Remembering Marci Grace

Marci Grace was born Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 5:20pm after a fairly straightforward induction, and roughly 5 hours of active labour.

A scan on Nov 25th (at 21 weeks gestation) picked up that she had died in utero, and after time for arrangements etc was allowed, the induction was scheduled.

As indicated on the scans, she was born hugely swollen (for what she ‘should’ be) and many of her features were indistinguishable. That said, she had absolutely perfect palms and feet, and perfectly formed little ears and mouth as well. She weighed 480g.

A service to farewell her was held today.

I was going to attempt to speak at Marci’s farewell, but I didn’t. Partially I chickened out… but mostly I just couldn’t put words together coherently in a way that would make sense to everyone.

not to mention I don’t like admitting pain, or particularly sharing the depth of it.

my pregnancy with marci was fraught with distress and worry. Truly, there was no time in which I was fully excited about the pregnancy. First there was the wee shock of the pregnancy as the timing was not 100% planned (tho even from the beginning she was very wanted, she just set her own schedule). Plus as I’ve had a previous miscarriage (despite a healthy pregnancy in between) I know it’s not fully ‘safe’ to get all the hopes up in that first trimester. I did tell quite a few people early on, but most of the people either would help support me through a miscarriage should it happen, or at least would understand and not be insensitive.

what I didn’t tell many people was that I was fully expecting to miscarry. and it’s really hard to put into words my exact feelings about it all, because I know paranoia after a miscarriage is completely normal. My pregnancy with Katerina was directly after a miscarriage, with no cycle in between – but from day one with her I *knew* she was sticking around. Call it a gut feeling, or mother’s instinct. I didn’t have anything of the sort with Marci’s pregnancy – really, I think I knew all along that she would not be here for long.

she made herself known, though. with my previous miscarriage, I felt nothing. It may well have been what they unhelpfully term a ‘chemical pregnancy’, because I did not feel a soul hanging around me, and I had no pregnancy symptoms other than a missing period and a positive HPT. Of course I grieved when I miscarried, but it was grieving possibilities rather than definites, the loss of hopes and dreams and what might have been.

marci was different entirely. I tested with her before I was due for AF because I was feeling very pregnant, although not with anything concrete. It was more that gut feeling again. My sleep went to hell (which it did with Katerina too) and I was peeing all the time and my tastes had changed, tho no strong cravings or aversions. and I just knew, and got a positive HPT straight away.

marci’s was my roughest pregnancy too. it’s the only one in which I’ve actually thrown up (though I had mild morning sickness with both Zamara and Katerina). I had fairly severe fatigue, incredibly sore breasts (more than my other two girls combined) achy, shifty joints, ligament pain that wouldn’t let me twist hardly at all, and a finicky tummy. (not aversions as such, just would be halfway through a meal and get the omg-stop-eating-*now* feeling). although I definitely had the urge to nest, I never got the burst of energy that’s meant to go with it, just a slight lessening of the fatigue of before.

marci’s was also a magical pregnancy too. from very early on with her, I was ‘seeing things’. That feeling of having something / someone move right at the edge of your peripheral vision – but when you turn to look, nothing’s there. It wasn’t so much an ‘I’m being watched’ feeling, but it was a definite feeling of presence. Really, it was as if someone was playing hide-n-seek with me but cheating in a friendly way.

Marci is not a name I would pick, myself, it’s not at all in the style I tend to prefer. But she told me that was her name. I decided to find her a name once we were given a tentative diagnosis. I wanted something meaningful but not tacky. My first thought was ‘Faith’ but in reading stories of others I found faith was a common name for babies that didn’t survive, and it didn’t feel right naming a still living fetus that. I looked for related names (in meaning) and found Mercy. I hadn’t decided on it at all, was just kicking it around in my head so to speak. But I found every time I thought about it, it came out ‘Marci’ and not ‘Mercy’ – including the spelling. After about two days of that I accepted she was trying to tell me something, and I wasn’t going to fight it. I then thought to look up ‘Marci’ and discovered it meant ‘war-like’. To me that was both more optimistic, and more appropriate, than the meaning of Mercy. Grace, her middle name, was automatic – my babies middle names always have been. (I don’t know why – but I don’t question it, either)

In utero Marci was incredibly quiet. I’ve had anterior placentas with all three of my girls, and never felt movements before about 17 weeks, but even after that with marci I felt very little movement. She did like to rest in such a way that, when I was lying down, it was like she was trying to poke out of my womb – I’d get a hard and definite lump on my right side (always the right) that was often uncomfortable. That trick babies (out of the womb) have of falling asleep on the parent when the parent is in THE most uncomfortable position – marci had that in utero.

I hired a doppler when I was about 16 weeks pregnant with her, as the prognosis given by scans were consistently getting worse, and I wanted to have a better idea of when and if she left. I felt a bit like I was spying on her. She got back at me by routinely hiding from it. Only about half the time could I get a strong enough heartbeat that the doppler would give me a BPM reading – most of the other half of the time, I could hear a clear heartbeat myself, but it sounded like it was coming from a distance. I never worried in those instances, because it was clearly a fetal heart beat – but she established a pattern of this ‘hiding’ from the doppler. There were several times I couldn’t find her heartbeat at all, but would try again later and usually find it quickly then. It wasn’t that she wanted me to worry I think… she just liked to keep me on my toes.

I knew roughly when she passed. It wasn’t a lack of movement, because she moved very little and it wasn’t at all uncommon to go a full day with no definite movements. The night before, I’d checked on her and gotten one of the quickest (in terms of speed of finding it) and clearest readings I’d gotten yet. It had been a really good day in general, and I went to bed feeling content and loved. As I lie in bed I thought about how every day I got a good reading on the doppler, I felt a little bit more hope that if she made it through this day, she could make it through the next, and so on. I talked to her that night, which I rarely did out loud. I told her that if she needed to go, she was free to – that I didn’t want her struggling and hanging on just for my sake. I told her that I did very much want her here with me – but that if that wasn’t meant to be I would accept it. And then I fell asleep and didn’t think on it. Until the next night, when I couldn’t find a heartbeat at all. As I put away the doppler, resolved to try again in the morning, I knew. I’m not sure if she’d actually gone then, or if she left overnight – but it was in that time period she left. Before when I couldn’t find the heartbeat, my first inclination was that she was hiding from me. This time… I knew this was it. That was the Sunday night / Monday morning. On Wednesday I had my next scan, which confirmed that her heart had stopped.

Since her spirit left her body, I haven’t had her toying with me in my peripheral vision. There were several times her body shifted in utero, which was mildly disconcerting, but she never again was pushing against my right side like a cat nudging to say hello.

My sense of Marci, from what she showed me in pregnancy, was that she would have been a truly awesome little girl. She had quite a different personality to either of her sisters, but I think would have meshed well. She would have loved hide-n-seek games, and lighthearted trickery such as ‘made ya look!’.

Her wee swollen body spoke of struggle. Her spirit speaks of play and strength.

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Marci's farewell

Marci's farewell

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3 thoughts on “Remembering Marci Grace

  1. It seems completely inadequate as a form of comfort, but all I can say is that I love you (and Marci) very much. I would bear this pain for you if I could. And I’m so glad that Marci has a strong enough spirit that you were able to get a very real sense of her before she left.

  2. I have been thinking of you all this weekend. Thank you so much for sharing Marci with us all – I feel like I know her (and you) much better for reading this.

    Many hugs, and much love,
    Dee

  3. This was a beautiful and touching post. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry that your baby died and I’m glad that she got to share her short life with such a caring mother.

    Our third son left us on Nov. 7th after almost 15 weeks of pregnancy. It has been a very difficult experience for our family.

    (((hugs)))

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