I didn’t want to move. I couldn’t move. A feeling of dread had washed over me and I knew that I didn’t want this day to happen. The sun was shining and as her little giggles became louder I knew I didn’t have a choice. In a daze I got up out of bed and padded down the hallway where I found my little girl anxiously waiting with sleep still in her eyes. Her golden ringlets bouncing as her pudgy little arms reached up wanting me to envelope her with morning hugs and kisses.
“What’s for breakfast Mommy?” Her cheerful innocence was like a dagger to my heart. I gathered her in my arms and kissed her gently; I knew I had to carry on with my day.
I went about my morning routine caring for my 2 year old as usual. I mindlessly took out our cereal bowls, spoons and Cheerios and we sat down at the table. Trying desperately to pretend that nothing was wrong, I began to sob.
I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to get through this. Nothing in my life had ever prepared me for this moment. I don’t think anything could really prepare me for what I was about to experience. Terror had its tight grip on me and to say that I was worried would have been a tremendous understatement. My whole body shook with fear and I found it impossible to remain positive. How could I be positive when I knew deep within my soul that nothing positive could possible come from this day? With dread washing over me I reflected back 7 months earlier.
From the moment I anxiously awaited for the thin pale blue line to faintly appear I knew that my life was going to change once again. I was already blessed with the most beautiful and precious little girl who put a smile on my face every day. At 2 years old she could say things that just melted my heart.
“Mommy, look! Pritty Swilo!” instead of “Mommy, look! Pretty Flower!” Would make my day or she would say “eesh’ instead of “shoe” eagerly trying to clumsily put them on herself.
Everything she said and did was with great enthusiasm and I loved being her mom. It was everything I wanted it to be and I couldn’t wait to give her a brother or sister. I was waiting impatiently, wanting to hold and love another beautiful baby. For as long as I could remember I had always wanted to have a home filled with the shrieks and giggles and laughter and tears that came from siblings playing together. I grew up in a house with 3 brothers who either were my best friends or they were the little freaks that terrorized me constantly. Needless to say our house growing up wasn’t boring and that was what I wanted for Hailey. It was all planned out perfectly, and our house of 3 would soon become a house of 4. I could see that dream beginning to unfold as the blue line increasingly became more vivid with each passing second.
As we made our way into the hospital those feelings of joy and elation that I had experienced 7 months earlier were now being replaced by dread and fear. My husband held on to me trying to keep up the manly façade of bravery, trying to be my rock as I slowly began to crumble to pieces. We made our way cautiously down the cold and unfriendly halls and into a dimly lit room where I changed into the thin drab green gown the nurse had given to me. My body began to tremble uncontrollably, the gown doing nothing to warm me. I lay back on the hard plastic covered mattress as the nurse gently wrapped my swollen belly with straps that were connected to a monitor. Normally this monitor would display the sounds of a tiny heartbeat, sounds so similar to a galloping horse, sounds that would normally reassure a worried mother. I anxiously listened for the sounds to emanate from the monitor. Silence. This was actually happening. The ache that was beginning to consume my chest was so unbearable I could hardly breathe. The room began to spin. I numbly sat there trying to absorb all that was unfolding. How was I going to get the strength that was needed to labor and birth this child? How could anyone expect me to do this? I was enduring a cruel form of punishment that I most certainly did not deserve.
The excruciating pain and the long agonizing hours that come with childbirth can be extremely brutal. As moms, we say that it’s all worth it because of the beautiful gift you get in the end.
There was no gift in sight, just more suffering and pain. The dull achy cramps soon began to take over and quickly developed into the intense, blinding, contracting pain that spread from my abdomen to my lower back and radiated down my legs. As I lay in bed breathing and crying through each wave of pain each one getting stronger and closer together, I prayed, pleading with God that it would soon be over. 12 exhausting hours later the pain of labor had depleted my body of all energy; my tears and anguish had depleted my spirit and I really didn’t think that I could take any more of this physical torment and emotional agony. One of the nurses gingerly sat beside me and began to gently massage my back doing everything in her power to make my pain and suffering go away; she whispered words of compassion and comfort as she rubbed the soothing lotion into my aching body. She tenderly urged me to breathe through each contraction. Her words encouraged me dig deep within myself for the strength I didn’t know I had and through my harrowing tears I gave birth to another beautiful baby girl. The nurses quickly took her little body; they gently wiped the blood from her and wrapped her in a soft pink blanket.
Her silence was deafening.
In that instant my heart shattered as the cry that I so desperately needed to pierce the silent room refused come. The only thing that could be heard was my own racking sobs as they carefully placed her tiny body in my arms. I lovingly held her and caressed her lifeless body as tears of love and despair slid from my face and onto hers. I cautiously unwrapped the soft pink flannel blanket from her delicate body afraid that I was somehow going to hurt her. I needed to infuse myself with her every detail; I needed to have her memory etched into my heart for all of eternity. In awe and admiration I began to count every finger and every toe. Every one of them was so perfectly formed right down to the tiny fingernails and toenails no bigger than a grain of rice. I gently took off the little hand knit hat that someone lovingly made for a baby this small from her head and I smoothed my hand over the downy fuzz that had not quite grown into hair yet. I placed my tender kisses on her petit button nose and I held her so very close. I knew my moments with her were fleeting and I cherished each and every one but as each minute passed the reality of knowing that I would eventually have to leave her was more than I could bear. Her body slowly became more cold and rigid and there was nothing that I could do to make that feeling go away. No amount of love was going to change our fate. Her life had been taken from me, and I had to say goodbye to my baby girl even though I never got a chance to say hello. If I could have I would have laid in that hospital bed holding my sweet angel forever. Instead I had to get up out of that bed and walk over to the cold hard plastic bassinette that they had left in my room and place her in it, knowing that this would be the last time I would every physically see my daughter again. I carefully laid her down on the soft blanket and I kissed her one last time, walked out the door and never saw her again.
It has been 9 years since I said goodbye to my sweet baby girl and some days the pain is as real as it was on the day I had her. There are the moments when I quietly sit in my room with the lid of a small pink box lying beside me. On this lid is a picture of a baby angel. I gently lift out the soft flannel nighty that she wore and I hold it up to my face trying desperately to breathe her in. If I close my eyes I can still see her so vividly. I can still feel her almost weightless body in my arms. I long to hold her; with every fiber of my being still aching for one more moment with her. We are connected to each other and not just by a cord, but also by a love that goes much deeper than life itself. She is Olivia. She is my daughter.