Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Extreme Home Makeover this past week spotlighted a neat woman who takes pictures of premature infants at her local hospital. In many cases, it is the only pictures the family ends up with as many of their babies do not make it. They didn't mention if she does bereavement photography, if there was a stillbirth that had taken place or the premature infant had died before she got there. I hope she does.

When we found out Curtis was gone but before I delivered him, I knew I wanted pictures. I had spent some time on baby message boards and knew of a few woman who had stillbirths and had gotten pictures of their babies. They were not friends then, I just had followed their stories. (However, they are friends now.)

I remember sitting in my hospital room chanting to myself "We will get to hold him. We will get to take pictures." I later said it out loud to Craig who said "Really? Oh. Okay." He didn't know. But I did.

Reading their stories.... Knowing something about stillbirth and what takes place after the baby is born at least prepared me a bit. Craig wasn't prepared at all. I think knowing I would get to see him and hold him helped me in those first hours after I found out he was gone but before he was born.

I am forever grateful to the women who went before me on this path. For paving the way to understand. It wasn't that long ago that they whisked the baby away and the mother wasn't allowed to see or hold her baby. I cannot imagine the ache those mothers must feel to this day. They felt that baby move for months inside of her, but then she wasn't even allowed to look at the baby. She was told to forget that baby. That she could have another. Like her cookie fell on the floor. "Well, just get another!"

Some of those women have changed minds....funerals are now held. Pictures are taken. The baby is introduced to family. The baby is named and, in some states we are allowed to get a Birth Certificate Resulting in Stillbirth.

I am grateful, to this day, for the women who fought so hard. Because of them I was able to hold my son, get as many picture of him as I wanted, have a blessing with a minister, and for the most part no one has told me to forget my son. I had a wonderful nurse who sat with me through the whole experience and made sure I had as many memories of my son as possible.

When a woman like the one who was spotlighted on Extreme Home Makeover, or a group like Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep or Candy from MissingGRACE takes the time to help grieving families in their darkest house it makes me hopeful. It sounds odd, but it is easy to get bogged down in a world that is so unfair and filled with negativity. But there are people out there trying to better it, so we do not have to walk alone in our grief. Maybe those women had to be alone in their grief and they saw a need. Maybe it is part of their coping, part of their healing. For them, I am grateful.


girl said...

I am a lurker and also a volunteer for NILMDTS. The women from the show is indeed part of the organization.

My heart goes out to you. I figured I should stop lurking though.

Hope's Mama said...

I had a NILMDTS photographer for Hope, organised by a friend as I had no idea they existed (I mean who wants to know organisations like that exist, as that can only mean bad news for you). I'm so, so glad she knew about them though as my photos of Hope are so gentle and touching, better than we could have ever taken. I'm so proud to hang her beautiful portrait in my house. I can't imagine the ache women of years gone by feel. I have now met some women who walked this road before me, but they didn't get the time to hold, bathe, dress or formally farewell their babies. I saw some tears at Hope's funeral from older women that I suspect weren't all for my lost child.
Lovely post.

Cara said...

What a touching post! I am advocating so very hard with our local hospital that if they call no-one else during a NILMDTS!!!!!

I didn't have them. I am so very sad, but will pave the way for others.

Four Wonders Mommy said...

It has been unfortunate but the three deaths that we had in 2008, I was the (un)lucky one to be their nurse for ALL three. 2 out of 3 took advantage of NILMDTS and wow!!! What a blessing it is! I love their work and of course, we wake them up at 2am everytime and they come with smiles on their faces. One family had a HUGE 16X20 of their precious baby boy at his funeral, along with several pictures and yes, everyone there felt they got to meet him that day. Even his hand out had the picture of his feet on it with the NILMDTS saying on it (which is my favoroite BTW). I can say, because of the NILMDTS photos, it was the most beautiful funeral I had been to. Now I am off the watch my tivo of Extreme Makeover...

His Mom said...

I don't think my nurses knew about NILMTS or the organization we have worked with in our grief (at the time. I think that changed now). Our nurses took lots of pictures of Curtis but I am forever jealopus of the NILMTS ones...they are just beautiful. I am glad they can come in and photograph those moments and I am glad there are organizations like MissingGRACE to help with the grief in the delivery room and the aftermath that happens after those families go home.

Brian said...

i am so sorry for your loss. thank you so much for sharing your path, it is helping me very much right now. i just lost my son at 20 weeks to a failed intrauterine transfusion which resulted in still birth.

i did not read through all your posts...did they find the cause of still birth for you? i understand you are pregnant that going well?

as for me, i found out i have rhesus disease. i have o negative blood and did not get rhogam shot that they are suppose to give women like me. anyway, now i have antibodies that will attack babies blood, and make him/her anemic. i did not know anything about this condition until my 14 week pregnant.

now dreams of being pregnant are shattered by this loss and also a future of high risk pregnancy, and possible intrauterine blood transfusions. given the results of this last pregnancy, i'm sure you can imagine how scary that seems.

right now...which is my motivation for writing this to you(i would like to know your opinion and/or insight on this thought) i wonder if me trying to have a baby is selfish. is it selfish to have a baby when you know there is a chance they may not make it? when you know your pregnancy is high risk? when you know of the medical intervention nessecary?

of the women you know who keep trying (like the pastor you spoke of) did they feel guilt? what kept them going?

thank you...