I was numb. I didn’t cry. I looked the doctor in the eye and told him to knock me out and get her out. It wasn’t that I didn’t care for her, or loved her less…it was that it was just simply too painful to imagine giving birth to my sweetest angel and her not actually being alive. I couldn’t bear the thought. The doctor lovingly advised that it just wasn’t what was best for me. He said that it would be best for me to be induced and have her as naturally as possible, but that I would be allowed to have all the pain medications available and necessary. Arthur wasn’t really interested in me having to go through the actual act of giving birth either, but we resolved together that we had to do what the doctor was telling us. So they prepared a hospital room for us. (It turned out to be the very room we had toured months earlier when we were so full of hope for our miracle…the biggest/most private room, at the end of the hall). They gave me the option to walk or use a wheelchair, I was angry. “I will walk.” I said in my most stern voice possible. So I did. I walked the saddest walk through Labor and Delivery I ever thought possible. I passed rooms with pink and blue ribbons and heard the sounds of babies crying. The sounds I knew I wouldn’t be hearing. The sounds tore my heart out. I was jealous. I was angry. We made it to the room, and I got into the bed. The next little while was a blur, Arthur and I sat in that big and cold hospital room and waited for our parents to get there while the nurse got all of our information into the computer. We just talked. We didn’t cry. We just talked.
Then our parents began getting there. I heard sobbing in the hall, sobbing that could only come from someone who was feeling intense pain…then it hit me, THAT WAS OUR FAMILY. It was our family who was losing their minds with grief in the LABOR AND DELIVERY HALLWAY! It still just seemed so unreal.
When I saw my parents, I finally began to cry. Just seeing the looks of devastation on their faces brought home the reality of the situation. I hated that they were hurting so badly. I felt like it was my fault that they hurt so badly…I felt like they didn’t deserve to have to be so unhappy. All I could do was tell my parents and Arthur’s mom how sorry I was. How I hated that we’d lost their sweet granddaughter. I was sorry, just so so sorry.
The next little while was kind of a blur to me because (thankfully) I was given some medication to help me sleep while I progressed with the Pitocin. Arthur and the family were left to their own devices, and I feel a little bad for leaving them hanging, so to speak. We all just made it through the night and next day the best we could. We had visitors, the pastor from my parents’ church came, our pastor came, we had prayer, we had tears. We were all still trying to fully understand what was actually happening to our family.
Throughout the day, I progressed, and more family arrived. We didn’t actually see any visitors other than immediate family. The hospital was nice enough to make available one of the birthing suites next door for our family to be together. So most of the family spent the day in there, just passing the time. Waiting.
We had to make some difficult decisions during that day…funeral…burial…casket…embalming…etc. It was mind blowing. I didn’t ever think we could possibly POSSIBLY ever have to think about such things. I mean, just a few hours ago, we were having a baby…to come and live with us…a living baby. Burial outfit!? What happened to “going home” outfit!?!?!? My mind was completely blown. I didn’t have a dress for her to be buried in. I hadn’t bought her baby dedication dress yet because I was waiting to see when our church was going to schedule the dedication service so I would have the right size outfit. I cried. I sobbed because all I had in “teeny weeny new born size” was happy-cuddly onesies and brightly colored outfits…nothing befitting a funeral. Then there was the question of where we were going to bury her. Were we going to have her in a big impersonal cemetery in Knoxville, the family cemetery in Tazewell, the cemetery in Spring City? We decided that there could be no other better place than the beautiful hill there in Tazewell, buried next to her great-papaw. And everyone agreed, that was the best place, so at least that decision was easy. I had no idea what funeral home to use, if we would embalm, would we have an official service, again…all things I couldn’t fathom we’d have to decide. All of that fell into place; thanks to my wonderful father-in-law…he took care of so much for us. He came to the house, took care of our dog, and “cleaned.” He made it so our entire house wasn’t “baby-fied” when we got home…I mean; I still had some of her laundry in with ours… we were HAVING A BABY!
We decided not to have a formal funeral home service; that wasn’t what we wanted. We opted for a small graveside service, something intimate and sweet. We were going to ask Arthur’s uncle Bruce to say a few words, and then we’d say goodbye.
After a couple of hours, one of the nurses came in with a Christening gown, bonnet, and blanket. They were perfect! I SOBBED. They were a gift for our sweet baby girl. THEY WERE BEAUTIFUL! I couldn’t believe that someone who didn’t know her or us would be inclined to do something so nice. I was overwhelmed by the gesture, the generosity, the incredible kindness. The same nurse that brought the Christening gown, shared that one of her daughters had lost 2 babies herself, and she teared up as she shared her story, she suggested a couple of things that we could/should do with Caroline once she arrived. She suggested that we let Caroline wear my Mother’s Day necklace and our wedding bands….THEN offered that her other daughter would come and take some pictures for us when Caroline arrived. Such compassion and generosity surprised us, but we agreed and took her up on her offer.