Anyone that knows me knows, i am a woman of many hats... Mom, wife, aunt, daughter, friend...... just to name a few.... but sometimes people do not realize all of the other hats i wear,
Sometimes people see me sitting in one spot... typing away on social media or email and just think "she's always on her phone" but what they fail to think of is; all the other hats i wear. Bereavement doula, Counselor, SBD Chaplain, mentor, Student lead, SBD state rep.. just to name a few.
And with these hats comes alot of typing.... alot of supporting, alot of seeing the top of my head! As you walk up and talk to me & just see the top of my head... please do not think i am ignoring you.... if i am typing away seemingly in my own little world its because... I'm walking a new SBD doula student through the heart wrenching studies in class,
Im mentoring a mom who is having a hard time coping with the loss of her child 3 years ago. I am searching for a fellow doula in various areas of the country so that they may just be able to support a new mom who just heard "there is no heartbeat"
I may be speaking with a mom who is preparing to give birth to her child, knowing that when she does... hello will be very shortly followed by goodbye.
I may be physically sitting on my couch but mentally, i am on a cold bathroom floor, supporting a mother who is miscarrying the child she has longed for, for many years. I am talking to a mom who just found out that the IVF treatments they received.... did not stick..
Sometimes i am just chatting with a friend who, at that moment... needs my ear as they cry. My phone may always be in arms reach.... but for me.... i HATE when it rings... because 90% of the time, when it does, its a heartbroken mom on the other end.
So please, think twice when you see someone sitting in full thought as they type on their phone. you could possibly be witnessing someone supporting someone else.
December 19th, 2015 started like any normal day.. Until the phone rang. The hospital had called and asked that I come in for a family whose precious little girl grew wings at just about 33 weeks. I gathered my stuff, contacted the photographer and headed to be with the family. Usually I have a chance to meet with the mom but this time, things were different and what I didn't know at that point was, this whole experience would be different than any I have ever been a part of. The mother gave birth to her sweet angel girl shortly after 5pm via c-section. As I gathered with her family, we awaited news from the OR. A short time later the nurse came to get me and take me back to recovery where I got to sit with the dad and hold the baby as we waited for mom to wake up from general anesthesia . Mom woke up for a short time where we were able to introduce her to her precious little girl, her angel... But at this point, no one involved knew how much that statement would stand true.
After allowing mom to see her little girl, we took her into the room where all the family awaited their chance to meet, hold and love on this precious angel. Grandparents, dad and other various family members got the opportunity to soak in her features and cover her in love as we patiently waited for her mom to come out of recovery. After a while, they informed us that she would be coming back into her room but being under general anesthesia would still be in a fog. Originally the photographer planned to come first thing the next morning to capture memories but, was able to change her plans slightly so I informed the family that she would be by around midnight. Family slowly started leaving for night , with intentions of coming back the next day to spend more time with both mom and baby. Knowing that they would get to keep their little girl with them for a decent amount of time. Hours went by as we gathered by moms bedside, still loving on the sweet little 4lb 11oz angel that graced us hours before. The photographer arrived and we spent an hour capturing every tiny detail, capturing moments with mom and daughter, a daddy with his baby girl. Our amazing photographer agreed to come back later in the afternoon to capture more moments when mom was more alert.
Shortly after 2am I was preparing to leave for a few hours so that mom and dad could rest... Until the Doctor walked in (an amazing resident I've worked with in the past) and little did we know.... All of our plans would change, the dr informed us that moms health was deteriorating, she was having severe medical problems that required her to be sent to a different hospital 40 miles away. Which meant, according to state laws, that the precious little angel everyone expected to see in a few hours, would have to stay while her mommy was sent via ambulance to another hospital. And this is when I realized that in all my training, I was not trained for this moment. I was not told how to handle a situation like this.
Mom and dad were given some time to briefly say their goodbyes as the ambulance arrived. I held their baby, so very wanted, so immensely loved, as her dad kissed her goodbye one last time. I slowly walked out of the room and tucked her gently into her bassinet in the nursery. Then watched as mom was rolled down the hallway and out to the ambulance. I went home to rest, letting them know I would be up to see them the in the morning.
Once they arrived at the new hospital they were informed of just how serious things had gotten. And we all learned that this precious little baby, so small and perfect, was exactly what we thought she was, an angel. But not an ordinary angel, her mothers angel! This tiny little girl saved her mothers life. If it were not for this angel gaining her wings, her family may have lost them both.
Almost a week has gone by and mom is still in the hospital. Still battling for her own life while trying to grieve the loss of the tiny angel who saved her.
In training, we are taught how to handle the loss of a child, how to comfort the family, how to capture the moments. But what do we do when everything goes array? How do we support a family who is at risk of loosing two members in the blink of an eye. How do you support a grieving mom who is fighting to stay alive?
There is so much truth in the statement "each life, no matter how brief will forever change the world." This tiny little angel has changed so many lives forever. Especially mine. Not only did she come at a time when I didn't even know I'd need her most, she taught me so very much. She has taught me lessons that could never be learned in a class. This little girl not only became an angel, she became a hero who gave her life to save another.
thank you to the family for allowing me to be a part of this journey with you, your little girl will forever live on in my heart.
Photo credit : Jenny's childbirth services (www.jennyschildbirthservices.com)
Photos shared with permission from family.
Years ago, i had NO idea this is where my life would end up, never once did i think, "i want to support families in their most vulnerable state" I was a mom, military spouse and a pre-k teacher. I loved my life, I loved my job. I had wanted to teach pre-k since i was a 7 year old little girl.
Why would i practically throw away a career i always wanted to become what i am now?
Because, I am a loss mom!
I understand that vulnerable state, I know the pain first hand of losing a child you have wished for. And i hate the thought of knowing that there are people going through it alone.
While i was pregnant with my youngest rainbow, i found comfort in a fellow StillBirthday Doula, She was also a loss mom & expecting her rainbow. She completely understood the thoughts, feelings and anxiety i felt. Once my rainbow was born, I knew that i had to follow in her footsteps and be for others, the person she was for me!
I excitedly signed up to start my training, almost blind to what the future would hold.
After completing my course and obtaining my certification
i dove head first into getting my name out there, letting people know that pregnancy and infant loss does exist and in the process, i would get the inevitable question: "what exactly do you do?"
Every single time, my first thought is "now i get to be Debbie Downer"
I go on to explain in full, what I do, the services i offer.
Which brings the next inevitable question "why?"
WHY? Why do have a room of infant sized burial gowns, preemie sized diapers, blankets and hats smaller than most people have ever seen?! well.. WHY NOT?!
Someone needs to do it!
Someone needs to be a shoulder for a new mom to cry on when they hear "i'm sorry, there is no heartbeat"
Someone needs to hold a crying dad as he screams at the heavens.
Someone needs to sing to that precious child & tell them they are loved, when their families are too scared to!
Someone needs to be able to answer the phone at 3 am when a crying mother has noone to talk to.
Someone needs to hug those precious children standing in a hospital room trying to figure out why mommy and daddy are so upset.
Someone needs to wrap that new precious angel up in a blanket and hand it to the parents as if it is a beautiful gift to only hold for a brief time.
Someone needs to fill the arms of a mom as she leaves the hospital without the thing she went in there for.
I HAVE to be that someone!
I AM that someone.
I am the person at parties, reunions, community events, that gets that weird looks when people discover what i do.
I have to be the Debbie Downer that turns a pleasant conversation into a awareness lesson.
I absolutely, wholeheartedly LOVE what i do. I find comfort in my own grief, i find healing knowing that i am Debbie Downer.
Every Time I am asked what i do, i am filled with pride knowing that someone has become aware that pregnancy loss is real.
I am blessed by women who suffered a loss years prior, who never spoke of their loss, and now... they have an outlet, they can finally grieve, knowings that there is someone to listen, someone who understands.
I LOVE being Debbie Downer, because every time I am, The silence is broken