The days after Avery's birth were really tough for me and I am sure for all of my family. But for me I was suffering with high blood pressure, a fever of 102 and pulmonary edema. My lungs had fluid in them and it made it very hard to breathe. If I were able to get rid of the chills and the body aches and the pools of sweat that I was constantly lying in, I wouldn't have been able to sleep anyway because if I got too horizontal I wouldn't be able to breathe. The few times that I did drift off I would have detailed dreams about my little girl. Awful dreams that stuck with me after I awoke.
About a month before Avery was born I went and bought a blessing/burial dress for her. The smallest size I could find was a 3 month dress. It was beautiful but I knew that even if she went full term, the dress would still be way too big for her. So when she was born 8 weeks early and so incredibly tiny I had no idea what to do. My amazing mother and sister volunteered to find a doll dress pattern and sew a dress for Avery to be buried in. They stayed up very late and struggled with a satin-like fabric to make the dress perfect. And it was. They met us on Monday to meet with the mortician to discuss Avery's burial and they had the dress. It was absolutely gorgeous and complete with a pink bow and a cute little bonnet. I will be forever grateful to them for doing that for me and for Avery.
We picked a date for the burial, Wednesday October 17 at 1:00 p.m. It was going to be a small service with just family invited to attend. When it was time to pick a casket I started to panic. Was I really going to choose a box to bury my child in? A mother should never have to do that. But, I knew that I needed to make this decision. I needed to be as involved as possible in this process or I would regret it later on. So we were led into a room full of caskets... big and small. They only had one for infants and the minute I saw it I knew it was perfect. It was white with daisies carved into the top and sides. It was probably one of the more expensive selections but I didn't care... it was perfect for my little girl.
Then, it was on to the cemetery. We had to pick a burial plot. By this time my hugely swollen body (I was huge because of the high blood pressure) was starting to hurt and I just wanted to go back to bed but I made myself get out of the car and go inside. As we were waiting for someone to help us my mom told me that my grandparents had offered one of their plots next to my cousin Nate. I immediately felt relief. I was so worried that my Avery would be out there with a bunch of strangers. Now, she would be next to Nate and someday, my grandparents. A huge load off of my mind so I went to wait in the car while Skeet and my mom took care of the details.
After everything was done I went home and wrote Avery's obituary. Another one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life.
On the day of her burial my sister came to help me get ready. I am so lucky to have such wonderful family to take care of me. I will never forget all they did for me during the hardest time of my life. I couldn't fit in any of my clothes and I wanted to cry when I couldn't even fit into my shoes. I ended up in a mismatched outfit and I couldn't even zip up my skirt. I had gained more weight since Avery's birth than I did throughout my entire pregnancy. All of the water I was retaining was taking it's toll. We drove to the cemetery and as soon as I saw the hearse the tears started to flow. I watched as the father of my child carried her casket to the grave site.
The service was beautiful. My sister, father and father-in-law all participated and said beautiful things. I never stopped crying, and I will never forget that day. Earlier I had been to see Dr. Sanders and he said that if my lungs still had fluid in them I would probably be re-admitted back into the hospital. I would have to go for an x-ray after the service. My temp was still around 102. After the service and the luncheon I went home to lie down before going to get an x-ray. I had asked my dad, father-in-law, and my brother to give me a blessing before I went home. I slept for about an hour and when I woke up I was soaking wet but I knew that my fever was gone and I could already tell that I could breathe better. I knew then that everything would be okay.
Losing a child is the worst pain imaginable. I would never wish it on anyone. However, the things that I have learned and the way that Avery's life has changed me is something I will never regret. This past weekend as I was standing with my husband on the beach, watching the waves at sunset, I felt cheated. I felt that our family vacation should have been just that- with the whole family. I should have been chasing my little one year old around on the sand, trying to keep her out of the freezing cold water. I don't think that the feeling of being cheated will ever go away. I think that I will always feel like a part of me is missing. I just have to try to keep going every day.
I realized something else while I was away. If Avery had been able to live with her condition I would have been able to accept it and embrace it. Now I resent it. I resent the condition that took her life, that kept her lungs from developing, that broke her little bones and caused her pain. Maybe someday I will feel differently but today... well it's just not fair!!