Two beautiful healthy girls and another on the way and life was good! Chaotic but good. Four rescue dogs, a job, connections to the community what else could one ask for.
Kate and Kristen were born two years apart and were healthy both in pregnancy and have been since being born. Kelly was to be born in the same pattern, 2 years after Kristen or so I thought.
I went into labor on Friday morning the 28th of September after a horrible night of pain and barely any sleep. I waited on calling the doctor because I already had an afternoon appointment and was scheduled to be at the hospital on the 2nd of October for delivery (I was to be induced). I baked that morning for a church bake sale and was irate when one of the dogs ate half of it, luckily there was time to make more, or maybe my mom did because the rest of this day became a blur.
I drove myself to the doctor’s appointment as usual and waited in the waiting room. This day was busier than usual and sat trying to entertain a young boy with the newly found “apps on my phone” as his mother appeared to be stressed with his antics. Finally it was my turn to see the Doctor. After several pleasantries over the Yankees losing, the Doctor held and rolled the wand over and over. Silence was thickening in the air and my Doctor then looked at me with tears in his eyes asking me when the last time I felt Kelly move. I was embarrassed to say because everything had been moving along so well. I was busy that last week trying to wrap up work and things around the house preparing for her arrival that I honestly could not say. I do remember feeling her that Tuesday at the Jersey Boys Show and then I felt a pit in my stomach. How could I have not known or noticed that something was wrong? What seemed like forever the wand moved and pressed into me as if it would wake her? Kelly was not alive. There was no heartbeat. Silence and tears.
I was alone and now needed to share this news with my husband, children and family. Frantically calling all numbers to reach my husband it was my mother who had to ultimately tell him.
Robert was ushered into the doctor’s office while I sat vigil. Without wasting anytime plans had to be made. I assumed that there would be a cesarean section preformed. I was told differently I would be delivering Kelly as I did Kate and Kristen. We also had to immediately discuss burial plans. In what cruel world do the words “delivery of a baby” and “burial” have to do with one another. Still not believing that this is happening to me we carried on. We were told we had a few hours to go home and discuss when we wanted to deliver and since I was in labor (early stages) we did just that. Once home we were still unable to clearly grasp what was going on: this was out of our control. We reached out to the Priest who came by and blessed Kelly and guided us with whom to call for burial planning. I had just set up a nursery (and have yet to take down by the way) and now I am planning a funeral. There must be a mistake. Luckily marrying into an Irish Catholic family there were extra burial plots and a few to actually choose from. Go figure.
I am not sure how I made it through that late afternoon and it only got harder as we arrived at the hospital. Labor and Delivery. It only gets crueler, the distant sounds of heart monitors of healthy babies about to be born, and then the cries of newly born babies as the other mothers joyously sob. I knew my fate; I would not be hooked up to a monitor and my daughter was not going to cry when she met the world and that I would not have those joyous sobs. I could only keep wondering what went wrong and that maybe there was a mistake and that she actually would come out alive. I went through all the motions that I had the previous two births. I met and tried to be polite when nurses and doctors came in, I know they were even with all their training were at a loss for words of what to say to me. This only made it worse. I became selfish with the delivery of Kelly and instead of pushing I cried and stayed up all through the night with her still in my belly as if it were the only way to keep her with me as for the outcome was worse. The next day did come and when my nurse and now new found friend came back on duty I knew it was time. Kelly’s actual delivery was the hardest thing I ever had to do so far and yet she arrived so quickly after she and I decided it was time. Holding her was priceless. She was beautiful at 7 lbs 1 oz she looked just like her sisters did.
What to do next. I was exhausted yet wanted to hold her and never let go. I watched my husband fill with even more anguish as for now it was real to him with her lifeless body in his arms. He went through all the motions of cleaning her, weighing and measuring her dressing her with the nurses while others cleaned me up as well. He made sure we had pictures, footprints and snip its of her hair, just like with her sisters. Although this seemed more desperate, we needed to take whatever we could of her before the possibility of her being lost forever. The next 12 hours tore us apart not wanting to leave her but watching her color deteriorate and turn from pale, to dark to even darker shades broke our hearts. Family came just like with her sisters yet the tears were different. When the time came to say goodbye, I felt my heart had been ripped out for good and that I would never love, smile or have faith again. Being wheeled off the Labor and Delivery floor without a baby was wicked.
We decided that: we, Robert and I needed some time to process this all. We planned for the burial to be on Friday October 5th. The week was a blur and it was not the meds. I have recollection of visiting two cemeteries in order to decide which was best suited for our now angel baby. I remember speaking to the funeral home director and looking at caskets, picking out flowers (which were more elaborate than those at my wedding), and then looking at grave stones. Reality.
The next step was the burial and planning. I was always good at planning a party but this one I wish I never had to plan. Robert said do what it takes, if she were here with us we would have spent a hell of a lot more on her. So we had a bagpiper send her off, a soloist sing on Eagles Wings and the Lord’s Prayer, the Priest could not get my name right and sped through the service but it was the hottest October day that I could ever remember and cried the entire service. Friends and family attended and what seemed to be hundreds joined us back at the house. Kate and Kristen released balloons in hope of reaching their sister in heaven, others not knowing what to say or do could only give a hug or prayer. What else could one do?
I wanted to be alone yet I did not want people to leave because then I would be forced to face this new reality. Nine months of caring for my Kelly Ryan, memories and dreams of what was to come suddenly shattered. I should be thankful I had 9 months to bond with her; she is my youngest child and always will be. I just wish I could share her with the world and hug and kiss her daily like I do her sisters.
I found myself in a strange predicament. I am a social worker and people look to me for consoling and help. I have a hard time reaching out to others and found this is the time in my life that I could use help. I just want to talk about Kelly; I want to relive all that I have which was her pregnancy, delivery and the events leading up to that dreaded day. I found that people did not want to talk to me about this maybe because they did not know what to say or did not want to upset me. I wanted to talk. Since I did not have that outlet, I read and read. I read books about death, infant death, afterlife, and any other book that I could to find in order to find some way to comprehend this disaster. I also visited Kelly everyday and read to her as I do her sisters; I brought flowers daily and watched as my husband talked to her about our going ons. I wrote in my journal at her grave side and sat while the seasons changed from warm to brisk and windy to 32 feet of snow.
I was also faced with having to explain what happened to Kelly to a very intuitive toddler. Kate, she is my oldest and is an old soul. Kate was very upset and angry with us that Kelly did not come home with us from the hospital. I explained best I could that instead of Kelly coming with us she is with God in Heaven and is now an angel. This only works half the time. I was able to grieve only for a short while. This was my doing but I returned to work on the 8th of October in order to drown my sorrows and try to get a state of normalcy for my family. My life will never be the same. I feel I will always have an edge about me in the sense that nothing can hurt me again. Kelly is real and she is my youngest, I will keep her memory alive.
More children: many ask will we have more children and at this point in time I am not sure myself. The pain is horrific and I am strong but not sure I could handle losing another baby. Or so I thought. In April 2013 I did conceive however miscarried at 3 months.