Beautiful Dollbaby

Beautiful Dollbaby
Our Angel in Heaven

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Story Continued...

You all know our daughter was born on July 5 and now I will continue on with our story.

Before giving birth I had distanced myself.  But I remember asking if we'd get to hold her.  The nurse said that was one of the questions they were going to ask along with whether or not we'd want pictures taken.  She told me to think about it and not answer yet.  I was torn.  Do I want pictures? I pondered it for a few hours and finally said that I did want them.  Even if I didn't look at them for a long time I would rather have them then regret later not having them.  I'm glad I made this decision.

Her birth seems like such a blur.  I know the labor was painful and my aunt was there coaching me through it.  They asked me if I wanted an epidural because the pain medication really wasn't cutting it.  I said yes.  For those that know me, I never wanted an epidural, but for this, I just didn't want to feel anything.  I had only been checked once because they figured I'd be laboring for more than 24 hours, especially since this was my first baby.  The anesthesiologist came and told me he didn't not want to give me an epidural because I'd only been in labor for around 4 hours and I can only have the epidural for so long.  An hour later I remember looking up at my aunt and saying, "I feel the need to push." They got the doctor immediately.

The doctor checked me and said she felt the head.  I remember her sitting on the foot of the bed because there was no time to break it down.  She looked at me and told me that we would take a few minutes and when I'm ready I could push.  No sooner had she said that then Ashley was born.  You see, I didn't have to push.  She came on her own because she was so tiny.  We'll never know how dilated I got.  It was the most bizarre feeling in the world.  Not to be disgusting but the only way I can think to describe the feeling for those who haven't given birth and for those who can't (like my husband) was to equate it with needing to have a bowl movement.  You feel this pressure and this need to push but when you got right down to it, it happened on it's own and you didn't nothing.  Really and truly I'm not trying to be disgusting but it's the only way I can think to describe it.  Nature took over.  I'm sure it would be a bit different if she was full term.

They took Ashley and cleaned her.  They even put her in a little outfit.  Did you know there are groups that make tiny outfits for preemie babies and babies who don't make it? I didn't.  I do now though.  They took some pictures.  I wanted to hold her but I didn't.  Would it be morbid to hold my dead child?  I think my husband had her and asked me if I wanted to hold her.  That's when I knew I wanted to.  That's when I knew it was ok to.  Seeing someone else hold her made my maternal instinct spring up.  Holding her for the first time was the most painful thing in the world.  I cried.

When she was born everyone kept telling me how beautiful she was.  When I got her in my arms I wanted to call them crazy.  It took me a while to realize she was beautiful.  She really was.  But I was so horrified initially at how small she was and how it wasn't right that I couldn't see the beauty.  It felt so wrong.  I should be pregnant.  I should be here 4 months from now.  I should be holding a crying baby and learning how to breastfeed.  But she was perfect.  Her chin was a little smooshed on the left side and her left ear was bent but I think it was how she was laying in my uterus with no amniotic fluid.  Because the longer she was out the less smooshed she was.  And she was red! You see at 22 weeks babies are just beginning to developed thicker skin.  Her skin was still thin enough to see all the blood vessels.

She was so tiny! Only 10.5 inches long! But she was perfect.  One of the first things I remember doing was to check to make sure she was a girl.  It felt so odd lifting her little outfit to see.  But then I looked at her fingers and toes.  10 of each and each had their own little nail.  She had eye brows and eyelashes.  Tiny ears, a tiny nose, and a tiny mouth.  She even had a tiny tongue! Yes, I opened her mouth to see this.  I even lifted her outfit and turned her over to see her tiny toosh.  By the way, we'll never know who's bum she got because she didn't have enough fat on her to have a bum.  No little butt crack.  I looked because before all this I'd become enamored with the fact that a little baby butt was growing in my tummy.   But she was just starting to gain the fat she needed and apparently if she'd made it, her hips and butt were the last place any weight would take residence.  I never saw her completely nude and I don't know why I never took her clothes off.  I guess it was to give her some kind of respect.

Eventually I was wheeled to my own room.  There was a flower on the door I didn't think much about.  I held her all the way from delivery to my private room.  I'm glad they gave me that.  We kept her for hours.  Finally I told my husband we should think about sending her with the nurses.  We knew where she'd go but I didn't want to say it.  We knew they'd place her in saline solution to keep her for the funeral.  They'd told us they would bring her back at any time.  We eventually called the nurse in.  Before handing her over I asked if we wanted in the morning if we could have her back.  Her response was a quick "absolutely!" So we said good bye.  We were so heartbroken.  So heartbroken the nurse told us we needed a few minutes and left.  Finally they came and got her.  Letting her go was the most difficult thing to do.  But I knew she needed to be in the saline solution.  We'd been told if they brought her back she may look different.

That next morning I woke up sad.  It wasn't long before my heart was wrenching.  I didn't know your heart could literally hurt.  I was devastated.  I started wailing and panicking. I wanted my daughter! How could I NOT have my daughter? I need her! My husband called the nurse and asked for them to bring her in.  Less than an hour later we had our daughter back. I won't forget it.  They brought her back in the outfit shown on this blog with a little bonnet wrapped in a blanket.  She had a crocheted rose in the basket with her and she was in a perfect white basket.  It was absolutely beautiful.  We took pictures, well obviously.  The presentation of our daughter to us was so precious and perfect.  The fact that they did that was beautiful.

What was the most beautiful to me was when other people held her.  I know at least 3 people from my church held her along with most of my family.  This made my heart swell with a joy and pride I cannot describe.  They admired how tiny she was and how perfect.  They couldn't believe how much like a baby she looked.  The thing is you know she does look like a baby in the womb, you just never see it.  Because you're not supposed to.  To me, when others held her, it was like them saying, "She is real and she is a part of us.  She is a baby." It was her being acknowledged and respected.

We sent her back again that night and it was easier because we knew we could have her back.  Every morning I was there I woke up and had the same panicky reaction.  I needed my baby.  And without fail they brought her to me.  The last day I was there we sent her back much earlier because I knew dragging it out would be most painful.  And it was.  How can a mother say good bye to her baby she never got to hear say 'mommy'?

It's funny as I write this I remember asking the doctor when I could go home.  Since I'd been so sick with infection he said they really wanted to keep me a day or so longer.  I told him I would be ok with that if they stopped poking me with stupid needles.  See, my veins, they stink.  I can hydrate for days and nurses still can't find my veins.  He agreed by the way.  They only poked me one more time after that to check my white blood count levels.  The things you remember.  But I also remember wanting to go home to get away from this nightmare but not wanting to leave because that meant leaving my daughter.

Eventually though I did leave on Thursday morning/afternoon.  It was then that I realized what that flower on my door represented.  We still have it, by the way.  It represented my loss.  No one else had a flower on their door.  Because as the nurse wheeled me out I peeked in some of the rooms.  They were mother's with their babies.  That flower served to tell anyone who entered that I'd lost my baby and to be sensitive.

Leaving the hospital was painful.  I don't really like to show my emotions and I especially hate crying in front of other people, especially strangers.  But I couldn't help it.  I couldn't help feeling angry that I was leaving with empty arms and an empty womb.  I cried.  And I cried.  I held onto the bear that was given to me and I cried. My husband had went to get the car and my mother rode down the elevator with me.  I remember people in the hallway tearing up.  I remember another lady riding down the elevator with us tearing up.  She never said a word.  But she rested her hand on my shoulder and hugged me.  I'll never know her name but I'll always remember her gesture.  It felt like a ride of shame (since I was being pushed in a wheelchair) as I was wheeled out front crying.  People looked at me and turned away.  I felt like I had a neon sign above my head saying I'd lost my baby.  Some looked at me in sympathy and others couldn't look at me.  I remember this.  Someone from church was there as I was being wheeled down and I cried harder as he hugged me.  My arms were empty and my heart broken.

My hospital stay was made as comfortable as possible by the kind words and visits from family and friends and church family.  The nurses I had would tell me their stories and spend time with me.  They would check in with me.  But throughout the whole process I couldn't help but feel that it was too early.  From the day we went in to see if my water broke to the day I left it was wrong.  I remember looking at the infant bed on that Saturday thinking, "I shouldn't be here." And I shouldn't have been.  I should be blissfully pregnant and complaining about the heat.  I should be throwing up my breakfast.  I should be threatening to ground Ashley if she kept playing with my belly button.  But I'm not.  Instead I'm mourning the loss of my daughter.

You see, no mother should ever leave the hospital without her baby.  No mother's arms should be so empty.  No mother's heart should be so shattered.  No mother's womb should be emptied so soon.  But there are those of us that have been thrust into this experience.  And we are grieving.

I will keep telling you are story but for now this post is too long.  Not to mention it has been emotionally draining for me to write.

1 comment:

  1. Your attention to detail in recalling this is amazing. You will look back and be so glad that you wrote this down. It has helped me see into a world that, by the grace of God, I never had to enter. But, I want to be able to comfort and help those who have. Thank you.