Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fourth letter to Sofia

Dearest Sofie,

Happy one month in heaven, my darling.

One month ago yesterday, you were born and on the same day you grew your angel wings. We celebrated your one month in heaven with a sweet cake that Dad bought for you. It's a cake from Bizu, the patisserie where your dad took me on our first date.

I wanted to write this letter to you yesterday but Dad and I had an agreement that we wouldn't use the internet at night so that we could use the time to talk and enjoy each other's company. That's why when he turned off the wifi , I didn't complain or dare to turn it on again. After all, it was I who requested for that new house rule.

I know you're in a much happier place but still, there is no day when I didn't wish I could still hold you in my arms till you fell asleep, or that I could sing you a lullaby, or watch you smile in your sleep, or hear you sigh contentedly as you  drink Mommy's milk. How I love to experience these things with you.

Have you found your baby siblings there in heaven yet? I don't really know their genders but I would like to believe they were girls like you. Are you playing with them? I hope you enjoy your time together. Tell them Mommy loves them too.

As you sit on God's lap, can you ask God to keep our family safe on earth, specially Mommy, Daddy, Kuya?

I love you my dear sweet Sofie. There's nothing I want more than for you to be with me but it is no longer possible. I am asking God for another baby girl, healthy and normal this time so that she can live with us for a long time, just so I will be happy again.  I know there'll be times when I will still be sad knowing you're not here and that I will still miss you every day but at least if I had a little girl with me, at least I will be happy again. Can you please help me beg God?

You will always be special to Mommy, always missed, always loved. Nothing and nobody can change that.

Remember me always.

Lots of hugs and kisses,

Friday, May 22, 2015

Dealing with my grief

For almost four weeks now I have mostly just stayed in bed. I do not find pleasure in anything. I do not enjoy any food. I do not crave for anything except for the strawberry cheesecake we bought from the coffee shop at the hospital during Sofia's last days in my womb. My husband asked me where I wanted to go and I couldn't think of any place where I wanted to go.  I just want to be with Sofie but I can't because I have a son who needs me.  The only thing that makes me laugh is a thirty minute portion of a local daily noontime television show. Most of my time is spent researching about the causes of non immune hydrops or reading survival stories of babies with hydrops. I am now a part of this facebook support group of mothers whose babies have hydrops . It is there where I find survival stories and wonder why the same miracle was not given to our baby.

I know most people would say that I need to move on or that life has to go on.  I know life has to go on and it will, eventually.  But I will live life without moving on because she will always be with me and I will always be missing a part of me and because of that life will never be the same.  What I need to do is to cope.  But right now, I just need to be in touch with my grief and that is what most people do not understand.

There was only one day when I became productive in a way.  It was when I decided to make a thank you card for my perinatologist and Sofie's pediatrician. Sofie's pedia had a kind and gentle manner. I know he handled my baby with kindness and gentleness.  His wife, my perinatologist was very thorough, and explained everything to us in layman's terms. But it was actually on the day of my emergency delivery when I fell in love with her. She was just part of a team of doctors that we were working with but when the attending ob told us on the phone that I had to have an emergency c-section, she left her clinic and brought me to the pre-labor room herself though I had my husband with me at the time and could have easily wheeled me to the pre-labor room himself.  She never left me in the pre-labor room, though there was an attending doctor inside.   She was there and she was the one who made sure I was given the meds I needed and that I was comfortable.   Her presence in the labor room gave me much needed comfort, although it didn't seem like it at the time.  When I told her I couldn't control my anxiety, she spoke reassuring words to me.  While I was enduring the terrible effect of magnesium sulfate, she ran her hand on my forehead just like a mother would, and that is something I will never forget. She is still young though maybe around my age or a year or two older. She stayed with me in the pre-labor room until my attending ob arrived.  That was when she left to go back to her other patients.   She was also the first doctor who arrived in the operating room where I continued to tell her of my anxiety and where she continued to calm my fears.   She gave special permission to my husband to enter the pre-labor room and see me, and when I was in the recovery room, she again gave special permission to him to do the same thing because she knew the emotional state I was in.   She was competent, sensitive, kind and compassionate.   Who wouldn't fall in love with a doctor like her? I don't care if she charges higher consultation fee, I guess that goes with the territory of being a high risk ob with a subspecialty in perinatology.   What matters most to me is how she treats her patients. I don't mind spending a couple hundred pesos more.

I bought a box of fruity muffins from Contis'  to go with the card and dropped both off at The Medical City. 

the thank you card I made with my scrapbooking supplies

Here's what the inside of the card looked like before I wrote my personal note to them.

I hope they enjoyed the muffins and that the thank you card inspired them and brought a smile to their lips. 

I found out that making something for those who were physically present during my ordeal and thanking them for the specific things they did for me is a good way of taking a break from my grief without totally distancing myself from it.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Third Letter to Sofie

 Dear Sofie,

I bought you some pink carnations yesterday. I know the flowers in heaven must be a lot prettier than the ones we have here but I hope you like the flowers I bought for you.  I love carnations.  I had them in my bouquet when I married your dad.

I know you are doing well in heaven and that you are happy.  Forgive me if I'm always sad.  It's just that I miss  you a lot.

I love you always.

Lots of hugs and kissses,

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Second Letter to Sofie

Dearest Sofie,

Last Sunday was Mother's Day.  Daddy gave me two boxes of my favorite chocolates.
We had a simple lunch celebration with you grandparents and cousins in your Dadddy's side and a simple early dinner celebration with your brother and  grandparents, aunt and cousin in my side. But what I wanted most was you back with me. It was a sad Mother's Day because I couldn't have what I wanted most.

Daddy has gone to work. While I watched him go to his car, I thought how different it would have been if you were here to wave goodbye to him every time he would go to work, how different it would have been for him if he had you here waiting for him every time he arrived home. His days (and mine) would have been a lot happier.

It would be wonderful if you can help us beg God to give us a healthy and normal baby girl who we can love and who can love us until such time we see you again in heaven.  Tell God to make Mommy healthy enough to make a beautiful, healthy and normal baby girl, to keep Daddy healthy and strong so he could provide for us and to keep Kuya healthy too so he can help us care for your baby sister when the right time comes.

I think of you every day.  I miss you every day. I love you wih every beat of my heart.

Remember me always.

Flying kisses to heaven.

Love always,

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Celebrating the Joys and Pains of Motherhood

Today is Mother's Day.

I celebrate the life of the first person who ever loved me, my mom. I know I haven't been the perfect daughter, far from it, in fact. But she has never stopped loving me, and worrying about me.

I celebrate the life of my son, my first born, the one I delivered fifteen years ago when life was a lot easier and simpler, when I was still immature and naive. I celebrate every kiss, every hug, each childhood antic,  all those book pages he tore and toys he destroyed when he was a tot.  I celebrate the songs he sang when he was a child, the times he danced.  I celebrate the violin pieces he plays, the original songs he makes, the stories  he writes.  I celebrate everything that he is and everything he can still be.  I celebrate the love I have for him, his love for me, and all the years we still have ahead of us, the memories we have yet to make.

I celebrate the lives of the babies I lost early in my womb. I have never seen them, never felt them move inside me but they gave me and my husband joy and they will always be my babies.

I celebrate the life of my baby Sofie, my dream, God's perfect gift, the baby I gave birth to at twenty three weeks gestation, who struggled to stay with me for another hour and twenty eight minutes. I celebrate the joy she gave me and her dad. I celebrate each little movement she made inside me. I celebrate the sound of her heartbeat and her tiny body, every part of it.  I celebrate the hopes and dreams we had for her future.  I celebrate all those hours, days and nights I spent begging God to allow us to keep her.  I celebrate every drop of tear Ruel and I shed for her.  I celebrate her memory, every second I spend thinking about her, missing her, loving her.

I celebrate the life of the normal and healthy baby girl that I'm waiting for our Creator to give me and Ruel. I celebrate the wonderful years she will share with me, her dad and her brother, Toots. I celebrate the memories we will all make together as a family.

I celebrate the joys and the pains of motherhood.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers. May God bless us and our children.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

To Sofia--first letter

Dearest Sofie,

It's been eleven days since you were born...since you went back to heaven.  I am so sorry we were not able to keep you here with us, that we could not protect you.  We begged God to allow us to keep you but it seems God wanted you back with Him at once.

I miss you every day.  I regret that I wasn't able to give you even just one hug, that I wasn't able to hold you close. I wonder if you would have recognized the sound of my heartbeat if you had a chance to lie on my chest. I wonder if that would have saved you, knowing that you were with me.

I wonder so many things because I still keep thinking if I did some things differently, maybe you would still be with us.

There are so many things I want to tell you, teach you and do for you.  And my heart aches knowing that I will never be able to do so.

I hope you know how much we love you and how happy we were when we found out you were growing inside me.

Thank you, Baby Sofie, for making us happy for twenty three weeks. Thank you for every smile you gave me and your dad. Thank you for making our days brighter. Thank you for giving us something to look forward to.

I hope you will not be sad if you see me crying, like your dad said you would.  Someday I will not cry as often as I do today but when that happens, please do not think I have forgotten you. Because I will never forget you.   Someday your dad and I will have another baby girl but that will not make me love you any less. I will always love you, I will always miss you.  You are a part of me and I just know you are my mini-me.  You have a  place in my heart that nobody can ever fill.  I will never ever be complete until we are together once more.

I love you, my baby girl.

Love always, (flying kisses to heaven)


Monday, May 4, 2015

The End of Sofia's Battle

It's been nine days since I gave birth.

Yet I haven't heard a single cry from her.

I have never touched her fingers or counted her toes.

I have never smelled her.

I do not know what she really looked like if you take away all the poisonous fluids from her body.

All I know is what her cheeks felt like against my cheek.

And it's a memory I know I will try to keep holding on to for as long as possible for we all know that memories fade away through time.

Our baby girl was born at 23 weeks gestation on the 25th of April.

It was something we didn't expect. We have researched about hydrops. We were told I could go into labor anytime. But we believed God would give us a miracle. I believed I could carry her till August or even June to give her a chance. But it didn't happen like that. Clearly, God had other plans.

We went to the Medical City for a scheduled ultrasound and check up with our perinatologist. The ultrasound results revealed that the hydrops was progressing fast. Still, I kept my hopes up, counting only on God to make things better for my baby.

Our perinatologist found out that my blood pressure was too high so she informed my OB who in turn talked to me on the phone to tell me that I had to undergo a c-section right then. It was the only way to make sure I didn't have a stroke. He also said the baby could die inside and then there would be nothing we could do but if the baby was out, they could try to do something and give baby a fighting chance.

I asked my husband to call my son and tell him to go to the hospital right away. I wanted to give him my last reminders on how he should live his life just in case I didn't survive.  I haad been praying for the baby day and night for three weeks and at that point, I knew I just had to resign myself to God's will as far as the baby was concerned.  The situation was out of my control. I knew it wasn't the time yet to deliver the baby and that delivering that early would decrease the chances of survival for the baby. But I was also in trouble and I kept remembering that my son still needed my love and guidance.

I was wheeled to the pre-labor room, given medicines for my bp and something for the baby's lungs. I  was then shaved and brought to the operating room once it was ready.

The anesthesia wasn't supposed to make me sleep but I willed myself to do so and the next thing I knew was my husband waking me up and telling me that we had a baby girl. I was happy, sad and scared at the same time.

I couldn't see her in between the folds of the blue blanket they wrapped her in. She was so tiny. When I finally did, I found out that her whole face was affected by the hydrops except for the part where her nose and mouth were. I later found out that almost 100 percent of her body was affected.

I couldn't touch her because both my arms were strapped so I just kissed her thrice then I rubbed my
cheek against hers. Though her skin looked different, her skin was still smooth and felt like a healthy
baby's. It felt so nice against my cheek.

I allowed myself to sleep because I still believed God would save my baby and that we would see each other again. Had I known that things would be different, I would have just asked for the baby to stay with me for as long as possible.

My husband later told me that the doctors didn't try to drain the fluids from her body anymore because her lungs had already collapsed when she was born. It was probably only her heart that allowed her to stay alive for one hour and twenty-eight minutes.  She was a fighter, like me.

The good Lord allowed her to be baptized by a priest and she was christened the name I chose for her, Sofia Marie.

I envy my husband because he was able to hold her in his arms until her last breath.

My pregnancy had ended not with me being wheeled out of the hospital with a baby in my arms but with me being wheeled out holding a cold marble urn that held the cremains of my baby.

I miss feeling her inside me. I miss talking to her and telling her that she had to hold on because we would still give each other lots of hugs and kisses, because I would still read her stories and teach her how to write and draw, that we would still sing and dance together.

I try to smell my shirt where my milk had leaked and imagine it was her scent.

She is now in heaven where there are no hydrops. She is pretty with her daddy's forehead and my small brown eyes.

Jesus would be the one to kiss her for me.

She will dance for the Lord. She will sing with the other angels. She will play in the heavenly garden until we are all reunited with her.

We are still grieving. And though the tears would become less through time, she will never be

She will always be missed.

She will always be loved.

And life will never be the same again.