People have always described me as extremely happy, funny, brave, strong and beautiful–inside and out. However, I never really believed how strong I was until I had no choice but to be strong…
I lost my daughter, Kalilah, Nov 1, 2017. Her due date was Nov 2, 2017. Sometimes I feel like a crazy person even saying this because how could this have really happened? Really?
I went to my weekly prenatal appointment on Nov 1, and her heart beat was absent. I for sure thought it was some type of misunderstanding. The technician was new and in training, and I was certain that he had done something, fairly minor, incorrectly. Three ultra sounds later I knew he was right. It was the truth. I stared at the ultrasound screen, that I had watched with amazement, excitement and love many times before, and my baby was lifeless. No audio. No “140ish BPM”.
I was in a shock. I couldn’t understand how I was pregnant for 40 whole weeks and then just…
What happened? What did I do? I did everything right!
How didn’t I know something was wrong?
Why couldn’t I protect her? I’m her mom!
She was just okay. I just felt her!!! What didn’t I do?
How do I tell my husband?
What even happens now?
You go to the hospital when your body is ready and you deliver–no matter what the outcome is. The worst thing humanly possible is going through labor pains and contractions already knowing your baby isn’t alive. Knowing you won’t hear a cry once you deliver. Knowing their eyes won’t open. Trying to accept the fact that despite the womanly power and beauty that is birthing a baby, you will not take a baby home with you.
Getting through labor felt mentally and emotionally impossible. I cried, screamed and begged for a cesarean. The entire process felt torturous and I just wanted it to end. The doctors refused; explaining there was no need for the aggressive surgery. I laid in triage and felt her lifeless body inside me. It felt different. It felt heavy. I knew my baby was gone. I endured this trauma for 22 hours. After any loss, time to grieve and process is necessary to maintain sanity. For me, anyway. Nevertheless, they kept asking me questions I wasn’t prepared to answer. “Do you want to run test?” “Do you want an autopsy done?” “Do you want to hold her?” Would you like to take pictures?” “Would you prefer to bury or cremate her?”
I sat there and took the medicine to be induced. They broke my water. That was the worst part for me because I was waiting for that moment. That was my cue. I’m a first time mother, and the daydreams I‘ve had about how my daughter would enter this world was one of the greatest joys of pregnancy for me. I imagined where and when it would happen. Would she wake me out of my sleep? Would she come in the car while I was driving? Would I freak out and my husband would have to be supportive–all while freaking out just as much as me–but knowing one of us had to hold down the fort?
None of that was it.
My reality was my that my baby was gone and there was nothing I could do.
I gave “birth” soon after I was induced. They call it “giving birth”. But I mean, did I give birth if she wasn’t alive?
They put her on my chest and I just held her. Looking at her in disbelief. This baby came out of me! She was sooo beautiful! She was heavy but so small. 6lbs and 17oz. I was so mesmerized by her beauty. With her eyes closed, I just prayed she was asleep. I couldn’t gather the strength to let her go. My husband bathed her and I grabbed an outfit from my hospital bag and dressed her up. I brushed her full head of hair. To some, the process of nurturing our baby may seem insane. But, my God, you have no idea. She’s ours and this was literally the first and last time we were going to be able to tend to her needs. I needed some sort of positive memory of my time with my baby on this earth.
I held her and sung to her. I gave her Eskimo kisses and kissed her cheeks. Our bonding lasted about an hour before my husband said it was time to say goodbye. I gave her one last kiss and I felt my heart shatter. All I could do was scream, “My heart! My heart!”
We left the hospital a few days later…with a box. Not a baby, but a box of items. I arrived home, to my baby-prepared home; and her nursery. I lost it. Our lives were changed, planned, equipped, formatted for our new addition and after 9 months, we walked back into our home alone. Yall, I lost my baby.
I was depressed for months. I couldn’t, eat, sleep or shower. I was in so much pain, I legitimately could find no cure but to kill myself. The irony in that was how could I ever put my parents in the position I was currently in. I knew how devastating I felt, and my love for my parents and husband saved my life.
Nov 2, 2017, a world-wind that became life began. I was struggling to comprehend my new normal and anything that wasn’t my grief had no place in my life. My body made milk for a baby that was gone and no one could fathom the damage. I blamed myself and I felt so alone. I was prescribed anti-depressants but refused because nothing could make me feel better.
At this time, I was enrolled in school and found myself incapable of focusing on anything academic related. I gave up on my dream and stopped going completely. Eventually, I failed the courses and was dismissed from the program I had worked so hard to get into. I accepted defeat. I knew it was coming. I was at such a low point… I could care less.
I eventually found a job selling car insurance– because responsibilities don’t stop. I hated it. Whattttt was I doing? In real life? I can’t tell you how, but I discovered the courage to get up and apply myself. I quit that stupid job, wrote an appeal to the Dean of my university explaining my circumstance; hoping for another chance. It’s such a hard thing to “explain” because I promise you, no matter how much I say “my daughter died” no one gets how it affected me.
Nevertheless, my appeal was approved and I was back to chasing my dreams despite my struggles. Even today, I continue to juggle having the mental capacity to keep pushing.
Back then all I saw was darkness. I didn’t believe there could ever be light. I never imagined the day when I’d be able to genuinely do my [annoying] laugh until my stomach hurt, but I can see it now. I didn’t think my husband and I would survive the hardship, but we did.
So here I am exactly 1 year later and somehow I’m thankful. I know the impossible is possible. I’ve grown tremendously. I’m proud of me. One could never imagine the pain no matter how hard they try. I wish this pain on no one. It’s hard and it’s never going to be easy for me; but if I can get through this, I can get through ANYTHING.
I knew from the beginning of my journey that I had to be a voice and spread awareness about this cause. So many families experience stillbirths and the amount of women I’ve connected with is insurmountable. I will continue to share my story and spread awareness through social media.
I love my daughter, Kalilah. She is the most beautiful spirit I’ve ever met and she’s the reason I didn’t give up. I will always thank her for revealing the amount of strength and resilience I’ve always had inside. The bond we share could never be broken and there will always be a special place in my heart—secured just for her.