The last 48 hours are a blur. Minutes after the nightmare began, we needed to begin talking about delivery. The nurses said we could go home and “think about it” to which I replied,
“Think about WHAT?! GET HER OUT!”
Some families choose to wait for labor to begin naturally instead of inducing or having a c-section. For us, prolonging the inevitable would only delay our healing. You needed to come out so that your Daddy and I could hold you, tell you that we love you and then say goodbye.
I remember asking our doctor if I had to deliver you. A poor choice of words, but you have to understand, at the time I was mourning two losses: the loss of your life and the loss of our opportunity to watch you grow up. The thought of going through 24 hours of labor sounded like torture. Twenty-four hours of pain and sweat, all the while knowing that I would never get to hear you cry when it was all over.
I was expecting the doctor to answer my question with, “Of course not, we’ll prep you for surgery.” She never gave me that option and instead started explaining to me how induction would work: medicine every 4 hours to start the softening of my cervix, followed by pitocin to induce labor. I was surprised, but didn’t have the energy to ask questions or second guess. And so we began.
Over the next 24 hours, I received 3 doses of the softening medicine, plus pitocin through an IV, and an epidural. Violent shivering and a 102 fever were secondary physical ailments to my heartbreak. Your Dad just kept telling the nurses, “Please take care of my wife. Please make sure she’s ok.” He’s always been my protector.
Your Uncle Mike, Uncle Jeff, Poppy and Grandma slept in the hospital all night waiting for you to come. Between the 4 of them, they split two blankets and had no pillows. How a hospital “runs out” of blankets and pillows is beyond me, but they weren’t going anywhere. That’s how much you’re loved.
When it came time to push, the anticipation of seeing your face kept me going. I would tell myself that each push was one closer to holding you. In the midst of it all, your Daddy kept telling the nurses and doctor that I was doing such a good job because I “played all-state lacrosse in high school” and that “my personal trainer would be so proud of me.” Leave it to him for comedic relief.
Thirty minutes after that first push, you were here. I have never felt such overwhelming love and despair. You were beautiful. I will never forget the way you fit into my arms – like you were meant to be there always. So tiny, so feminine. A true angel on earth. I am so proud to be your mom.
For 38 weeks, your Daddy and I joked about how you were so sassy. You would constantly be moving around, kicking me in the ribs. Then, when he would put his hand on my belly to feel you, you’d stop moving, almost as if you were teasing him. It was so funny. Your sassiness was confirmed when you were born with Ruby red lips, looking as if you were wearing lipstick and ready for a night on the town.
We kept you in our room overnight. One at a time, everyone took turns holding you: Uncle Mike, Aunt Amanda, Uncle Jeff, Poppy and Grandma were first. Later that night, Bubba, Grampa Dave, Uncle Ricky and Uncle Chris were there too. You were surrounded by those that loved you the most and I’m so thankful that they all got to say hello and goodbye.
After enduring the news that your heart wasn’t beating, followed by 24 hours of labor, we didn’t know how much more traumatic it could get. Then, the realization set in that we would be leaving the hospital without you. I touched your soft cheek once more, but couldn’t bear to watch you wheeled out of our room.
Shortly after, Uncle Jeff, Poppy and Grandma picked your Dad and I up in my car. The carseat had been removed; a necessary, but painful reminder that we were leaving you behind. As I get into the car, I keep thinking back to when I asked the doctor if I had to deliver you. I should have said, “Do I GET to deliver her?” The truth is, going through labor makes me feel more like a mom. I may never get to hold you again or see the color of your eyes or hear you cry, but I GOT to bring you into this world and that is a gift.
We drove away from the hospital and the only thing I knew for sure was that I had to be strong for you. I owed it to you to LIVE fully. I promise I will.
One day at a time – I love you,