Feb 27. It was a Tuesday morning. I woke up just in time to catch the bus to go to my NST appointment. Because I am a Type 2 Diabetic, I was essentially in the hospital all the time. An NST is a No-Stress Test, where they track the baby’s heartbeat and movements.
I was 38 weeks.
Before every NST, I always get an ultrasound to check my Sun’s BPP’s ( biophysics). I thought I was gonna take the bus, but my brother offered to drive me instead.
I get to the hospital, check in and wait for my name to be called for the ultrasound, my BPP’s.
I go the back and the technician tells me to lie down. I am used to this by now, the cold room, the radio playing Stevie Wonder in the background ( ‘As’ by Stevie Wonder was playing in the background), and the cold jelly smeared on my belly. I lie down at ease. She begins her scan with her tool and like a paintbrush, capturing the image of my Sun. She asks me how did my baby shower go.
Was there a lot of blue? She asks because I am having a boy.
No, not in terms of decorations but gifts yes, I respond happily.
I start to doze off, the bed is too comfortable and tempting not to. When I open my eyes, she begins to click off the machine. Are we all good? I asked. I asked this question at every appointment I ever had, and I was always reassured with a yes , everything is all good.
The technician responds they can tell you upstairs, I am just a technician. Can you hold on Ms. Townsend?
At this point, I am sitting up, ½ crunch position, and a little confused…but not worried. Everything has been good. I just went to the doctor last friday.
The chief radiologist comes in and reapplies the jelly and paints with my belly again. Anxiety is creeping in my chest, like water it spills through my eyes. Is everything okay? I ask, voice breaking.
He turns the screen around. Ms Townsend, your son’s heart is not beating. You are having a miscarriage, or in this case, a stillborn.
My brain instantly recalled every little thing that I did wrong, like an itemized receipt I read it back to myself.
I didn’t eat breakfast that morning. I went to sleep on my back. I was stressed during my pregnancy, a lot. I cried a lot. I yelled a lot. I cried too much. I reached up for the light. I bent over once. I didn’t eat enough smoothies. I didn’t work out enough. I didn’t read enough.
I don’t remember much after that. My fiancee David was there as my Mom. my brother Kham. my sister Kori. my grandparents. My Aunties. My cousin Melissa. My pastor, Pastor Moss, came. David’s parents came as well…to the hospital.
I was there from Tuesday to Saturday.
My baby died inside of me. I don’t know when. I know he was alive, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday morning he kicked me goodnight.
I don’t know how. But at this point, the how and the why wouldn’t change what. Happened.
I was induced into labor, vaginally. There are no words to describe the pain. To say it hurt, was an understatement. I was excited for this moment, ever since September. I remember when I met with my doula Angel and she asked what is your level of pain tolerance? I thought mine was at a 5 or a 6.
but i was wrong. I can actually handle a lot more than i thought.
I was in labor for 3 days. The morning of I remember thinking if I could do this, push out my purpose…the one that was keeping me swollen with joy for the past 8 months. The one that knew me so well. The one that made me feel as if my body can produce something so perfect. Every time something bad happened, as it is life, i could always look down…and remember that I had something to look forward to coming March 10th. I just kept thinking, why didn’t God take me instead and give my Sun a chance to live, love and laugh?
The “what if’s” are a lot more painful than the “what was”. I never saw my Sun laugh, breathe, hiccup, smile, cry, talk….
My body telling me to push out my Sun when all I wanted was to hold onto him a little bit longer. I wanted to breathe life into him, i wanted him.
I had some tearing when it was finished. There was blood, which is normal.
March 1. 4:42 AM. 6 pounds. 13 ounces. David Kwynton Flynn was born.
Beautiful, perfect, so so so perfect.
My fiance cut the umbilical cord.
The next day I held him in my arms. Hair as fine and soft. Cheeks so round. I never knew love like this. An engulfing, calming, filling sort of love. I will do anything sort of love. The I never wanna see you in pain sort of love. The love that drives you to defeat any sort of odds because you have a beautiful, brilliant boy watching you.
But there was also a pain. And embarrassment and shame. And anger. And confusion. And insecurity.
I felt betrayed by my God and my body. I was ashamed to tell family and friends that my baby died knowing that everyone would have questions. I was embarrassed because the baby shower was not that long ago.
Everyone told me there was nothing i could do. The doctors, the nurses, my family, my man, the Pastor…
But I was HIS home. HIS mother. It is MY responsibility to have kept him alive, to know when there was something wrong. In my head I knew I wasn’t the one to blame, but my uterus told me otherwise.
This past weekend we had a visitation for my Sun, family was able to offer words of encouragement. We ended the ceremony with a beautiful balloon release and dinner with family. It was intimate and warm. i knew what i was made out of..during this time.
During this time i have accepted three things. 1) there was nothing that I could have done to prevent this from happening. 2) everyone grieves differently. 3) my baby was still, born.
- there was nothing that I could have done to prevent this from happening
According to an article, in Fit Pregnancy, “African American women are twice as likely to suffer a late-pregnancy loss as white women, says a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Among black women, 22 out of every 1,000 pregnancies ended in stillbirth, compared with 10 per 1,000 among whites and 10.5 per 1,000 among Hispanics, U.S. National Institutes of Health researchers found. The death of a fetus after the 20th week of pregnancy is considered stillbirth (though this varies by state).
Health concerns (such as high blood pressure and diabetes) and labor-related conditions (like placenta or umbilical cord problems) were cited for the larger share of black women’s stillbirth risk compared with white and Hispanic women.
Among the most common causes for stillbirth are birth defects, poor fetal growth, and problems with the placenta. However, absent these factors, the reasons behind some stillbirths will always remain a mystery.”
I attended every prenatal visit. My blood sugars were regularly monitored and great. I took my vitamins. I did all that I could and more.
- everyone grieves differently
Everyone loved my Sun. my mother was delicately grieving around me, my fiance never broke down in front of me at the hospital, my brother prayed a divine prayer while crying, some family members kept asking what happened and when will we get the autopsy? There were even some family members that said that God took my baby away to show that David, my fiancee, and I are not meant to be with each other.
Grief is more than a loss, more than wounds you have to let time heal…it is anger. It is distraction through hyperproductivity. It is shutting off your phone. It is throwing baby clothes. It is muting the TV when baby commercials come on. It is taking a break from your loved ones or significant other. It is breaking up with them. It is arguments over every and anything. It is getting in your loved one’s faces. It is saying the meanest things your body has ever created. It is laughing over youtube videos and Rush Hour. it is not eating. It is eating all the junk food. It is drinking alcohol until you forget or are numb. It is smoking until you remember. It is silent. It is loud. It is cussin at God in church. It is thanking God for your grandma, your Mom, for Sunshine, for wind, for air. It is jealousy of other parents. It is cutting your hair. It is everything. It is nothing at all. It is grief.
Recognizing this has made me see things a lot clearer.
- my baby was still, born
I remember after my Sun was born my mother taking pictures of him. My heart wanted to post one, so bad and show off my baby boy.
Show the world who I am proud of! Show the world look at God!
My Sun is an angel. He was still, born. I am a MOTHER. I have an Angel, I can’t pretend as if he never existed, or not talk about him… I wanna talk about him ALL day!
Who he looks like, his hair, his smell (BTW newborn babies have THEE most beautiful smell EVER), his cheeks, everything…
Idk why my Sun is an Angel, but I do know that heaven is the best thing I could ever want for my baby and God knew that I needed someone to watch over me.
Life is short, it is a small breath, a small heartbeat…like a string that can just be cut.
Live, Love, Laugh.
It hasn’t been a month yet since losing my baby but my feet keep moving. My heart keeps beating. I gotta keep going for me, for my baby. I start a new job Monday. A full-time job. I won’t be going back to Columbia for my MA in Public Affairs Reporting but I will go get my Master’s one day.
I will see my Sun again.