Ember Laura-Ellen Waving

Ember Laura-Ellen Waving
Waving to mommy and daddy at 13 weeks

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Missing You For Christmas

Merry 1st Christmas Ember

It's my first white Christmas, and our first "married" Christmas.
Our first Christmas missing her.
It's not Christmas without our little girl. No tree, no wrapped presents or good cheer. A pink candle burned all Christmas eve and day, the only twinkling light. A card, and a so soft new teddy bear wearing a pink Santa hat and a snow white stocking with a pink flower isn't exactly the fare for spoiling a little girl, like Mommy wanted to. And I would have, if she where here.


 



I didn't sleep at all the night before Christmas. Hubby worked 12 hour days both eve and day, so I was alone with my thoughts and missing her. I took pictures of the snow, cuddled my rabbit, and baked and cooked a little, but mostly just was wishing for the REAL Christmas, the one we should have had.

The pain overflowed all of both days, and the weeks leading up to it. Now it's over, done with. Ember's first Christmas ended without so much as a single ho ho. I prayed the snow would stay away, but it came down all day for Christmas, not caring it was just weighing down a mommy's broken heart even more. It would have been so magical for her to have snow for her very first Christmas, a couple minutes of playing in it and watching it come down. Instead, I'm left to imagine it all.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Still

Still
Five and a half months
Almost half a year
Aren’t I over it yet?
Why am I still crying?
Why don’t I want to go out and play
With loving family, and old friends?
Who just don’t understand
They don’t see that
My soul is still cracked
My heart’s still rubble on the floor
My arms still ache for the sweet weight
Of my daughter cradled close
The stretch marks have faded to a shiny tan
Never knew I’d miss those purple stripes
My belly’s soft, not taunt with child
But still I keep on missing her
And life still seems too harsh, too long
To go without giving kisses to my girl
Wondering who she would have been
Yes, still.
Don’t call her my angel while all yours thrive
She was my angel as she kicked me
Her death didn’t mean sainthood
Not for her, she was already my perfect girl
And certainly not for me, in my anger, in my spite
It was just an interruption
A separation of mother and child
Don’t tell me about your baby
Growing well, growing up
Ill ask as often as I can
But the health and sparkling eyes of your darling
Just make me sadder still.
Don’t tell me how to feel, or how to act, or think.
How dare you
Don’t presume to understand
Because until you shake with labor
As your world is destroyed
There is no imaging the devastation.
Of a mother torn.
Don’t tell she’s better off, or that I’m so young.
Don’t bring God into this.
He stood by, and watched it happen.
Its said he has a plan, well, I guess he does
But his plan ruined me, and spoiled my love for all things.
The God of mercy, the God of love
How well he knows how to
Bring a woman-too-happy to her pained knees
Destroy the hopes and smash the dreams
Leave them behind when he takes their whole families.
It’s all his plan.
Well, for now, he’ll have to drag me along.
Still, my heart is sore and overflowing
Don’t tell me time will heal my misery
Because time is meaningless numbers at best
Worst, it’s distance from the happiest I ever was.
Every day is just another that I’ve lost with her.
When I wake in the morning
Still I expect my hand to rest on the curve of her head
Or her too sleep down the hall.
Every morning, for the first few seconds
I am still mommy, to a living child.
Memory rushes in, to snatch her away again.
Still I miss my girl, though half a year has passed.
It’s just another part you don’t understand,
That I’m reliving the week after her birth
Over and over again.
The calendar pages have turned
The trees are as plainly bare, as your disapproval for me
But to me It’s still only been a day or two, since she was taken from my arms.
Kissed her good-bye on the brow
Then lost her all over again.
So yes my heart is still broken
And no, it won’t ever heal
She’s my baby girl still
Don’t talk to me of another
Because she was my first
First love, though soon crushed, burns brightest
And she’s still my baby
No matter if I later have a dozen more, healthy babies
She’ll still be my baby
Still longing for the sight of those blue eyes
I never did get to see
She was gone too soon
The first contractions of labor, she’d wiggled and kicked
Protesting the eviction from her most comfy spot
But then she settled down
Only squirming during contractions and in their aftermath
It went on and on, and the hours morphed to days
Never did we get there though
By the time they laid her on my chest
She’d already slipped away
But still I dream of her opening them for me.


*Just something I wrote last night/this morning. Not sure what to do with it now, heh.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ember's Daddy

You can't see them, but there are snow flurries coming down. This is the view from our front door. In summer it was brillent leafy green, but now the outside matches our hearts. The bleak mourning of nature will revive intself in spring, but will our hearts come back to life too?


If you wonder what an "angel daddy" looks like, here is one. Mine, actually. That bear was given to us right before my delivery, and though I pushed it aside then, since leaving Ember at the hospital, I've slept with it nearly every night. This night, though, Ember's daddy fell asleep first, on the couch and ended up cuddling it.


Sweet little smile, and tired, sad eyes

Cuddled up with me



                 Dozens of times in the last five and a half months, he's slept on the floor to stay at my side even when insonmia raged for me.

He's looks so much more content in sleep than I've seen him awake since we sat in the waiting room for my last OB appointment, on July 6th. We sat there together, me squeezing his hand to mush as contractions rolled over me.

       Even after he falls asleep, he'll keep holding my hand these days. It's still pain rolling over us, but not the kind that comes with a happy ending.

He was Ember's daddy, her adoring daddy, and always will be. And Ember, and then her death, have just made me love him more.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

One Year Ago

One Year Ago
On November 28th, 2009, Laura Ellen Eagerton died. I never got to meet the woman who would have been my mother-in-law, and she died without knowing about the granddaughter who would be her namesake. She was 68, with health problems all her life, and the last year most especially but no one expected her death when it came. They knew she wouldn’t have many years left, but she died suddenly during the night only hours after watching a football game with one of her daughters. She’d buried a seven year old son three decades before, and a loving husband nearly twenty years ago. I wanted to meet her so bad, and since Ember died, I wish I had even more. Hubby, still my boyfriend at the time, and I wanted to go up to Birmingham at Christmas to see her. We had to save up for him to take off work though, and she’d died before we could. She wanted to see her baby, and her baby needed to see her to say good-bye, but they where denied. Because of her health, phone calls where hard on her, and the last few months she couldn’t at all. So I never even spoke directly to her. But I had her granddaughters call her. I just never knew that was the only thing I’d ever do for my mother-in-law.
We flew to Birmingham for her memorial service several days later, and for the first time I met my boyfriend's family. We stay at the apartment she shared with her younger daughter for the last five years. The three of us stay up late looking through her pictures in the dust and clutter. Hubby is shocked at everything of his he finds, he had no idea his mother had held onto all of this in the decade since he moved out. But he was her baby, the miracle child it took almost a decade to finally conceive at 41. The baby born after the death of her first son. The difficult child haunted by his father’s sudden heart attacks and death. I wasn’t surprised at all to find a small plastic tub of ancient legos, his favorite toys as a kid, or the bat and glove, or the things he made for her in woodshop. Three of his half-sisters welcome me eagerly, his half-brother is polite, and the other two of the five half-sisters don’t show.  The faces, names and relationships where all a blur, and secretly I throw up in the flowers outside the church. Every time we get in the car, it’s a struggle to keep my composure. Hubby blames the mountains for making me car sick. I wonder about the sushi we ate the night before, had it set on the counter too long?  The church is overly warm against the chilled wind outside, stripping off my jacket I feel exposed in the once loose and flowing shirt that now seems too snug and taunt on my chest. We lay in her bed in the dark that night, wishing to be sleeping in the living room and whisper to each other.
When I find a dusty plush rabbit, his sister gives it to me. Laura had bought it for one of Hubby’s kids, her only grandchildren but forgotten to send it. I took it home with me, and when I find out I’m pregnant think of it as the only present Laura would ever give this baby. That stuffed bunny now sits on the high shelf in what was, and to me remains, Ember’s room looking down on the living rabbit that has for better or worse, taken over the room.
The night after we go home from Alabama, we lay in bed trying to find some sleep and I snuggle up to him, and shyly try to find a way to tell him how late I am. He gently cuts me off before the first word is fully out of my mouth to tell me he knows. Surprised out of my shyness, I blurt out what does he mean “he knows”. On the few occasions before, he’d nervously wondered out loud until we found out I wasn’t. His silent acceptance was shocking, and undid me. I cried mostly out of confusion and hormones until I slipped into sleep in his arms.
The next afternoon, December 5th, he brings one home, and I decide to wait until till the next morning to find out. He goes out drinking that night, but I stay home reading. When I wake up early on December 6th, he gets up too and waits in his recliner for the news. When the second little blue line appears, I let the stick drop from my hands. I go straight from the bathroom to his waiting arms. We spent December 6th 2009 cuddling in bed, talking about the future- our baby. I took a picture of the test to save for the baby book, and one of us. The first two people we told where my step-daughters' mother and my grandmother. We wonder how far along I am, and what happened to the birth control? With kisses my belly, he calls me his baby mama jokingly. I cry a little bit after telling my grandmother, but the tears are all kissed away.
The day we found out Ember was on her way to us.
Only a day after taking the test, I fly home to Baton Rouge for two weeks. Only my mother and grandmother are told of my pregnancy, they’re less than blessed and the visit is brutal. A cousin tries to set me up with a guy she works with and I fight to stop from snapping at her. I’ve been living with my boyfriend for over a year, but my family hasn’t come to accept it yet.
While there, I went maternity clothes shopping and started taking prenatal vitamins. Also, I went to my old hair stylist, as I do every time I’m in Baton Rouge. Katrina’s the only person I’ve trusted with my hair since I was 13, and seeing her for a while when I come to town is something I look forward to for the conversations as much as the hair doing. As I stand before her, my heart plunges as she tells me yet another piece of the local gossip I’ve missed. The day before, a high school senior (one year behind me) wrecked her car and went into a coma. A cheerleader, a perky, infinitely smiling girl, she’d spent the night with a friend, but forgotten her shoes for practice. She was rushing to get them in time for school, and as she drove, she was texting. At least this is what I’m told. Gossip travels fast in a tiny city, and our brand new City of Central outside of Baton Rouge still feels more like a small town. Then Katrina said a name from my past, jerking me out of rather bland sympathy to a sickeningly feeling of disbelief.
 Kelsey Rae Lieux. Barely 18, not much younger than me, and now she was in a coma. Only one semester left before she would have graduated in the spring. We'd gone to a tiny elementary and middle school together, her one grade below me. I’d cheered with her for a couple years. Her mom worked in the office. She’d always been bouncy and chattering, and only once did I ever see her cry. I never knew why she had been, either. I found her during break sitting hunched on a stack of practice mats in the locker room, her hair sticking to her face and for once, without a best friend at her side. We'd never been close friends, but I saw her and talked to her every day for years, I liked her of course, it was impossible not to with her bubbliness. Too shy to hug her as she cried, I shuffled my feet and asked her to show me a cheerleading move I just was hopeless at. The tiny flyer sniffled once more, and showed me over and over, with each time brightening till she was laughing and announced I WAS hopeless but hugged me to take the sting from it. She bounced out of the locker room to rejoin her friends after redoing her make-up, as if her tears had never been. The years past, I left the school, and never talked to her again after I left. I’ll always see her as that tiny little slip of a girl who was so vicious in basketball and volleyball, who always sparkled and loved to cheer so much it would stop her tears.
Laura’s death and Kelsey’s wreck, within a couple weeks of finding out about Ember. At the time, I didn’t connect them but as I’ve looked back in the months since Ember’s own death, the sorrow of those events is linked to my personal grief for my daughter. Kelsey died in February 2010 from complications of her injuries caused by the wreck. A whole city mourned for her, just as they had prayed for her throughout her struggle to recover. She tried so hard, she never stopped fighting. Another Central teen, Steven Whiddon, died just a few months later, in June of 2010. Another kid I knew from school, another one dying far too young because of a car wreck. Just over a week later, my daughter died.

FLYHIGHKELSEYRAE
Rest in peace, Steven
And sweet Ember, Mommy misses you every moment of every day.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ember's Stocking

Dearest Ember,

You're stocking's been hung, over your urn, with only a pink rose inside. This rose is cloth, because Mommy can't stand to watch anymore of your flowers die. Daddy picked out this one for you and me, and hopes it is perfect. Your stocking's pure white and so big you could have fit into it! Nana found it for you just a few days ago. I'll fill it up, baby, another pretty pink everlasting flower for every Christmas I spend missing you. Christmas will always be pink for us, in memory of you. Hanging with your stocking, is a pink Santa hat, that Mommy couldn't resist buying for you. You would have looked so adorable wearing it for your very first Santa picture, and when I look at it, I can almost see you.

I don't know how we'll get through Christmas without you. Already your first Halloween and Thanksgiving have passed with us so heartbroken missing you. But Christmas is the big holiday... trees and lights and presents and playing Santa for our baby girl. You would have been so spoiled, little baby, and us so thrilled to do so. We'll still celebrate for you, I promise. Mommy loves you beyond words, little baby. Rest in peace, and know Mommy will hold you again as soon as she can.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ember's Birth

Ember Laura-Ellen Eagerton born sleeping on Wednesday, July 7th, 2010 at 2:33pm at UAB hospital in Birmingham, Alabama weighing five pounds, eleven ounces and twenty inches long.
From my journal- July 4th Sunday, 3:30pm "Baby's moving around right now and last night she was neatly kicking the same spot over and over. She's been making me nervous with how little she's been moving, less and less as weeks go by. Of course I know she has less room every day but it's impossible not to worry about the life inside my belly."
Sunday night, contractions started coming every dozen or so minutes for a few hours but stopped after I went to bed. Before I fell asleep, I played our little game with Ember. I'd gently poke her and she'd kick me as strong as she could. We always played several times a day.
Monday afternoon, I sleep in and not long after I woke up the contractions started again. They came between twenty and five minutes apart all day and night but never became a regular pattern. I packed our bags and warned hubby that it could well be sooner than I thought but I guessed Ember would be born on Wednesday morning. The contractions never stopped and I couldn't sleep but rested plenty.
 Finally Ember was full-term, 37 weeks. As I had my regular weekly appointment that afternoon, we went in to the doctor's office but assumed it'd still be awhile before we needed to go to the hospital since the contractions where still irregular. In the waiting room, the other soon-to-be mom's notice I'm having contractions. Hubby lets me squeeze his hand and arm and hiss at him during them. The nurse asks about my contractions to be sure she shouldn't just send me to the hospital now. She agrees with me that it could still be a long time to go, and possibly it's just more Braxton-Hicks.
Tuesday, July 6th at 2:30pm was our appointment. I am 1cm dilated and half-way effaced. They could not find Ember's heartbeat. Hubby tries to reassure me that he heard it, but I have the sinking knowledge that he is wrong. As I try to calm down and relax in the backseat, I poke and rub my belly trying to provoke a kick or elbowing. Praying she was just sleeping.
We went straight to the hospital for an ultrasound. We drive from the outskirts of Birmingham to downtown, the sprawling blocks taken up by the university of Alabama at Birmingham's medical buildings. Hubby and I hurry in past the reception desk, as we have been here a few times already and know which floor to go to. In the elevator, an older women smiles and nods at us with the look of general happiness so many people show towards noticeably pregnant women. I do not know what she makes of my stony silence or Hubby's grave nod. Perhaps we only looked like nervous like so many other couples. Upstairs on the seventh floor we have to wait several long minutes in the Women and Infants Center's ER.
At the nurse's station, the intake nurse asks my name. I tell her, and say my doctor had promised they would be expecting me. When your name silences a whole station of busy, chattering nurses in an ER, you know what they've heard of your condition is terrible. Softly, one tells me it will be a few mintues, they where preparing an exam room for me. A couple famalies crowd the small, well-decorated waiting room, so for privacy we instead take seats next door in the snack room. A father with his young son come in to use the vending machines and quietly eat their snack next to us. The father avoids our eyes but makes awkard conversation with my husband. His son is curious about me and the contractions I try to conceal as much as possible but his father distracts him and hustles him out to go find mommy.
First I'm lead to the exam room, though they promise to show my husband in soon. On the way, the nurse weighs me and asks my name again, as they can't find my records under my married name. In my room, she only has time to get me changed and take a urine sample before an ultrasound machine is wheeled in by a tech. She doesn't even bother to hook me up to a fetal moniter. As they get it ready, I chatter about Ember, how many ultrasounds we've have before and how everything seemed ok this morning. They nod, and the tech tells us that though she'll have to fetch a doctor to confirm it, it does appear that the baby has passed away. I begin to sob but cling to the hope that the doctor will be able to find the precious heartbeat the tech couldn't. She comes back with a young and solemn doctor who is quick to introduce himself and hurries to the machine to try and relieve our misery. At his almost silent groan, I know when he gives up the hope. He slowly straightens and turns to us, clinging to each other even as I lay back for the procedure. With stiltled words he confirms our daughter has died. I sob out a near scream that is muffled in Hubby's tight grasp. I hear his heartbroken "no" echoing my own. The doctor tries to talk to us but gives up after a while and says he will give us a moment. The three leave, and we are alone in our grief.
When I finally calm myself, it is with the thought that they could still be wrong, maybe she is just so cramped and turned they cannot see her heartbeat. Hubby continues to hold me until a nurse returns with paperwork for me to sign and assures us a labor-delivery-recovery room on the same floor is being prepared for me. I was in shock. I signed everything they put before me even though I couldn't read the words for the tears blurring my sight. Another nursing student comes in to start my IV, and it takes three attempts for her to place it. I try to hold my arm as still as possible and to stop my tears. I fail at both but everyone is too polite to say anything. As she gets it in, the area around immediately begins to bruise. Together they assure Hubby he can leave to pick up a quick sandwhich and call our famalies as they'll be taking good care of me. While I'm alone I stare at the clock, watching the second hand tick. I sign more paperwork at yet another nurse's demand and wish they'd do a c-section, that my daughter could possibly still be saved. This nurse has to hold my hand around the pen as I sign, I'm shaking and too numb to do it myself. When he comes back, he tells me his family has been told but he will have to try and call my mother again because she didn't answer the phone. He tries again, and this time she answers. He tells me as soon as she knew it was him she started to ask "the baby?", and he could hear my grandmother in the background start to ask something too but he goes on right away to tell them she had died. Later I'm told they where in a resturant when he called, that she broke down then, and had to call him back.
They wheel me from maternal-fetal evaultion to labor-delivery in the bed as I don't think I can even stand up I am so devastated. They are careful not to pass any other mothers or any babies but try to be causal about it. After they settle me in, the charge nurse comes to sit in our room quietly for a while. I get the sense she is just observing how we are handling the loss. Hubby calls my mom to give her our room number, and tells her gently that I'm not up to talking. It's an understatement surely. They keep the lights low and a couple of the people who come in tell us they are sorry, but most don't know our daughter has died and joke and try to make us laugh.
When a doctor comes in, she offers us options as how to induce my labor if they decide to, and options about the medication to help me. She is young, as most of the staff we see at the university hospital are but self-confident in a friendly way and tells us that this delivery is ours, and the way it goes is completely up to us, they will do everything they can for us. I nod even as I know she lies- if it was up to us, we would recieve a healthy child at the end. If it was up to me, they would be doing an emergency ceaseran section to deliver my child to me. Maybe they are wrong, maybe her heartbeat is only weak. If they did a cesaran maybe they would find she could be resuicated. Maybe she would have some brain damage from oxygen deprivaton caused by a tightened cord even, but would live.
That night, they decided to induce my labor as it clearly wasn't progressing. The nurses didn't know why it wasn't, but that didn't seem to matter. They offer to let me eat and go to sleep, and wait to induce in the morning. If I had done that, it would have meant acknowledging that she was in fact gone. Instead, I say no, let's do it now. They call for an anostisologist, and I wave away his explanation of the effects of an epidural. For seven months, I have read every pregnancy and baby book I could get my hands. I read alot about epidurals and had decided I wanted to try a natural birth. By the time they offered it though, I was so sick with horror I caved instantly. Any will or strength I'd had before had evaporated. Some part of me knew she could no longer be effected by anything I did, that there was no point in trying to do what's best for her anymore. That thought haunted me, and made me crave any relief, any intoxication I could get. I had an epidural then Pitocin to strengthen  and increase the frequency of my contractions, and finally a sleeping pill. The epidural took two attempts to get in. The first time he hits a vein, probably because I was shaking softly but constantly. A nurse bears down on my shoulders to ease the shaking, and grips my hand tightly. As he tries to find the right spot, I start to cry again. He too must not have known my baby had died, because he mistakes my sobs for laughter and asks if he tickling me. After the second time he asks, the nurse tells him curtly that I'm not laughing.
They are making my husband wait outside of the room. Later he tells me paced the whole time, making the nurses nervous as they fail to convince him to sit down. As soon as they finish and let him back in, he rushes to his place on my side. My nurse helps me roll onto my side with my deadened legs. Then I am given more pills to take, and several injections are given into the bags feeding into the IVs. After all of the medication kicked in, I finally fell asleep.
Wednesday morning passed in a blur. A grief counseler comes in, and babies me as much as she can. She leaves when two of my sisters-in-law come in but only after promising she will be back. They fluster around us. He asks me in a whisper if I want him to get rid of them. I shake my head no, and soon he leaves with one of them to pick up the bags I had packed for the three of us but had not thought to bring with me to the doctor's appointment, which now seemed like so long ago. When they leave, my older sister-in-law settles into her brother's place at my side. She holds my hand and for a while we talk of anything but Ember's death. When she sadly remember the portaits we had planned to take of the baby, I start to cry again. The crying, and the medication make me throw up. Now I'm begining to feel the urge to push. After telling two nurses who come in, one finally decides to check my dilation but says I can't be more than four or five centimeters yet. Awkardly I ask my sister-in-law to wait outside for the exam. When the door has closed behind her, the nurse pulls back the blanket over my legs. I've hit ten centimeters she's shocked to find, and can see my unbroken water now. Before she leaves to deliver this information, the grief counseler comes back as promised. Shyly I tell them my husband has gone to pick up our bags and I want to wait for him. They agree easily, and I stop pressing the epidural's button. The nurses slow the Pitocin, and we wait.
My sister-in-law called him with the news and told him it was time.  He hurried back in time, and takes his place back. Before he got there, nurses had began to prepare my room for delivery. I was anxious to give birth, to see my child, to hear her cry. I'd convinced myself they where wrong, that she couldn't be dead. As the various people crowd into the room, I realize that I don't even care about so many strangers seeing me so naked. I delivered to a full audience, most of whom didn't even bother to look at my face before crowding in behind the others between my legs. Right before I begin to push, the doctor who had done our genetics counseling comes in. He directs the younger doctor who catches Ember. This somber faced young Indian doctor makes eye contact with me over and over, and her face thas stayed with me.
By the time I begin pushing, the epidural has worn off for me to feel both my legs and the contractions. It is easy to me, I can feel her head so close to being out, as it rests in the birth canal between contractions. I rub it as softly as I can with my fingers after she crowns. The tips of my fingers are coated in watery mecaonium when I pull my hand back. It only takes three or four contractions with me bearing down for her to be born. As I pushed her tiny body into the world, I prayed, harder than I ever have, to hear her cry. It was 2:33pm. Exactly twenty-four hours after her heartbeat couldn't be found, after our miracle turned into our most hedious nightmare.
The cord was looped, all tangled around her neck, arm and leg we are later told. A doctor or nurse, another young woman in scrubs between my knees, says the cord looks a little short under her breath.
They unlooped the cord and delivered our baby onto the waiting layer of blankets on my chest. She is covered in meconium, a greenish-brown slick coat. And still she is the most amazing sight I've ever seen. The wonder that such beauty came from within me swells up only to be crushed by agony deeper than I could even have imagined before now as my hope for them to be wrong withers. I wrapped the blankets around her and held her tight. I never wanted to let go. I'd hold her to the end of time, till my own death. A nurse asks me if I checked her sex but I don't need to, I know this delicate child is my daughter. After I shake my head, she quickly peeks between the blankets, and confirms that she is in fact a girl.
The placenta comes out in pieces. I hemorauge. All around me doctors and nurses swarm touching me and injecting numerous needles into my IV, and my husband stays tight at my shoulder. I couldn't care less about what they are doing, I have my baby. I wish they'd let me bleed to death but of course they are professionals, they can't. Eight or nine hundred milligrams later, they slow the bleeding. The only relief I find in this is that soon the room empties to just my small tragic family. I don't even notice my husband anymore, Ember is my only focus.
The nurses give us fifteen minutes alone before they come back. They bathe my daughter with washcloths while I watch. The grief counseler comes back and tries to distract me. I am barely aware of her sitting at the bottom of my bed as I strain to see around the nurses' backs. It takes them at least a half hour for them to clean her enough to weigh and dress her. One of them measures her first, and she is a full twenty inches long. They weigh her twice because she looks heavier than her dainty five pounds eleven ounces. Hubby has given them her coming home outfit, a pink and white floral dress picked by my mom with socks, bloomers, a cap and a silky, plush blanket. They handle her as if she was made of spun sugar, but still her skin tears.
I'm asked if I want pictures of her, as if there could be any answer but yes. While they lay out blankets to use as a background, my husband holds his daughter for the one and only time. When she is gently placed in his waiting arms, something makes him look horrorfied but he sheilds it from me. Later I will realize what it was. He cradles her tenderly, and I ask him to come back to me. When he's close enough for me to touch, I grasp the edge of her blanket and stare at the image I've waited so long for- my husband holding the child I've given him. He stares down at her, and the pain in his face is unbearable. This is never how I pictured our family. Instead of a sweet child to raise, I've given him a beautiful, broken body to mourn. When the nurses takes her back from him, he stares after her, and then vomits in the bathroom.
After the pictures are taken, they leave us alone again. I do not know how much time passed, or what my husband does in this time. It feels like only a second I hold my firstborn child to me. As she is placed in my arms, I feel a difference in her. Her head, molded when she was born and first given to me, has already decalcusified enough for the bones to seperate. This I suspect is what shocked my husband when she was handed to him.
They come back in a small group, one to take my child, a second to place a small memory box on the foot of my bed and two to bother me as I get up and go to the bathroom for the first time post-partum. They are bringing me upstairs, as I have apparently silently graduated from in recovery to post-partum. Already it is time for me to leave the room I gave birth in. I walk without assitance though they hover on either side, and try unsuccessfully to evidict them from the bathroom. Hubby gathers our belongings and trails after us mutely. In coached terms, they decide to take us up the back way, and manage to once again avoid passing any other mothers or infants. It's a kindness I'm grateful for, as my daughter ought to be dozing in my arms rather than on her way away from me to the morgue.