Anger is a part of grief

I’m so incredibly angry.

A little over a month ago, the wife of one of my husband’s friends gave birth to her second child exactly six months to the day after our Jolien was “born”. I put that word between quotation marks because when I was 5cm dilated and half an hour after they placed the epidural, Jolien’s heart rate dropped dramatically. It took a very long time before anyone noticed and subsequently called the on-call gyno. When they started running me to the OR for the “emergency” c-section, I saw “56” on the monitor. It was then I realized how bad it was. I started sobbing and hyperventilating. When they started anesthesia, they first gave me the muscle relaxant, mistakenly. I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t indicate it. I tried saying something, grabbed my throat… Nothing happened. I was paralyzed. The anesthesiologist must’ve seen the panic in my eyes. She asked “what’s the matter, ma’am? What’s wrong??”, then she turned to her assistant and said, “what did you give her???”. I remember thinking “this is it. I don’t want it to end like this. What about my girl????”
Then everything went black.

When I woke up, I was honestly amazed I was still alive. Then all of a sudden the anesthesiologist stood by my side, put her face really close to mine, and said “You have to look into my eyes and remember this for the rest of your life: this. is. not. your. fault.”‘

Afterward, my husband and I learned the entire OR (pediatricians, nurses, and anesthesiologists) had stood there for 15 to 20 minutes after I went under, waiting for the on-call gyno. Knowing my daughter was dying in my belly. She was resuscitated but we had to let her go a week later when an MRI showed the brain damage was too extensive to allow for any sort of humane life. She gasped for air in our arms for four hours before her body allowed her peace. A big chunk of our hearts died with her.

Now back to the wife of the friend of my husband. We got a birth announcement card, sent them some baby gifts and a congrats with the baby card back.

She said in private message: “Thank you for the gifts and the card. Of course, we understand it’s difficult right now for you to come and visit. (Baby’s name)’s birth was a very emotional moment. Thanks to Jolien it even got so much more value.” (I’m translating from Dutch.)

What the hell??? I called her out on it, said that last thing was a really messed up thing to say. I sarcastically said “Nice that my baby’s death was an added value for your perfect birth experience”. She said “oh, rest assured, it wasn’t the perfect birth experience”. Are you kidding me??? By the way, she knows what happened. We even told them about the “lesser” trauma of the botched anesthesia.

These past seven months, people have said the most messed up things with regards to what happened. Someone has said “sorry you had a miscarriage”, another said “too bad you’re not parents now”, still another said “you’ll learn important life lessons from this”,… Too much sh*t to even mention here.

Why is our society so extremely ill-equipped and frankly devoid of empathy for tragedies like these? These people are friends. Well, were friends. As if all trauma surrounding what should have been the most beautiful time of our lives weren’t enough, we’re now getting more and more isolated.

Yesterday Jolien would’ve turned seven months.

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