My daughter Mena would have been 10 years old this year on May 30. On May 29th 2000 I was 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I hadn't felt my baby move all day. I had read "What to expect when you're expecting" and read that some babies get very still once their birth gets closer. I had been having contractions but nothing too serious. I called the after hours clinic and spoke to a nurse and gave her my symptons. She told me to drink orange juice and lay down on my side. The sugar should make my baby move. It was my first pregnancy, I would feel my stomach harden and then relax. I was hoping with all my heart and soul that it was Mena getting ready to come. Although I knew deep down...something was wrong. Something wasn't right. The nurse had notified me that if I felt no movement to call back and I would be seen. My mother picked me up and took me to the hospital. I was checked in and put in a room at the maternity ward. The nurse came in to put the devices on my stomach for the heartbeat and the contractions. She couldn't find the heartbeat...I knew my daughter had died. She tried to reassure me that the machine was old and went to get another one. That one didn't help me either. She finally went and got the Doctor that was on call and they both came in with an ultrasound machine. He (the Doctor) didn't even speak to me until they plugged the machine in and he found my daughter on the screen. I remember seeing her, knowing what was gonna happen next. He finally makes eye contact with me and taps on the screen with his finger. He tells me, "You see this right here?" and I nod. He then says, "This is your baby's heartbeat, and it's not beating."...No apologies, just that. I suppose in a situation like that, a Doctor has to detach their feelings. After all, they see so much on a day to day basis. I sat there on that hospital bed with tears rolling down my face. I remember my mother calling her husband (my stepfather) who was in Ohio for his mother's funeral. And I just sat there. She then called my boyfriend. Then my father, I remember talking to him. I don't remember what my father told me. The only thing I do remember him telling me is God must've known something bad was going to happen to her in the future. And he didn't want her or us to suffer. So he took her now. Out of all the condolences I recieved, in my eyes, that is the only one that made sense. However, I was very, very angry with God. I didn't understand how he would allow me to go full term with my baby. To feel her growing inside me. To love her, to take care of her by taking care of myself. I did everything right. I took my prenatal vitamins. I went to the doctor when I was supposed to. I didn't drink or do drugs. All the way to the very end...and she dies. I was numb for awhile. I remember my boyfriend (who is now my husband) walking in to my hospital room, the look he gave me was fear and disbelief and he said, "She's gone?" And I couldn't even speak. I just nodded. I remember him falling back against the wall and sliding down in a sitting position. Crying...The doctor came in told me that I could either go home and wait for my labor to start or stay there and they can pop my water bag to move things along. I knew I couldn't go home. Because when I walked in, I would know that everything for Mena was upstairs waiting for her to come home to be used. Her crib, clothes, bottles, diapers. Everything...I wouldn't have survived that. I told them no, I would stay at the hospital. So thay popped my water bag to get the process started. I was in labor all night. I couldn't sleep. The morning came and the labor was still slow. I was only dialated to a 8 when he told me to start pushing. I can still feel the moment her head came out of me. The pain was unbearable. I had a rough night. And had no energy left in me. I tried pushing her out the rest of the way. And I couldn't do it. He had to cut me. She came out and he handed Mena to a nurse. I remember crying to her to give me my baby. I want my baby...She handed her to me and Mena's head was like jello. And the skin on her face was peeled back. In order for the doctor to get her out of me, he grasped her head and pulled. In that process, he crushed her skull. I remember thinking thank God you can't feel any of this. I kissed her and cried. I was able to be with her for a few hours. Holding her, telling her how muched I love her. My daughter was stillborn because a piece of the amniotic fluid tied a knot around her umbilical cord. Therefore suffocating her. I saw the cord. A freak accident. 1 out of a million he said (the doctor). They took her away and I didn't see her again till the funeral. I spent 3 days in the hospital. After the birth they moved me to a regular room on a different floor. A priest and nun came by my room to comfort me and offered to listen if I wanted to talk. I declined. My anger was still so fresh with God. I didn't understand him. I can't understand how women that drink and do drugs get their babies. And here I am empty handed. My anger with God will continue for years after Mena's death. During my stay at the hospital, I asked my 2 brothers to go to my apartment and put all of Mena's things away. I couldn't do it myself. Now that I look back on that decision, it was a mistake. I should have put Mena's things away. But at that time i just couldn't handle it. The day I was released from the hospital, my boyfriend (Mike) and my mother went to the funeral home to make arrangements. I remember sitting there in the director's office. Just sitting. I remember it was cold in his office. That coldness was something that would follow me for years to come. Next was the cemetary. Finding a plot and her plaque. The morning of Mena's funeral I remember walking into my closet looking for my black dress and thinking to myself, if it's this bad right now, how will I be when one of my brothers dies? I don't know why I thought that. But I would soon find out 4 months later. We arrived at the funeral home and I did not want to go see Mena without my father and brother's. Mike went ahead with his parents. And I sat with my friend Valerie (who was pregnant at the time) waiting for my daddy. Yes, I was 20 years old and I called my father Daddy. My family arrived and we held hands as we walked back to the little room that held my daughter. She was in a white coffin and in the outfit that we had chosen for her to come home in. I touched her and kissed her. And just stared at her. I wanted to remember her face. My little brother was with me during her birth. He was 16. Too young to see such a tragedy. He walked up to her and put a pacifier in her coffin. That one little gesture brought everyone to tears. It was time to go to the cemetary, so we all said our final goodbyes. I remember arriving at the cemetary in awe. I had never seen soooo many people. My daughter was loved so much by so many people. And she never took a breath. The service was a beautiful one. I could no longer contain myself when the funeral director spoke of me and my pain and sorrow. I sobbed so loudly...my heart breaking. After the funeral everyone went to my mother's house. I stayed to myself. Just before all of that happend, we had my baby shower there. The memories so fresh in my mind. I don't quite remember the rest. I became depressed and stayed in bed all day crying. Every day I went to the cemetary and cried my heart and soul out. I didn't understand why I had to go through such a tragedy. My anger with God grew. I was THAT angry. I thought of suicide. I hurt that much...I even got a gun and put a bullet in the chamber. I even went as far as putting the barrel of the gun in my mouth.....I didn't have the courage to pull the trigger. I couldn't do it. I can remember ALL of this as if it happened yesterday. My wounds will never heal. I have learned to go on with my life. It took a lot of time. But I learned how to laugh again and not feel guilty for laughing. I learned to smile again and not fake it. I don't go to the cemetary nearly as often as I used to. But that doesn't mean that I don't think of Mena. I carry her wherever I go. I never got to hear her cry or laugh. I can only imagine what type of little girl she would have been. The pain will always be with me. It will never go away. I miss Mena so much it hurts to breathe sometimes. Mena is the oldest to 2 sisters Veronica 8 and Aaliyah 4, and a brother Dominick 2. I know she would have been an awesome sister. And I hope that she watches over them from heaven. My daughter is so special that God needed her right then and there. He took my angel and made her his angel. I can only hope that I make her proud to be my daughter. I no longer hold any anger for God. It took me years to realize that there are some things that I have NO CONTROL over. And things in life will happen. It's how we handle the outcome that makes us who we are. There will always be challenges in life. I made it this far because of my daughter Veronica. She saved my life. I became pregnant with her shortly after Mena died. My entire pregnancy was a nightmare. I was scared to death. When I didn't feel her move, I freaked out. I thought oh no, not again! Then I went into labor and had her. When I first heard her cry, it was the most beautiful sound in the world. I am alive today because of her. And then Aaliyah and Dominick came along. My kids saved me. Without them, I wouldn't be here today....So to those of you that have lost a child, I feel your pain. I understand your anger. Just know that life indeed does go on. The world still moves even though you don't want it to. And know that your child would not want to see you in so much pain. In due time, we will all be united again. But until that time comes, let us enjoy our family and each other's company and comfort. May God bless you all...

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