This week on Walking With You, we will be sharing about the birth of our babies and the moments we spent with our children after they were born. Feel free to join in and link up HERE. (My WWY post from 2009 on Meeting Our Babies is HERE.)
I was 36 weeks pregnant when I had an ultrasound that helped me make the decision to proceed with an induction for Carleigh. It certainly wasn’t an easy decision to make. Her growth was behind and I feared that she might not make it to my due date. After talking with my dr the date for my induction was set for March 27, 2009, when I would be 37 weeks. That next week went by so quickly.
We prepared last minute things the night before and my parents came down to go to the hospital with us in the morning. Surprisingly, I slept really well. I even remember that I ate waffles for breakfast that morning. On the ride to the hospital Carleigh gave me one last gift-hiccups! It was the last time that I felt them and it made me smile.
We arrived at the hospital and checked in. The Pitocin was started around 8am. We had a birth plan we had given the unit ahead of time so everything was well prepared for us. Our family and friends gathered throughout the day and I allowed them in and out of the room since I wasn’t in any pain. My friend and photographer, Ashley, arrived closer to noon and stayed with us the rest of the time to take pictures during labor, delivery, and the moments after. (In this post I’ll be sharing pictures I have shared before and pictures I haven’t shared on my blog.)
It was around 7 pm that I had to make a decision to either stop the Pitocin and restart it the next day or have my dr break my water. This was another hard decision to make because I knew that if my water was broken it would increase the likelihood of Carleigh not surviving the birth but stretching out my labor for several days could also not be good for her. I have never mentioned this before but one of my deciding factors was that my friend Ashley wouldn’t be able to stay and take pictures for us if we drug out my labor over several days. I knew having the pictures she would take would be very important. So I told my dr to break my water. I don’t regret my decision.
After my water was broken I finally began to make make some progress and the contractions got stronger. I ended up getting an epidural and we just waited for me to progress far enough to push. I checked Carleigh’s heart beat through the doppler at about 2 am. It was still beating in the 140’s but fainter. I prayed for her to hold on. My nurse checked it not long after I did and it was the same. That was the last time I heard her heart beating.
Around 3:30 am my dr came in to check on me and it was time to push. Things moved quickly as the nurses got things ready. Ashley got ready and Anthony called my friend Lindsey who was a few minutes away to come in to videotape. This was the moment we waited months for and it was both exciting and scary. We didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know if she’d be born alive but we hoped that she would.
Carleigh was born at 3:49 am. Anthony cut her cord and she was placed on my chest. My beautiful baby. My nurse checked for her heart beat but she was gone. I already knew. In the moment though it didn’t matter at all. All that mattered was that she was in my arms. The peace that was in that room that day passes any understanding. I can tell you though that I have never felt closer to Heaven than in that moment.
I didn’t cry at all but Anthony did. I just gazed at her and kissed her and took as much of her in as I could in those moments. About 45 minutes after she was born Anthony went and told our families, which was an emotional moment. We had our parents come back first and then slowly everyone else came to meet our baby girl.
We weighed Carleigh (3lbs 15 oz) and then I gave Carleigh to my nurse to give her a bath right next to my bed. She took such great care of her but I wish now I would have bathed her myself as that would have been such special moments I could have experienced. After her bath I dressed her and then let family and friends take turns holding her. We got prints and impressions of her hands and feet and measured her (13 1/2 in). Our pastor dedicated Carleigh for us even though she had already passed. It was important for us to do that.
Once I got the feeling back in my legs and was able to stand and walk we moved to our postpartum room. Carleigh and I snuggled in bed and slept. Our family came back the next day to spend more time with us. My postpartum nurse helped me change Carleigh’s dressing on her head and get a lock of hair. We spent the rest of our time in the hospital just holding her and loving on her.
Getting ready to leave the hospital was so hard. We had planned on the funeral director coming and picking up Carleigh but I wanted to leave the hospital with her and take her to the funeral home myself. With the ok from the funeral director we were able to get it arranged. I changed her outfit before we left and just cried. It was the first time since her birth I cried. I couldn’t stop the tears because I was so sad that soon I would have to hand her over.
I was able to walk out of the hospital with my baby in my arms. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I didn’t have to walk out with empty arms. I carried Carleigh wrapped in her fuzzy pink blanket and waited with my nurse while Anthony brought the car up front. My nurse and I hugged and cried and then I walked out the door with my daughter and made the drive to the funeral home.
The drive to the funeral home was much too short. I didn’t want to go in. I didn’t want to have to do this but I had to. When we were inside we sat on the couch and spent some last minutes with her. We kissed her and told her we loved her through our tears. Then I handed her over to the funeral director. It was hands down the most difficult moment of my entire life and it literally broke my heart. After she was out of my arms I broke down and just sobbed as Anthony held me. I’ve never cried so hard in my life as I did then. It was hard to breathe. Anthony escorted me back to our car and we drove home forever changed.
My advice to any parent who is preparing for the birth of their baby to get as many keepsakes as you can. Take as many pictures as you can. There is no such thing as having too many keepsakes or pictures (ask about NILMDTS). These things will be all you have aside from memories to remember your baby. Even if you think you don’t want these things please get them anyway! You only have one chance and then it is gone forever. So many parents wish they would have taken at least one picture or had something tangible to remember their baby by.
Journal your experience because as time passes the small details begin to fade.