The Heartbreak of Losing a Baby

I’ve mentioned before that I lost a baby many years ago. When Megan Markle shared that she had miscarried, I once again mentioned my own experience with this. I wanted to share more about it and what happened after.

My son was stillborn at approximately 26 weeks gestation in 1996. I was in my second trimester, which made him a stillborn birth instead of a miscarriage. Regardless of the length of the pregnancy, losing a child is a tragic experience for any family.

I remember when my water broke (This was the only time out of all 3 pregnancies that my water broke naturally.). I didn’t completely understand what was happening. It took me a bit before I went to the hospital. I think it was mostly denial that took over. I don’t think I wanted to believe that I was going to lose the baby. I know I wasn’t ready for what was about to happen.

The baby was still alive when I got to the hospital and my contractions had started, although they weren’t all that painful. They wanted to try to do an emergency C-section to save the baby. They didn’t get that far. Just before they were going to wheel me in for surgery, they checked for a heartbeat and there was none. The baby had died and they called off the surgery.

They ended up giving me an epidural. This was also the only time I used pain killer. I had my other two kids naturally without any pain medication. I was only about 6 centimetres dilated when he more or less fell out of me. One or two light pushes and he was out.

They washed him, weighed him, and put a diaper on him. They also gave him some clothes. I named him after both of my grandfathers, Lawrence Earl Henderson. They handed him to me and I cried as I held him.

His father is the other man I keep referring to in my other blog posts. That was the very beginning of our relationship. My belief around this pregnancy, the timing of it and the loss of it is that the baby acted as a sort of glue for our relationship. Even though our relationship was new, only 7 or 8 months old, instead of breaking us apart, it put us together. Without the baby, the connection wouldn’t have continued. He would have moved on from me. It wasn’t about him and me and baby makes three, it was about the continuation of the relationship.

There was a whole lot of drama around this on his side. I won’t get into that here. But it did take about a year after the baby’s funeral for him to come around again. I refer to that year as my “year from hell”. It’s a year I would wish on no one. One day I’ll write more about the immense pain I experienced that year. For now, I’ll just say it was the most emotionally painful thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.

In spiritual circles, we say that things happen for a reason. I believe this happened for a reason. Often the reasons aren’t obvious to us as human beings. Over the years, as the significance of my relationship with his father has become more clear, the reason for the baby and the loss of him has also become clear. He served his purpose before ever taking a breath.

I will say that pain fades over time. Some years are easier than others. Regardless, July 7th is a day that has very special significance for me to this day. If you’ve experienced this in your life, I want to say that I understand. I’ve felt that pain. It does get easier. Allow yourself to grieve. Allow yourself to feel the pain. The people around me tried to get me back to my life right away. I did not do that. I needed that time to grieve. I don’t regret that year of my life. As painful as it was, it was necessary. It allows me to move forward now. I know that if you also allow yourself to grieve, you will be able to move forward in the future too.

Love to all.

Laura

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