Saturday, March 5, 2011
Three years ago today at about 4 in the morning my lifeless daughter was delivered. I was unconscious. My husband was in the waiting room. I don't know exactly what happened during her birth. I know the doctor told me that as soon as he cut my belly open her heart stopped beating. I know he went out to my husband and told him the situation was critical. He needed permission to deliver the baby, assuring him he "doesn't do abortions" over and over again. He reminded my husband, "There's no baby without mom" and that mom wasn't going to be here much longer. I remember opening my eyes in recovery and seeing my husband crying hysterically. "What's wrong?" I asked. "We lost the baby" he cried. "It's OK" I comforted him. Then I closed my eyes. I remember being moved to a room. One on the other side of the L & D floor. One where I couldn't hear babies crying, and where I was away from all the joyful parents. I remember telling my husband to make sure he called my dad (I knew he already called my mom). I also told him to call two close family friends. One lives right next door to us and had seen me leave for the hospital. "I'm sure he's really worried" I told him. I remember opening my eyes and asking what it was. "A girl" my husband and mother both told me. "I told you!" I said to them. Or maybe I just thought that. I was on a morphine pump, so it's all a little fuzzy. I can't remember if or when I asked what happened. I remember the doctors coming in and telling me never to get pregnant again. I specifically remember one intern telling me it would be fatal. I remember my doctor telling me he'd never seen anything like that happen in his 30 years as a doctor. I remember my husband telling me he thought we should name her Brenna. It was a name we talked about before. My step-daughter actually suggested it. It was my son Brendan and my step-daughter Jenna's names but together. I agreed. I remember a very nice nurse coming in. She told me she had been down and taken pictures of my baby. She'd bathed her and dressed her and would I like to see her. My sister, my mom, my step-daughter and my husband were there. I told her no. She wasn't pushy. She told me that she would leave the picture in an envelope with some other items in case I wanted to look. Her hand prints didn't come out too good, but she got some good footprints. She would put Brenna's isolette in private room in case I changed my mind. I was afraid to see her. In my mind I pictured a grotesque, bloody fetus. I was 19 weeks 5 days pregnant. I had no idea what a baby that young would look like. I was afraid. My husband was too. My mom wanted to see her. She asked if it was OK with me and I told her of course. My sister went with her. Jenna didn't want to see her. She went downstairs and my husband and I were left alone. It was then that I started to cry for the first time. "Let it out" he told me. I couldn't. The physical pain wouldn't allow me to. At some point we decided to look at her picture. I don't remember when that was, but I think Jenna was in the room with us because the first thing I said when I saw her picture was "She looks like Brendan" and Jenna said "I thought the same thing". My mom came back and I could tell her and my sister had been crying. "She's precious" my mom said. Knowing my mom and sister saw her and that she wasn't horrifying made me want to see her. After they all had gone home my husband and I asked them to bring her in. I've seen lots of dead bodies in my life, but I've never touched one. Never. When we looked in the isolette the first thing my husband did was gasp my name. "She's so tiny!" He bawled like a baby. I didn't shed a tear. I picked her up and held her. We were in awe of her. She had fingernails and eye brows- everything a baby is supposed to have, just smaller. I looked her all over. Every part of her was perfect. I took some pictures with my cell phone, but I was afraid they wouldn't come out so I had him run and buy a disposable camera. (The pictures from the disposable camera disgust me to this day. She doesn't look anything like she did in real life. The only pictures I treasure from that camera are the ones my husband took of me holding her. Oddly enough, several weeks after I was home I found the pictures on my cell phone. I had forgotten I took them. They are beautiful! I have since gotten a new cell phone, and I can't part with that phone. In fact, I just put it back in the original box and put it in my closet a few days ago.) We spent some time with her. My husband talked to her a lot. He told her how much we wanted her and how much we loved her. We talked about how we couldn't believe this was happening. How strange it was that a few months ago we were so shocked to find out we were having a baby, and now we were so heartbroken to not have her anymore. After awhile, I don't know how long, I could tell my husband was ready to collapse. He was still wearing his work clothes from the day before. He had taken me to the hospital right after work the day before. He hadn't slept in almost two days. I told him he should go home. He left and I was alone with her. I kept her with me all night. I don't think I held her the next day, but I wanted her close to me. She was so young, and her body was starting to look bad. I didn't want to hold her that way, but I didn't want to let her go either. I fell asleep from the morphine that night, wondering why this was happening to us.