This is a hard post to write. And it may be hard to read. But I am at home today for the first time with all of my girls at school and I find myself alone. Thinking. Consumed and obsessed with needing to get this out and, at the very least, document this critical time for me and my family.
Just six weeks shy of our due date, heavy and miserable in the midwestern 100+ heat, I rolled over in bed one night and noticed someone didn't readjust herself with a few stretches and kicks in her little 'geez, momma, I was all comfy and now you flipped me over,' way like she usually did.
And for the first time in 4 pregnancies, I got nervous.
I got up and ate a spoonful of nutella. Nothing. Orange Juice. Nothing.
What followed was a nightmarish visit to the hospital at 3am, panicked nurses and an ultrasound that revealed to parents their greatest fear. No heartbeat. At that point I lost it in a fit of what can only be described as primal screaming and sobbing. We had lost our baby girl with no warning. Nothing. Just the day before she had played with her sisters, kicking and punching them back as they tickled and poked at my belly. She had danced a little jig with my morning half-caff coffee. She stuck her little bottom up and out so I could really feel it with my palm. She was head down and strong.
And then a stupid knot in her cord -- a knot no one knew about, and couldn't have --just got too tight. And just like that, in one horrible accident, she was gone.
I am not going to horrify you with the details of inducing a stillbirth when your cervix is not ready. Or driving to the hospital with your husband knowing and not knowing what the next 24 hours will hold for you. She was born at nearly 5 pounds, with chubby pink cheeks and long fingers like her littlest big sister. Short fuzzy blond hair and a button nose. A perfect little angel taken much too soon.
I will tell you that the care and compassion that we were blessed to receive is beyond anything that we could have ever imagined. That the hospital staff at St Luke's provided the most gentle and respectful care imaginable. That my doctor showed such strength of character that I'd take her in to battle with me. That my nurses grieved and prayed and struggled right along with us. That our friends and family and total strangers stepped in as living, breathing, examples of true Grace and lifted us.
It is during a tragedy like this when you see the beauty and generosity of the human heart and it is humbling. We have not felt alone. We don't have anger. Our hearts are heavy. Explaining to a five year old that her baby sister is in Heaven isn't easy. Getting back to school, emptying the dishwasher and doing laundry seem mundane and necessary and impossible all at the same time.
We held a beautiful memorial service at our church and asked that no one wear black. My daughters and I all wore white and the sanctuary was full of pinks and purples and blues and corals and light. It was a 6:30pm service and the sun was beginning its descent through giant stained glass windows. My amazing husband got up and poured his heart out in a beautiful message to our littlest lost daughter. I don't know how he did that, but I love him even more now than I ever thought I could.
We sang 'On Eagle's Wings' and 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow', which is a song he has always sung to his little girls at night.
After the service, we asked everyone to join us on the hill above the church for a butterfly release. There were a lot of children and it was wonderful. We released 60 monarch and painted lady butterflies. There were children everywhere -- trying to catch them, trying to release them, chasing after them. It was a beautiful sight. The day had been thundery and dark, but for that evening it had cooled. The sky was turning pinkish and was glowing with that 7:30 glow that is happening this time of year. Surrounded by family and friends and butterflies on that beautiful night, I felt a genuine Peace. We all did.
And now I sit. My body is recovering from childbirth, but my heart is broken. I struggled with whether to post about Darcy, but I had to. I have celebrated all of my girls here in this strange public journalish space. My littlest deserves that, too. We held our precious angel for 3 hours and kissed her fingers and toes and forehead and button nose. She was beautiful and ours. And someday I will hold her again.
Until then, we are comforted knowing that we have our own angel waiting for us.