I am so thankful for the hospital in which Cora was born, and for the staff that served us as we walked through the hardest days of our lives (see day seven for more on how I really feel about our staff). I have heard and read stories of women whose babies were lost too soon, and of staff that wouldn’t let them hold their babies or who didn’t treat the families as though they had experienced loss. If you experienced such hardship, I am truly sorry. I cannot imagine the added stress of not being able to see her or hold her.
Almost as soon as the frenzy started, it was over. I delivered the placenta easily and quickly, and spoke briefly with the doctor about my little girl. After Cora was born, my nurses whisked her away into an adjoining room, cleaned her up, and dressed her in tiny, handmade clothes made by sweet church ladies who feel called to minister to families whose babies are born too small to fit into store bought clothes.
My nurse brought her out to us, swaddled in soft clothes. I cannot begin to express how it felt to see my little girl; how it felt to hold her body. Her skin was thin and delicate, not ready to be outside of the womb and slightly damaged from her delivery. Her little mouth stood slightly open, and you could see a tiny tongue sitting behind her lips. Her nose was small and delicate, smaller than the smallest button that I’ve ever seen. Her little ears looked just like her daddy’s, only about a sixth of the size. She was longer than I expected, but skinny, having not had the opportunity to build up baby fat in my womb. She was beautiful, but she was gone.
It hurt so much to hold her. My heart and my eyes cried; sometimes together, sometimes apart. I had had dreams since seeing two pink lines on a pregnancy test, and for years before that, about holding my baby for the first time. I never imagined that she would have already died. I never imagined that I would say “Hello” and “Goodbye” in the same moment, trying my hardest to memorize her features, her smell, her weight and form.
We didn’t hold her for very long. My heart couldn’t bear it. A team from the hospital came in, that specializes in dealing with children who are lost or who have long term illnesses, and walked us through creating mementos of her short life by taking impressions of her hands, fingers, and taking photographs.
My dear friend from when we were still teenagers in college came and took beautiful photographs of her. After we were done with them all, we held her for one last time, and my nurse took her body away for testing.
After seven months of doing everything that I could to take good care of my girl, she was gone. My womb was empty, and so were my arms. They ache still to hold that baby that with the Lord, and they will until I reunited with her again in heaven.
Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here.
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