My story….I don’t even know how to start.
My husband and I had been trying to have a baby for over two years. We watched countless friends get pregnant “on the first try” or “accidentally” and have babies, in some cases, some couples had a first and second baby in the time we had been trying. It was daunting, lonely, upsetting. It was hard to be happy for these people when we were sad for ourselves. We fought. We got stressed. I was getting older. It started to feel like maybe we wouldn’t be parents. With the help of a fertility clinic, it was determined nothing was wrong with either of us. Unexplained infertility. I don’t know if knowing that was better or worse. Good I guess, because there wasn’t anything wrong, but bad because, why the hell wasn’t it happening.
Finally, after such a long road, we got pregnant. It seemed so surreal. We were both so so happy. It was during the pandemic and we were about to go into a second lockdown (we live in Toronto, Canada), which meant the business my husband and I own, was about to be closed again indefinitely. It didn’t matter. We were so happy. The place could have been lit on fire, it didn’t make a difference to us. This baby was a light at the end of a tunnel we had so needed. 2021 was going to be the year for us that things were amazing.
My pregnancy was easy. Maybe too easy. I hardly had symptoms besides being tired. My bump was the perfect size. I was walking so much I was actually in better shape than I had been in for quite some time. We were told there were two small issues with the pregnancy, but they were nothing to worry about. The first was a marginal cord insertion, which is where the cord inserts at the side of the placenta rather than the top. No big deal, as long as the baby was growing normally, which she was, things were fine. The second was an amniotic band which formed in the amniotic sac. Again, we were told this was nothing to worry about and the baby wasn’t being affected by it. The doctor reassured me not to worry with such conviction, I didn’t even google either of these things at the time. It was just passed off to me as being common and not a big deal.
I distinctly remember a few days before our daughter, Lennon, stopped moving, being on a walk with my husband and telling him that I was sad my pregnancy was coming to an end. I only had about six weeks left. I simply loved being pregnant so much. Days later, my pregnancy would end a lot sooner than I had anticipated.
It was a Tuesday morning, after the May long weekend. I was sitting at my makeshift work from home desk, happily working and thinking about how I only had two more weeks of works left. I hadn’t felt her move that morning, but figure maybe she was sleeping. About an hour passed and I still hadn’t felt a movement. Feeling a little concerned but not wanting to completely freak out, I drank some juice and laid on my side. Waited about 45 mins. Nothing. “Ok”, I thought, “where is she”. My husband was at a dental appointment that morning and was heading home. I messaged him I thought maybe something was wrong. He rushed home. Held my belly. Nothing. I had a shower, thinking maybe the water on my belly would trigger something. Nothing. We decided to go to the hospital.
Due to covid, I had to go in alone. I had to find out alone that my baby had died. I had to then call my husband and tell him he could come up to find me in labour and delivery, but not to get excited, it was not good news. I watched the doctor tell him there was no heartbeat, and I watched his heart shatter into a million pieces before my eyes. I will never forget that horrible moment. Having to text parents and let them know what happened. I felt like I let everyone down. And then we realized that, this baby still had to come out of me. We decided to go home that night and return to next day to be induced.
The next 72 hours were the longest, saddest hours of my whole life. Once the shock of being told my daughter had died wore off, I couldn’t stop crying. Being in the delivery ward for days, hearing countless other babies being born to celebrations and happy tears, being met with the sound of their new babies crying. Hearing that, knowing that whenever my baby would make her way into the world, she wouldn’t make a sound. It seemed like cruel and unusual punishment. What had I done to deserve this fate? And if it was something I had done, my husband certainly didn’t deserve this cruelty as a byproduct of loving me.
After more than 30 hours of labour, Lennon Sue Lucier was born. We were both terrified to see her at first, but I’m so glad we decided to hold her, look at her and spend time with her. She was without a doubt, a perfect combination of us both. I will forever wonder what she would have sounded like and what colour her eyes were. I regret not unwrapping her and seeing her feet and hands. After a couple hours, her cheeks were ice cold. She was changing as well. We knew it was time to say goodbye. I will never forget watching her being carried out of the room by the nurse. I could see the top of her forehead as she was leaving the room. The last time I would ever see my daughter.
We went home the same day and the reality set in even more. Seeing all her things we had prepared. I and just washed so many clothes. Her bassinet. Her stroller I couldn’t wait to use. All staring us in the face. My postpartum symptoms started. The cruel joke that was being played on us just kept going. Except it wasn’t a joke, it was our reality. We were the statistic you hear about. The impossible story nobody ever wants to be.
Two weeks later, on the day that would have been my baby shower, my mom dropped us off at the airport. We decided to go away for a while. To be invisible somewhere, to be able to cry in public and not care. To not worry about running into anyone we knew. I simply did not the strength to see people we knew, to face anyone. To have them look at me with “the look” you get after going through this. Leaving was the best thing we did. After almost four weeks, I had days where I could feel some joy creeping in here or there. Even if just momentarily. Coming home, in a way was sort of like experiencing the initial loss again. The house that she wouldn’t be in. Her stuff she’d never use. People I still didn’t want to see, but it was not as hard as the first time. We had reached a place of acceptance that she wasn’t coming home.
Almost 8 months after we lost Lennon, I still have some residual issues. I don’t really like seeing people unless it’s on my terms. Running into someone is a nightmare and because I’m actually so nervous of seeing people, I don’t leave the house much. A lot of my friendships have changed. People forget trauma when it’s not their own, and I’ve learned that’s normal. The world moves on. I think I only got two messages on Christmas along the lines of “this must be so hard for you”. And that’s fine, I can’t expect to be coddled by society forever. But this type of event changes you. I will never be the person I was before that Tuesday in May. I have a hard time even looking at pictures from before that date. I want to warn her of what’s coming. She simply had no idea the hand she would be dealt.
It was determined Lennon’s cord was misdiagnosed, and she actually had a velamentous cord insertion, which in Lennon’s case, was fatal. I should have been monitored better and given non stress tests, but, apparently these complications are often missed until it’s too late or until the doctors can see the placenta and cord in person, after the delivery. No amount of wishing things were done differently will bring her back, I’ve accepted that now.
I’m currently pregnant again, and it’s different this time. I don’t want to get excited or get my hopes up. I know that there’s no guarantee until you’re holding an alive baby in your arms. I’m constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. And I still feel sad. I have days of full cries because of how much I miss my Lennon. The time in which I last saw her is only getting further away from me. It’s so hard, and even with this blessed new baby growing inside of me, I worry that I’ll never be as happy as I would have been. Will that be fair to the new baby, if they make it here safely? I don’t want to be sad forever, but sometimes I feel afraid to move on or let go. My innocence in this pregnancy is certainly gone. I don’t want to celebrate it. I don’t want to plan a baby shower. I will not wash clothes or install baby seats until this baby is born alive. Going through packing things up again, I just don’t think I could handle it. I worry if we lose this baby, what will happen to me. I don’t know if I am strong enough to live through that kind of trauma again. That’s a lot of pressure to be putting on an innocent baby as well. I feel guilty a lot. I just hope I can keep this baby safe.
Although I will never get to see her grow up, I know when it is my turn to leave this earth, I will have the best gift waiting for me on the other side. I no longer fear death the way I used to. I get upset sometimes thinking that when I get there, she will be grown up. I don’t know how it works. If she is grown up when I arrive, I’ll be sad she didn’t have her mummy her whole “life”. Regardless, I’m excited for the day we will be reunited, when it’s my time.
I will never understand why this happened to us, and why it happens to countless people. All I know is that I’ll love you forever, my Lennon girl.