One of the last posts I wrote about my Gianna was about the day she was born, the couple of days she lived, and the day she died. In this post, I’d like to talk about recovering after the death of a baby. As most of you can imagine, this loss is not something you ever fully recover from, but a lot of healing took place in that first week. If you want to read my whole story of finding out there was something wrong with my pregnancy, you can start with this post.
Gianna was born on Thursday, May 29, 2008. She passed away on Saturday, May 31, 2008. My in-laws drove out to California from Idaho, to see Gianna after she passed away. We already sent her to the morgue, but the nurses brought her back out for my in-laws to see her. I kept it brief because that was more difficult for me – since she was hard and cold, and I knew her spirit wasn’t there. I was released from the hospital on Sunday, and instead of going home to my children and husband, I went to my parent’s house to rest. My in-laws stayed at my house and took care of my boys while I tried to recoup from surgery and from my devastating loss. Hubby had to return to work on Monday, and resume his normal life. I just didn’t want to have to entertain company, and deal with fighting children right after the things I had been through. Everyone was very understanding.
Here is what I remember about the whirlwind of a week after my little girl passed away. I spent most of the week in a loose yellow cotton nightie that belonged to my mom. I stayed in my old room, in a queen bed that now resides there. My mom purchased Gianna a pink stuffed bunny, which was the center of one of those small blankies with silky edges. I had this at the hospital with me and Gianna, and for some reason I couldn’t let it go. I spent a few days hugging and holding the little bunny – longing for the baby I hardly got to hold. Some days I just laid in that bed and wept. I had a few dear friends who came by to visit me, which I truly appreciated. They brought me flowers and goodies, and were there to lend a listening ear.
One particular friend was very sweet and intuitive, and gave me more than she could ever know. She heard that we referred to Gianna as our little butterfly. Instead of flowers, this friend got me a butterfly bush to plant in my yard – to remember Gianna always; especially when the flowers bring in the butterflies. She also wrote me a note about monarch butterflies and how significant they are. This sweet act truly touched my heart and meant the world to me.
Something that I need to mention about my recovery is the wonderful support I had of my family. My mom, dad and husband were there for me throughout the whole difficult pregnancy and hospital stays. They continued to be a support to me when I came home from the hospital. My mom fed me and cared for me. Because of her sense of humor, she also let me know that I could hold and squeeze that bunny for a little while, but she didn’t want me to get all weird, so it would have to end at some point. And it did, when the time was right. It was perfect really. I decided that I wanted to send Gianna on her way with a little piece of me. Because I had been with that stuffed bunny so much in that one week, I decided to bury it with Gianna. It felt like the perfect thing. Then I had my in-laws at my house, taking care of my boys for those 4 days before the funeral services. They were in good care.
I am the youngest of 6 children. My sisters are the two oldest, and then I have three brothers between us girls. Each sibling played a special role in my life, throughout the death of my little angel and my recovery. My oldest sister was there at the hospital, right when she got the call, to take my three boys while I delivered Gianna. She was also there at the hospital when she was needed, and to help with the kids. I didn’t have to worry one bit about where my kids were, and whether or not they would be where I needed them, when I needed them. They were completely taken care of, and just in place when I needed them. My next oldest sister was on the phone with me right away, and told me she would be on a plane and out to see me, as soon as I said the word. And she was. As soon as Monday came, and I was at my parent’s house, she was there to comfort me and to help me plan the funeral and look for the available options for cremations. If I recall correctly, we even went and got pedicures together, before the funeral. My oldest brother was the doctor who had the information and the tenderness to tell me what my doctors were not. He let me know that Gianna was too weak, and that she may be suffering. He gave me the comfort and information that I needed to make the end of life decisions that we had to make. My next oldest brother dropped school and life on the opposite side of the country, to bring his wife and kids out to be with me for 6 whole weeks, after Gianna died. His wife was there to try and be whatever I needed her to be. She wasn’t much of a baker yet, but I remember her trying to get me to eat in that first week after Gianna died, and she told me she would make anything I wanted. Not much sounded good to me, but I finally resolved on homemade rolls. Bless her heart – she was in that kitchen baking up a batch of her first homemade rolls. She was willing to do anything I needed! Then there is the brother right above me. He lives in Arizona, and he had the sense and timing to have the perfect bouquet of flowers delivered to my hospital room – right when I needed them. Then when he questioned whether or not they should come to the funeral, his wife said, without question, “We’re going.”
I truly have an amazing family, and could not have gotten through that first week after Gianna’s death, without them. I am truly blessed to have the family that I have. Even better timing – we have a family reunion next week, where we will all be reunited! We try to do this every 2 years, but it has actually been 4 years since we have ALL been together. All 6 of us kids are married, and have children of our own. This reunion will bring all of us together, with our 28 children (between all 6 of us). My parents will be there with us too, of course. I just realized that the last reunion where we were all together was the one just 4 weeks or so after Gianna died. They were all there for me then, just as I’m sure they are all there for me now. My next post will be about the Funeral, which was beautiful.
You can read my next post, which talks about the perfect funeral for my baby.