Thursday, November 29, 2012

We Named Our Baby James Collins Fitts, Jr.

I was soon wheeled back to my hospital room.  James' parents were there, but I don't remember anyone else.  Where was James? Had he called my parents? I was told he had gone home.  What had really happened was that he had escaped.  You see, when our son was wheeled out in his bassinet for the family to view, James just went into a great despair.  When he saw our beautifully made son, dead, it finally hit him that his son wouldn't be here for him to be a dad to.  The family immediately started telling him that it was for the best, God had a reason, our son probably wouldn't have been "normal."  James just couldn't take it and left.  He went home so he could scream out his mourning and weep.  He didn't feel like he could do that at the hospital.  All he wanted was his son back to hold and love.  Empty arms ache and his heart was racing with horrible hurt.  His brother came by to check on him, but didn't know what to say and left.
Back in my room, I was given shots for pain.  Not even drugs can stop a broken heart that was so heavy in my chest.  Tears just kept coming down my face.  I had not been back in my room long, when my sister-in-law poked her head in my room.  Here was my favorite SIL!  She was a welcomed sight to my eyes.  Then she did something unimaginable.  She just looked at me and said that she was pregnant.  She had just found out.  Her exact words were that her baby would take the place of my baby!  Was she nuts or just plain stupid?  I had just given birth to my dead son less that an hour ago!  How hurtful was she trying to be?  Or in her  mind did she believe it to be true that another baby could take the place of mine?  No baby would ever be James Colllins Fitts, Jr. but himself!  No baby I would have in the future would or could ever take the place of my firstborn!  How cruel!  I didn't say a word to her and she left.  We have never talked of what was said that day.  Think people, think!
James was back with me now.  I told him what his sister did and he was beside himself.  But he had other things to deal with more pressing.  We had to name our son.  James Collins Fitts, Jr. was decided on.  The reason was that it was the only thing we could give our son, his father's name.  So we did.  James' mom tried to talk us out of it when we told her, but we stood firm.  Next, I had to tell James what I wanted our son to be buried in and where in the nursery to find it.  I wanted James, Jr to be buried in a little baby blue Feltman's Bros. outfit with white trim and a little white kite  on it.  It was hanging in the nursery closet.  I gave instructions about wanting a small yellow wind-up musical pillow to put in the little white casket with our son.  It was a gift from a college friend that I also taught school with.  It played "Rock-a-bye-Baby" when wound up.  I wanted little white booties and a cloth diaper that was soft put on him. I also wanted a white receiving blanket.  Everything had to be soft and cozy.  James left to go pick up these things to take to Branch Funeral Home, pick out our baby's casket ( they were out of baby caskets so one had to be brought in from Rocky Mount) and to pick out a burial plot. We were only 24 and 25..... so young to be picking out a burial plot for your child!  I was left  to deal with "afterbirth pains"  Never giving birth before, I had no idea what these things were.  Like labor pains!  Pain was hitting me from every angle and in anyway it could! I did get comfort from the phone calls my family made to me.  They were scattered all over NC. (I come from a family of 6 kids) A long time friend from my home town of Washington came into my room while I was sleeping, not really sleeping just laying in torement.  Her mother had called her to tell her about my baby. My mother was getting the word out. She tried to get me to wake up.  She kept calling out my name and shaking me!  I didn't move a muscle.  I didn't want to face her.  I couldn't talk to anyone about this yet.  It was nice to know she had thought enough of me to come by, but she  should have called first. She stayed for a long time and I never moved.  She left.  We talked about it years later.  It was decided from James' mother that the funeral would be the next day, May 3, 1975.  The very next day!  Where was my say?  That was too soon!  I was told the reasoning was that the 4th was James' birthday and he wouldn't always want to associate his own birthday with the funeral of his son. Monday, the 5th , well that was just too long to wait.  My MIL wanted to get this whole thing over with so she get on with her life.
Without my knowledge all of this took place and James, so numbed by our son's death, just did what his mother said.  Now my MIL had always been very kind and caring to us.  She was a kind and caring person and well respected in our town.  She thought she was doing us a favor, but she was so very wrong this time.  Little did I know that her absolutely worse mistake towards me was soon to take place.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Hospital and Four Days of Labor

Morning arrived and I dressed for the dreaded trip to the hospital's ER.  James' mother and James drove me to Halifax Memorial Hospital,  just across town.  I went bravely into the ER and got into a hospital gown.  The nurses were hustling around as the new morning shift began.  As I waited for Dr. Forbes, I learned from James that he was in with my friend, Grace.  She was in labor and just about to go up to the maternity ward.  She popped her head in to say hello to me, not knowing our circumstances yet.  After Dr. Forbes came in and examined me, he finally told us that the baby appeared dead.  No hope.  Soon I was dressed and on my up to maternity.  Grace and I were on the elevator together.  She was in active labor.  I was going to be induced.  I wanted to be in her shoes, expecting a live baby.  I was about to go through labor for the first time, so scared of the physical pain and would not have a baby to take home.  James was getting some paper work done, so his mom and my sister-in-law were with me.  As we were walking, I noticed the bright kelly green walls that had fresh paint on them.  I was lagging behind when I just suddenly dropped over and leaned on the new walls crying my guts outs uncontrollably.  My head rested on the wall and I noticed black mascara running down them ruining the new paint.  I couldn't help it.  I just sobbed and sobbed as people walked by me.  Oh dearest Father in Heaven, please please help me!  How do I do this?  How did this happpen?  Please God, no!  Take this awful painful burden from me!  I can't live through this!  Oh, it hurts so bad! 
I made it to my room where I was prepped for my induction.  I couldn't believe this was going on.  Was I dreaming?  It soon became apparent that I wasn't as needles and IV's began sticking in me.  The induction had begun.  I waited for the first labor pain to happen.  I had never had a labor pain and had no idea what to expect.  I was doing this in 1975.  No Lamaze.  No Mommy and Me classes.  No husbands allowed in.  I was alone and scared and wanted to go home!  I had some contractions which were just the hardening of my belly muscles, but felt no pain.  The day ended and so did the IV induction.  I was to get a good nights rest and try again tomorrow.  No food, not that I could eat.  James visited with me that night, but had to go home when visitors hours were over.  I was left alone to cry.  Every shift of the nurses brought on a new group to look after me.  Each new group did not read my chart enough to know I delivering a stillborn, so they came in all cheery asking all kinds of questions a new expectant mother would usually be glad to answer.  I had to explain my situation each time.  Then my room was left completely alone since no one wanted to be near the mother of the dead baby.  That is the way it was in those days.  Very hush hush.  Get that woman in, get that baby out, and then get her home as quick as possible.
The next morning, I was induced again, but with a stronger dose of potocin.  It didn't work.  I was in misery being in this hospital, not delivering, coping as best as I could with a dead baby in my body.  The baby was getting heavier and heavier to carry.  The next day, again nothing.  So if the induction didn't work on Friday, I would have a C-Section.  Did I mention that each day I had been taken to a sterile labor room on a steel hard table to labor lying flat down all day long alone?  It  was horrible. 
Friday came.  May 2, 1975.  I was given a tremendous dose of potocin.  The pains came quick and hard.  I was on that hard little narrow table and couldn't even move on my side to help endure my contractions.  I did have a spinal injection.  I wasn't allowed to move my head up.  The pain was still searing my body at 11:00 A.M. as it finally gave way to my son.  He was so beautiful!  Just perfect!  He just didn't cry.  He wasn't pink and wiggly.  He was purplish white and very still.  He had a head full of brownish hair.  Then I saw the umbilical cord!  It had a figure 8 or double knot in it!  So that is what killed my beautiful precious son!  A knot!    Dr. Forbes said the knot had probably been there since 3 months or earlier while he was still small enough to keep looping through and around.  A son!  I had a son!  A boy!  My baby boy!  Oh how I loved baby boys!  He was put in his bassinet ( I wasn't allowed to hold him) and carried out for the family to see.  James would see our son for the first time without me.  Barbaric!  What would he think when he saw him?  Meanwhile, delivering an almost 8 lb baby boy that had been dead for 6 days had taken its toll on my body.  A normal live birth, the baby is supple and can help out.  A stillborn baby like my case, the baby is just dead weight and I had to do all of the pushing out.  I was in pretty bad shape physically......lots of stitches.  Even more tears.  I thought the worse of it was done.  Not so.  You won't believe what happens in my next posts.

Trying to Bargin with Jesus to Save My Son

 My last post left you with me cooking pork chops.  I was really just in denial and trying to keep things in a normal mode.  It didn't work.  The atmosphere at home was very somber.  Finally, the call came from my doctor with my test results.  Nothing conclusive, but since I was due he wanted me in the hospital the next morning.  He would meet us in the ER for one last exam to detect any baby movement.  I told him I did feel the baby moving around, just no kicks.  He said that was just the baby floating around, not actually moving, but he would try for a heartbeat the next morning.

I remember "Happy Days" being on the TV.  We tried watching that.  My in-laws came over and we all had a good cry.  They left and James went to bed.  I could not begin to think of sleeping.  I walked around in my nightgown just rubbing my belly.  This could well be the last night I had my baby with me and I was going to make every second count.  I rocked him in our favorite chair and I prayed liked I have never prayed before.  My nose was stopped up from my constant crying.  Wet spots were on my nightgown from the flow of tears.  Oh please kick me dear baby!  Give me a sign that you are alive!  I sang, "Jesus Loves Me" over and over even changing the words to Jesus Loves You My Sweet Baby.  I read to my baby, showed him all of his stuffed aninals, played his mobile to him over and over as if I would never use it again.  I put on my lavender robe with short sleeves (it was late April) with the pretty pink trim.  My belly was really showing my full term baby sticking out.  I looked at myself in the mirror to memorize how I looked pregnant.  Then in the wee hours of night, I sat down to rock and pray some more.  I remember saying over and over to Jesus that He loved the little children.  I remembered a picture from my Bible with Jesus in a white robe surrounded by the the little children of all ages.  I bargined with Jesus that if he would only let my baby be alive I would be the best mother ever.  Oh how I pleaded!  Then all of a sudden, a bluish mist appeared in the room. It seemed to have come from the air-conditioner unit.  All I can honestly say is that I knew this was from above.  I didn't actually see anything but this mist or hear an actual voice, but there was absolutely no doubt that I was hearing Jesus in my soul or mind telling me that my baby was already dead.  He told me that the doctors would not find a heartbeat.  That was all.  I believed for sure now that my baby was dead.  Tomorrow would be just a formality.  I knew Jesus had heard my prayers, but I wasn't going to get the answer I wanted to hear.  I cried my heart out while James slept in the other room.  This child that I had carried under my heart for the past 9 months would be delivered to me dead. I can not begin to ever described the pain that was consuming every fiber of my being.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Baby Stopped Moving

Sunday night after arriving home from Washington, James and I took some pictures of the nursery, played with the wind- up toys, checked one more time through all of the baby supplies to make sure we were ready, because I had noticed that the baby wasn't moving as usual.  I thought that was very much okay since I had read in my baby books that babies got quiet many times just before birth.  I assumed that was happening in my case. 

The next morning, I called in at Dr. Forbes office and told his receptionist, Peggy Askew, that he should be ready as I thought I was going into labor since the baby movement had calmed down.  She told me to come in to the office right away since the doctor would most likely want to check on me.  This was Monday, April 28th.  I went in for the check up.  At the office window to check in, I noticed how nice Peggy was as I talked on about how excited I was that the baby was coming since his movement had slowed down.  It was a sign!  The baby was coming!  She just smiled and sent me to the waiting area.  Shortly, the nurse called for me.  After Dr. Forbes' examination, he gave me written orders to go to the hospital for some x-rays.  He said I should go right then.  Off I went thinking to myself, he must be looking for twins!

As soon as I entered my assigned area of the x-ray department, I was greeted by one of my grademothers from school named Lucille.  We both smiled at each other.  I started babbling on about I thought the doctor wanted me x-rayed for twins.  I noticed her smile quickly fade away as she read the orders.  I grabbed the orders back and read them for the first time.  The doctor wanted me x-rayed for something called fetal demise.  I had no idea what the word demise meant, but suddenly I didn't have a good feeling about it.  Lucille was trying her best to seem cheerful as she helped me prepare for the x-ray.  Back then, husbands didn't go with the expectant mothers to doctor's appointments, nor had Dr. Forbes told me to or did he make arrangements to call James and meet me at the hospital.  I was alone dealing with something that just didn't add up.  Cell phones weren't invented yet, so as soon as I was allowed to go home, I did and fast! 

Finally walking through our front door, I headed not to the phone, but first to look up that strange word, demise.  The dictionary said it meant dead.  What on earth did that have to do with me or my baby???  I called James and tearfully told him everything.  Tears were in my eyes because I was scared, but I was not crying.  Either I was in shock or just could not comphrehend was everyone was "dancing around."  James was on his way home.  In the meantime, I went to my neighbor's home, who was my very best friend, and since she wasn't home from work yet, I just borrowed her medical dictionary from her housekeeper.  Back at home, I looked up that terrible word again.  Her dictionary confirmed what mine had said.  Oh dearest God up above.  They all thought my baby was dead!  NO! NO! NO!  James walked in about then and saw what was in my eyes.  No, those people were crazy!  Babies just don't die like this!  Why didn't the doctor tell me what he was thinking instead of letting me go home and discover it all alone?  James and I were helpless and didn't understand.  We wouldn't believe it. Then I did the weirdest thing.  I simply went into the kitchen, pulled out the pan and began cooking pork chops for supper.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Waiting To Go Into Labor

 April 1975 was  coming to an end.  In a little over a week  May would arrive along with our little baby.  I could actually go into labor anytime now!  Our nursery was just perfect.  It was decorated in pink, blue, and white ready for either a son or a daughter.  In the era of the 1970's you could not find out the sex of the baby until it was born.  The idea of knowing the sex of the baby before it was born was like something out of science fiction!  We had no ultrasound.  What was going on inside the mother's body remained a secret.  So the idea of pink and blue suited us just fine.  I nested by cleaning every cabinet in every room.  I was going to be the Donna Reed of mothers!  Waiting was getting to me, so I suggested that the up-coming weekend we should go ahead and attend the wedding of one of my best friends, Diana, in Washington, NC where I grew up.  Dr. Forbes said it would be fine since it was only 1 1/2 hours away and there were plenty of hospitals around just in case.  So off we went  to Washington to spend the weekend on James' parents boat, The Edna Mae, to enjoy the water of the Pamlico River, see family, and of course enjoy Diana's wedding!  It was going to be a gorgeous last weekend in April.  We arrived early Friday afternoon and just relaxed. 

Saturday morning, April 26th, around 6:00 I was awakened by the baby kicking extra hard in a frantic kind of way.  I woke James up and told him what was happening.  This went on for several minutes.  Then I assumed the baby went back to sleep, so I did also.  Later on that morning when I finally got out of bed walking out to the main salon, James' mother exclaimed that the baby had dropped down.  I felt my body and she was right!  This little kicker had nested way up high under my ribs for the last trimester of my pregnancy and it hurt!  Now, relief!  Wait a minute!  Since the baby had dropped down into the lower pelvic region, that meant I was really getting ready to go into labor!  We were all so excited!  The baby was coming very soon!  After nine months of waiting, I was ready to have this baby and welcome him/her into the world!  James' mother was a former practicing RN and had helped to deliver many a babe into this world, so I felt comfortable staying put.  In fact, I felt great!
The rest of the morning I worked on my rabbit baby quilt Mrs. Fitts was helping me make.  I needed to work fast now!  Each stitch was a stitch made with love.  This quilt would become a family heirloom for sure.

After lunch James and I got all dressed up to go to the wedding.  Mrs. Fitts had made me some mighty pretty maternity clothes and the particular yellow one I would be wearing today was a favorite.  The wedding was fabulous!  Diana was such a beautiful bride!  Everything made for a perfect wedding including the reception at her home, which is such a special touch to me.  It was great seeing my friends I went to high school with.  My belly was giant!  I had to do some special maneuvering to get around!  Oh I was so happy and enjoying myself so much!  Finally the bouquet was thrown and the newlyweds were off and so were we.  It had been such a busy afternoon that I did not notice that little kicker had stopped kicking.

                      Here I am Saturday April 26th, on the upper deck of the Edna Mae working on
                      the baby's quilt happy as I could be!
                                   Here I am in the yellow dress at Diana's wedding.                     

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Delirlously Happy Being Pregnant!!!


Pregnancy totally agreed with me!  This was such an exciting time and I enjoyed every second of it.  I guess it was because this was a gift I thought I would never actually get to experience.  So I soaked it all up, even the three times I actually threw up!  I remember calling James up at work to report that I had indeed thrown up!  He was excited as I was!  We were crazy in love with the whole experience and shared it with anyone who would listen!  We were young, in love, and having a baby!  I bought every book I could get my hands on about being pregnant.  My sister, Sylvia, sent me her library of books to read.  She was so excited for me because she had difficulty getting pregnant also.  We were the only two girls out of the five girls in my family that had difficulty getting pregnant at this point.  She ended up with her daughter and son born healthy, thanks be to God.  Now let me say that this was our first baby, but mama already had six grandchildren by this time and James' mother had two grandchildren, so they were old hat at this.  Nothing old hat about this for me!  Each day was a gift of happiness, joy, and discovery as my body changed.

 I was teaching first grade at this time.  My students were excited as were their parents.  One student I especially remember was Scott Cranford.  One day I was reaching up to put something on a bulletin board when he rushed to my side telling me not to do that in case it might hurt the baby.  He did it for me.  What a thoughtful young boy!  Of course I told his mom!  The teachers, principal, Charles Ward, and parents were all experiencing this pregnancy with me and it was just delightful!  Another day, when I was really getting big, I was teaching reading in small groups of about six students.  I had my book resting on my belly, when out of the blue the baby gave a really big kick sending my book flying!  We all burst out laughing  realizing this little baby had become a strong baby!  Of course we had to discuss how he might grow up to become a kicker playing football.  Recall with me that this was the 1970's era and soccer was not in the picture yet.  The students reported my progress to their parents each night.  Also, students had a 15/20 minute recess each morning while teachers met in the lounge to have a snack and talk.  Of course most of the talk centered around how I looked, what I ate, my now waddling.  I was now having nose bleeds, which the doctor said was normal, but that too had to be discussed. 

Time was drawing near.  I planned on not coming back to teach after the Easter holidays since my baby was due in early May.  Students loved drawing pictures of me!  They were hilarious and I loved them.  One drawing by Linc Lyles had me fully dressed in one of my favorite maternity outfits with a fully dressed baby inside of my tummy with a hair bow on its head!  I still have that drawing.  Baby showers had begun in March of 1975.  Teachers, friends, and of course my dear students gave me some pretty big elaborate baby showers.  I was loaded with everything baby Fitts would need.  Of course with the showers came advice.  Sara Branch told me how she put everything Johnson & Johnson had ever made all over her daughter, Sallie which was in my class.  She advised me not to do the same.  They way she described what Sallie looked liked all oiled and powdered up was funny!  I  decided to follow her advice.  The last day of school for Easter Break came.  The teachers gave me a sterling silver baby spoon that day which made me cry and of course then my nose started bleeding all over the cute little bootie cupcakes!  My grandchildren use that spoon when they come visit me to this very day.  I have never loved teaching as I did at that small town school under the direction of Charles Ward.  I have never loved a group of students as I did those students at Akers School and of the great great support of the parents.  Our small group of teachers were like family and I truly love them all and miss those who have passed on.  I thank God for that wonderful year of being pregnant around such caring people.  However, there is one thing that haunted me for a long time.  A few teachers would say this to me, "Gale, don't count your chickens before they are hatched.  This baby isn't here yet."  What are earth would possess them to say this?  They must be crazy!  I am healthy and so is my baby!  That was what I thought.....

Shaky Beginning: The Summer of 1974

My first year of teaching had come to an end.  Summer was here at last!  James and I decided that after almost 4 years of marriage, we were ready to turn the "two of us" into the "three of us!"  Baby time!  I went to meet with the local OB/GYN, Dr. Forbes.  After checking me out, I was given some life-altering news.  I had about one chance in a million of getting pregnant due to a disease I had lived with since late high school, endometriosis.  He suggested adoption. 

When James came home from work, I gave him the news.  We were speechless with our hearts stuck in our stomachs.  I had so wanted to carry our child and give birth.  I wanted to experience being pregnant!  We had discussed adopting a child before, but after having our own 2 babies first.  We had always been open to adoption because James' dad and sister were adopted from the NC Children's Home Society.  We had heard their stories many times over.  However, we were well aware of the long wait of up to 3 years for a white newborn.  We were ready NOW!  Three years may have been a hundred to us.  With no other recourse, we set out to adopt.  We also put in to adopt from our local county adoption agency.  We set out to wait. 

School started again in August and it was also time for us to go to Greensboro for a meeting with the Children's Home Society in Greensboro.  With two members of the Fitts' family already coming from there, plus James' dad being a big donor to the home, we secretly hoped that we would get special treatment getting a newborn sooner than expected.  As we prepared for the trip, I wanted to go see Dr. Forbes one more time because even though pregnancy tests came back negative I felt pregnant!  As I pestered the doctor one more time, it paid off.  We were pregnant!  We had beat those staggering odds!  Dr. Forbes told us again and again how lucky we were.  The unexpected had happened!  We would be having a baby next May 1975!  What unbelievable joy!  Since we wanted more than one child, I assumed James kept our names on the lists to adopt.  Did you notice I said assumed?  Fall was around the corner, then winter, then spring and our baby would be born!  But storm clouds were brewing.

Monday, November 5, 2012

How Can You Miss What Some Say You Never Had?

So many people can't understand how a mother can miss a stillborn baby because in their minds the mother never really had her baby.  She never took baby home, care for it, watch it grow while making memories.  Well folks, that is what we grieve over....the what would have beens, the knowing that most people think our babies didn't count or mean anything.  So much to grieve over!  Yes, I did know my child physically for the 9 months he grew inside of me.  I knew his every kick, movement, favorite positions, when he had the hiccups and when he liked to nap. Do you know the joy you have in picking out clothes, toys,or having parties for your child?  I had those joys too.  I planned and put together a nursery and it was awesome!  I could just imagine how much James Collins, Jr. would enjoy the musical mobile I picked out from Bib & Tucker in Rocky Mount and the cozy quilt my mother-in-law taught me to make.  James and I had fun shopping for little outfits from Dottie Lou's in Wilson.  Talk about parties!  I had baby showers where my son was absolutely showered with everything he could ever need!  I rocked my baby in the rocking chair James had bought for us.  I would come home  from a long day of teaching school, sit down in that rocker, and gently rock my son as I caressed my belly and sang lullabies to him dreaming about our long future together.  It was my favorite time of the day.  Our future was bright and I was giddy with happiness!  Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to face.



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Where I Am Today as the Mom of Stillborn Babies

I was 24 years old when James, Jr. was stillborn and 32 years old when Reita Gale was born silent.  I went through some excruciating painful times to get to where I am today. As time went by, I had to find how I fit into society as the mother of stillborn babies.  We are talking about 1975 and 1982.  Those dates reflect a time when you were not considered a "real mother" if your baby died at birth.  I held on to God every second of every day for help. Thoughts would come into my head and feelings into my heart.  I could tell (as only a mom would) that these were from my children!  God was allowing me to have a relationship with my children in Heaven! I looked to the sky and talked to them mainly saying how much I loved them, missed them, and wanted to hold them.  While I was busy parenting our other two sons or just everyday living I could sense being watched by their siblings.  They have been a part of my life everyday since they were born even though it probably isn't evident to others.  I speak out loud about it more today mainly because other mothers and fathers of stillborn children are demanding their children to be validated in various ways in which I also now participate.  The internet has become a lifeline of news, views, blogs, calendar of events, and shops which specialize in items for parents, siblings, and grandparents of stillborn babies.  October 15th  we participated in "The Wave of Light" which took place world-wide in each time zone exactly at 7:00 PM when candles were lit and burned for at least one hour in remembrance of pregnancy and infant loss.  Our wonderful daughter-in-law etched our stillborn son and daughter's name and date of birth/death on each glass candle holder.  Her thoughtfulness means so much to James and me.  Maridith also had her candle burning at her home not only for us, but for her friends who had loss their babies to stillbirth. We recently let our granddaughter decorate a helium balloon to honor and remember James Jr. and Reita Gale. When we let it go, my husband, Lawson, and myself felt excitement as the balloon floated way up ever so high in the sky until we could see it no more.  I felt happy watching my first-born granddaughter skipping along the pier back to shore after the balloon left our sight, knowing she knew about her Uncle James and Aunt Reita Gale.  She appeared confident and glad about them and the balloon.  I am more confident too.  The "push it under the table" days are gone.  It is okay to SPEAK NOW!

                                Our candles burning October 15th

                           Watching our Remembrance Balloon Fly Up 

                               James taking a break while edging
                                our babies' footstones in October                         


                              Here I am reflecting....


SPEAK NOW: borrowed from Taylor Swift

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Today I Begin To Tell My Story

Hello!  My name is Gale and I birthed two stillborn babies.  My blog will reflect on living with these events for the past 37 years. 
 James Collins Fitts, Jr. was stillborn May 2, 1975.  I was 9 months pregnant with my very first baby when he finally "dropped down" to be born.  When James, Jr. dropped, the umbilical cord tightened.  A double loop was in the cord which most likely happened while he was still just a tiny thing in my third month swimming around so freely.  He didn't realize he was making loops in his life line to me.  These were the two loops that tightened and made a double knot just as he was making his entrance into this world and into my arms.  James Collins, Jr. died without crying out loud.

Reita Gale Fitts was stillborn May 31, 1982.  She was the last of my 4 children to be born, my only daughter.  She wasn't to be born until October of that year.  I had only been wearing maternity clothes for a few weeks when I noticed my swollen belly had been quiet that day.  I knew before the doctor confirmed it that my daughter was dead.  She had been a fiesty one pounder moving and kicking so much that she had twisted her umbilical cord around and around until it closed off and she died.  Once more grief's grip had hold of every part of my being.

Thus ends my first post, but not my story.  I will get it out blog by blog.  I will let you know how it felt then and how it feels now.  I hope this blog can help at least one mother and father out there who is coping with stillbirth.  I will end with this question.  Why, with all of the technology out there, why are stillbirths up in the US?