Thursday, June 30, 2011

It has taken years but I no longer blame myself for my daughter's death

Before JJ was born, there was Lillian Bess. It was 2003 and I became pregnant with her almost a year before my husband and I were married. It was happy but stressful time. I was battling my ED strongly while dealing with the changes in my body. 

At six months pregnant, I was nervous about being a mother and constantly worried. I remember the day clearly because it was a Sunday morning. I could feel her kicking and knew in my heart that  everything was going to be okay. By 11 that night, I knew something was wrong. It was like someone turned off a switch. I knew Lillian was dead.

An ultrasound at the hospital confirmed the news. In that moment, I felt like I had let James down and Lillian. I blamed myself for her death. Since our obstetrician was in a neighboring county, I would have to wait until the following morning to see him and get checked into the hospital where his privileges were. It was the worst and longest night of my life. Both James and I cried for the loss of our baby. The next morning I was prep for delivery. It was the hard giving birth to a child whose life was gone before she had a chance. The doctors believe it was heart defect but I believe it was because of the way ED had ravaged my body.

At Lillian's grave, I made her a promise that if I ever had another child that not only would he or she know about her but I would do everything in my power not to hurt or damage them. JJ is my miracle, my motivation and my salvation. As a kid, I always thought babies were kept in heaven until their parents were ready for them. I would like to think Lillian met JJ and told him all about his parents to be. I believe this because whenever he visits her grave, he talks with her like he already knows her.

I am sharing this because I had to write a story for the newspaper on a rememberance photography program at the hospital. It is where a local photographer donates his  or her  time and talent to take pictures for families who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or a newborn. It was hard story to write because it brought back a lot of memories. Memories I don't talk about to anyone including my husband.

The decision to have JJ wasn't easy. After Lillian's death, to say I relapse was an understatement. At first, my husband and I decided we would wait to try again. And then it turned to if we could have kids. And finally, if I should have kids. James wanted kids but was scared of what it would do to me.

I found out I was pregnant while dealing with a kidney stone. I had to have kidney x-ray and they wanted to be certain I wasn't pregnant. I was. This time, I was terrified. I was quickly deemed a high risk pregnancy. For nine months, I drove a hour and half each way to see a specialist in Raleigh. JJ was a kicker while he was inside  me and had a strong hard beat. I was determined to do right by him so I made myself eat.

When he was born, I knew everything was going to be okay when he looked at me. Writing the story brought all those memories that   have stayed at the back of my mind. When the photographer showed me those touching photos, I know the story behind them. I know the unrelenting pain of leaving the hospital empty handed. The pain of  packing the clothes up and having to quietly tell family and friends that your baby is gone. I have  no photos of Lillian. I think James has some but I have never wanted to see them. Instead I have a box with her little pink dress and booties along with her death certificate and ultrasound picture. It is all I need to remember my daughter.


  1. This post touched me in a way that I can't explain. Your strength is phenomenal, in dealing with the death of Lillian, in eating again in order to save JJ, and in continuing to tell the story. Thank you.

  2. My mom went through to full term, then my sister dropped into the birthing canal and her ambical cord tightened into a knot and she passed away. So I just want you to know, you're not alone, others have lost their babies too. I am so sorry you had to go through that... I was 4 when my mom went through that, and I still cry cuz I miss my sister even though I never got to know her. It's ok to cry, if that's what you need to do, go for it.

  3. I'm glad that you no longer blame yourself. I am also glad that you had another child. Be kind to yourself and may God bless you.

  4. I am also glad that you no longer blame yourself. My mum lost her baby, when I was 13, at five months. I remember what it did to her. She was almost anorexic afterwards because she could just not eat. My dad had a vasectomy and mum got him to have a reversal and it worked. My mum gave birth to my little brother when I was 14 and it was so cool having a little brother. I will always though remember what the lost of the baby did to my mum. I have never heard her talk about it ever. I don't know that I would ever ask her about it unless she brought it up. I hope you are okay and that you are being gentle with yourself. It sounds like you did a really good job on the story, although it brought up all those painful memories.

  5. I am so sorry. Be gentle with yourself and know it was not your fault. You are very brave. I know being a journalist can sometimes take you to painful places, and to face that and still do your job is courageous.


  6. That is so sad and had to be aweful to go through. Glad you got through it and have your precious JJ now.


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