Some weeks ago now, I started writing the story leading up to Solveig's birth and finished writing through the birth itself. But I haven't been able to write more about it until now, six weeks later. I guess I just had other things on my mind that needed to be shared. But now I want to write more of the story...
Thursday, April 12, 2012
February 29th - 8:03 am - Solveig Sofia entered the world in breech position, which again was just perfect for her since she was already gone in spirit and her body didn't need to arrive head first. After untangling her from the cord which engulfed her body in too many places, the nurses placed her in my aching arms. Just like with my other babies, it was incredible to hold her finally. Although it was so odd and difficult that she hadn't entered the world with a cry of life, the contrary was true - she was so peaceful. My baby had been through so much already, so much strife. And now she was at peace. As hard it is was to accept all that she had endured and all that we were to endure from there on out, there was a calm about the situation that could only come from the Lord who was covering us with His utmost presence. We were not without Him at any time. The room was filled with light and I believe that angels were in our midst. Even though I could not physically see angels, I truly did see white light all around...such irony in the midst of what could only humanly be understood as one of the darkest moments in a person's life. That in itself was an immense gift of the Lord. For us it was dark, yes it was awful, but yet filled with light and hope and peace. I still don't understand how God would allow this to happen, yet I know that my daughter's life was not in vain and there is vast purpose that has come already through her life and this difficult situation. It doesn't make it right. It doesn't make it easier. But it gives me hope that there is purpose.
We held Solveig and looked at her for a long time. Time seemed to stand still in those moments. It seemed serene and perhaps like a dream...a really tough, bad, yet beautiful dream. Our daughter was so perfectly formed from all we could see. She was amazingly beautiful. Oh how we loved looking at her, holding her, touching her dark wavy hair...holding her tiny hands with long piano fingers, and noticing her long spindly legs that may have danced across the stage and the fields with her sister. She had not one ounce of fat on her body as she was only 33.5 weeks in gestational age, and our babies typically are just not very big. Her skin had been torn in many places, as that is typical of babies who are born still...they get cut while they are washed about inside the wombs of their mamas and while they go through delivery...they become incredibly fragile when the blood stops flowing to them as it should and would with a typical baby. Her blood had stopped flowing and bringing life to her days before when that horrible knot was pulled tight for the last time...a true knot. How I wish I could have gone inside and untied my daughter from that knot...but apparently, some knots are not to be undone.
Solveig's little face was sort of round, but maybe not quite as round as me or Buzz brother. We think that maybe she looked a little bit more like Daddy and also like big sister Bug. Erik tried to pull back one of her eyelids to see her eyes...but her little eyelids were so delicate and there was already too much blood coming through her orifices...eyes, nose, mouth...sorry if that part is hard for you to read, but its true. That is what happens to a baby in this situation. We found ourselves dabbing away the blood droplets from time to time. Especially when we would move Solveig in a certain way or if her head would move at all, then we would see the blood. This continued off and on for the next couple of days and it was such a painful reminder of her suffering. But because we were her parents, we loved her through the blood and it probably didn't bother us as much as it might a nervous onlooker or other family members.
For the next few hours we spent time bathing our limp baby, studying every inch of her body, dressing her in her special outfit that I had gotten for her, and wrapping her in her soft, white blanket. It helped to do all these "normal" things that most parents do after the birth of a baby. It made her life seem more valid...more real...and extremely priceless. The nurses helped to capture her hand and footprints on plaster cast as well as paper. Little did I know at the time just how much those hand and footprints would mean until after she was no longer with us.
After having some time to be with our baby, we were moved to a different room on the maternity floor...again at the end of a hallway, maybe a little bit more distant to the new nursing mamas and their screaming babies. I think I only heard a tiny bit of crying in the next 24 hours that we were there. That was a relief.
The day of Solveig's delivery, we were bombarded with all kinds of people coming into our room...social worker, chaplain, children's grief care...not to mention our regular nurses and doctors. In all honesty, it was difficult to have so many people coming and going at a time when we just wanted to be more alone with ourselves and our family. I know that some of it was necessary, but it just became too much. I felt a maternal instinct, a need to protect the precious few moments that we had with our daughter...the moments which would all too soon end. It would be so nice if there was a way to limit the number of people coming and going. My feeling now is that the "check at the nurses station" sign should be mandatory for situations like this, because I didn't even realize that it was an option until later on. And maybe some of the people who are supposed to visit don't need to...maybe they could leave their materials at the nurses station if need be. There just needs to be more filtering in this kind of time.
Shortly before we were to take photos with Jen Kelly, our photographer representing NIL_MDTS, my friend Trisha came not only as a friend showing support from my amazing MO_PS group, but also representing The Mis_sing Gr_ace Foun_dation. Trisha brought with her a basket from Missing Grace that was filled with all kinds of wonderful things to help capture our last moments with Solveig and things to help us remember her. I still use the pink bear and weighted bean bag that were in that basket, wrapped inside Solveig's actual white blanket, on days when I'm really missing her and just need something to hold. At the time of our loss, I didn't know that I would actually need that bear...but now I so appreciate it. Trisha also brought me this book which has been the most comprehensive and helpful resource that I have yet seen regarding still_lbirth. It holds personal accounts of people who have been through stil_lbirth (including the perspectives of daddies, grandparents and physicians) as well as medical information, current research in the field and other helpful things to know. If you have experienced a still_lbirth or know someone who has, PLEASE read this book or give it to someone who needs it. Thanks Trisha and my MO_PS friends, and thank you Candy from Mis_sing Gra_ce...the organization named after her daughter, also lost when she was born still.
There is more to share in another post...stay tuned. Thanks for reading and for your prayers.