Last week we had a heartbreaking thing happen -- we lost our baby at 31 weeks of pregnancy. On Friday, November 18, I noticed that I had not felt her kick in a while, so we went to the hospital. After investigating, our doctor confirmed what I could already see on the ultrasound machine's screen -- our baby had died.We went home that night, and spent Saturday making sure that our dogs had a home for the weekend, tidying up the house, and packing for our hospital stay. On Saturday night, we checked into labor and delivery and began the process of inducing labor. From Saturday night through Sunday morning, our loving nurses placed pills near my cervix in order to ripen it. I began to get very uncomfortable, and at ten o' clock on Sunday morning I received an epidural that eased me greatly.
At noon we started the pitocin drip, stimulating contractions. The contractions came on fast and strong, and I began to feel them quite intensely on my left side in spite of the epidural. I received an extra boost on the epidural, which ended up coming just in time for delivery. I began to feel intense pressure as our baby started to crown. Our nurses and doctor cried with us as I delivered our little one in three pushes. She was born at 3:43 PM on Sunday, November 20. She was seventeen inches long and weighed three pounds and three ounces. We named her Eve.
As I had requested earlier, they took Eve away to bathe and clothe her, then shortly returned her to us. First my husband held her and showed her to me, and I sobbed, thinking how dead she looked. But then something in me shifted, and I began to see how beautiful she was. Soon I was cradling our daughter in my arms, so in love with this little person that we will never truly know. She had my husband's face and my dark curly hair and the longest, most graceful fingers.
My husband and I feel so blessed that we have friends and family that lovingly surrounded us during this time. They visited us regularly at the hospital both before and after Eve was born, and many of them got to hold her. I am so glad that we got to share her with them.
Soon, however, Eve's body began to deteriorate. Stillborn babies' skin is very delicate, and from our handling of her she began to look more dead. I felt okay with this, though -- it left no room for delusions that we could keep her, that she could stay with us. Sometime around 8:00 Sunday evening, the Best Husband Ever and I said our good-byes to our little girl.
After discussing our options with our doctor, we decided to have an autopsy and genetic testing done to see if a reason for Eve's death can be found. However, we are expecting there to be no known cause -- at this late of gestation, we learned, the main causes of death are cord complications, preexisting conditions in the mother, or some other obvious physical problem with the baby -- none of which were present in our situation.
Although this is a tragedy and hard to bear, we are not blind to the many blessings we have experienced over this past week: friends and family standing with us, praying, loving us, crying when we couldn't, supporting us at our weakest -- extraordinarily loving nurses who were an answer to prayer -- the fact that Eve was beautiful and largely unblemished, something that is not true for all stillborn babies -- a fast and easy delivery without complications . . .
. . . and, of course, the God who is big enough. Who knows what it means to lose a child. Who can withstand our anger and questions, should those ever emerge. Who hurts with us. Who loves us.
We are so blessed.
This weekend we held a memorial for Eve at our church. Again, our friends and family surrounded us in a profoundly empathetic way. At the service, our pastor read an email I had written earlier in the week. I had decided to give him the email to do with as he liked -- to read all or part of, or just let it inform his own words -- because it was written without any thought of being shared with the world, and so is the truest thing I can say about this experience. I've been asked to post it, and so here it is, with photos of our remembrances of little Eve to follow: