Ember Laura-Ellen Waving

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

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ember Laura-Ellen's First Birthday

Happy Birthday Ember

A whole year has passed since you where born. It was a sunny hot summer day just like yesterday and it'd been exactly twenty-four hours since the full-term doctor appointment where your heartbeat couldn't be found. 

How did we spend it without you? Trying to keep busy and thinking constantly of how it should have, could have been like. We thought of "celebrating", of balloon releases or baking a cake for you. Thought of lots of ideas, but had no heart for them. They all paled in comparison to how it would have been with you. Maybe next year, a celebration in memory of you instead of with you will seem less bitter. Or the year after, or the year after that. We have so many years without you, a lifetime of it. So we remember you, and think of how it could have been with you. 

 You where born tangled in your short cord. One leg, one arm and your tiny neck all looped up in it. You where delivered to my stomach, but until they cut the cord I couldn't draw you closer in my arms. Seeing that thick, rope-like slick cord around your neck and still body was when the world finally ended. They unlooped it before setting you down on me, I think they tried to do it without me seeing but I was sitting up enough to. All my desperate hopes that they where somehow wrong crashed down as I pulled you close to me. 

Still born, born still.
Still beautiful. 

Your birth and holding you after is the highest high I could even imagine. Your beautiful, tiny face was memorizing and I never wanted to look away. Whenever I tell your story, I know that without seeing you, no one can really understand my words. The pictures of you, even when I looked at you side-by-side with them, do you no justice. The harsh, bright lights almost erased your features. Looking at them is almost a mockery of what it was like to look at you but they are all I have left. A cold marble urn, these pictures, a couple blurred prints from your so tiny hands and long little feet, a few snips of your hair that was too short for a lock to be taken. All that remains of a life so brief. 

You could be here today, a year and a day old awaiting your first birthday party this weekend. Dark curls, chubby pink cheeks toddling around mischievously. Climbing into my lap around my big belly for cuddles, racing down the hallway to find something to get into, giggling and grinning when your daddy got home... Throwing a big-girl toddler fit, your stubbornness honestly inherited. Crying crocodile tears for your whims. No longer a little baby but a small toddler with ideas of your own. I wonder what your laugh would have sounded like, how tall you'd be by now. I guess I'll never stop wondering. Your first birthday will be followed by so many more that we pass without you. You'll never laugh or open presents, never celebrate the days just for you but they'll always be your days. My eternal baby, my forever newborn, you'll never grow any older than just-born but your birthdays will always belong to you and I'll carry you with me through them. I'll never really let you go, baby girl, you are mine forever. 

Happy Birthday Ember Laura-Ellen. Don't let the tears fool you, you still bring me joy just from loving you. Don't think your new brother will ever eclipse you, my beautiful firstborn. You're the child who made me a mommy, you're the child that became my heart and still is. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What July Means To Me

July 4th-
Contractions began again after having stopped for a couple weeks. They're kinda close together, thinking she may be coming soon. Ironically, my own due date.

July 5th-
Contractions continue, not close enough together and not regular enough to go in. Thinking surely she'll come in the next few days. Trying to rest between contractions, but haven't slept since I got up in the morning the day before.

July 6th-
Wake up late, after a long night finally sleeping. We're finally 37weeks, Ember is full-term, walking on a cloud I'm so relieved. Go in for 2:30pm appt. Contractions in the waiting room, in the exam room. Nurse tells me they're too irregular to be doing much. Fill-in nurse-practitioner I've never seen before and a student try to find Ember's heartbeat. They can't. I'm 1cm dilated. And we go to the hospital for our seventh and final ultrasound. Ember died while I slept. Induction is started.

July 7th-
Ember's born, exactly 24hours after her heartbeat can't be found. I hold her, never want to let go.

July 8th-
The autopsy is performed. I see the incisions, the stitches on her chest. She looks like she's been butchered. I lay down next to her in bed, drift off in a prozac and valium haze and pretend she only sleeps. They take her away, I'll never see her again. We go home without her.

July 9th-
We lay on the couch all day and cry, the world is still so hazy, I hope it never clears. I stare at her pictures.

July 10th-
My step-daughter arrives to meet her sister. Their daddy explains Em has died, and goes back to work. I sit and stare at my daughter's sister. They look nothing alike.

July 12th-
We go to the funeral home and sign the cremation papers. I sign where David points, I can't see through tears. I spin in circles looking at the urns, we pick a small decorative pink one with flowers for her to come home in. The driver promises to take care of my baby, the world falls away to darkness. The hospital doesn't release her, they "can't find her".

July 14th-
Ember's finally cremated and comes home. I sit on the floor in her bedroom hugging the tiny blue velvet box the urn is cushioned in. I find ashes split in the box, she's not in a bag within the urn like we asked.

July 22nd-
My birthday. I tell everyone to ignore it and cry when they don't. I thought she'd be my birthday present.

July 24th-
My step-daughter leaves. I have no reason to fake a smile or get out of bed. Ember's real urn, a vault that will keep her safe, arrives. Now her ashes have to be moved, or they may be split and lost.

July 27th-
Ember's due date. If she'd been born alive, she'd be almost three weeks old.

This is July to me. My birthday, forever without her. Her birthday, forever bittersweet and lonely. And all her special dates. If I could skip this month with all it's anniversaries, I would. Crawl under the bed, pretend it really hasn't been a year. That my daughter shouldn't be a toddler now. I can't explain how terribly my heart hurts. There are no words to describe this.