January 1982, James and I began talking about having another baby. It had been our plan all along to have three munchkins running around ever since we were engaged and dreaming of our future together. Even though I felt extremely blessed to have my two rainbow sons, I felt a baby girl might be nice to try for. James agreed. It was our secret. If we got pregnant, fine. If I couldn't conceive, well we could live with that also. We were excited about trying! In February, I was late! That never happened unless I was pregnant! I had always been like clock work. We now had an option open to us that we never had before. We could go to the drugstore and buy a Pregnancy Test! Gosh, we lived in a fairly small town. The druggist knew us. Hmmm...where to go? We just went to the closest one to where we lived late in the evening so less people would be there. We quickly picked out one and bought it. With the test safely in the bag, we headed home. The next morning I took the test and it was pure positive! We were so excited! This was on a weekend, so I made plans to call to make an appointment with my OBGYN on Monday morning. We didn't tell anyone. Monday came and I called to make my appointment with Dr. A who had delivered Taylor. I had to wait another week to see the doctor. Meanwhile, the thoughts of another baby in the house was thrilling! I just knew this was going to be a girl. I was really confident about it. I was getting all giddy about it! The next Friday night, a week after the positive test, I started spotting a little. I panicked and went to lie on the sofa. I didn't move except to prop up my feet. I was on my back. I prayed it was only spotting and nothing more. I had never spotted during my other three pregnancies, so to say I was concerned was an understatement. I stayed downstairs on the sofa that night, not moving for fear of what might happen. The next morning was Saturday, but James still had to go in to work. He made breakfast for our two small sons, dressed them, and got them busy playing before he left for work. I slowly got up to go use the bathroom. The moment I sat down, I heard and felt a "plop." Something had fallen out of me. I got up to see what it was. I just stared at a medium size oval bloody mass. I hurriedly called my doctor at the hospital. He rang me right back. He also lived in our neighborhood, so we were neighbors as well as doctor/patient. I was told that I most likely had just had a miscarriage. End of story. Most likely??? I asked if I needed a D & C and he said it wasn't necessary. I was very emotional. What should I do with the miscarried baby??? I couldn't just flush it away!
What I did next was horrifying, but I did it anyway. When I loss my James Collins, Jr to stillbirth, one of my fellow teacher friends told me her story of miscarriage. She told me what her doctor told her to do and she did it. Looking at the mass and wondering if it was just a clot or if it was a baby, I decided on my own accord to do what my friend had done. I do NOT advise anyone to ever do this.
I went to the kitchen, got a butcher knife, went back to the bathroom, put some paper towels on the counter, picked up the mass from the toilet and laid it on the paper towels. I picked up the knife while deciding where to cut, then I cut through the mass. I heard the loudest clearest "pop" noise. It was at that point that I realized I had just cut my own baby half into. It was a mass, but it had a spine! The popping noise was the spine breaking into, at least this is what my friend had told me her doctor had said it was. My baby was developing inside of me before it came out. I do understand the baby was no longer viable and I had miscarried. That didn't diminish the fact that I actually felt the spine as it cut into. I can't describe in words how I felt then and how I feel now. I should have thought it through some more. I acted too quickly. I became ashamed of myself. Why did I ever think it was okay to cut into that mass? I can only say I did it out of selfishness because I wanted to know for sure if it was a pregnancy or not. so, what God had created I destroyed. I took away any dignity the forming baby had. It has taken me years to understand that. To add on more insult to the child, I just considered it a mangled mess at that point. It pains me to know end to say that I flushed it down the toilet. To be honest, I didn't know what else to do. I have pushed these thoughts to the back of my mind for decades until recently. I've pushed that baby into the very back of my mind until recently. Oh, I have thought about that day before through the years, but quickly moved on to other thoughts. What will will he/she say to me when I get to Heaven? That child of mine had a spirit and soul already. I believe that. I never mention this child because I am embarrassed. I'm embarrassed by what I did and that I have just pushed this child away. This is something I'm going to have to figure out. I am that child's mother.
We continued on with our lives which were hectic with two boys. Everything was normal until one day I realized that I never have had a period since my miscarriage. There wasn't any real bleeding with it, just the one bloody mass. This was unusal, so I made an appointment to see if perhaps I should have had a D & C after all. My regular doctor was away on vacation. He had a doctor from Duke Hospital taking over for him for 6 weeks. After talking with this doctor and having an exam, I discovered that I was pregnant! Who would have thought? We weren't trying. This doctor told me that he felt sure I had been carrying twins and that one of them miscarried while the other continued on growing. I didn't know what to think or say! The due date was scheduled for the first of October. But gosh, twins! I am a twin. I have an identical twin sister. James and I always had hoped for twins. We lost her sister. I say sister because like I said before, I knew in my heart I had a daughter. Now I know I had once had two daughters. Before I left, I was told to take it very easy and not to travel unless it was absolutely necessary. My dad had cancer and I had to travel an hour and a half to get to him. I had to put a halt on my visits until it was safer for me to travel. My family now knew I was pregnant, but didn't understand my need for less travel. I was doing everything to hold on to this pregnancy. It was a few weeks later in March that my daddy died. I definitely had my baby bump, as you moms now call it. We just said we were showing! I squeezed into an outfit that my twin and I had that were alike for daddy's funeral. He always said we had to dress alike and I was going to do that for his funeral. He was very proud of his twin girls. As soon as I got home, I put on maternity clothes and felt so much better! It was sad that my daddy wouldn't see my baby daughter. April came with its promise of daffadils and dogwoods blooming! I loved being outside with the boys. We had a Pop-Up Camper and got it out for some cleaning and air-out. The boys loved camping and so did I. James began laying out plans for our new white picket fence to go around our white Cape Cod house. With three little ones, I would need that fence! It looked great going up. I enjoyed a trip to Raleigh to buy some cute maternity clothes. I loved the latest styles in maternity wear. May was coming up. I was cautious during the month of May because my precious James Collins, Jr. was stillborn May 2, 1975. Dear Lord, please let me get through May. I almost did. The last Sunday in May I was feeling great. It was getting late, nearing supper time and we were sitting out in our camper. All of a sudden I knew. I knew I hadn't felt my baby girl move all day. I asked James to get the boys in the house and said by the way, our baby hasn't moved all day. Instead of going to the hospital right then, I waited until the next morning to go see my doctor. It was Memorial Day Weekend in 1982 and all the family had plans. James kept the boys while I went to get the news on that Monday morning. No heartbeat detected. Then I had my first ever sonogram which showed no beating heart. I was numb. I was going through the motions. Next, over to thehospital for another sonogram from a better machine. Same result. Your baby's heart has stopped beating. I knew that! I knew that Sunday late afternoon when she had stopped moving! No daughter to come home and live with us. Plans were made for me to enter the hospital the next day and induce labor the next, May 31, 1982. The last day of May. We were like robots....just making movements to get the necessary things done to get ready to have this baby girl. The boys didn't really understand what exactly was going on. Only the baby wouldn't be coming to live with us. I don't remember who kept the boys while James and I registered at the hospital. Friends or James' mother, I don't remember. I do remember that I spent a lot of time alone in the hospital. I was put on a different floor than maternity. One friend came to see me and I will gladly say her name out loud, Lynne Lynch! She had three boys of her own at home, but she came to see me. She brought me a chocolate candy bar and a chocolate milk shake. I have loved her so much for that and have never forgotten it after all of these years. Now, two family members came by together. James' daddy & his sister. Neither mentioned the baby or talked to me. They carried on a two way conversation about something I had no idea about. Excuse me? You could have had this conversation at home! Why bother to come by & see me? After 10 minutes they were gone. James was home taking care of the boys. He needed to do that and he needed to be with me. I wanted James to be with our sons and keep life normal for them. I didn't want to bother the family or ask for any help after my non-support from James Collins, Jr.'s stillbirth. I cried and cried that night. How could I sleep knowing tomorrow my baby girl would be taken from me. I was between 5 and 6 months pregnant. Before we left the house for the hospital, I asked James to take a picture of me pregnant with our baby. Taylor, is with me in the picture. He was two. I am going to end this part of Reita Gale's story here. I will write Part Two of her story shortly as it is lengthy as this part is.
May 31, 1982 On my way to the hospital to have my precious baby girl, Reita Gale Fitts. My two year old Taylor is with me.