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A Letter to our Stillborn Daughter

by Carol Jones

Fri., 27 Sep 1996

Dear Miranda,

Today I finished your photo album. Only instead of being full of happy pictures and "Congratulations!" cards, it has no pictures, just a fetal death certificate and sympathy cards and an obituary.

I had been having contractions off and on for about two days when they finally became regular. I was told to go to the hospital when the contractions were 5 minutes apart for an hour. Around midnight, I told your dad it was time to go. He looked like a little boy on Christmas morning--he couldn't wait to meet you. I felt like I already knew you, but I couldn't wait to see you, either. Once we got there, the nurses looked for your heartbeat, but they couldn't find it. They tried to convince me it was their fault or the machines' fault, but I was terrified. They called the doctor and tried to keep me calm by telling me it was probably just they were doing something wrong. I didn't believe them. I think they knew something was wrong. The doctor used an ultrasound machine to find your heart, and it had stopped. He used his stethoscope to check my heartbeat and I remember being surprised that he found one. It seemed that if your heart had stopped, mine would have to, because you were so much a part of me.

You were delivered by cesarean after twelve hours of labor. I had general anesthesia for the surgery because the epidural didn't work. I wish it had, so that I could have seen you then. They brought you to me while I was in the recovery room and I held you but it didn't seem like it was really you. Then they gave you to your dad and he held you for a long time. I fell asleep, and when I woke up, you were gone.

It has been five weeks since then and I still miss you. I know now that I always will. Even if we have other children, we'll always miss our first one. I think of you every day and I pray I'll be strong enough to live my life in such a way that your short life will not have been in vain. You taught us that a child is a precious gift never to be taken for granted. This understanding is a priceless birthday present you have left for your future siblings and your father and I will not forget to give it to them.

We love you and we know you're in good hands. (But we still wish you were here with us.)

Love, Mom

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