Inc: Their Story
Catherine and Simion Fritea of Milford CT know the grief that comes with the death of an unborn child. They lost Daniel when Catherine was in her ninth month of pregnancy. And all the love theyd already felt for their son turned to anger and sorrow.
Faith, friends and family helped the Friteas work through their grief. To help others, the Friteas recently established RainbowMaker, Inc. organization, which includes a resource-filled Web site.
Catherine spoke with Better Health writer Jill Kaiser Dion about surviving the loss of her first child.
Wed been married a year when we decided to have a baby and spent 10 months trying to get pregnant. So by the time I was near my due date, I felt like I had waited a really long time for my baby. His crib was put together, and his room was all ready. And things, in general, were good. I never had morning sickness.
Five days after Daniel was due, my doctor suggested a stress test. He was in distress so they ordered a follow-up. Every-thing was fine, so I went home to wait for contractions. Contractions never came. Then one day, the baby gave me three really hard, abrupt kicks. Id never felt anything like that, so I called the doctor.
We went to the doctors office, and they hooked me to a monitor. But they couldnt find the heartbeat. And at that moment I knew. There was a still feeling inside me. I turned to my husband and said, Hes gone.
An ultrasound showed the baby wasnt moving. The doctor didnt say anything at first. He just kept scanning. But then I gently pushed his hand away from my stomach and said, I know. When he turned the machine off and said Im sorry is when I started screaming.
Labor was induced, and I delivered Daniel after 17 hours of labor, with
three hours of hard pushing. But even though my baby had already died,
it was a relief to see and hold him. I felt a hodgepodge of emotions:
I cried from sadness, but was so glad to finally see him. He weighed 9
pounds, 7 ounces, and measured 23 inches long. He was beautiful. Hes
an angel, I
Simion and our parents handled funeral arrangements. I remained in a kind of shock. I didnt want to hear about mothers and babies. But they seemed to be everywhere. I was so angry. I never learned what caused Daniels death. But for a long time, all I wanted to do was visit the cemetery. When I wasnt there, I slept, buried myself in books and movies, and cried.
Six months later, I became pregnant again. But I miscarried in my third month, and all the emotions I felt when Daniel died came back. Anxiety. Panic. Depression. But thats also when I started RainbowMaker to share my story and help others who lost children. It was a turning point because it helped me keep Daniels spirit alive.
By now, Id pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I might never be a mother. I didnt think I could handle being pregnant again. But then in June 1999, I learned I was pregnant. I was thrilled and terrified and needed a lot of reassurance from my doctor. Id call between visits and come in to hear the heartbeat or for an ultrasound. I really needed that.
The last month was the hardest. Three weeks before my due date, I was having close contractions. They werent a threat to the baby or me, but I was very nervous. I knew that right after delivery, the baby might need emergency surgery. Doctors had found a cyst on his liver during an ultrasound. So I asked my doctor to induce labor. I couldnt emotionally take waiting any longer. And on March 10, 2000, Nikolas was born.
Doctors operated when he was eight weeks old, and the cyst was the size of an orange. It was a life-or-death operation. Thankfully, everything went well. And today, Nikolas is our millennium miracle, healthy and happy. Our first son, Daniel, is still part of our lives. I keep his photograph in my bedroom, and I light a candle for his presence on holidays.
When people ask if Nikolas is our first, I say, No, we had another son. But we lost him. He is our Angel.
Losing him was horrible. But I learned you have to let people help and support you. And I hope to help others now. When you lose a child, you have to eventually let go of the anger and the whys. Thats a big part of healing.
A note from Catherine:
Since we lost Daniel, I enjoy writing poetry and hope to publish a book soon. Although, my site needs some professional help, my husband and I work hard on the content and pages of our site. I work with health professionals on bereavement materials and will be doing some guest speaking at various Womens Workshops and events.
You can read more about us at www.rainbowmaker.org Visit our Rainbow Store for hand-crafted angels with poems, books and more. Enjoy our Rainbow Room for meditation and inspirational thoughts from OPRAH, Our Phenomenal Woman Contest and more. Be a sponsor and take part in our unique and wonderful raffles-next a signed Mohair Rainbow Bear named Gumdrop~to be raffled on Mothers Day.