Mother’s Day will be a bittersweet day for some, including Garden Oaks resident Roseanne Bolger, who has lived in the neighborhood with her husband Cody for two years.
After multiple miscarriages, the Bolgers were overjoyed when Roseanne became pregnant and did not miscarry in the first trimester.
Unfortunately, a diagnosis of Hyperemesis Gravidarum which causes severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte disturbance kept Roseanne in the hospital for long periods of time. Then, there was heartbreak due to an infection.
“Our daughter, Tela Clementine, was born prematurely on March 5th 2017 at 21 weeks,” said Roseanne. “She lived for 30 minutes and we got to experience the indescribable joy of holding our beautiful baby only to have it so quickly taken from us.”
The couple spent their brief time with their daughter bathing her, taking photos and singing to her. Tela comes from a Phish song and Clementine is from an Elliott Smith song.
“They told us if she had been born two weeks later they would have had a better chance of saving her,” said Roseanne. “We knew she wasn’t going to make it.”
They buried her in New York and Roseanne placed a letter in the coffin that she had written for her daughter.
“When I found out I was pregnant with you I was terrified,” she wrote, in part. “Terrified to get attached to you, terrified to lose you. Having lost babies before you I knew it would be extremely difficult. It would be physically difficult but mostly emotionally. Slowly, as time went by, there was no denying it any longer; I was in love. The best parts of my days were when we took out the Doppler to listen to your heart beating. It was my new favorite song and it was always loud and clear.”
At home, trying to make sense of the loss, Roseanne decided to train as a birth and bereavement doula through https://stillbirthday.com/ since the doula at Tela’s birth was something that was comforting to her. She also started talking to others about her experience.
“Through losing Tela, we have discovered infertility and baby loss is extremely common,” said Roseanne, “Once you share your story, [people] quickly open up about their own. It’s people my age who find they can talk about it. It seems like it’s getting easier for people to share.”
Combined with the sadness of losing their daughter is the frustration of not knowing why the miscarriages keep happening.
“People don’t get straightforward answers,” she said.
The dream of being a mother hasn’t gone away though. And while Roseanne is adopted and wants to adopt as well, she and Cody want to have one biological child of their own. Recently they have looked into surrogacy.
After research, Roseanne learned that the best way to find a surrogate is through an agency.
“As a woman who is part of the large fertility challenged community, we are so fortunate that we have these kinds of options,” she said. “There is one catch though. It can cost upwards of $100,000. That is too much money for the average American to afford.”
To help with costs they have enlisted friends and family to help through a GoFundMe page, https://www.gofundme.com/BolgerBaby.
This Sunday, Roseanne and Cody plan to look at a memory box of Tela’s from the hospital. Roseanne is a little afraid for the day to arrive because of what she sees herself as versus what other people see.
“I still feel like I’m a mom, but I don’t think other people see me that way,” she said. “I don’t think other people will celebrate me as a mom.”