Evangeline, my daughter, died while being delivered on Friday.
My girlfriend’s water broke last Tuesday, while Evangeline was in her 22nd-week. The doctors and nurses at the Ottawa General did everything they could to keep Diane healthy, and Evangeline inside. If we could have made it to 24-weeks, when Evangeline’s lungs would have been better prepared, the doctors felt she would have a fighting chance.
Unfortunately there was an infection and they had to induce labour. If they had waited the infection would have killed our baby. In the end Evangeline was just too small, too fragile, to survive the delivery.
Diane was mostly alone on Friday, I wasn’t able to get to Ottawa until a few moments after they had removed Evangeline from the delivery room. But we’ve been together almost constantly since then.
Mostly she’s been quiet. She has friends who are worried, and who want to help, but Diane isn’t ready… she doesn’t have the strength to go over every detail multiple times. I’ve tried to tell her that no one will ask questions or expect answers that she’s not ready to give.
But she has to grieve at her own pace.
At the moment we’re working on what happens next. We meet with the funeral director at Hillcrest Funeral Home in Vankleek Hill tomorrow (Monday) — they’ve been great so far, they’ve already brought Evangeline back to Vankleek Hill. We have to decide whether to cremate or bury her. I think we’re both leaning towards burial, but cost might be a factor.
There will be a notice in the paper, and we’re not sure about a service yet.
The pregnancy was considered ‘high risk’ from the start. So was Victor’s. And so was Diane’s son, Andrew, from her previous relationship. He’s six-years old now. Diane was pregnant twice before Andrew, but neither came to term. For Andrew and Victor, Diane had a surgical procedure called a ‘cerclage’ performed. It’s basically a stitch through the cervix to keep it closed.
We thought it would work with Evangeline as well, and it did. Unfortunately there were other complications, which led to an infection around the cerclage.
Diane and I spent last summer discussing having another child. The final decision was both of ours. I don’t believe we’ll try again.
Evangeline was tiny. Part of the process meant having the nurse bring her back into the room after we had some time to recover from the loss. They had wrapped her in a hospital blanket, the same kind they wrapped Victor in, and dressed her in a tiny, pink wool dress.
She had long, slender fingers, I think she had my nose, she had full lips and definitely Andrew’s smirk. In her tiny face I could see Diane, Andrew, Victor, myself and my mother.
Diane put her finger in Evangeline’s hand, and I caressed her forehead and cheeks.
After a little more than 30-minutes the nurse took her away again. The next day they gave us a colourful cardboard box with the pink dress, and some other mementos. I haven’t looked in the box yet. I know it has Evangeline’s hand and foot prints.
She was so very, very small.
I think, on Friday and during the day on Saturday, we were both too tired to grieve. Maybe it was shock. But on Saturday night we both started quietly crying.
Personally I think this is going to get worse before it gets better.
…we still hadn’t decided on her full name. Diane wanted her to be a Landriault, I was leaning towards a hyphenated Lingley-Landriault. Her middle name was either going to be Rose, my great-grandmother’s maiden name, or Hallelujah.