I've been putting off finishing this part of the story. Like, if I don't finish, it somehow didn't happen. But it did. June 23, 2013
I didn't get much sleep, maybe an hour. My son is up at his usual 6:30ish time. We get him dressed and ready to go. Waiting for the neighbor to come get him seems like an eternity. I am anxious to get to the hospital and get things going. My midwife wakes up and goes home to shower and says she will meet us at the hospital. Neighbor comes to get Joey, we give her nap and bedtime and dog feeding instructions, just in case (good thing we did). We are on our way to the hospital.
Trying to hold it together at check in for L&D. Wondering if they know that my baby is dead. I sign some papers and they buzz us in, and take us to a room. It's hot, the AC isn't working properly. I get changed into the hospital gown and wait for the nurse. Nurse comes, she asks all the standard questions, she is nice, but I'm still apprehensive about being in the hospital. Hospital midwife comes in, sits with me, hugs me, lets me cry for a few minutes. I'm so grateful for that. She explains that we will start the induction with cytotec, to help ripen my cervix, and then switch over to pitocin. I say ok, but I am not excited about the pitocin. I had it with my son, and don't want to do it again.
I get my first dose of cytotec at 10 am. It causes some contractions, but nothing really painful. Nurse is in and out to check on me. People from church are coming in to pray with us and visit throughout the day. These people don't really know us. We have only lived here for 8 months, and it is a fairly large church. We are so grateful for these wonderful people, to come and spend time with us, to text, e-mail, and call us, to take time away from their families and lives to serve us. It helps pass the time and keep our minds off of the sorrow of the situation.
I received my 4th dose of cytotec at 11pm. I am exhausted. Nurse gives me a shot of morphine to help me rest and says she won't bother us again until 6 am, but to call if we need her. My home birth midwife goes home to rest for a few hours. At 3 am, I am starting to get uncomfortable, and tell my husband it may be time to switch to the tub room (there are only 2, and were not available when I first got there). Steve alerts the nurses and my HB midwife. Shortly after that, my water breaks. I am 5 cm dilated and we move into the tub room. I get into the tub around 3:30 am. The water is the temperature of a hot tub, which is making me sweat. HB midwife puts cold washcloths on my neck and forehead. We all watch TV and talk in between contractions. When things start to get more intense, I ask my husband to turn off the lights and put David Crowder music on. The contractions get to a point where I am starting to vocalize, and I ask my husband to turn the music off.
I am still so calm, and have been through the entire process. Only through the grace of God. When I think back about it, I cannot even fathom how I got through it. Praise God for His grace. Now I am starting to feel constant pressure. My HB midwife knows I am in active labor, but didn't realize how close I was to pushing. Then, I feel PAIN and the urge to push. I start freaking out and screaming and pushing. HB midwife runs out of the room to get the nurse and hospital midwife. People are telling me I have to get out of the tub and get in the bed. I tell them I cannot. This goes on for what seems like forever. Then my HB midwife tells me I have to stand up. I say I can't, but I do. She give me simple instructions about HOW to get out of the tub and get over to the bed, and with the help of my husband, I am able. Harper is breech, and coming out feet first. After half an hour of pushing, she is out. It is silent. No baby crying. I am numb emotionally, but in pain physically.
When she is delivered, we know right away why she died. Her cord was wrapped around her neck 4 times, around her arms and knotted. My poor baby. I wonder if she suffered, if she was in pain. They ask if I want to see her. Steve says she doesn't look bad. I just can't do it yet. The nurse gives me percocet for my pain after the placenta is delivered. I wait a little while to calm down, then I say I am ready to hold her.
She is perfect. 3 lbs 14 oz of perfection. My precious baby girl. I am sobbing. I hold her for a long time, kiss her face, and cry. Steve holds her for a little while after that, then the nurse puts her back in the bassinet. One of my HB midwife's students is coming to take pictures for us, as she is also a photographer. It sounds morbid, to take pictures of your dead baby, but when it's happening to you, I assure you, it is not. It is the only thing we will have to remember her by. The nurse dresses her in a beautiful little white gown with purple ribbon (made by the wonderful ladies from Threads of Love) and places her in a beautiful basket with a white pillow and white lace all around it. Photographer is taking a few pictures, then they leave us alone with her. I see her perfect little hands and feet. She has the stretchy hospital hat on her head, so I can't tell if she has any hair or what color it is. Photographer comes back and take more pictures. She is so sweet and gentle with us and our baby. After pictures are over, we are left alone to be with our baby again.
I am informed that I have to pee 3 times before I can be discharged. I am anxious to get home to my son, and am feeling pretty good physically. We are discharged at 2 pm, go to the drugstore for Aleve, Advil, and Benadryl, and head home.
The next few days are a blur. Thankfully, my amazing husband handled all the funeral arrangements, mostly while we were still at the hospital. Family starts arriving the next day. It is a welcome distraction. The funeral is on Thursday, June 28th. We decide to have it at the funeral home, so that we don't think of Harper's funeral every time we go to church. On Wednesday night, we go to the funeral home so that we can see her. All of our family goes with us. I am grateful that they get to see how beautiful she is. She looks like a perfect little doll in a box. It is so sad. No one should have to bury their baby. I know it helped with their grieving process, though, to be able to see her.
People from church are bringing food over every night. We are so blessed. Thursday comes. Trying to figure out what to wear to your baby's funeral is cruel. Steve's brother does the funeral. He is a pastor, and does a wonderful job. God has blessed him with such a gift, and it meant so much for someone who knows us and loves us to do her service. The worship leader from our church is able to rearrange his schedule and play 3 songs at the service for us. He does not know us, but he is a familiar face and voice, and we are forever grateful that he could play and sing for us. Worship music is extremely important to both of us.
I decided that seeing her be buried would just be too much for me, so we go home. All of our family has gone home by Sunday morning. Steve works from home the following week, and then the new reality begins.