Saturday, May 2, 2009

Last Sunday, Craig and I volunteered at the infant loss conference held by our local organization. Honestly, it is probably one of the only conferences out there like it. There were people who had flown in from Scotland to attend. So yeah, a big deal.

I blogged about attending the conference two years ago. It was on the cusp of Curtis' 1st birthday and we were just weeks from finding out I was pregnant with Claudia.

This year, we decided to volunteer. I guess I felt like I had learned everything at the previous conference and wanted to help out. Craig was assigned various tasks around the conference and I was assigned to be a room monitor while speakers were giving their presentation.

The first session I was monitoring was the one the founder was giving. It was to medical caregivers on how to give the best practice in the time of a loss. What is funny is my nurse who delivered Curtis was attending and was in the room. A couple of times I wanted to shout out "yeah! My nurses did that!" in agreement with the speaker. I decided that would be rude, but I did nod along with so many of the things they spoke about doing for patients in the time of loss. Like a card for the first birthday. Lock of the hair. Pictures. Holding the patients hand and explaining what exactly the baby may or may not look like to prepare the patient.

During the speech, the presenter showed a video she puts together when she attends a stillbirth. It is an amazing compilation of pictures and video shots, set to music. Everyone in the room cried and cried while watching it. It is something like that where I kick myself. See, we had a video camera with us that day. When we attended my 40 week appointment, I had my bags packed. Camera, video camera, pacifiers, diapers... I knew I wanted pictures, but remember thinking I didn't want video. Now, now I regret that. I would love to have video of me holding him... to see it 'live' like that. Sure, I have pictures, but I want to see me looking at my son, I want video shots of that moment.

Then, during the speech, I found out that in the state of Minnesota is it COMPLETELY LEGAL that a family takes their baby home. there are some hoops and paperwork you fill out, there is something that you contact the funeral home before leaving with the baby and they are aware of coming to pick up that baby. But you can. You can drive your baby home. You can bring your baby to the room you prepared for them. You can lay him in his crib and take pictures of him laying in the bedding you picked out for him. You can rock him in the rocking chair. You CAN TAKE HIM HOME.

I sobbed. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.

After watching the movie Losing Layla and watching that family bring their daughter home and bathe her and hold her in her room ...all I have longed for was a moment like that. How jealous I was! Now, to find out that was an option? Just about did me in. I would have done that! I would have brought him home if I had known.

A few hours later, I realized I probably wouldn't have. I was so scared. I never even unwrapped him. I couldn't muster up the courage to ask a nurse to wrap him in a different blanket. The minute his little body started to change (about 4 hours after I had him) we had the nurse take him away. But then the next morning, I was heartbroken to find out he had been in the morgue all night when I thought he was already at the funeral home.

Would I have honestly brought him home? I don't know. I don't think so. But I like to think had I known then, what I know now...I would have. I would have wrapped him in the fuzzy blue blanket with basketballs and baseballs, put him in his car seat and brought him home.

Even if only for 10 minutes.

Because all I ever wanted was to bring him home with us.


Rachel said...

I wondered about bringing Felicity, after the fact of course. I was in shock that I never even thought of it at the hospital or even for weeks afterwards. I don't know if we would've been able to do it either and I also wish we had video of Felicity instead of just pictures. I often close my eyes and just remember what it felt like to hold her, though it's already getting harder to remember. I never held her up on my chest (with her head by my shoulder). I guess I felt like she was so fragile. If only we could have thought more clearly during that difficult time.

Sarah said...

I know exactly how you feel. I wouldn't have taken Abbey home. I was afraid just holding her. I was afraid to ask my mom to take pictures. I was in shock.

That sounds like a good conference.

Hope's Mama said...

I also had the video camera packed. Like you, I had everything packed as we thought we were going to hospital that day to have a baby. A baby we would take home. I wish we got that video camera out, I wish.....
I knew we could have taken Hope home. I knew we could have even taken her to the funeral. I don't have any regrets there. I don't think I could have/would have. I know she died at home in my belly, I am sitting on the very couch where it happened now. I'm not sure I could have bought her dead body back here. Imagine the neighbours who didn't know who might have come up to us to congratulate us.... I don't have too many regrets, but not bringing her home isn't one of them. My goal is just to bring the next one home, as you did.

Kristi said...

OMG I would have never thought you could bring a baby home that had passed, but what an amazing gift that is!!!

I truly hope all who want to experience that get to!

The Welch's said...

Wow, I had no idea that was an option. I *think* we would have jumped at the chance. You just never know for sure. I hope hospitals and nurses continue to become more aware so parents are given these opportunities. Your words were beautiful.

ABC+1Mom said...

Oh sweetie i'm so sorry.... i cant even imagine how that must have felt to find that out after that time..... Hugs to you and your hubby!

Cara said...

This post is so dear to my heart. Who knows what you would have done - but the point is you would have had the choice - ALL your options laid out there for you.

We have one picture of Emma. No other shots - no video - It is a serious point of regret for me. I'm working on letting it go.