Thursday, April 16, 2009

10 Years Ago, Day 4

At 6:54am on April 16th, 1999 I gave birth to a stillborn daughter. Abrielle Lynne Lewis-Zeigler. She had her daddy's feet and her mommy's nose. She was tiny, only 10oz and barely 12in long. Not nearly the size she should have been. We held her, they took pictures of her, the chaplin came to talk to us. I wasn't much in the mood for talking, or listening for that matter. I was in my own little hell on earth. They took our angel to be autopsied and cremated. We would get her ashes in about a week.

I was discharged later that day. I didn't want to leave. I wanted to stay confined in that little room with the yellow rose taped to the door. It told everyone that I had experienced a loss so that no one came in to offer congratulations or ask to take my daughter's hospital picture. I didn't have to talk about it, I didn't have to face anyone that knew I was pregnant.

Going back to school was going to be harder than I thought. I would later find out there were rumors that I lied about my pregnancy and about the death of my child. Why anyone would think that about me was beyond me. I most definitely never acted that heartless.

This time of year is so hard for me. This week sneaks up and almost surprises me. I get lost in the day to day life I have with my husband and 5 kids that it seems like I have forgotten that I have another child. Of course I'm not going to go around telling people I have 6 children because that would require telling them this story. There are also people out there that don't think I deserve to say I have 6 children. But my daughter had a heartbeat, we saw her on the ultrasound, she was delivered and cremated. She has a death certificate. She is real, and she was taken from us.

We can sit here and ask ourselves why but there is no answer. No one could have done anything to change the outcome. It was inevitable. Our daughter's autopsy showed she had a heart defect and a coiled umbilical cord, like sausage links, and there was a placental deficiency. She was not getting the nutrients she needed to survive, hence her tiny size at 26wks. I will never be happy that she was taken to a better place, and I will never stop wondering what she would have looked like, how she would have sounded, or where I would be if she had survived. Those things are forever a part of me, just like her father.

Our engagement didn't last... we never got married but we still remain friends to this day. I will be thinking of him today, tomorrow and always. And I will love him forever for getting me through such a terrible time in our lives.


C. Beth said...

Bri--I'm so glad you are writing this. It's such a great way to make sure that Abrielle is remembered. I'm sure she was beautiful, and I'm so sorry that the world didn't have a chance to meet her. My prayers are with you today.

Sandi said...

Bri, thank you so much for sharing this story. I can't imagine the pain you suffered and even continue to, to this day. You are an incredibly strong woman and I think you'll find comfort in the voice you're giving Abrielle. Take care. I'm thinking about you.