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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.