At this time 3 weeks ago, I was in the recovery room at the hospital. Having just had a c-section to 'deliver' my daughter into this world she will never know and that will never know her. Having had a previous c-section with my son, a c-section was the only way to safely deliver her. As though the news that my daughter was lost wasn't enough, I had the insult to injury with the reality of abdominal surgery to deal with.
When they first told me I was going to need to deliver via c-section I was terrified. I truly thought I would die on the table. I was so afraid I was going to leave my son without a mother and my husband without a wife. I thought the reality was real. My daughter wasn't suppose to die so why would I be impermeable to the same fate? But, I found courage through my husband.
Being in the funeral industry, he knew he wanted to meet our daughter at the time of her birth, breathing or not. He knew how important meeting her and holding her would be to the mourning and healing process. At first, I wanted to be knocked out for the procedure. I didn't want to remember any of it or even see her. The thought of seeing her was too much. I thought seeing and holding her would make it 'too real'. In retrospect, how much more real could it get, whether I held her or not? She was gone, and I can't do anything about it. I love my husband, and even in my own grief I could still recognize I was not alone. He was just as devastated as I was. He deserved to see his daughter, and if I chose to be 'knocked out' for the c-section, he would not be allowed in the operating room. The purpose of a partner in the operation room is for moral support to the mother. If the mother is not conscience, there is no need for 'moral' support. He wanted to be in that room. So, I did what I needed to as a wife, I put together the courage to have the c-section the 'normal' way, a spinal, conscience and with my husband there.
We greeted our daughter at 3:53am in the operating room of Good Samaritan Hospital. The kind nurses cleaned her up and wrapped her up in the standard hospital baby blankets and presented her to us. There it was, it was real. There was no first cry, there was no movement, she was just there, perfect in every way. She weighed 4lbs 2oz and was 17 inches long. I couldn't help but think to myself, she would have made it. If she had been delivered two days earlier, when I was in the hospital for dehydration, she would have made it. I thought, 'smaller babies than her make it everyday.' What could have gone wrong? She slipped away so quietly, without notice or warning. How could this be? But at that point the how's and why's were not important, we had the business of dealing with the reality at hand.
I was able to see her for a few minutes, they held her close to my face and I kissed her. Then I nuzzled my head into her and the tears fell from my eyes. The roles were reversed. I was looking to her for comfort, instead of being able to provide the comfort to my newborn the way I had imagined it would be. I would never have the opportunity to let her perch on my chest and listen to my heartbeat, something I treasured doing with my son.
From the operating room they brought her out to my family, something we discussed in advance, my husband was already with them. My mother, father and sister had arrived to the hospital shortly after we called them to let them know we had "lost the baby". We offered them each the opportunity to hold her after delivery. My mother and sister wanted to but, my father could not even bare the thought. So, my mother and sister met and sat with Gabriella having their time with her. I was still in the operating room, getting put back together, so I don't know what was said or the tears that may have fallen, I just know that my sister told me it gave her peace.
Later in the recovery room, I once again had time with my daughter. They brought her in and said take your time. But, my husband and I knew that time was not a friend to the dead. We wanted to preserve her in her perfect condition. So, we tried to take our time, we held her, we talked to her and we cried. Surprisingly, we didn't cry an agonizing mournful cry, but we cried gently in sorrow. Sorry for all the opportunities we would not have with her and all the experiences we all as a family would be missing out on. I cried for my daughter. She would never open her eyes and see me and I would never know the comfort of looking into her eyes. We cried for a lifetime of memories that would never happen.
After what seemed like a long time, but now feels like was just a mere few minutes, we knew we had to let her go. It was hard to hand her over to the nurse because we knew what that meant, we knew where she was going and having the knowledge that your child is headed to the morgue is a disgusting feeling, one I hope anyone reading never has to experience. It was a terrible moment. I don't even remember handing her over or seeing the nurse leave the room with her. Maybe I blocked it out, or maybe I simply closed my eyes, in any case, God is kind in many ways. Of all the things I do remember, I am so thankful I don't remember that.
I just laid there helpless to reality. I laid back and tried to clear my mind from all thoughts. I still have not been able to accomplish this seemingly simple task.