts so much!” and then I groaned through two pushes and the baby was out.  I'd been at the hospital 63 minutes.

I saw her--gray, lifeless.  There was blood.  I was surprised there was blood.  I had torn just a little--it didn't require stitches.

It was so sudden, that moment when the physical pain was gone, and after the initial relief, I missed it.  It required all my focus and kept my mind off the realization that my daughter was dead.

The nurse had her over in the warmer.  It was such a parody of the way things were supposed to happen.  They wanted to know if I wanted to hold her.  They were saying she was beautiful when I’d already seen how horrible she’d looked.  I kept saying that this was a nightmare.  My doctor just kept nodding in agreement.

We weren't sure we wanted to name her.  The name we had chosen was for a live baby.  I wasn't sure I wanted to hold her.  It seemed too morbid, too horrible.  I wasn't sure we wanted pictures taken.  Who would ever want to look at them?

Thank God our nurse gently encouraged us to do all of those things.  I am so grateful to her.
It was still a terrible parody of the way things were supposed to be, but it was the best we could do at the time.

We held her, wrapped in the blankets, cold and strange looking.  Her poor little face was smushy and her head was full of fluid that her little heart never pumped around.  Her hands and feet were perfect though—so perfect.  Long, tapered fingers and long little toes, too.  They looked just like mine.

At first I didn’t want to look at her.  Watching David hold her and rock her made me feel crazy.  How could she be dead?  Why was he bothering to rock a dead baby?  From where I sat, you couldn’t see her, so it looked like any father rocking his newborn.  Except David was crying instead of the baby.

He looked up at me at one point and said, “I just want her to start crying.”

Instead, we both cried and she stayed silent.

There was all kinds of paperwork to fill out and they took a full medical history again.  Our nurse was so kind about everything.  It was hard to process.

Professional photographers came and took pictures of Eliza. I still wasn't sure, but I agreed.  The nurse promised me I didn't have to look at the photos if I didn't want to.

Later, after some of the shock had worn off, I did want to hold her.  I wanted her bassinet next to me in the bed.  I kept feeling her fine, papery, wrinkly skin.  It was so cold.  I kept touching her tiny, perfect fingers.  They were so cold and my hands felt so hot.  I kept thinking, if only I could warm her up.  If only I could warm up her fingers.

I wanted to memorize her.  Even the saddest of details.  Her head was misshapen (even in the tiny little hat) and sometimes blood would drip out of her nose.  I wiped it away as gently as I could.  Her lips were dark from lack of oxygen.  Her eyes were sunken and closed.  But as I held her and touched her ever so gently, her soft, papery, delicate skin, I saw only how absolutely beautiful she was.  How beautiful she would have been.  I kept telling her how sorry I was.  Sorry that I couldn’t keep her alive and safe.  Sorry that my body failed her somehow.  Sorry that she didn’t get a chance.

34 weeks is supposed to be the time you let out a sigh of relief.  Most babies born at 34 weeks have relatively few complications and maybe just spend a few days in the NICU.  Eliza never got a chance.

She had the tiniest bit of dark hair--baby fuzz, really--that the nurses said looked like the sort that would turn blond.  Both David and I were blond babies.

I held her and rocked her and told her how much we loved her.  I told her that if my love could have kept her alive, it would.  I told her that I wished it had been me instead of her.
David was kind of freaked out by that.  He was so scared that I wouldn’t be OK.  I remember him asking lots of question in an authoritative voice, during and after labor, questions about me and whether I would be all right.  He was very strong throughout the entire ordeal, but then it was dark and we were alone and there was nothing left to do except cling to each other and sob. 

I told Eliza that we had such big plans for her.  That we were supposed to have such great times together.  I kept telling her that we love her.

I assured her that I tried to do everything right.  I read every reference book!  I kept track of the grams of protein I was eating.  I exercised--walking the dog, prenatal yoga, prenatal pilates.  We practiced our relaxation exercises.  I cut out almost all processed foods and only ate organic produce.  No caffeine.  I was careful about shampoo, lotion, make up.  I bought ridiculously expensive body wash because it was “natural” and didn’t contain crazy chemicals.  I never ate out of microwaved plastic containers.  I watched my sodium intake.  I wanted to do every single thing I could to give her the best start possible.

And it still wasn’t enough.

They have no idea what went wrong.  We’re having an autopsy done and they drew all kinds of blood from me to run tests and try to get some answers.  The doctors said in cases like this, there often aren’t any answers.

The blood draw didn’t scare me.  I didn’t feel light headed or freaked out by the needle.  Why would I be afraid of something as stupid as a needle?  I don’t think I’ll ever be afraid of anything again.  Not when my greatest fear of all time was already realized.

Dr. Wasserman stopped by very early the next morning.  I told him we wanted to go home and he signed my discharge papers.  We’d been at the hospital less than 12 hours.  In less than 12 hours we had and lost our baby girl and got dressed and drove home.

It’s so profoundly fucking unfair.

As we sat on the sofa, numb, staring into space, waiting for my parents to get here, I told David that it sounded sick and morbid, but I wished we could have brought her with us.  I wanted to hold her lifeless little body.  I feel so empty. 

I want my baby.

I walked into the hospital with a baby in my belly and I left the hospital clutching a plastic bag of mementos.

You know what kind of mementos are left behind by  a baby who never lived?

A crocheted hat.
A couple of blankets that still smell like baby powder.
A stupid fake flower they might have used in some of the photographs.
Tiny little footprints and handprints.  So heartbreakingly perfect.
Black and white photographs of her heartbroken parents holding her tiny little body.
Pamphlets about grief.

That’s all.
It’s not nearly enough.


  1. It is so profoundly fucking unfair. There is no other way to describe it. What an absolutely horrible experience. It's every parent's worst nightmare. I am so, very sorry, again.

  2. http://infertilityrocks.wordpress.comDecember 14, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    Oh my dear, I'm coming from the comment you just posted on my blog to lend you a hand. I know that I'm sorry is a crappy excuse for something to say. It shouldn't be that you lost Eliza. It shouldn't be. You did nothing wrong...tell yourself that even when you don't believe it...it will take eventually.

    Please come over to "glow in the woods.com" to visit with other babylost moms. You'll find kindred spirits there to hold your shock and anger and grief.

    Those photographs will be so much to you, I promise. I'm so glad you had them taken.

    Eliza DID live. She lived in you her whole life. You cradled her and sang to her and rubbed her and joke with her. She knew you well, I'm sure of it.

    Go gentle with yourself and do what feels right, whatever that is in these coming days.

    And write, write, write. I can see you make beautiful words. Let them guide you down this horrible road.

    Many hugs and blessings to you,


  3. Brooke, Eliza lived a short life with you BUT she did live. Thanks for being such a loving mommy to her while she was with you. And thanks for allowing us share your love and grief. We love you.

  4. Brooke, I can't begin to imagine or understand what you and David are going through. Since last week, I have been at a loss to come up with anything to say that I thought would be of any comfort to you. Words simply aren't enough, though I'm sure nothing is.

    Please remember that you and David are not alone and you have the prayers and support of your family and friends, especially Brooke L. and I. Anything you two need, just ask. We'll be here for you.

  5. It is fucking unfair. And I'm just so sorry. I hate that this happened to you, and I know whereof I speak: we lost our 2nd child 7 years ago this New Year's Eve and I know too well the hell you are going through.

    It will get better, but not for a long, long time. You will never get over this, though people will try to tell you otherwise, even want you to "get over it." You won't. You will change, your life will change, but Eliza will always be part of your life, part of you. She will always be your little girl.

    Hugs to you...

  6. So unfair. Thinking of you an your family.

  7. Brooke, no words can express how sorry I am for ur and duck lost. My heart breaks for u guys. Please know that u guys are in devan and I prayers!!!!

    Jennifer and devan

  8. Brooke, I've been thinking of you and your husband. There are just so many questions, and so few answers. None of it makes sense. And it hurts. Hurts to be a parent but to not know where your baby is, and why. It goes against all instinct and it leaves behind this kind of befuddled confusion that will last the rest of life.

    You will breathe again, though. Things will ease, and open up, and you'll smile when you think of her. You'll stretch out and occupy this new mother-self. It takes time. Sometimes more than you'd like. But you'll get there, both of you. For now, just sit with every day and know that all of it - how you feel, what you regret, all the what-ifs - it's normal. It's not always rational, but it's normal.

    All my love to you both, and thinking of little Eliza.

  9. It's so profoundly unfair it makes my head hurt.

    Thinking of you and Eliza.

  10. Today, I was talking to a friend who delivered her baby dead at 32 weeks. She told me that she felt like God had abandoned her but that she was able to find God in the people around her. Your nurse is a perfect example of that. We love you.

  11. I've read this post 3 times and cannot get over how eerily similar our days were. I don't really believe in the whole heaven story, but I want to believe so much that Eliza and Max are somewhere looking out for each other.

    Thinking of you daily,

  12. i'm so glad you shared eliza's story with us. i can't believe how quickly everything went wrong for you.

    it's not fair. it's not fair. you did everything right. she should still be alive in your belly.

    thinking of you.

  13. oh, no. i am so sorry for your loss. thinking of sweet baby eliza.

  14. I am so sorry for you and your husband's loss.

  15. If only love was enough to have kept your Eliza alive she would be, because it's clear how very much you loved her. It's so unfair, and I have no words of wisdom about how to cope. I hope you find comfort soon. So sorry for your loss.

  16. I am so, so sorry Brooke. My heart aches for you.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us - in a way, I hope that by reading it we can all take on even just a bit of the overwhelming grief for you right now. And none of us will ever forget Eliza or about how very much she was and will always be loved.

  17. Here from Eve's blog. I'm so profoundly sorry for your loss. My heart breaks for your family. I will keep you, your husband and your daughter Eliza in my thoughts and prayers.

  18. You are so right. It isn't nearly enough. It will never be enough and there will be moments far into the future when you will still be so incredibly angry that it is all that you have.
    It is still so very raw and unnerving. A parody of what it should be, like you mentioned. All you can do right now is sit in this grief and feel whatever comes to you and do whatever feels right.
    I am so sorry that this happened. It is not fair. It really isn't.

    Thinking of you and Eliza.

  19. Much sympathy to your family--how very, very sad. Sometimes, life is just out of anyone's control. How frustrating to know you've done everything right and took such magnificent care of Eliza in your womb, but God still called her home so early.

  20. Here from LFCA.

    There are no words to adequately express how unfair this is. My deepest sympathy to you and your family.

  21. i found your blog on LFCA. i'm so so sorry for the loss of your precious little girl. it is so unfair, you are right. this is a pain that no one should have to feel. i understand exactly how you feel. and i'm so sorry. ((hugs)) i'm sending you all of my love and holding you and your hubby close to my heart.

  22. Here from LCFA. I don't have the words to express how sorry I am and how unfair this is, but I am hurting and crying for you. You and your husband will be in my thoughts.

    My sister lost a baby, and I understand the unfairness of having just a few mementos to remember her by. At the same time, I am grateful to have a few physical things. I hope in time these things will bring you comfort.

  23. Here from LFCA. I am so sorry for the loss of your little girl. My daughter was stillborn 12 years ago when I was 26 weeks pregnant, and I still think of her every single day, & how different my life was supposed to be. It DOES get better, eventually, I promise. But it takes a long time to feel anywhere approaching "normal" again -- a lot longer than most people think. I'm glad you found Glow in the Woods -- there weren't any blogs 12 years ago, but I did find support online, & it was a godsend to me. I hope it will be for you too.

  24. My heart is aching for you... I'm so incredibly sad and angry for you.

    Sending virtual hugs, and thoughts and prayers.


  25. I'm weeping with you right now. Eliza should be alive in your arms right now. Much love to you and your husband.


  26. Here from LFCA to say I'm so very sorry for your loss. Your post was heartbreakingly familiar, I also lost my daughter to preterm labor very quickly and unexpectedly. You're right it is a pain and grief that no one should ever have to endure. I'm so sorry that you and your husband are in this place right now. I know that it is little consolation in the depths of your grief, but I hope you feel surrounded by the love and support of many. Sending hope that you find the strength you need in the coming weeks and months.

  27. Brooke, thank you for sharing Eliza with us. It's hard to do, but know that know we all know her now, and it's deeply humbling to be let in on her life and death.

    Please also know that you're not alone in this. You may feel a lot of things, but I hope you don't feel alone. Much love to you and your husband.

  28. I am so very sorry for the loss of your Eliza. We too lost our daughter last September. It's a really sucky road to be on. I hope that writing out her birth story was therapeutic for you. There is a great online baby loss mama community and I hope you will find the support and resources (and feel free to email me if you need help finding it angiew901@msn.com).

    Hang in there. You and your husband will be in my thoughts.

  29. I just saw your profile and realized we are in the same city. I don't know where you delivered your precious Eliza, but there's an infant loss support group that meets every second Wednesday of the month at 7 pm. It was too hard for us to go to the group for the first few months, but it has been incredibly helpful. (Just let me know if you want more info about it.)

    We also have the Angel of Hope, an angel statue at Blanchette Park in St.Charles, for families who have lost children. You can get a brick around the angel for $100 engraved with whatever you want...here are some pictures and info about it (there's also an annual candlelight vigil and ceremony at the angel every December) in my blog: http://butterflies-and-rainbows.blogspot.com/2010/12/angel-of-hope-candlelight-vigil-2010.html

    Sorry to bombard you with all of this stuff, deal with it as you are ready, I just wanted to mention the local resources we have in case nobody has told you yet.

  30. I am just so incredibly sorry that this has happened. My heart is breaking for your loss.

  31. Here from LFCA. You are absolutely correct in saying that it is so fucking unfair! The loss of Eliza is something tragic and somethign that no parent should ever have to endure. You will spend days and months asking yourself why and even more hours blaming yourself. The guilt is by far the worst thing to deal with. From somewhere you didn't know existed in yourself you will summon strength and you will manage to face each day. Beyond that words won't provide you any comfort, so I won't even try. I simply wanted to tell you that you are not alone. Lean on the baby loss community and do whatever YOU need to do to make it through the rough days ahead. ((HUGS)) and strength are being sent your way!

  32. here from lfca
    I am so sorry for your loss and the unimaginable pain you must be in. My heart breaks for you and your family and your sweet baby girl.
    love to you all....

  33. "It was still a terrible parody of the way things were supposed to be, but it was the best we could do at the time."

    yes, this sentence rings so true for me. we did what we could do with what we had at the time. and who can know what to do during your worst nightmare come to life? we do all that we know to do for them, we mother them the best we can, give them what they need, even if its rocking or hugging their little bodies or wiping their noses. im glad for you that you resisted the drugs. i had people advocating for more drugs for me, and though i remember some, its not enough for me. though im not sure it ever could be, even if i was sober.

    i can't begin to tell you that you will feel better anytime soon, but you will learn to live as Eliza's mommy, even if it has to be from a distance.

    in the beginning it helped to talk to them, to keep them here in spirit, to know they were in my heart if not in my arms. in time i have come to treasure all of the ways i took care of them while they were still with me. just as you mentioned all those things you did right, she benefited from them while she was here, never second guess that. she was always warm, she was always comfortable and she was always peaceful. it took me a long time to separate my pain and anguish from the moment to realize that there was no suffering for my children and for that, small blessing, i am grateful.

    i am wishing you peace and comfort tonight.

  34. Here from LFCA. I'm heartbroken for you, and I pray for healing for your family. I think telling Eliza's birth story is a beautiful way to honor her too short life. Much love,

  35. Here from LFCA.

    I am so sorry that your sweet Eliza is not here with you.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds so similar to what happened to me, my baby just slipping away, unknown, for unknown reasons.

    It sounds like you had a great nurse, she encouraged you to do things that you likely would have regretted NOT doing. Not all nurses are so well trained.

    Take care, ad write when you need to. It has always helped me. This is a wonderful community, not one we want to welcome new members to, but wonderful nonetheless.

  36. I am so very desperately sorry for your loss. I am so very sorry she is gone.

    I am so sorry dear Eliza is not home with you where she belongs.

    I am silent. I cannot begin to know what to say.

    I am so very, very sorry for your tragic loss Brooke.

  37. Here from LFCA. Like so many others, my heart breaks for you ... I am so sorry to read this post, beautifully written as it is. My thoughts are with all of you.

  38. I'm so very very sorry, this was just heartaching to read and I'm sorry that you had to go through it.

    I'm glad that nurse gently convinced you to hold her, take photo's, you will cherish them in years to come.


  39. Here from LFCA.

    it's not fair you are so right about that. I have been saying that over and over for the past 14 months since cadynce was taken from us.

    the loss of a child changes something so profound in you it is impossible to even explain.

    eliza lived and will continue to live on in your heart and the hearts of everyone who loved her.

    there really are no words so i will say i'm incredibly sorry that you have an angel in heaven instead of your angel here on earth.

    many many hugs from texas.


  40. I'm here from LFCA to send you my heartfelt sorrow at this unbelievable loss. You write beautifully about your precious daughter. Thank you for sharing her with us too. We are all better for knowing her and you, her wonderful parents. I'm so sorry you feel so far away from her now. Sending so many hugs and hoping that you can find some tiny shred of comfort in support and love from both near and far.

  41. Eliza's mum..am so sorry. My best friend lost her baby girl last october at 34 weeks and she is now pregnant with her second. Just like you she was so careful. Sometimes God doesnt seem just at all. When druggies and junkies and those who dont want babies have healthy ones why do the ones who care so much be bereaved? Somebody up there needs a lesson on how to be just and fair. Lots of love and hugs. Like my best friend, I hope you too have Eliza's sister or brother soon. Eliza is the guardian angel for you family now. Lots of hugs and love

  42. Hello Brooke

    Your baby did live. She was your daughter and she lived inside you. She lived inside your body and in your heart and in your husband's heart. Don't ever forget that. She did live.

    You will always remember her. She will always be with you. Always.

    I'm so glad you shared your story. I had a story just like that. When my daughter Freyja was stillborn. I read your story and cried, because my story is so very, very similar.

    It hurts to read that babies still die. For no reason. Beautiful, perfect babies.

    There are many women online who have experienced such awful sadness. Women who can comfort you and share with you.

    Don't feel alone. We are all here for you.


  43. Here from LFCA, and I just want to say how incredibly sorry I am. Which I know means nothing when you are grieving such a huge loss. But please know that you are in the thoughts of so many people, and that we are all abiding with you.

  44. I am so so heart broken for you. I am so sorry this has happened, and I will pray for you and your husband. I can't even imagine what you must be going through. But I hope there is a shred of comfort knowing that so many are thinking about you. XOXOXO

  45. Here from LFCA. I am weeping for you and your sweet baby. My heart aches and I so wish there was something that could have been done. Your baby did live and there are so many who are heartbroken by her unfair departure.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. I do not know what else to tell you. It is profoundly fucking unfair. I lit a candle for your angel. I am so sorry you are going through this.

  46. So sorry for your loss, your blog is beyond words, I had a miscarriage last winter, only I didn't know if it was a boy or girl, no name chosen, because I was only at about 8 weeks. I can't imagine .... enough said. Emotions are a real b....all I can say is have hope, and know that she is in heaven, and loves you as much as you love her. Prayers and I am very sorry for your loss. It is truly and completely unfair.

  47. Here from LFCA. I am very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing her birth with us, so that we may know her.

  48. Oh God, I am so very sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine the depth of this pain but your words have me sobbing. I will be thinking of you.

  49. Lfca-- my heart is broken for you and you family.

  50. Coming over from LFCA, I am crying for you and your husband right now. Reading this post has brought me back to my two stillbirths. Please know that I am keeping you both in thoughts and prayers. Eliza --- what a beautiful name. {hugs}

  51. My heart is sad for your loss. I am sending you and David a huge hug.

  52. Everything I've typed here seems so inadequate. I am so, so sorry for your loss.

    Eliza knows how much you love her.

  53. I am sorry for your loss. Your in my prayers.

  54. I'm so very sorry. Profoundly fucking unfair does not even begin to cover it. I'm so sorry.

  55. My heart is broken for you. Saying I'm sorry just seems so absolutely worthless, because it can't even begin to ease the pain.

    You are an incredibly strong woman and mother for writing this beautiful post about your sweet Eliza. The love you have for her is memorialized in these words.

    You and your husband are in my thoughts and prayers.

    "Profoundly fucking unfair" couldn't be more appropriate.

  56. Here from LFCA.

    I just wanted to let you know how sorry I am for your loss. I've lost 5 myself, one at 23 weeks. It was the worst experience that nobody I knew, could relate to. I really appreciate your honesty about your daughter's birth, as I felt the same way when I had mine. It's turly unfari that we have to endure this. I'm so sorry. Wishing you peace in the days ahead.

  57. I learned about you from Impersonating Normal and could not help but be drawn into this tragic story by your beautiful words. I am so, so sorry. Thank you for sharing Eliza with us. She will not be forgotten. "I know that doesn't make your grief any smaller, but I believe it makes her presence larger." - Barbara Kingsolver Your family will be in my thoughts.

  58. Here from LFCA. Reading this with tears in my eyes. I'm so sorry for the loss of your daughter.

  59. It is unbelieveably unfair. I'm so sorry. I hate that expectant mothers sometimes end up feeling pain instead of joy. The death of your child changes you forever. We are here in understanding and love if you need those who understand and who know firsthand the unspeakable pain you are living with. Much love to you and David xo

  60. Here from LFCA. I am so sorry about the loss of your daughter Eliza. Please know you will not walk alone on this journey. We are all here. Look to Glow, LFCA, and to any other support groups in your area that will reinforce the absolute truth that you are not alone.
    We are all here to remember Eliza and to walk with you.


  61. It's not fair. It's not right. You will NEVER get over this. I lost my son, Carter, almost 16 months ago and there are still days when I feel completely broken. There is hope though. The hope God gives and the support from other mommies in the same shoes are what have gotten me through! Not that you need to feel like you have to look at it, but here is Carter's story: http://janesfamilyhappenings.blogspot.com/2009/11/september-27-2009.html

    I blog to him. That is my way of staying connected to my little guy. (Just a warning...I did just have a "rainbow" baby in September and I have talked about her on my blog as well.

    Praying for you, especially with the holidays coming up. =- (

  62. I am so very sorry. Your family has my thoughts and prayers. The very worst that could happen, did and no poor words of mine will give you solace.

  63. I am so very sorry for your loss and appreciate very much the courage it took for you to share Eliza's story with us. I have recently miscarried my first child after years of trying to conceive and although my grief will never compare to what you must be feeling right now, please know that you and your husband, as well as each of your families will be in my thoughts and prayers in the coming days, weeks and months. May God give you strength, peace and understanding during this time. God Bless you!

  64. Here via GITW. I am so very sorry for the loss of your daughter, Eliza.

    It is profoundly unfair. I wish that your beloved girl had been able to live out all the plans that you and your husband had for her and all the great times I know you would have had together. I wish that she had been able to experience the continuation of all the love and care that you had taken of her while she lived inside you. There is so much love in your words and in your description of your daughter.

    I lost one of my daughters to premature labour. The books didn't help me either.

    And those mementos. Pleased as I am to have anything at all, I know that they are never enough. Never. xo

  65. The same thing happened to me-- only a few differences:

    I gave birth about 23 hours before you.

    It was a boy.

    I was 38w5d.

    But, both babies dead, no explanation, and that same stupid box of "mementos" that you received.

    I had the same thoughts, too. I wasn't sure if I wanted to see him, hold him. I didn't know if I wanted photographers taking photos- but they did although I don't have them (yet). It was the most excruciating pain and my worst nightmare realized. :(

    3 months tomorrow.

  66. You are such a beautiful writer. Your story about Eliza, Eliza's story, is so heartbreaking.

    "I want my baby", I repeat this to myself at least 10 times per day, and I mean it every time. There is no heartbreak like this kind of heartache. I'm so sorry you lost your little girl and your hopes and dreams for her.

    It's just so unfair.

  67. Hi Brooke - just found you via Sarah's blog and wanted to say I'm so sorry you lost your gorgeous girl. We lost our daughter at the same gestation as Eliza - 34 weeks, but in different circumstances. I also wanted to second sweetsalty kate's words above. This is a mind-shattering grief like no other, but it comes from your love for your daughter, and it will, eventually, lead you back to her.

  68. Hi Brooke, I just found your blog from a friend. I'm terribly sorry your little girl isn't here with you anymore. I lost my baby boy, Aiden, last August. He was also stillborn, for no fucking reason, full term. Your story touched my heart so deeply, I will be reading along in your grief. I hope to get to know you more through your beautiful writing. xo Angie

  69. Sometimes the world really, really sucks. I wish that you didn't have to go through this. Eliza is a beautiful name. I can tell that she was loved profoundly and that she had an amazing mother.

  70. Brooke, I don't know if you will even see this comment, but I found your blog and wanted to say something. This post is beautiful. While our circumstance are a little different (I lost my son at 2 months old in January), I feel your heartache and pain. I'm so sorry you are going through this. Many hugs to you.

  71. I was going through all BLM blogs today and came across this page. Little Eliza's story brought back my own story of my son - who came so unexpected and ..went away..just like that.

    I know it will be close to 7 months since you wrote this. But I cried when I read it today. Maybe will cry even if I come back and read it after 7 years, or 70 years.

    Because, like you I know how it is to lose a baby just like that. How unfair it is. And how I cannot be afraid any more of silly stupid things as my greatest fear has been realized.

  72. Brooke, I am so sorry. Eliza has a beautiful name and a beautiful mom.

    I stumbled upon your blog today and I'm so sorry. It is not how it is supposed to be and I will never really understand.


    p.s. We live in the same city. It hurts so much to know that just last December another mom in such close vicinity held her newborn baby after their death. I am SO sorry.

  73. I stumbled in here on accident, looking for information on cloth diapers.

    This post is beautiful and touching and heartbreaking. Your love of Eliza is amazing, and shines through the text.

    I'm so sorry.

  74. Your story is so familiar to mine. We lost our baby boy of 35 weeks this November 10. I am so sorry for your loss and am in the same frame of mind as you may have been when you posted this. Its unfair but somehow I cannot stop blaming myself. It feels as though I failed as a parent for not picking up his less movement. The last two days we were just so stressed out with getting our parents ready to visit us from overseas, I think I just lost focus from my baby. And thats why I keep cursing myself. Dont know if I ll ever get over this. I dont even feel like meeting people and get pointed out "the unlucky women". We had it all set, the nursery ready, the daycare booked, maternity leave applied. All done to the minute detail, except ...

  75. My God, You beautiful woman, I feel so much sadness for you and hope that you and your husband recover. The exact same thing happened to my mother 20 years ago but through all the hurt she decided to try again, and I was born...And, overtime my mother and I have both had dreams of our own Eliza revealing the reasoning behind the cruelty that took place on that terrible day. I wish you all the love and blessings in your life to come and hope so immensely that you can come to closure.. someday.

  76. I came across your blog after a search for rainbow moms and so I'm catching up on your story and that of your children.
    I so wish for a group like the one you have established with other loss/rainbow moms.
    Thank you so much for this post and I'm sure all the others I will read.
    Wow. Just wow.