September 27, 2009

Sadness and Gratitude

So I said I was going to take a mini-break from blogging. Truth be told, last night I was in a sad state and I didn't feel like putting it out there for the whole world to read. Yesterday morning I went to a message board I recently started re-frequenting to check on a woman named Jewelyn that I've known casually for several years. She was due to have her baby girl yesterday, and I knew she was getting induced.

I was delighted to see that she'd gone into labor on her own. This was something I wanted for myself so badly, and we all know how that ended up... but that is beside the point. I'm glad that she didn't have to be induced, since it can be such a nasty business.

She had posted a new thread asking for labor and delivery advice from mothers on the board, and as I read through the thread, I found myself getting sad to the point where I was crying. Every single piece of advice to her felt like a knife in my heart. There were things said like "Your body was meant to do this" and "Cherish every moment, even the hard ones."

Clearly this advice was coming from people who had relatively uncomplicated labors. I couldn't help it - I took it really hard. After all, my body failed me during my labor, making it impossible for me to cherish anything about my birth experience. I felt so bitter about this innocent advice thread that I went and signed up at the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) website - it had become obvious to me that I needed support from people who had been there.

I spent much of yesterday with that familiar feeling of failure. I just felt sad, with all those awful feelings surrounding Charlie's birth washing over me.

This morning I went to check the board for a post announcing the birth of Jewelyn's baby. I was really sad to see that Jewelyn had had an emergency C-section. I felt awful for her, especially because I knew she had labored for hours. I posted something to that effect and left the board.

I checked back in maybe ten minutes later and was shocked to read that Jewelyn had suffered an amniotic embolism, had no brain activity, and wasn't going to make it. Childbirth had killed her.

Since finding out the news, this whole day has been lost. I can't think of a better word than lost. I can hardly think; I've been glued to the computer; I've been trying to make sense of this tragedy. And well, I can't make any sense out of a newborn baby girl without her mother and a husband without his wife. It is horribly, devastatingly unfair.

This has put my whole life, and especially my birth experience, into perspective. Yes, it was not ideal. Yes, it completely sucked. Yes, I will probably never really get over it. But I lived through it. And Charlie lived through it. What the hell more can a woman ask for?

Please, please, please keep this family in your thoughts. And if you feel so inclined, make a donation to Jewelyn's family through PayPal: the email address is 4jewelyn@gmail.com. It doesn't have to be much - even a dollar would be great. But they will need help.

And do something else for me, would you? Go hug your loved ones and tell them that you love them. You never know when your time is up, so cherish it. Make today count.

As for me, I'm going to get in touch with a local ICAN support group and start attending meetings. I want to move forward with hope instead of looking back with bitterness. I want to be a better person. Because when Jewelyn died, we lost a genuinely good person. We're all going to have to be better to make up for losing her.

***

For each comment I get on this post, I will donate $1 to Jewelyn's family's fund. So get to commenting, folks! And spread the word. Let's take care of this family.

47 comments:

Kasi said...

That was beautiful. I feel so sorry for everyone struggling with the loss of Jewelyn.

kim said...

Thank you for writing this.

sherthebear said...

We are all at a loss. DH passed the word to the board he frequents. His friend lost his wife during labor many years ago and this was his biggest fear as I went into labor.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family. God Bless.

Bex said...

She was a gem and will be missed terribly. Thanks for doing this Les.

Brenda said...

Thanks for doing this Leslie. She will be greatly missed.

Caroline said...

I'm a nestie from the 12-24 board and we are all so saddened by this loss. I know many ladies on our board have had similar difficulties with their c/s as you have had. i know it isn't something you'll get over immediately, but i think it is wonderful that you are using this tragedy to make a positive and healing step in your life. i wish you the best of luck in that endeavor. my prayers are with jewelyns family and loved ones tonight.

Sara said...

Beautiful, Leslie! T+P to all who knew Jewlynn!!

Nanette said...

I am so very sad for their loss. I'm at a loss for words.

Amy said...

Her family will definitely be in my prayers.

Jessica said...

This is so, so terrible.

Ann Marie said...

I lurk on that board and was stunned to read about what had happened. My thoughts and prayers go out to Jewelyn's family and to all of you who were her friend.

Anonymous said...

So tragic. I will pray for all Jewelyn's loved ones as they each deal with this loss. Congrats to you as you move forward by moving upward into a better future.

Angie Eats Peace said...

This will never make sense to me, either. She was such an amazing person.

Nurse_Shannon said...

Thanks for poating! she was such a beautiful person!

Anonymous said...

So sad. Defenitely puts life and personal troubles into perspective. All I want to do now, is hug my sweet little girl.

phairhead said...

my greatest sympathies to her friends and family

Eric's Mommy said...

So sad, my heart goes out to her family.

Anonymous said...

So heartbreaking. Praying for this family.

Jenni said...

This story is so heart breaking. I heard about it on the 6-12 month board. My prayers are with Phil and Gabby. Beautiful post.

Lisa said...

OMG, My heart is breaking for this family. Prayers going out for them

becky @ misspriss said...

I had a c-section too. This reminds me that it could have been so much worse. My heart goes out to the family.

Liz said...

Such sad, tragic news. My prayers are definitely with this family.

inflammatory writ said...

Ugh, that's terrible. Sometimes I forget that women still die in childbirth and it makes you really remember how fragile life is.

Anonymous said...

This is awful...truly awful. My heart goes out to Jewelyn's family.

thebookmill said...

how sad for her family and loved ones and everyone who knew her, even though a message board. i will keep her family in my thoughts and prayers. thanks for writing this.

Madame Meow said...

I'm so sorry for everything you went through and for the loss of your friend. No words, only time, can help you heal.

Kelli said...

This was my biggest fear when my water broke & labor didn't follow - my heart breaks for her family. :(

Kirby said...

this is heartbreaking, i'm sorry.

Anamika said...

I am so sorry. You and her family are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

There are no words. Life does not make sense sometimes.

Crazy Daisy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crazy Daisy said...

I'm in tears and do not know what to say. Once I process I'll email!

{{HUGS}}

I would like to help with the fund as well (possibly through my blog/twitter) please let me know if there is place where others can donate to.

Ms2Mrs said...

As a knottie, with a close connection to one of the ladies on the IE Nestie board, I am deeply sorry for your loss. What you ladies are doing is an amazing.

Erika said...

OMG....I'm So Sorry about Jewlyn...Life does not make sense sometimes....

karim said...

Very thoughtfull post on gratitude. It should be very much helpfull

Thanks,
Karim - Mind Power

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I didn't know your friend and all I will ever know about her is this tragic story. From your words and those of other fellow nesties I can tell that she must have been a beautiful person to be loved by so many. I know we all wish there was something we could do to ease the pain that you all are feeling but words don't often soften that pain. Jewelyn has left behind an angel. I hope that in Gabby's first step, smile, and giggle you will all find peace knowing that Jewelyn is watching.

Mrs Salonga said...

This is a very sad story. I am so sorry to hear about it. Thank you for donating to her family!

daisy said...

I've never even heard of that before. So sorry for the family and friends!! Thank you for sharing a difficult story. She looks so full of joy in the picture you posted. I know she will be missed.

Patty said...

My heart is breaking. It is terribly easy to go back to that scary time in the waiting room when you delivered Charlie and impose this different ending to the story. I already was really grateful for your recovery and full of joy over what a great mom you are to our little man, but this has me in tears for Jewelyn's family's loss, and tears of gratitude that we have YOU. You are so precious to all of us, Leslie.

Lydia said...

Wow. This is so incredibly sad. I can't imagine what her husband must be going through. Keep up the good work, Leslie.

amber said...

This is just heart-wrenching. I'm so sorry you lost a dear friend and that her family has lost a daughter, wife and mother. :(

Aline said...

it's hard to know what to say. But you're right. You made it through it's time to move on and celebrate that.

I'm so sorry about Jewlyn. I didn't know her but my thoughts and prayers are with her family.

Growing Up Cameron said...

She was pretty awesome.

It's so weird to refer to her in past tense.

wan said...

i can't even imagine what her family and friends are going through right now.

my heart and prayers to you all.

khairun said...

I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on the 24th of September and having heard about this terrible news, I feel even more grateful now to be his mother than ever before.

You are a wonderful person to be doing this.

joan said...

so sad.. thank you for sharing her story so we can appreciate our own experiences no matter how hard and th time we have with our kids