Thursday, June 26

June 26th 2006

Today is the two year anniversary of the death of my baby boy, Jacob Michael Baker. He lived only three hours after being born at 21 weeks gestation outside Home Depot, in my sister in laws car, at 4 in the morning, on the way to the hospital. My poor hubby had left that evening to drive to Madison, Wisconsin. He'd called me at 1am to tell me he had arrived. At 3am I called him and told him that I was in labor. He turned around and started to drive back home. My sister in law and niece came over, my sister in law took me to the hospital whilst my niece stayed here with the children. She called 911 on route, but I delivered the baby myself. He was still in the sac and I could see him moving around in there. I was in such shock that I thought I had accidentally pushed my uterus out too..... I looked up to find we had stopped and were surrounded by fire trucks and sheriff cars... All I could say was "He's 21 weeks, he's 21 weeks...." I knew... I knew... they couldn't save him.

The hospital staff were magnificent. Such loving and tenderness. They brought him to me dressed in tiny tiny baby clothes and bundled up in a blanket.
They let me hold him the entire time. He died after 3 hours in my arms and I still continued to hold him. I thought he was beautiful. He had my husbands feet....the same toes. My midwife came to sit with me... my Doula came to keep me company, all the time I watched the clock for hubby to arrive. I stayed sensible. I cried of course, but didn't really let go. I organised the disposition of the kids, I talked with the nurses, I even made jokes and laughed once in a while, but all the while I held my dead baby and rocked him in my arms.


It seemed like forever for Rex to arrive. He phoned me countless times along the way, he was sobbing, I was scared he would crash the car... when he got close to the hospital he asked that we would be totally alone. I made sure that everyone knew not to disturb us at all until we asked them to. I could feel my heart beating faster knowing he was coming and when he walked into my room we both broke into bitter, broken hearted tears. We held each other and sobbed. It was what I had been waiting for. After some time we asked for a drink of orange juice and we began the process of paperwork and such that is necessary in such cases. He went to fetch the children and we brought them in to the hospital too. Jack was very uncomfortable and nervous. He knew I was so sad and didn't know how to respond so he withdrew. Jessie broke into tears when she saw me, I had phoned her in the morning and told her myself, what had happened. At first she didn't want to see her brother, and I said that was fine. I asked if I could describe him to her and she said yes. I told her he was like a tiny little doll and so precious. She asked if she could see him and I let her hold him. She was so tender with him.
Rex took the kids home and he himself went to get some rest... he hadn't slept for sooo long. The worst part, the absolute worst part, was when it came time to leave the womb that was the hospital. The staff had been soooo considerate and gentle taking pains to keep me away from other mothers and the cries of new babies. I never once heard or saw another child. If you have had children of your own in a hospital, you know the exciting time comes when they say you are free to go. You have to wait for them to get you a wheelchair and in those moments your new life with your child is ready to begin.... I remember that with both my other two children. This time was so different. I was standing, rocking the baby and swinging from side to side, patting his back gently. This tiny child weighed no more than a large bag of M&M's. I was a new mother. I had my baby in my arms... but then the nurse came to take him ... to the morgue. It was devastating. I could pretend, as long as I was holding him, that I had my baby and he was just sleeping. Once I handed him over I could pretend no more. I sat in the wheelchair and numbly allowed the nurse to wheel me out the hospital. I closed my eyes and sat in mortal fear of seeing someone coming in with flowers or leaving with their new, healthy, baby. By the time I reached the car I was shaking. As soon as my door closed I broke down. Once we pulled out into traffic I felt lost and alone and devastated. No more pretending. No one out there, on the street, knew what hell we had been through. No one knew our pain and everyone was busy getting on with their lives. If we got in their way they would blare their horns, compounding our agonies by making us find it in ourselves to offer a wave in contrition at our slowness. For days, weeks, months afterwards it was impossible to function normally. I was no longer pregnant. My breasts filled with milk and I was told to bind them up, don't let the milk out or I would have a hard time getting it to stop. Women with new babies were everywhere, pregnant women seemed to congregate around me. I began to abhor Target which seems a pregnant woman magnet. I wanted to tell everyone my pain. I wanted to share it if only to make it smaller. I wanted their sympathy .... I was afraid if someone was accidentally rude to me I might crumble right there. I wished I wore a badge "Please be nice to me, I just lost my child"... I began to look at people around me with new eyes. How do I know that the woman at the checkout hasn't lost a baby? How many women right here are struggling with infertility? How many miscarriages have we all had between us? How much loss? How much pain??

.....


We dealt with the loss of Jacob with the idea that we would simply get pregnant again. We did actually conceive again, ON Jacob's actual due date. I was exstatic. This was Jacob coming back to me. This was the answer to our pain. This was perfect. This miscarried at 7 weeks. I lost all faith in everything. I never have been a religioius person but I was a spiritual person. I believed in reasons for things, I believed in coincidences being meaningful, reasons behind things. I believed I was meant to meet my husband, I believed in fate and destiny. With that loss I believed in nothing anymore.


.....


Jacob's body was cremated and we keep a few of his remains in a tiny brass urn. At the hospital they took a cast of his foot ( the one with his Daddy's toes! ) and a local jeweller in sympahty for us, took the cast and made it in gold for us. I keep his foot with me still. The rest of his remains are in a box on the mantle. We had been undecided about what to do with them. Lately I have been reading Bill Bryson's book on the universe and how we are all made up from molecules of those who have passed before us. It occured to me this morning that I need to let Jacob go. I want to scatter the ashes to the winds so he can go on to become part of something else.


Today we'll maybe make an Angel Food cake or something to show we haven't forgotten him, but truly, he's not someone I will likely ever forget. After two years I thought the pain had gone. It turns out it's not all that deep under the surface. One little scratch and it bubbles right up.


Happy Birthday Jacob. We wish you were here.

xxxxx

7 comments:

Sarah said...

Love to you across the miles, Dear Friend, on this bittersweet day.

~Sarah and family

Barb said...

Tiffany,
I am still so sad for you and think of Jacob often. I am *really* glad to see that you have photos of him, and photos of Jessie holding him. Did you have a photographer come in or are they your own? I'm asking because I was recently accepted at www.nilmdts.com as an affiliated photographer. I thought of you when I had first heard of the organization and your loss was part of my inspiration to join.

I'm not sure of the title of the book you're reading, but I think it's amazing that we're made up of the people and things who came before us, and we'll go on to become part of the people and things who will inhabit this planet when we're gone. I know that I, personally, would want to keep some part of him. Have you found jewelry that will allow you to keep some of the ashes with you? They make some beautiful pieces.

Wishing you peace on this anniversary.

Gorgeous. said...

Thanks Sarah and Barb.

Barb, Rex took the pictures. I, too, and glad to have them. I looked at the website you mentioned and it is lovely isn't it.... How very touching.

Thanks for sharing it with me.

Sherry said...

Tiffany,
I cried as I read this and think of all you've gone through the past two years. He was such a precious baby and I loved seeing the pictures. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

Love,
Sherry

Alicia said...

Tiffany, many tears up here in Minnesota for you, Jacob, Rex, Jessie and Jack. It is profoundly unfair. I'm so sorry honey. I wish I had something less lame to offer than that. Thinking of you.

Kimberly said...

Tiffany,

I am sharing your pain and weeping with you right now. :-( That is a beautiful story and I am sure a painful one to write. Many hugs and prayers coming your way dear.

I don't know if it helps any, but I do believe that these little lives that are with us for such a brief period of time have completed their purpose rather quickly. They touch us, we learn from them and they live within us -forever in our hearts. Somehow they can change the world in hours.. minutes... seconds.

Melody said...

A heart-sobbing post Tiffany. Thank you for sharing the precious photos too.

My thoughts are with you.