My Daughter Vivienne
by Lynn Rozon
Mother to Vivienne
Thank you for your 'First Person' web page. When I stumbled on it, it
was like finding a special, protected, beautiful and sad garden. I've
read the stories and the poems and wept for each mother, father and
baby. And with that weeping, I've also acknowledged that their
experiences are real, that their babies deserve to be grieved, that
their pain is understood, that they are not alone. And I've realized
that I am not alone.
That's why I've written about my baby. I hope our story will be able to
touch others the way I've been touched. If anyone wants to talk to me,
my address is email@example.com.
Date: Tue, 6 May 1997
Here is our story.
My husband, Ron, and I started trying to have a child seven years ago.
Finally, last summer, after my second IVF cycle at a fertility clinic,
we were pregnant. Of course, we tried to keep calm about it until we
passed the first trimester, but we were just ecstatic! When I went for
an ultrasound at 7 weeks, I balled my eyes out when I saw my baby. It
was such a precious gift I had been given, one that I never thought I
would have, and there with my own eyes I could see the proof that I
really was carrying a baby. Magic!!!
Throughout my entire pregnancy, people commented on how I was 'glowing'
- and after the 5th month (when my nausea finally stopped), I felt like
it. Every visit to the doctor confirmed that everything was going the
way it should - I was gaining just the right amount of weight, I was
healthy, the baby's heart beat was strong - everything was A-OK. As I
started to feel my baby move around inside me, I felt that everything in
the world was as it should be.
Because of my age (I'm 38) the doctor was sending me for ultrasounds
every other week towards the end of my term, just to make sure that the
placenta and fluid were still strong and able to support the baby. My
due date was March 30. I had my last ultrasound and doctor's
appointment on Thursday, March 27. As usual, everything was fine.
At 2:00 in the morning Friday, I started having some contractions.
Nothing major, no regular pattern, but I was very excited. I did as I
was told in my pre-natal classes, and I tried to get back to sleep. By
9:00 a.m., the labour pains stopped. Oh well, just some false labour.
But Ron and I knew that it wouldn't be long before we would get to see
our baby. The next night I was woken around 4:00 a.m. with labour pains
again. This time they did not go away, and I laboured steadily
throughout the day. Around 6:00 p.m. the pains came stronger and closer
together, so we headed to the hospital. We were so excited, we couldn't
wait to meet our baby face-to-face!
We were admitted and put into a labour room. The nurse came in and
started to hook up the contraction and fetal heart monitors. She
couldn't get it hooked up properly - she wasn't getting the baby's heart
beat. She called another nurse in, and she couldn't get it hooked up
properly either! I was getting quite annoyed with both of them for
their 'incompetence'. Even when the doctor was called in, it never
occurred to me that anything might be wrong with my baby. They tried
hooking up an internal monitor and finally, there was a heart beat! But
then the doctor said it was just mine. Within minutes they had the
ultrasound set up and then the doctor was looking at Ron and me saying
he was sorry. Sorry. It really didn't make any sense at all. How
could my baby not have a heart beat? I had felt the baby move that
morning, I had seen the ultrasound two days before, it was impossible
for this to be happening to us!
I hardly remember how I reacted. Mostly I remember feeling numb.
There was a stillness around my heart, as though a coat of armour
surrounded it - and nothing would ever get through to my heart again.
Ron and I were dazed, I remember looking into his eyes and seeing the
same confusion I could feel inside of me. Nothing was 'right'. Nothing
was 'normal'. Nothing made any sense at all.
I laboured for about 13 hours to deliver Vivienne. I can't find words
to describe the experience. I wanted to deliver my baby. I wanted her
to be alive. I didn't want to let my baby go - I wanted to keep her in
me. I wanted to feel her move again. I wanted her life and our dreams
to unfold the way they were supposed to. I wanted to wake up from this
nightmare and find that everything was OK again. I wanted to die.
Ron and I cried and held each other through the night. Finally, at 8:39
a.m. on Sunday, March 30, 1997 (her due date) Vivienne Rozon Forrest
was born. After the final push I looked down between my legs and I saw
the most beautiful baby in the world lying there, still. So very, very
still. I think that that is when my heart broke. That is when I really
started to understand that she wouldn't look at me, she wouldn't cry,
she wouldn't gurgle, she wouldn't smile, she wouldn't feed at my breast.
The nurse wrapped her and gave her to me. I will never forget how she
felt in my arms. The weight of her (7lbs 3oz). How she felt against
my body. How soft her skin was. Her nose, a little crooked from the
birth. Her perfect, tiny little mouth, just begging for a kiss. My
beautiful daughter Vivienne. So perfect, so lovely, so precious. I
will never forget the anguish in Ron's face as he held her. The pain in
his voice as he sobbed over her.
I held her for 4 hours. I wish now I had held her longer.
The doctor can't explain what went wrong, other than to say it was
likely some sort of cord accident.
Some days I think that I'm crazy - that I must have dreamed the whole
pregnancy. Some days I feel guilty because I'm laughing and enjoying
myself. Some days I feel like I'll never be able to stop crying. I
can't stop searching the faces of every infant I see, looking for
Vivienne. Of course, I never find her.
My life has changed - I am now a parent. A parent with empty arms and a
broken heart. It just seems unfair that my baby never got to feel the
sun on her face, or pick a flower, or feel her parents arms around her.
It seems unfair that we have so much love to give, and our baby isn't
here with us to receive it.
I worry about her. Where is she now? Who is taking care of her?
Does she know how much we love her and miss her and want her?
Dear sweet Vivienne, neither the joy of having felt you grow in my womb,
nor the pain of your absence will ever go away.
Your mommy and daddy love you, forever.
Mother to Vivienne