Monday, June 30, 2008

this cup

This is a response to a post by Bon on Glow in the Woods, called this cup pass from me.

*****
I wept last night, after reading this post. Hard. Bon, you've touched on so many things. So much that resonates.

What did me in, though, was that last big paragraph, and the line preceding. My water broke at almost 20 weeks. One of my sons was already gone. The question was, do we try to save the other or just let him go? No doctor would recommend anything. It was up to us. We talked to expert after expert to find out what our chances were, of making it to 24, 28, 32 weeks. What the effect of no fluid around the baby would be. What kind of problems we would face at birth at each gestational milestone, were we lucky enough to make it that far.

I didn't want to let go. A big part of me wanted to try anyway, but the numbers kept not being in our favor, in the least. Especially for a white male fetus. I kept hoping my body would decide for us, that I would go into labor spontaneously, or that it would be clear infection was setting in. At every ultrasound to check for fluid levels, (heaven forgive me) I actually hoped his heart would be still so the decision would be made for us.

No dice. We had to decide. And hearing what the outcomes would likely be, C and I knew we could not put our son through what would likely be a short life full of painful interventions that probably would not work anyway. Or if they did, what kind of a life would he have?

It occurs to me that so much of the pain I'm feeling (and I'm sure what many of us feel) is that I didn't want to let go. I didn't want to give up. How could I let go of my child? No matter what? It came down to doing what would be best for him, not for me. But how could I let go?

Some of those close to me say that there really wasn't any choice to make. I don't know that I agree. In the end, I realize now, I had to choose my pain over his. The pain I feel now, I feel it so he didn't have to.

14 comments:

Bon said...

you've made me weep in return.

we end up marked by the "choices" that circumstance makes available to us...though none of them are things we would have chosen, really.

my water broke four weeks later than yours, and my delivery was held off just past the point where i'd determined that somehow his pain might be worthwhile, might be warranted b/c of the chance of survival. in the end, that choice only caused him extreme pain...and that fact causes me a pain separate from that of his death, his absence. but it is what is, i suppose. i own it. i just fear finding myself in those circumstances again, making choices that i know may only harm.

janis said...

Oh, STE, my heart breaks for you...
Especially the last line... it glistens, and glows, with pain. AND, so much love.
Thinking of you.

Aunt Becky said...

*hugs*

STE, that's the worst choice anyone has ever had to make. I can only imagine how hard it must be to live with whatever choice you made. It's an impossible situation.

Carrie said...

I can't imagine how difficult this was to do, and how very difficult it is to live with now.
I have learned that any difficult choice in life is followed by guilt.
I wish I could think of words to help you find peace. I really do.
You loved your babies. That's why it hurts so much.

Ann said...

I often wonder what things would have been like if we had chosen not to induce and let nature take its course. What it would have been like to be pregnant for four months or more with a baby we knew was going to die. How different our grieving process would have been.

Some people say that the death of an infant should happen "in God's time." My pastor said it best--this WAS God's time. God would not lead a suffering parent astray.

CLC said...

wow- that last line killed me.
And that's what a loving Mother does. She chooses to bear the pain so her children don't. You are a wonderful Mother STE.

Devon Rene said...

i remember being drugged up on mag and them asking me what we wanted to do? as if i was in any state to decide...

we delivered. they died 2 and 3 days later. great choice i made.

found out last week i have 2 blood clotting disorders. bitter-fing-sweet.

hugs to you....

luna said...

no parent should ever have to make such a "choice."

Tash said...

I think my moment of clarity during Maddy's life came when I knew she wouldn't live because then I could simply be a mother, and make sure when she died she went in a way that that was comfortable FOR HER. Everything from then on really ceased to be a "choice" as I read it.

What really kills me is that there aren't many rewards for the most difficult choices mothers need to make.

Julia said...

It's a terrible, terrible choice. It is not fair that you had to make it, that you even had to face it. I was spared having to make a choice about life outside and pain by a set of strange circumstances (we could've ended up with an u/s that day, but he was likely suffering irrevocably from a bacterial infection by that point, and if he had been born alive would know only pain, in complete futility), and any time I think about that, I am grateful.
And I think Tash is right-- there is no reward for making these choices. Simply because these choices? They just suck.

Reese said...

A mother's love. Only a mother would/could do this.

I am sorry about your sweet boys. They should be there with you.

Anonymous said...

I actually had written something once about this feeling I have when I look at my daughter; it's that I never want her to feel any pain. of course, I know that this idea is unrealistic, but I look at her and think sometimes that I hope she never had to hurt physically or emotionally and how I wish that I could just take it all instead of her. I'll do as much as I can, and you did everything you could have done. this is one of our jobs as parents; to make the lives of our babies as easy as possible. sometimes it makes our lives more difficult. I hope that your pain diminishes with time...

theviewfromthisplace said...

"The pain I feel now, I feel it so he didn't have to." -- If this is not the absolute heights of lovingly parenting, I don't know what is. I'm so sorry you had to lose your boys...had to make those agonizing decisions. You and your husband fighting like warriors to give your remaining son a fighting chance. It is all so devastating, isn't it?
I remember when I was told they had to remove the stitch, and allow labor to progress at 23w2days. this killed me. what if i had stayed home? couldn't they have knocked me out for the next few days to give her more time? couldn' they have given me antiobiotics. why? why did she have to die? All we needed were just a few weeks, even a few more days.
These questions and thoughts are agonizing. But they really do make us parents. I'm sorry you feel this way, but you are not alone. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
HUGS

Isn't it pretty to think so said...

Hi, I have been going back over your blog. I don't remember reading this before. i would have remembered this. What a special, special mother you are. My mother always said, "I would cut off my right arm for you," (don't know why she would need to...), but you literally cut out your heart for your son. You are amazing. I am so so sorry for your pain and loss.