A Letter for Petit Tom

During a curettage procedure two months after I had given birth to my daughter, my uterus was punctured. My doctor told me that I would unfortunately no longer be able to conceive. My strong desire to have more than one child brought me to try my luck at getting pregnant right away. Lo and behold, I became pregnant when my daughter was only three months old. I had beaten the odds and was in seventh heaven!


But my luck quickly ran out… During my 14th week of pregnancy, I started leaking amniotic fluid until my 24th or 26th week. Every visit to the doctor was shear misery as the same heart-wrenching words were repeated over and over: “Be prepared. You are going to lose your baby.” I was however determined to have that baby; it was what I wanted most in the world.


When the leaking stopped, I thought I had won the battle. As days and weeks went by, there was no sign of any leaking. Instead, it was the baby that was trying to come out by pushing and pushing. I talked to him as if he were there, telling him how much I loved him and how I could not wait to hold him in my arms. It’s as if he heard my words, because he stopped pushing. I again thought I had won the battle.


At that point, I was convinced I would have at least two children. My due date was July 27th, but the baby was in no rush to come out. On August 1st, at around 11:30 pm, I heard a “screech” followed by a “splash” inside my belly. I did not understand what was going on, but I knew I wasn’t feeling well. I still wonder how I made it downstairs.


My husband took me to the hospital. When I arrived, I was 9 cm dilated, but I had no contractions. At first, I felt a lot of pain, but after a few hours, it had all gone away. I felt sort of indifferent about everything, as if I could feel no emotion. I remember that at one point the nurse, after attempting to check the baby’s heartbeat, went to get another stethoscope as the one she was using was surely not working. She changed stethoscopes again and again, in vain. Her soft voice broke the silence in the room. I did not have the strength to react. My husband Denis, worried and helpless, was at my sides, and I remember telling him “I WANT TO SLEEP.”


I know for a fact there are that I don’t recall… I remember that the doctor tried to reach the baby inside me, but to no avail. He told me that my baby was not alive and that I would need to be operated on, but his words did not sink in. When I woke up, I asked the nurse to bring me my child. She told me: “He did not tell you…” before catching herself and uttering “I’ll go get the doctor”. When the doctor arrived, he once again told me my baby was not alive and that I had had an emergency hysterectomy. In the days that followed, Dr. Creel and Dr. Barriault told me several times that they could not understand how I had survived this. They explained that the chances of surviving a full night of internal hemorrhaging were extremely low and that it was a miracle that I was still alive. However, in my view, they are my saviors as most doctors would have simply stitched up the wound and moved on after seeing the extent of the damage.


What I will always regret is that I never insisted on seeing my baby. The nurse who was taking care of me told me it was best I not see the baby, and I took her advice. However, a part of me is gone with little Tom…

Once I got home, there was no trace that a newborn baby was set to arrive. Everything had been taken down. I know this was done with the best of intentions, but still, there was no trace. The only contact I had with my baby was when Denis took me to the cemetery, where I was able to touch the soil under which our baby was buried. The cemetery was close to where I lived and, at times, while rocking Jenny, I would glance toward the church. While I hummed her lullabies, tears would stream down my cheeks, as I was constantly reminded that she would never know her little brother.


Through my deep sorrow, I managed to focus on how fortunate I was to be alive and to have my daughter Jenny here with me. (CPR had been practiced on Jenny for 45 minutes three weeks before the death of our baby.) Jenny and Denis have been my lifelines.


For the past 31 years, I thank God every day for having allowed me to live and to see my daughter Jenny.


I have learned to live without my child; however, even to this day, I still find myself wondering what he would look like, what he would be doing…



Marie-Louise Mercier


Every year, we search for new projects to raise funds for the foundation, but we want those projects to have a meaning. That's how "Let the Butterflies Speak" was born. 

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Your donations go towards helping people with cancer and babies born prematurely. Once a year, donations are made to the Tree of Hope Campaign (Dr.-Georges-L.-Dumont Hospital Foundation) as well as to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Moncton Hospital (Friends of the Moncton Hospital...

Thanks to the generosity of our many donors, we've raised a little over $80,000 since 2011. Our fundraising goal for 2015 is $40,000.  You can contribute now by clicking here.