Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Journey through Grief: Labor

Several people have commented that this story must be very difficult to write. The truth is that it was very difficult to live, probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But through the journey I learned to grieve well and came out the other side with deep peace. That’s surely the reason I can write it now. And my hope is that through the telling someone else may find their way to the other side. My writer sensibilities ensure that I tell the story from a true perspective, capturing all of the emotion that I can, to be an honest representation of my journey. I do thank you all for you loving concern.

The grief I am embracing currently concerns my father, a man who has loved me well. Five months ago he was working a full time job. Today he can barely walk to the bathroom. There are moments when the anticipated grief surprises me with its ferocity. So I am applying the lessons I learned in my journey with Allison to my last days with my dad.

If you are just joining me, you might want to go back to the last couple of posts and catch up as I share my journey through grief.


I had no idea what the medical world did for a pregnant woman with a dead child in her womb. My mind bounced from the edge of one frightening scenario to another.
The answer: they induce labor.
My doctor asked me if I wanted to start immediately or wait until the following morning. My God, I thought. How could I possibly wait with this child until tomorrow? “We’ll do it now,” I told her.
She told the nurses to prep the pitocin drip. Then she prepared me for a long process. If labor didn’t start or progress by night fall, they would discontinue the drip and begin again in the morning.
Cliff sat with me as we waited, his own sadness showing in his eyes. I don’t remember the words we spoke, but his presence there was healing balm on an open wound.
It was about noon when they started the drip. By 2:30, I was in labor.
I don’t like pain. I’m not a wimp, I just don’t like it one bit. I had been put to sleep on the delivery table with my firstborn, after all the labor, because he was sunny side up and refused to turn. With both Stephen and Jeanetta, I had an epidural, but there were no options this time. Just breathe. Labor isn’t easy on a good day, but what gets you through it is the knowledge that you’ll have a baby to hold at the end. I didn’t have that. All I had to hold was Cliff’s hand.
I had read a Psalm of David often during the last months of my pregnancy. One phrase kept repeating over and over in my head through the ordeal. “His understanding is infinite.” I didn’t understand. I didn’t want to do this. But I had to. So I kept praying those words, asking for strength, and wishing that I could understand.
Somewhere just past 4:30, the intensity of the contractions ratcheted up to about a nine on the Richter scale. Suddenly, I had the urge to push. “Go get the nurse,” I told Cliff. “I think I need to push.”
He explained to me that I couldn’t possibly have to push this soon.
“Just go get the nurse,” I yelled.
Humor, even at the direst of moments, brings relief.
Sure enough, the baby’s head was crowning. They wheeled me into the delivery room.


  1. I can see you are taking time to tell your story, Dori, something I believe can help those who grieve, one step at a time. It feels to me as if it's always a slow process, whether the goodbye is quick, or long. I should tell you that my husband has Parkinson's with dementia, & he is now in a nursing home. We call it the long goodbye. Each day is new, each day I don't know what to expect, & each day I spend the time I can with him. I am interested in your journey, perhaps selfishly, because I am having a tough time finding words during this time. Thank you for being so courageous in telling your story.

  2. Ah, Linda. Thank you for sharing your place in this journey. It is good to have someone to walk alongside on this road. It sounds as if you are doing exactly what each day calls for. Know that you are not alone. Sometimes that's the best help.