Today's Inspirational Bereaved Parent Guest Post is from Colleen Hoey, a bereaved mother whose daughter was stillborn at 34 weeks and 4 days pregnant in March of this year. Her story is one of great sadness and strength as she moves through her fresh grief trying to heal her heart with operation Heal Our Hearts. There is wisdom, courage and strength in what Colleen is doing with her grief. I hope you find her story as inspirational as I do.
Evelyn's Birth & Operation: Heal Our Hearts
I cruised through pregnancy and found myself loving it. Not an ounce of morning sickness and every doctor appointment was concern free. I felt Evie kick me all day everyday...my doctor would always say, "Strong heartbeat and she's still having a party in there!". The very last time I heard those words was 4 days before she died. Ugh, only 4 days before she died she was perfectly healthy and then her kicks stopped. When I noticed I hadn't felt her all day her dad insisted on me calling my doctor and I finally caved; they told me to come in right away. I was trying not to worry, I thought I would go in, get monitored, and leave. I wake up every single day wishing that was the case.
We live in the city so he dropped me off and he quickly parked the car. I headed up to labor & delivery thinking we would be in and out. He's a nurse and was on-call so I didn't want it to take too long just in case his hospital needed him in. The nurse quickly strapped a heart monitor on me and that's when I knew something was wrong. She was searching for a heartbeat. Searching....and searching...and searching...and finally they picked one up. It was mine. So she called in a doctor and asked her for an ultrasound. There was my Evelyn. She was beautiful and so big! There was only one thing missing when I saw Evelyn that last ultrasound, her little heart wasn't beating. I knew that this meant she was dead but no one was telling me. In a room full of doctors and nurses, there was silence. Finally, someone spoke up and looked at me with sad, sympathetic eyes and said,"We are so sorry."
It had all happened so quickly that her dad hadn't even come to the room yet. He came in from parking the car and they had already confirmed her death. I had to break the news to him that our daughter died inside of me and that there was absolutely nothing we could do. I witnessed the breaking of my future husband's heart and it replays over and over again. We asked what the next steps were and they explained that I needed to deliver her. C-sections were too risky for infection so I was going to have a baby. A baby that lived but was never going to breathe. On March 11, 2013 Evelyn Anne Netzel was born at 34 weeks and 4 days at 5lbs 10oz. She looked like my mini me.
I have had a hard time trying not to blame myself since we received no answers for why she died so suddenly. Every test result came back normal. How are we supposed to go on after this? At first I wasn't sure we would be able to. However, I am determined to not lose ourselves along the way. This summer is officially Operation: Heal our Hearts. I need us to remember who we are and why we fell in love with one another. Chris & I started off as just friends and bonded over music but quickly discovered we were perfect for each other. I think it is important for us to grieve together but to also heal together. We booked a trip to Cancun, scheduled a few concerts, but we also made sure to keep some weekends free for relaxing and alone time. Henrik Edberg, owner of PositivityBlog.com, shared his 10 small ways to make this summer the happiest which have helped guide us and I hope it can help lead you to having a happy summer too!
- Go slow
- Say yes to the new
- Say no to the "should" of summer
- Just do nothing at all
- Be the summer you want to be
- Be kind in small ways
- Savor the summer moments right here instead of being lost in the future or past
- Ask yourself what you can be grateful for so far this year
- Just accept how you feel instead of pushing it away
- Spend more time doing what you love
Colleen Hoey is a non-profit accountant for Big Brothers Big Sisters, bereaved mother, and blogger just trying to live, laugh, and love after a loss...