Grief should come after a loss. Yet halfway through my second pregnancy I was grieving our daughter Violet even as she turned and kicked in my belly.
We like to think in life that we know the natural order of things.
Parents should die before their children. Grief should come after a loss.
Sorry, no. There is no organization in the chaos. And on that note, let me rewind…
In July 2011, we thought we were merely going to the ultrasound to find out whether we were having another girl or a boy this time. Instead we learned that our daughter had several severe abnormalities that all led the doctors to believe she may have a genetic abnormality. A week later it was confirmed that she was diagnosed with Trisomy 13. We were told to expect maybe minutes or hours with her if she was born alive at all.
We stopped buying baby clothing and instead made funeral arrangements.
We stopped imaging our two girls growing up together and instead hoped they would have time to meet at all.
We stopped planning newborn photos and instead met with a Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photographer.
But we never stopped loving Violet. And we never stopped hoping for time with her.She was born in November and lived exactly 2.5 brief and beautiful days. Time froze as we were with her, touching her soft skin and trying to memorize every detail.
We stopped focusing about her last moments and instead enjoyed each and every one she shared with us.
We stopped sleeping and held her almost ever single moment of her life.
We stopped mourning momentarily and recorded and photographed precious moments even if they would never be enough.
We held her even still after she passed making footprints and cutting locks of her hair to keep forever.Leaving labor and delivery without a newborn in your arms is one of the most painful experiences I can imagine. So is picking up your daughter’s ashes at the funeral home.
It’s been four years since we learned of Violet’s diagnosis and waiting for her arrival. It’s been a lifetime and the blink of an eye.
We’ve stopped questioning every parenting decision we make as we now truly follow our hearts as we raise our other two children.
We’ve stopped listening to a culture that puts a deadline on our grief as we now know we will miss and love and speak of Violet forever.
For more from Devany LeDrew, please visit Still Playing School where she uses her background in early childhood to create a home based playful learning environment for her children. She is a former Kindergarten teacher who followed her passions to specialize in Educational Psychology & Literacy Education. She is the mother of three, grieving the loss of one. Follow Still Playing School on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
Bek @ Just For Daisy
Wow. I’m so so sorry for your loss. So glad you have those precious memories xxx
Thank you so much for your kind words!
Wow, I am grieving a little with you right now. Such beautiful thoughts about your daughter, and your loss. Thank you for being brave and writing this.
Stacey @ the Soccer Mom Blog
This was beautiful, thank you for sharing. I have experienced pregnancy loss, but I can’t imagine your grief– you carry it so gracefully. Wishing you continued healing xx
I’m so sorry for your loss. Your story is absolutely gut wrenching. Thank you for your bravery in sharing it – it will help other families to know they are not alone in their grief.
Thanks, Karen! I do love sharing her with the world!
Wow, I’m so sad for your loss. I’m sorry.
It is so important these stories are told, thank you for sharing your heart and your beautiful daughter with the world. Sending you and your entire family lots of love. xx
Thanks for providing it.
My heart just crumpled a little more. I’m so devestatingly sorry for your life and loss of sweet Violet . Biggest healing hugs to you mama.
Our son had Trisomy 18, he died before he was born and the midwife told me not to look. I wish I hadn’t listened. I wish I had cradled his small imperfectly formed body in the palm of my hand. I wish I knew what he had looked like and felt him, featherlight in my hands. I am sorry for your loss, ten years on I still feel mine xx
Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life
Devany, I am so sorry for your loss. Your daughter Violet is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story. This summer we were also surprised at our 20 week ultrasound that there might be genetic concerns with our son. After several long ultrasounds, we were left with an understanding that there were a few potential physical issues, but nothing life-threatening. Then, at 22 weeks, when we returned for a follow-up ultrasound, we were shocked to find out that his heart had stopped beating. I delivered him early the next morning and my husband and I both had time to hold him and weep over not knowing him longer. The pain is still very fresh and I miss him everyday. It is so hard to go from eager expectation to what will no longer be. Thank you for sharing that there is no timeline for grief. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that our son will always be missed and a part of our family.
This is so heartbreaking, but so beautiful. I’m amazed by your strength through the nine months and especially those two days.
Thank you for sharing your story about your precious daughter Violet. My good friend is walking this same road. She and her husband found out that their baby has Potters Syndrome when they went for the ultrasound to find out the sex. The baby isn’t expected to live more than a couple hours at most. Her biggest prayer is that she and her husband get time with the baby before he or she passes. I will share your journey with her- I think it helps to know you are not alone.
I actually had the opposite happen. We lost our son and now I fear my children dying so much more. Now I know the pain and how it really can happen, I fear it more.