Regret

Out of all the things I regret about Luke’s loss, one that brings among the most pain is that we didn’t spend more time with him after he was born.

On the day he died, a friend who’d lost her newborn son alerted us to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a photography service for parents experiencing perinatal loss. But then I ended up delivering him in the middle of the night, when the photographer wasn’t available. For some reason it didn’t occur to me to wait a few hours, when the photog would be on call again. As a result, the only photographic evidence we have of his existence are a few grainy shots taken by the nurses; the only way I have come to know the details of his face is by cropping in on a photo taken of the three of us from about 10 feet away.

We didn’t bathe him or dress him either. We simply held him and kissed him and cried. He seemed so fragile. And then after an hour or two, we gave him away forever.

Our hospital at the time didn’t have a Cuddle Cot, a cooling device meant to give grieving parents more time with their children. Thanks to a lobbying campaign by a few of us local loss moms, the hospital now has one. But that option wasn’t available to us, and we were robbed of the opportunity to spend hours or days with our son, the only time we would ever have with him.

I’ve met so many incredible loss moms, and I love them all. But it hurts to see how many of them have numerous beautiful, professionally staged photos of every part and parcel of their babies. At least they have that to hang onto. I don’t even have a lock of his precious hair. Only fleeting, drug-hazed midnight memories of the worst day of my life.

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11 thoughts on “Regret

  1. Regret is so hard to live with when we were given so little time with our sons. I wanted to fundraise so that we could donate a cuddlecot to the hospital, and the hospital said they couldn’t accept a cuddlecot. It is so heartbreaking that we can’t give the gift of time to other loss families. Hugs to you!

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    • It’s so unfortunate that hospital staffs still need so much education. I’m sorry you’ve hit that barrier. The Star Legacy Foundation has suggested cooling packs could be used in place of a Cuddle Cot, so maybe that is something to explore?

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      • At the hospital, they have a special refrigerator that they placed our son in when I was resting. But with a cuddlecot he could have stayed in the room. Hopefully the hospital staff can learn from us loss mommas about the little things that go a long way.

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  2. I can’t get to this from in here, but i already know by the title and first couple lines that i’m 100% in agreement.

    On Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 10:03 AM lukewyatt | life after stillbirth wrote:

    > Luke’s Mom posted: “Out of all the things I regret about Luke’s loss, one > that brings among the most pain is that we didn’t spend more time with him > after he was born. On the day he died, a friend who’d lost her newborn son > alerted us to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a photog” >

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  3. Although I do have a lock of hair and a few photos, I have similar regrets about the amount of time we spent with Matthew. I was in shock from all of the trauma, and I didn’t know what to do, and I was so, so scared, as I’m sure most of us are, but some seem to be able to make different decisions than I did, and it makes me feel even more regret. It is just devastating, and we shouldn’t be having to ponder all this. Life is so unfair. Huge hugs.

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  4. I hate that we had to make those decisions in a completely traumatised and exhausted state with nothing but time afterwards to regret them in. Even as I tell you you couldn’t have known, and you did your best in the circumstances, I know your mind won’t accept that if it’s anything like mine!

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  5. I also have these same regrets. It was the middle of the night when we found out Sidney had died, and I was in active labor. The nurses took five photos of him, and I held him for about 15 minutes, but I did not closely examine every aspect of his beautiful body. I was in too much shock. I kissed his cheek, and then they took him away. They brought him back one more time a little bit later, but he was more wrapped in a blanket and they said I wouldn’t want to kiss his cheek because it had been ‘too long.’ I think I kissed him anyway, but I can’t remember. We got footprints, and I remember a nurse asking about a lock of hair, but apparently I didn’t answer, because we didn’t get one. I would do anything to be able to kiss him again, but it would never be enough. I think no matter how much time you spend with your child after birth/death, it will never be enough. I look at the five pictures I have every night before bed, and kiss the picture of Sidney’s face but it is not the same. My heart aches for Sidney, for Luke, and for all the other little babies who did not get to stay.

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    • I think you are right, it would never be enough. I love the ritual you have of looking at his pictures – it doesn’t come close to the real thing, but what a way to honor and cherish him.

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  6. This. This is why I volunteer with NILMDTS. I too have the same regrets and wish for the same things you do. My heart breaks for you and everyone who has ever experienced such a loss. I can tell you it never goes away, but acceptance comes in time.

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