Letter to my daughter, Caitlin Elizabeth Reany

Lesley Reany

Sunday February 8th, 1998

Went to sleep feeling for your nightly kicks, everything's okay. It's any day now, doctor says your due Thursday the 13th this week. You got a perfect Sonogram score two weeks ago and you haven't dropped yet. I think your small and I wish I knew what to expect, will it be the middle of night? Will my water break? Nothing can go wrong now...or so I believed.

Can't wait for you to get here. I never thought that I'd be a Mom since Poly Cystic Ovary Disease has left me infertile, I am now 37 years. Your daddy and I were frantically planning our wedding and I discovered that I was 17 weeks pregnant with you on September 17th, 1997. Wedding went on October 4th, I had my dress taken out a few inches to make room for you...daddy is so excited and so are your grandparents, aunts, uncles and future friends.

Monday, February 9th, 1998 Woke up about 8:00am feeling okay. Began experiencing some cramping, daddy left for work and took his baby beeper...waiting for the 911 call. Called my Mom in Atlanta to talk through my cramps, something wasn't right since they weren't subsiding. Cramps let up and I called the doctor...waiting for a call back. Nurse says to come in for fetal monitor check. I believe that everything is fine. I take a shower, put the last final details in my birthing bag and hospital suitcase. Vomiting sets in, maybe the flu? Call nurse, the pain is becoming unbearable and the doctor is to meet daddy and I at the hospital. He got his 911 call and he is on his way. I'm sorry, I'm unable to cope with the pain and I need Daddy. Maybe this is transitional labor, I don't know, I've never experienced this before. My water hasn't broke, no bleeding or other signs that your in trouble. However, I feel like your up in my rib cage and your not moving. This is not unusual for you, I know your patterns and moods, your quiet in the day and sometimes scare me. But believe me, you were an active little soul after the 19th week. You even did a few somersaults.

I think your a boy and so does everyone else. I know Daddy wants a boy and I a girl but neither of us care as long as your healthy and happy. If your a boy your name will be Sean Michael Reany and if your a girl your name will be Caitlin Elizabeth Reany. Elizabeth is my Mom's name.

Get to the hospital, it's now about 12:30pm. They make me wait for a room. Fetal Monitor is on and the nurse can't find your heartbeat. She's confusing yours with mine which obviously is low. Sonogram now...no heartbeat. Questions, people in and out. Daddy is smiling over me now saying that everything will be fine. 2nd Level Sonogram - you've definitely died. Daddy's still saying everything is okay but I know it's not. Stupid doctor says "you can have more children" I wanted to scream " I don't want more children I want my baby back, you've made a horrible mistake!" I tell the doctor that I can't be awake and wait for you, it's to painful. Not an option, they give me Potosin to induce my labor, Demerol and Magnesium Sulfate (my blood pressure is soaring).

We had a great pregnancy, I wish I knew about you sooner than I did so we had more time together. You were with me at my bridal showers, wedding and honeymoon. Remember all the pretty fishes we saw in Central America, remember the Manatees?

Did you hear Daddy and I fighting? Sometimes over you? I love you.

I'm still waiting at the hospital in the labor room, the pain is intolerable. Diagnosis: Placenta Eruption with massive internal hemorrhaging and clotting. Reason: Unknown.

11:07pm: You are born. The hours before are a blur. Three pushes. I don't look and they don't ask if I want to hold you or I don't remember. I keep looking over a the baby warmer where you lay, I think something's wrong with you and I'm afraid. I ask if your a boy or girl sometime later. Your a girl, my daughter. The nurse and friends call and visit over the next 6-8 hours and say I must see you and you are beautiful. My friend Maggie from work visits first thing, holds my hand...I'm still in shock.Doctor says that there is nothing for my family. Your grandparents flew in from Atlanta, grandma's holding my hand, grandpa's crying.

We plan for the funeral for Friday. They finally move me to a new room, I lost 50% of my red blood and they say I have to stay two more nights. I just want to hold you and for you smile back at me. This I will discover is never going to happen.

Karen, a nurse here is expecting her first child, she asked me if I wanted to bath you. I'm sorry Caitlin, I'm not strong enough for this. About an hour later she brings you up to Daddy and I. She begins to place you in my arms, I tell her to hold your head, please don't hurt you. Your lovely, you look just like Mommy, round cherub cheeks and brownish hair, the family button nose. Your so cold and your eyes are closed, oh honey I'm sorry. What have I done?!

I can't bear this pain, the nurse comes to take you and I scream once your gone. I can't accept this. She brings me your little footprints and hair along with your blanket and things that you wore when you were born. I ask "what are you wearing" are you warm?" Grandma took all your things out of my bag and took them home, except your snow suit that I donated to the hospital. Daddy will bring you a new nightgown to the funeral home, I'm too sick to come angel, I'm sorry but I'll see you Friday.

Friday, February 14th: 11:00am Small service with our families and a few friends. Daddy put some of your toys and our wedding pictures along with a picture of Samantha our cat in your little casket. Everyone's brought or sent you flowers and cards. Ironic that it's Valentines Day. I will never celebrate this day again without a new meaning and memory.

Casket is open and people are standing in the back...slowly they walk forward and say good-bye. I kiss your nose and begin unwrapping you, daddy pulls me away gently. Valium and cigarettes are my only friend today, I'm sorry Caitlin...I know you hate cigarettes, there bad for me. It was to easy to go back to them.

Funeral is lovely and you are being buried with your great-grandparents in the lovely spot. I know that your grandfather will plant flowers for you next week, he comes here often. Your beautiful name is being carved in the stone this year sometime in honor of your memory. Where are you sweety? Are you happy? Do you know who I am? That I loved you?

Now as your book describes I will descend on my journey of grief, darkness, madness and guilt.

Today, April 17th. Back to work Monday. Daddy and I are moving to Atlanta as we always planned. We hope to make a brother or sister for you soon, I'm ovulating normally now thanks to you. We fight a lot, I'm sorry. I hope that things will get better, I'm so bitter, angry, guilty and depressed. No one calls...no one wants to hear about you anymore. I know they think "why can't she go on"? Even Daddy, but I know that he thinks of you each day and is strong for me. I will not forget you.

"Those who cannot hear the music, think the dancer is mad..."

Lesley Reany

You can send email to Lesley at: [email protected]
mail welcome

anniversary date 02-09-98
date of post 05-02-98

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW