Saturday, January 08, 2011

Goodbye Baby

It's the wee hours of the morning and I can't sleep. It has been like that for the past one month and more. Tears are streaming down my face as I write this. You see, I gave birth to a stillborn about a month ago. Doctor discovered my baby's heart stopped beating during a regular checkup just about a week before she was due. People always say there is a calm before the storm and how true it is. I was so very happy being pregnant. I was so pleased at the thought of becoming a mom for the first time that I was always smiling and laughing. My family was finally going to be complete with the addition of a little bundle of joy plus I knew just how much my parents wanted grandchildren to play with.

I didn't have much complications with my pregnancy to begin with and everything was progressing so great. Hubby and I went for a vacation in Macau and Hong Kong in the 3rd month. I started a new job in the 4th month and by the 6th month, Hubby and Dad had painted the furniture and we had the nursery set up. I was very energetic and active all the way till the end. We were even entertaining friends from overseas in our house just the week before it happened. I had an overnight bag packed by the door ready to be snatched up the moment contraction starts. How could things go so wrong?

I remember every little detail of the unfortunate day even though I'd rather not. I remember waking up and having breakfast while chatting happily with my parents who just got back from attending my cousin's wedding in our hometown and remarking what great timing the birth will be as my Godmother from Australia will get to meet the baby while she's back in Malaysia. I remember the drive to the hospital. I remember the doctor asking me how's things to which I reply 'Everything's normal'. I had a funny feeling as I uttered the word 'Normal' that morning for no reason at all.

Little did I know then that nothing was ever going to be normal again. I knew something was wrong when the doctor took just a few minutes longer with the scan. When he told me he couldn't find the baby's heartbeat I didn't believe him. How could it be? Perhaps the machine wasn't working as I felt my baby move just the night before. I was eerily calm in the few minutes after that. We explored the possibilities of errors, of what to do next, etc and when I was finally convinced that nothing can be done to save my baby I walked out with hubby and sat dazed outside the doctor's office.

I remember the dread I felt at the thought of having to impart such bad news to my parents. I remember calling my boss and apologizing for having to start my maternity leave earlier than expected and feeling sorry for my colleagues as I had not pass over my work completely. I sent hubby home to get my overnight bag and then I just lay in the delivery room waiting for the inevitable as doctor started inducing labor. I  informed my closest friends that I was in the hospital saying something was wrong with the baby and not that we had already lost the baby. Somehow putting something into words makes it all seem so final so I clung to the slightest flicker of hope that my baby could still be saved. At one point when I was alone, I thought I felt a movement in my tummy but it was just my mind playing tricks on me. It could be my stomach growling due to hunger for all I know but I prayed for a miracle anyway.

When my baby was born, the delivery room was filled with a sweet scent that smelled oh-so-good but I couldn't bare to look at her as she was already turning blue. When they put her on top of me it was all I could do not to flinch as she was so cold. It was the single most heart wrenching moment in my life. I've never felt so much pain and grief. I wanted so much to hold my baby and love her but instead I just lie there literally shivering from head to toe while listening to the doctors and nurses as they explained to my hubby that there were 2 true knots on the umbilical cord which was longer than usual.

I heard nurses exclaimed at how chubby my baby girl was when she tipped the scale at 3.55 kg and still I couldn't bare to look. Then, just moments before the nurse wrapped her up I told hubby I wanted to take one last good look at our baby girl. Looking back, I'm not sure this is wise as every time I close my eyes now I see my baby but I couldn't resist it. So the nurse held her in front of me as I take in all her features. She was adorable. I gently touched her soft cheek and whispered to her that mommy loves her, always and then she was gone, forever. Just like that and I vomited and vomited till I had nothing left in me. I touched my deflated tummy and I felt empty.

Family and friends came and went. When the nurses turned off the lights for the night, hubby and I were alone at last but I couldn't sleep even as hubby hugged and soothed me in bed. All the What-Ifs questions started growing in my mind like cancer even though everyone assured me it was purely an accident and nothing I could do could have prevented it. Up till then tears had flowed but sometime in the middle of that awful night I just couldn't restraint myself any longer and I wailed with the anguish all parents must feel if they ever lose a child. Nurses gave me a sleeping pill and I cried myself to sleep.

People tell me that I shouldn't cry so much as I'll ruin my eyesight, that I'm still young and I can get pregnant again easily, etc and I tried. I tried not crying but every little thing reminds me of my baby. For weeks I couldn't even walk past the nursery or talk on the phone without tearing up. I was never one to cry much before but now I'm just one big sad story that cries a few times a day at the slightest provocation. I've not been out of the house since it happened and I couldn't bring myself to join friends in social events. I have trouble falling asleep and when I finally do, either I do not want to wake up or I wake up screaming from nightmares. I tell people I'm fine, that I'm better as each day passes by but there's also nights like this when I felt that I've made no progress at all. It seems that for every 2 steps I take forward I'd take one step back every time I cry.

When would the tears finally dry up and when would the horror movie that has been playing endlessly in my head every time I close my eyes finally finish its run? It's almost dawn now.  May Father Time be kind and help lessen the pain. Each new day brings with it new hope and it is to this hope that I cling to and I pray and I pray.