Thursday, March 19, 2009
Memories from the hospital.
When we got into our labor and delivery room and hooked up to an IV, I asked Rob if there was something on our door since everyone who entered knew not to ask the "fun", typical baby questions. The picture taped to our door marked our room. It was the silent signal to nurses, doctors and orderlies that we had lost our baby. There were no words. Just a simple picture of a leaf floating on water with a small drop in the middle.
After I got my epidural I was able to sleep comfortably for several hours at a time. I woke up in the night to the sound of a squirrel crying outside my window. It was the sound that squirrels used to make when they were cornered up a tree by our cats. I thought it funny to hear a squirrel crying in the night since I never in my life had heard any squirrel after sunset. And then I realized that it wasn't a squirrel, but the newborn baby crying in the adjacent room. I knew that I was going to hear live, crying babies while I was there. I had thought it would be difficult to listen to newborn babies crying, knowing that those precious sounds would not come from my room. Our room would be silent. I tried to prepare myself during the hours while I was waiting to deliver Mary Grace. I warned myself, "She will not cry. When Mary Grace is born, it will be silent. Your baby will not cry." I would whisper it to myself over and over while Rob was sleeping on the cot next to my bed. It felt very wrong that in a place where so many babies were being born, that a baby would be born and not cry...my baby would be born sleeping and it would be very quiet.
I thought it would be hard to hear other babies, but instead I liked listening to them. In particular to the "squirrel baby" as I nicknamed our next door neighbor. He wailed so loudly...I thought about his parents. I wondered if they were already annoyed and overwhelmed by his crying in his first few hours. I wished Mary Grace could have been able to cry. Lately Isabel has been incessant chatter...it's almost as if talking non-stop is her new outlet for all the emotion of the past few weeks (although she's always been a talker). And I've been torn between needing a few breaths of silence from her and between praising God that she can talk and talk and talk...keep talking Isabel, maybe you are speaking for your little sister too. I often feel guilty when I want her to be quiet...at least I have her here to talk!
After my doctor finished with my D&E after delivery, he quickly, yet carefully laid Mary Grace in her blanket and brought her over to me. He looked at me with the most compassionate look I think I've ever seen out of anyone- certainly the most compassionate look that I've ever personally received, and told me he was so sorry.
I also remember when Rob held her and I took his picture, he smiled so proudly and looked at her with such love that I thought I would die with love for him. I will always remember his face as he looked at her...it wasn't a face full of sorrow and pain. It was a proud father face. The face of a daddy when he holds his baby daughter for the first time. I felt my heart break that she would never open her eyes to see his loving gaze. God has given me the most wonderful man in the world to share my life with. Robert has been more than I could ask for throughout the entire stretch of our relationship, but he has been an incredible rock for me to lean against, cry on, talk out my feelings with, pray with, and has loved me through Mary Grace's diagnosis and death in an unbelieveable way. He has been there for me in every way. I know that God is giving him an abundance of grace to deal not only with his own emotions and the stress of coping with the loss and continuing his normal duties (like work!), but of dealing with me and Isabel. I am so blessed to have him as my husband.
The memories are bittersweet. It was bittersweet to look over at one point and notice that Rob was rocking Mary Grace. So very sweet, and so heartwrenching. It was bitter to be wheeled out of the maternity ward without a baby in my arms. I felt very conspicuous as I was sitting in my wheelchair empty handed, in the middle of the waiting area amidst cheerful and expectant relatives who were awaiting the arrival of a new baby. I went home empty handed, and with a heavy heart, but I did have several hours worth of memories from holding and just being in the room with Mary Grace. And I would have rather had those memories than not have them at all. Thank you Lord, for the time you gave me with my daughter. For the time she was alive with me in the womb. For the times that Robert and I got to feel her kick and move. For the times when I would listen to her with Isabel's Fisher Price toy stethoscope. And for being able to see and hold her little body, quiet and still though it was; for those moments of being able to hold her in my arms and tell her I loved her. Thank you for those memories.