Saturday October 13, 2007
I was woken again around 2:00 a.m. by the nurse trying to find Avery’s heartbeat again on the monitor. She searched for quite a while but couldn’t find the right spot. Dr. Sanders walked in an interrupted her attempts. They lifted the blankets that covered me and saw blood. He told me that it was time to push. I had no idea how I was going to manage that when I couldn’t feel the lower half of my body. Skeet was still snoring in the corner and I yelled at him to wake up…. Snore, so I yelled again…. Snore. I started to scream at him now. Dr. Sanders told me to calm down and walked over to wake Skeet. The nurse had gone out to wake everyone and tell them it was time. I was hyperventilating so they put an oxygen mask on me. Charise came in and I saw my mom hovering by the door. I asked the nurse to page Dr. Dowse and she said that they had done so already, but he wouldn’t be coming, he was not on call and his PA would be there instead.
Before I knew it they were telling me to start pushing. I tried my best but couldn’t tell if I was even doing anything. It was about this time that I started wishing I had been tough enough to go without the epidural. Sometime while I was pushing Dr. Dowse’s PA snuck in. It seemed like hours had passed. I pushed and pushed but didn’t feel like I was helping Avery come out at all. Then Dr. Sanders said to give it one more big push. I felt something tug and then heard a gush of fluid hit the tub on the ground. It was 3:17 a.m. and Avery was out, there was nothing but silence. I looked up to see Dr. Sanders and the PA in the corner looking for a heartbeat. More silence. I couldn’t see Avery very well the way he was holding her. He then went to lie her down and came over to tell us that there was no heartbeat. He believed that her heart had stopped within the last hour. I began to sob. Out of pain from my broken heart but also because I was relieved that I didn’t have to watch her suffer or struggle to breath.
He started to tell me everything that was wrong with her. Her head was misshapen, her arms and legs short and her hands and feet misshapen as well. Worst of all, because her little body had become so swollen, her skin had torn on her neck and one of her arms because the delivery was just too hard on her. I was scared, terrified. I knew I wanted to see her but I was so afraid of what I would feel when I did. Finally the nurse said very quietly, “She is beautiful”. I told them to give her to me. They wrapped her up in a towel and put a beanie on her head. When they placed her in my arms it took my breath away. I could see nothing wrong with her. She was perfect. My sweet little baby girl was absolutely perfect. She was also so very tiny and fragile. I held her and I rocked her as I cried. By this time all of my family and Skeet’s family were in the room watching me as I held my daughter.
My dad and Frank (my father –in –law) came over to me, placed their hands on my head, and gave me a blessing. As tears rolled down my face and fell onto my daughter I felt peace. I knew that she was happy and that everything was just the way that it should be. Dr. Sanders got out his camera and started to take pictures as Avery was passed around. I first handed her to Skeet. My heart broke again as he carefully took her tiny body in his arms. His face looked so broken. I had never seen him like that. She looked even smaller wrapped in his big, strong arms. I could tell right then and there that they would have had such a special relationship. She would have adored her daddy so much. I watched the faces of my parents, my siblings, Skeet’s parents and his siblings as they held this special little girl. I was so proud, she was so beautiful and I could tell that I wasn’t the only one who thought so.
Finally, they handed her back to me and everyone started to say their goodbyes, preparing to leave Skeet and I alone with our daughter. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Skeet leaned over me and said that he wished he had gotten to see her eyes. I couldn’t help but agree. As grateful as I was that she did not have to suffer, I wished that we had been able to see her open her eyes and look up at us. To be able to hear us as we told her one last time how much we loved her. All I could do was kiss her forehead and tell her how proud I was of her, she had been so strong and fought for so long. I told her I loved her and that I always would.
As I held her a social worker came into the room and sat down. I wanted to scream at him to go away, to let us have our time alone with her. But he stayed for what seemed like hours. When he did finally leave my arms were shaking and I felt sick. I knew it was almost time to say goodbye because I barely had the strength to hold on to her anymore. I wish I could have held on to her for longer. I wish I could have told her again and again that I loved her but I knew it was time. I said goodbye and kissed her again. Then, I handed her back to Skeet. He was going to take her down to the nursery. It was much easier to hand him to her and I was so thankful that he had offered to do that. It would have made it so much worse to hand her over to a stranger. I watched them walk out of the room and that was the last time I saw my daughter.
Skeet came back and the nurse followed a few minutes later to give us Avery’s measurements, 2 pounds 9 ounces and 13 inches long. I laid back and closed my eyes and imagined my daughters face and how it had felt to hold her… and then I slept.
I woke a few hours later and they moved us to a more isolated room, one they called the Jacuzzi Suite. It had two beds and a jetted tub, but was not much nicer than any of the other rooms I had seen. Most of the rest of the day was a blur. I had Skeet call my boss to let him know what had happened and that I would be taking my 6 weeks of leave. We had a few visitors and we met with the mortician. I swear I felt it the minute he took Avery’s body from the hospital. It was like he had taken a piece of me with him. We told him that we would meet with him Monday to make the arrangements.
My niece Madison was baptized that day. I felt so bad that we missed it but everyone stopped by after the service. I wasn’t really up for visitors but I tried to put a smile on my face and be strong for the kids. I sent Skeet home to sleep. There was no use in him being here, I could have gone home but decided to stay one more night. I don’t know why I decided to stay but I think it may have had something to do with leaving that hospital with empty arms. I had gone in with a baby and would leave with a hole in my heart.
I asked for more pain meds and a sleeping pill and I slept.