This past Friday, I got to share Olivia's story with a small group of nurses at Sacred Heart. Twice a year, a class is held for nurses, doctors, and chaplains on neonatal/infant death. It teaches them what to expect, what there role should be and how to handle it. As part of a panel of parents,who all have a child(ren) who has died, we get to share our story in detail with these people in hopes that they will learn from mistakes made and in general, just know what to do and say. I don't think I have ever gotten through a class without tears. It usually starts with whatever parent speaks first. I've heard their stories numerous times, but it still doesn't make it easier. I've met some amazing families through Olivia's death. We have met friends who Matt had gone to high school with, friends from all backgrounds and religions, friends who have had more that one infant die. People who get it, who know that grief doesn't ever leave. Even years and decades later, we will still have bad days. Even when you have more children, there is still that child missing.
At the end of November, I had my 6th miscarriage. I kept it quiet because my little sister, Kami, had just gone through her first miscarriage only a few weeks earlier. It was a surprise to me that I was even pregnant, but we didn't catch it in time for me to start taking prometrium (which is outrageously expensive when your insurance doesn't cover it). I'm pretty used to the disappointment. In fact, I expect it.
I know that there is always something good that comes from the worst situations. We don't always see it at the time of the trial, but down the road, months and years later, we can find something good came of it. Olivia's life is more than the 2 short hours she was with us, it's the years later when I am still able to talk to parents, photograph their children and share her story with students, nurses, doctors and so many more people. I have met with families who share the same disappointments I have, who aren't sure they will ever have a child that will survive. Parents who just want to be a parent to a living child or wonder if they will ever get to have a child of their own. I think you would be surprised at the number of parents out there who have had to bury their children. It's not been that long ago that no one would talk about it. And even now, some families feel jealous toward other families who had gotten so much more than they did, but they have a place to release their anger and we get it. We understand it. We are trying to change the way things used to be, but it takes time.