My Upstairs Neighbor

Mar 7, 2015 | D&E, Trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome)

Her new baby wailed and wailed upstairs while I was left with the silence of my daughter’s ashes in a box in my room.

By S.K.

I was 20 weeks pregnant when my husband and I went to the hospital for a routine ultrasound. The doctor told us it looked like our baby girl had Trisomy 13, with no chance of survival, and that we would need to have amniocentesis to be sure. While we waited for the results, we would need to make the choice between continuing this pregnancy or ending it.

The cutoff for abortion in our state is 23 weeks. We already knew that we would choose a D&E procedure. Our daughter was so disfigured that it would devastate us to see her even if I did give birth.

Our amnio results came back positive for Trisomy 13. At exactly 23 weeks we started the three-day procedure to terminate the pregnancy. My mom stayed with us the whole time, looking after our toddler son. Mom was the best help we could have asked for, as she had lost her second baby (also a daughter) at eight months gestation and understood how much we were hurting.

The first week home after my termination, my loss still didn’t seem real. Then my neighbor from the apartment upstairs—who was seven months pregnant—came to visit. It really hit me: she was still pregnant and I wasn’t anymore.

She complained to me that her baby kept her up all night kicking and moving. It made me so mad I wanted to scream. How dare she complain? Did she not understand that I wasn’t pregnant anymore? That I’d never feel my baby move again? Was she deliberately being cruel?

That night I cried on my husband’s shoulder. I had some hard days ahead, but was managing to get through them. Then my neighbor had her baby. It started all over again, but worse.

The day after she came home from the hospital with her new baby, my son awoke in the middle of the night. As I sat rocking him back to sleep I heard my neighbor’s baby crying.  I lost it. I wanted to yell at her to keep him quiet. Her new little baby boy wailed and wailed upstairs while I was left with the silence of my daughter’s ashes in a box in my room.

A social worker at the hospital had told me about this web site, and that night I finally got online and found it. Reading story after story, I began to understand that I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only mother who’d left the hospital empty handed.

My friends and family keep reminding me that I still my little son, but I want my daughter back, too. What I wouldn’t give just for one day with my little girl. My parents remind me that even though I lost my daughter I’m young enough to have more. But other babies can never replace my Olivia. Daily I have to remind myself that even after my mother lost her second daughter she went on to have two more healthy little girls.

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