It all started with a clerical error.
I had requested a copy of all of Aria’s ultrasound images, longing to have copies of every picture ever taken during her brief life. I asked them to withhold all the other records, like the lab results and diagnostic information. I was so afraid of going down a rabbit hole and researching every little number, trying to find a way she could have been saved. I just wanted the images and nothing more.
And then I opened up the envelope and realized the huge stack of papers I was holding were my medical records, and not a single ultrasound image. They had gotten my request backwards, and now I was facing my worst case scenario.
I decided to double check, and make sure the images weren’t somewhere in the stack of papers. The first page I flipped open were the surgical notes from Aria’s birth.
I went from calm to hysterical in less than a second. I grabbed my phone and quickly dialed my best friend because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stop myself from reading everything, and I knew I couldn’t do it alone. We stayed on the phone as as I skimmed through everything. I was stunned to learn new, sweet details about my baby girl.
Here’s the thing about baby loss, it’s the loss of so much more than just a baby. It leaves you with a lifetime of wonder about who she was, or who she would have been. So to learn something new, another detail about her life, no matter how small is absolutely magical.
I learned that her Apgar scores at one minute, and five minutes old were both a two. Which isn’t a good score by any means, and is a sign of how truly sick she was, but it’s something I didn’t know until now. It’s new information about her life, and when you don’t have much, it’s everything.
I also found so much comfort in the notes made about her condition at birth. “Her skin is warm. Her body appears well nourished. She is active and alert.” Beautiful reminders that she was here, and she didn’t suffer.
Then there’s the notes they made about me. Someone wrote that I was “grieving appropriately.” I felt so loved and cared for by our hospital staff, and I was grateful that they cared enough to make note of how I was doing emotionally and not just physically.
It was still so hard on my delicate heart, but overall I’m grateful for the mix up. I got to learn more about my sweet little girl, and that is worth more than I could ever put into words.