When I was five months pregnant, I found out that the child I carried had a serious heart defect caused by downs syndrome. I was given the choice to either induce labor and let her die then or carry her to term and wait for her to die sometime in the first few months of her life. She was already bleeding internally. If she managed to live to six months, which I was told there was a very slim chance of, they could crack open her chest and attempt to repair the heart. This surgery carried many risks and would have to be repeated.
I had thought that I had known sadness and emotional hardship. The sadness of my past may have been more complicated, but none even compared. I had not even met this person, but she was literally a part of me. I was unprepared for the primal connection. This news was not the loss of a dream, a project gone awry, it was a death sentence for my baby. And I had to choose how she died.
I chose to kill her. The overwhelming love that I felt for her motivated me to protect her from a life too short and one filled with pain. I believe that it was kindness to end her life while still in the womb. Perhaps I was also trying to protect myself and my loved ones from the horror of waiting for that moment when we would look over to her to find her dead. I still believe that it was for her that I made the decision.
After 18 hours of labor at the hospital, I delivered my dead child. We had her cremated. I’ve been keeping her ashes in a vase that I made while I carried her. Now that it is spring, I will plant her ashes and tiny ground bones with a tree at the family farm. I’m pregnant again, with another little girl, this one whole and healthy. Sometimes I imagine that she’s found her way back to me.
Tags: baby, cremation, death
Other People's Thoughts
That was beautifully written. What a sad story, but you must have loved her very much to be able to make such a hard decision.
— Jess Monday May 1, 2006 #
I think you made the right choice
— Rachael Monday May 1, 2006 #
your story made me cry as I tried to picture the kind of suffering and somehow I know she did found a way to go back to you.
— Priscila Monday May 1, 2006 #
You might want read The New Yorker from last week. The personal history in there is so close, right down to the hand-made pottery, it could be the same. Maybe too close for comfort, so approach with caution.
— John Monday May 1, 2006 #
You did not kill your precious daughter! You choose what was best for her. Your love and devotion to her speaks loudly through your posting. I was a lucky soul, spared the nite befor3e Christmas eve, being informed the genetic testing was okay for my daughter to be. We
had decided to let her gone, if the testing was positive. You made a heart retching decision because you loved her, not because it was convinent. I keep you all in y daily prayers. Beforethe grace of God go I. You have a little angel looking over you both. Peace.
— Noran Monday May 1, 2006 #
Very touching story. I’m sorry for your loss.
— Emily Tuesday May 2, 2006 #
Oh, I can’t even see to type I’m so weepy. You’re so very strong, and you are an incredible mother both to your daughter who passed and your daughter who is coming. May the gods always watch over you.
— Winifred Tuesday May 2, 2006 #
You expressed yourself beautifully and I admire your strength. I am so sorry for your loss, but she lives on because she’s in your heart.
— annieb Tuesday May 2, 2006 #
You loved your daughter so much, I am sure she knows that. I know you only wanted to prevent her from suffering. I am so sorry, and I thank you for telling your story.
— Craig Wednesday May 3, 2006 #
What unspeakable sadness.
— Debra Wednesday May 3, 2006 #
YOUR STORY IS TOUCHING
AND SAD AND WRITTEN IN A BEAUTIFUL WAY!
— PIO Wednesday May 3, 2006 #
i’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s death but she is in no pain i know she is your little angel watching out for you and i want to thank you for sharing your very sad storie.
— GWEN Saturday May 6, 2006 #
I have 1 child. Anthony. He turned 18, yesterday, Sept. 15, 2006. He was killed in an automobile accident Oct. 8, 2004. I’m still crying. I hate that you had to make that decision. I think it was for the best. My son was 16 when he passed away less than a month after his birthday. I have a myspace. TeeJayy, you can see him there.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to talk.
— Terri Friday September 15, 2006 #
You have an angel watching over you.
— Monica Tuesday October 30, 2007 #
That story touches me. But now, you have a guardian angel forever. And when it’s your time, you will see her again, whole and happy and healthy. My grandma just died and I understand your loss. You made the right choice.
— Julie Friday June 6, 2008 #
The Saddest Thing I Own is a 2005 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., (aka Ether-Ore) for its Turbulence web site. It is supported by the Jerome Foundation in celebration of the Jerome Hill Centennial and in recognition of the valuable contributions of artists to society.