For this to be my first guest post is heartbreaking but I am deeply honored to tell this story to the world.
I have started working on my book project and I got this e-mail from someone who was sharing their story. At first, I thought that it was another one of my APAS/RID sisters but I was surprised that I was talking to an APAS daddy.
In most of our cases, our husbands are always quiet… brooding, even. In my case (during that time that I had my miscarriages), I have always thought if Edu was affected by our two losses because he handled it with an eerily (and at that time, irritatingly) calm demeanor. Looking back now, I should have never entertained that thought. Of course, he grieved. He just didn’t show it to me. And the truth is, I am ever grateful for that because he was (and still is) my anchor during the times that we were aggressively fighting for the lives of our babies. Had I seen him break down, I would have never had the strength to go on.
I am grateful to Benedict for sharing his story with me. Allyssa’s story shows how raw and devastating the experiences of couples who have lost their children. This post is housed in his blog, My Last Kiss>>.
I cried reading his blog post.
When I lost my two angels, they were still so small. Basti I at 5 weeks and Basti II at 11 weeks. And yet, the pain was so intense that it tore my life apart for a time. I could never, ever, EVER, imagine having to hold a baby in my arms and then losing them after. Just writing this brings shards of pain in my heart.
To all my friends who have gone through this, my heart reaches out to you. You all have the strongest soul. I pray for solace during the times that it is tough. As I always say, we will never forget and they will always occupy a special place in our hearts. But we grow stronger each day, and God-willing, in His time, you will all hold your rainbow babies in your arms.
My Last Kiss
by Benedict Garcia
I have never wrote about this until now. I really don’t know where to start. Everything was a blur except her lovely face inside the incubator. All I wanted to remember was her smile, cry and small arm stretches longing to see our home.
The grief of a father who lost her 3 month old daughter is like an unending trapped feeling in a whirlwind hearing absolute nothingness. Nothing seems to be the same anymore. Late night drinking, seeing your favorite bands, console games, watching a movie or tv series, jamming with your band and hanging out with your friends seems very different than before.
I got married with my high school sweetheart after 9 years. We might not be the perfect couple but you could say that we are a traditional couple who believes in the sanctity of marriage. Getting married was my dream when I was a child, having my own family and to be a doctor someday. I guess the being a doctor part did not happen but no regrets! We had goals and timelines making sure that before we had kids, we would be able to provide sufficiently. Then after 4 years of being married, we were able to put up our own house. We are so happy not because of getting a house but it is the time when we agreed before that after owning a house, we would start to try to conceive. Then after 2 months, we got the line from the pregancy test!
We started seeing our ob and we were very happy to see that our baby is healthy. Then we discovered that we have a beautiful baby girl! Everything was going well until the third trimester (7th month) when it was due for our ob checkup. The doctor said that everything is good and the heartbeat of our baby is normal. But my wife is not contented because she is not feeling well for 2 days already so we decided to do an ultrasound, as it is due anyway. That moment when the sonologist asked us to go back to our ob asap was the time when my world crumbled, my heart beat so fast wanting to collapse and vomit but my adrenaline rushed. The sonologist did not explain but we were asked to go to the hospital immediately. We went to the hospital and our ob’s team were ready. The ob then explained that she is going to perform an emergency c section as there are blood clots near the baby and it impedes blood circulation. It was also needed as it is dangerous for my wife. She was in tears, I tried to be strong for our baby and my wife. I wanted to assure her that everything will be okay. I want her to see my courage and faith because I know it would only make it worse if she sees me breakdown. It was only me, her and our daughter. The true test of faith, love and hope.
I was asked to wait outside. I am not deeply religious but I did pray, prayed so hard that I forgot the world moving. After 30mins of operation, I was asked to go inside. There I saw my daughter but she was not breathing.. tears dropping from my eyes but I went immediately to my wife’s side. Assuring her that the doctors are doing their best for our baby.
Our baby was put in an incubator and was on respiratory support. There was nothing I can do. For the first time in my life, I was helpless. I remember standing outside the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for some time and a nurse approached to tell me that I am still wearing scrubs. I already forgot I was wearing them as I should have taken them off before going outside. I went back to my wife and was very happy to see her cousin because I feel that I have no strength anymore to carry on. It gave me enough time to settle everything with the hospital including the deposit, paperworks and to get necessities/clothes from home. I remember I was in tears while writing the form for my daughter’s birth certificate.
When I went home to get clothes and other necessities, I felt dizzy. So dizzy I vomited. Trying so hard not to faint as I know my wife and daughter needs me. I got back to the hospital and went to my wife’s room. Held her hand and kept telling her that everything is going to be okay, assuring her that the most important thing is that she is okay and I am here, no matter what. Together we will be strong. She needed to produce milk for our baby as it is vital for our baby. It is very difficult and challenging as it is still early but we never gave up, by her side she was able to lactate for our baby. She got back home after a few days and our baby still in the hospital. I gave her my full time attention and care to recover from the surgery as well as emotional stability.
Now the journey starts as a (nicu) parent. Everyday we visit our daughter during visiting hours and believe me, visiting hours only feels like minutes and everytime it’s over, it makes me tear a little bit that I cannot bring home my baby. It’s heartbreaking to see our little one with all the medical devices but I know it is for her to recover. Weeks passed by and our resources are depleting financially. We were told that our baby needs heart surgery. We transferred our baby to a different hospital as well due to limited resources. Hospital bills kept piling up and we were very thankful that a lot of family and friends helped our dear daughter. The doctor said that our daughter is ready for surgery and I remember that my mother in law was with us together with her friends from convent praying with us. Thank God the surgery was successful. However, due to pre maturity, our daughter had a lot of complications. We had to transfer again to another hospital as our resources were already gone. We were given a chance to be with our daughter despite her medical complications, we thought everything will be ok as the doctor said that she is recovering but she had septic shock and after a few days she became an angel.
After a year passed by, we came to see a doctor if we are ready to try to conceive again and my wife did a lot of medical tests, we found out she is in the borderline for Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome (APAS) which our immunologist said that we still need to make the appropriate treatments to take extra precaution when trying to conceive as well as when she becomes pregnant again.
Everyday I try to make my wife smile. Let her feel just a little more love she lost from our little one. I know my 200% will not make up for it but I will still do it because that’s what a warrior will do.
I felt I failed you as a father, a father who did everything but still lost you. I wish I could hold you, like other fathers can. Waiting, waiting for tomorrow and see you again, my beautiful angel, my soldier of God’s grace.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
To Benedict and Angela, I know that no words can ever take away the pain but know that there are many people around you who love you and know what you are going through (especially our APAS support group) – in any case, I am just an e-mail away. Thank you for sharing your story.
To Baby Allyssa, we remember.