Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Silent Birth

After learning that Isla had passed away, it was yet another blow to realize that I was going to have to go through labor and delivery to give birth to a baby who would not be waking up…that we wouldn’t be taking home. I was scheduled to check in to the hospital to be induced at 10pm on September 26th. As we headed home we discussed what we were going to tell Emma. We decided to be honest with her. Children can sense things and we didn’t want her wondering why we were so upset or to feel like we were not being truthful with her. When we got home we sat her down and told her that she wasn’t going to be a big sister. She asked why and we told her that Isla had died and we would not be bringing a baby home. It is hard to determine what she understood about it all. But we told her we loved her more than anything else in the world and that we were still a family and she could ask us any questions she had. She was quiet, but continued about her business.

We packed our bags and headed to the hospital in silence. There wasn’t much to say. We were facing an incredibly emotional couple of days. We pulled up to the Labor and Delivery parking lot and Todd turned to me and said “this is going to be difficult, but we are going to get through this together” before we got out of the car. Thankfully at 10pm it was pretty quiet, with no other women rushing in with contractions around me. Once I was all checked in, the receptionist took my hand and looked me in the eyes and said “God Bless You” before I headed up to my room. 

We got settled and I was hooked up to all the necessary equipment and IV’s to prepare me for induction first thing in the morning. Once the nurse left us alone, Todd came to my bedside and opened up a flood of emotions. We just sat there and hugged and cried for our lost baby and broken dreams for our family. Last time we were here was so joyous, the beginning of our family when we brought Emma in to the world. This was so different. It seemed so cruel to be there….the baby bassinet sitting there, ready to hold our lifeless baby. It was so quiet and lonely and somber this time.

One source of comfort for me that night was my sisters and some close friends constantly checking in with me via text message. My phone was buzzing with words of support and comfort and it truly helped me to know that they were right there for me, like they had their virtual arms wrapped around me, reassuring me they were right there on the other end if needed something. 

The next morning the nurse was there at 7pm to start the induction. I requested an epidural right away. The anesthesiologist was very gentle and did a great job with a painless insertion. Once that was complete, I laid back and waited….wishing that this was all just a nightmare. A few hours later it was time to push. My delivery was almost identical to Emma’s in that it didn’t take much effort to get her out. Three sets of pushes or so and it was over. Todd and I held hands and cried as our lifeless and silent daughter was brought into the world…living through the cruel irony that she had died before even being born. 

Isla was taken off to be bathed, fingerprinted and photographed. She weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces. Small, yes, but not nearly as small as it was thought she was going to be through recent ultrasounds. In fact she was only 1 ounce lighter than Emma. When they brought her back to us, she was a perfect little baby with a head full of dark hair. Why oh why couldn’t she just wake up?? We spent some time holding her and a chaplain came in to give us a blessing and assured us that all babies who die go straight to heaven and become angels. 

We scheduled Isla for an autopsy to seek out some answers. After that, she would be cremated and buried with other little souls who shared her fate at a cemetery with a plot dedicated to their memory. Now it was time for the physical and emotional healing to begin.

Leaving the hospital empty handed was as depressing as it sounds and I cried as I walked to the elevator yearning to be toting Isla in her pink car seat on the way home to begin the rest of our lives. Instead I was facing a maternity leave with no baby…an empty crib and broken heart.

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