Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Big Day

January 26, 2011
At 6:00am, the nurse came in and removed the Cervidil. She unhooked me from all the machines and said I could take a shower if I'd like. NICE! Well then she taped a rubber glove over my left hand to protect the IV ports. NOT NICE! Instead of a good clean feeling shower, the awkwardness of the rubber gloved hand made me feel like I'd just moistened all my filth. Gross. A real shower would have been top-notch!
At 8:00am, two new nurses came in for the day. One was a tiny skinny thing and the other was nice and fluffy. The two of them scooted around my room like two of Sleeping Beauty's good fairies. Had there been a third, I would have called them Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. I told them I wanted to try and have you naturally since pain meds might interfere with your heart, and they were all on board! Thank you, Heavenly Father, for sending me these good fairies! They have delivered many babies naturally. I felt so relieved. All I needed was someone to believe in me. Someone that doesn't think I'm stupid. Because I'm not! I'm just determined to make the sacrifices I need to keep you safe. They started our pitocin right after 8:00. I was worried about the pain from the pitocin, but I really haven't felt any pain yet. You've been so good to me, sweet boy. I couldn't ask for a sweeter child. Today is 43 degrees and rainy. Yuck. But I guess if it were a beautiful day, I wouldn't feel like being cooped up in a hospital room.
A little before 10:00am, the nurse came in to check on you. She was having trouble finding your heartbeat. The two nurses left the room to get the doctor. The "Is it necessary?" doctor has left and now our doctor that we know and love is on duty. You've always been a sneaky little booger when it comes to monitoring your heartbeat, so I felt like you were hiding again.
Fauna and Merryweather came back in the room and told me that when our doctor came in, he would probably want to break my water. They were both leaning over my bed and talking to me so seriously. They said that if he breaks my water, it would be a lot more difficult to have you naturally because I wouldn't be able to get up and walk around.
Just as they describe, our doctor came in and before checking on you, he immediately sets up and says he's going to break my water. I looked over at Fauna and Merryweather standing side by side in the background. Both simultaneously just did a little head nod. So I said, "Well wait. Actually I really want the ability to be able to get up and walk, can we wait and just check on Charles Patrick first?"
He said sure and I swear I saw Fauna and Merryweather's shoulders go down in relief. They seriously make me want to laugh. I wish they had on green and blue hoopskirt dresses. They don't need the wings, they already flit and flutter around the room.
Our doctor got out the ultrasound machine and he turned on the doppler. He started sliding the doppler around on my belly and I saw you on the screen. Baby, for 39 weeks, I've looked at your sweet little body on a fuzzy black and white screen. For 39 weeks, I looked at the large blackened sphere that is your heart ... and its not beating...

Tears poured from my eyes. Daddy kissed me on the forehead. Our doctor was talking to us explaining that what we were looking at was your heart. It didn't matter. He didn't have to explain. I knew what it was. It was your heart. Your perfectly still heart. 
No, baby, no. I'm not ready for you to be gone yet! I keep thinking that maybe your heart will start beating again, but I know that's impossible. The nurses and doctor left us alone for a little while and we just hugged and cried. We talked about what to do next. My whole purpose of going natural was for your sake. I'm suffering the emotional pain of losing you, do I really want to put myself through the physical pain as well? I feel like I'm being weak, but I just don't know if I want to put myself through the agony when you're already gone. Daddy wants me to go ahead and get the epidural. He doesn't want me to hurt. I still can't decide. I don't want to have regrets. This is my first birth. I wanted it to be natural. 
We called everyone in the family to let them know you didn't make it. It was hard. Phone calls that shouldn't have needed to be made. I was still hesitant to get the epidural, but if I did get it, we could crank up that pitocin and get you here a lot quicker. Daddy looked at me through his wet eyes and said, "Let's just get the epidural. You've been amazing. I want you to get it, but I don't want you to have regrets."
At that moment, it was like we made a pact.
No Regrets. 
I promised myself or we promised ourselves, we would make the best decisions possible with no regrets. 
Around 1:00pm, they came in and gave me an epidural. I still wasn't in any pain from the contractions, but I wanted us to hurry up this labor process. 
The day ticked on and family trickled in to come give us hugs and cry a little bit. I was getting so hungry. I asked Daddy to slip me a gummy bear and he wouldn't. Just one gummy bear! I even told him that I wouldn't swallow it, I would just suck on it and he still wouldn't cave. Who knew I married such a rule follower! 
The sun started to come out a little. Was that your entrance into Heaven, little boy? Of course, I don't know the process we go through as our spirits make that transition from Earth to Heaven, but I like to think that the sun came out to let us know that you were Home and you're happy. The sun has always seemed that way to me. During the darkest, depressing hours of my life, there have been times that the sun would peek through a window, a shady tree, or the clouds. The warmth I felt on my face made me feel like it was Heavenly Father comforting me and reassuring me that everything was going to be okay. But maybe all those years, it was just you. Maybe it was you guiding me in the right direction to meet up with your Daddy, so we could bring you into this world. Since I was a little girl, I've always imagined that my future children watched over me from the spirit world. And when I'd make mistakes, I felt like y'all would say, "Oh mom, if you don't get it together, we are never going to get to Earth!"
I do a lot of imagining, don't I? I can't help it. I have dreamed of you all my life. I still can't wait to see your face. Please hurry!
Hours passed on. By 9:00pm, I was only 7 centimeters. I thought the epidural would speed things up, but it seems to have slowed us down. I'm miserable. I just want you to get here. The epidural only took on my right side, so I've been able to feel everything on my left side. With the pitocin on wide open, I still don't feel a single bit of pain. 
At 10:00pm, I really started to feel something. That something turned into a terrible pain that wouldn't subside. At 11:30p, I was finally declared 10 centimeters. Time to push! I thought the pushing process would be quick. I was wrong again. We pushed forever. I felt like I was pushing with all of my might. Suddenly I felt a release. Everything felt free and I couldn't catch my breath. I looked down at the doctor and see him holding this tiny little person. I felt the most amazing love flood through my veins. Tears fell from the corners of my eyes and I couldn't wait to hold you. Daddy was amazed by you. He hugged and kissed me over and over. There were tons and tons of nurses flitting around the room now. They whisked you away to clean you up in the corner of the room. Daddy went over to look. Then Daddy came back over to me with you in his arms. Our sweet doctor came over and said, 
"Happy Birthday, Charles Patrick."
He shook Daddy's hand and told him congratulations. Everyone is so proud of you. Daddy put you in my arms and I finally got to see you up close. I've never seen such a beautiful boy. You had the sweetest, fullest lips, so perfectly rounded and puckered for a kiss. You had a sweet little button nose that Mommy couldn't stop tracing with her finger. I loved the slope of your forehead to the tip of your nose. Its perfect for kisses too. You had tiny blonde eyelashes. Your hair was about 1/4 inch long and golden red. You had the longest arms and legs and the biggest FEET! You would've played basketball for those Clemson Tigers, I'm sure. Everything down to your toenails was completely perfect. 

January 27, 2011
Charles Patrick Barnhill
Born January 27, 2011 at 12:26am
4 lbs. 7 oz.   17.5 inches
The nurses just fluttered around the room. They kept calling you Charlie. Daddy and I had to tell them, "His name is Charles Patrick, not Charlie." 
And they would say, "Oh okay, Charlie," and just smile and continue to flit from here to there doing whatever they were doing. My whole pregnancy, I've cringed at the thought of people calling you Charlie. Now I just couldn't stop laughing! What the heck. Why were they calling you Charlie? Why weren't they listening to the Mother here? And why did I think it was so funny? Those nurses were not nurses that day. They were angels. They flew around the room. I never saw their feet on the ground. They carried you from here to there creating keepsakes for us to take home. They made us laugh and kept calling you Charlie all throughout the late night.
The entire nine months that I carried you in my belly, I worried about stillbirth. I prayed, begged, and pleaded with Heavenly Father to keep you alive until you got to Earth. I just couldn't bear the thought of having to push out a lifeless baby. I just knew that I couldn't do that. I have looked forward to giving birth to my first child for the past 33 years, the thought of this sickened me. But now here I am. Somehow, some way, our Gracious Lord has made it possible for me to do this difficult task and still be so proud. I am the happiest momma alive. You were born into this world with such a sweet silence. I adored your purplish skin and your tiny cold fingers. I've never been so happy in my life. I want you to know that even thought I was terrified of this happening, I am still so proud of the way you came to this Earth. You fought so hard. You were so strong for so long. I love you so much, sweet boy.

A very special photographer was here. She takes photos for an organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. She took some beautiful photos of us to keep forever. 
After our pictures, we invited the whole family back. There's only supposed to be 3 visitors at a time, but we had everyone come back at once to see you. Nobody could get over your sweet, round lips and your gigantic feet. I have never felt so happy and proud. 
We oohed and ahhed over you. Everyone thinks you're perfect too. After everyone left, Daddy and I took turns holding you. You fit so sweetly in our arms. We are so proud of you. You are such a fighter. The doctors told us you wouldn't live past 31 weeks gestation, but you lived 39 weeks and you fought hard during two whole hours of labor. Only a couple of weeks ago, I looked up the meaning of your names. Charles means strong and Patrick means noble. You are exactly that. You are a strong and noble son of God. You are such a noble spirit that you did not need to be tested with an Earthly life. You came to Earth just to receive your body and return to Heaven just as perfect as you left, unscathed by this sinful world. You never knew sadness, pain, or hate, only love. Immeasurable love. I am so proud and honored to be your Momma. 
The nurse asked if we'd like for you to stay in our room. Yes! We swaddled you up tight and laid you in your bassinet. You slept in the middle. Right where you needed to be. 
We slept a few hours until morning. Our nurse helped me get you dressed. She was so sweet. She was a different nurse with a different personality, but so kind and gentle, the perfect thing I needed this morning. She would talk to you and call you Pumpkin. I liked that because I was afraid to let her hear me talk to you. I thought she might think I was crazy. But I'm not crazy and she showed me that I can talk to my son. We laughed as we dressed you because you are too little for newborn clothes, but too big for preemie clothes. Luckily I had a preemie gown that seemed to fit perfectly. Our day in the hospital was up and down. We would cry, we would hold you, we would talk, we would cry, and we would hold you again. Your Daddy was so sweet to me. He kept telling me how amazing I was. Baby, I'm not that amazing, but it made my heart swell up when Daddy would say it to me. 
At about 5:00pm, we decided it was time to go home. I knew they were going to take you soon and I did NOT want to be left in that hospital room without you. While Daddy pulled the car around, the nurse helped me undress you again. Then it was time to tell you good-bye. I was just so sorry. I wanted to fix you, but there was nothing I could do. I'm just so, so sorry. We held you one more time and I kissed your sweet face. Then the nurse came in and whisked you away.... out of our room ... out of sight. 
A young man came in with a wheelchair. He and Daddy loaded up our bags and I sat down in the wheelchair. On my lap sat a blue box the nurses gave us. It was full of the sweetest keepsakes for us to have of you. As the young man wheeled me down the hallway, I thought of the excitement I felt as I came through those halls just two short days ago. We seemed to wind through the halls for an eternity and all I could think about was running back to that room to be with you, even though you weren't there. 
We got to the elevator and it took forever. While we were waiting, a nurse wheeled a little newborn in its bassinet over to the elevator to take upstairs to the nursery. I leaned up to look at him/her because I had such a fear that something was wrong with that baby too. I could barely see his little pink nose and I knew that he was okay. The nurse wheeled him around the corner and gave the young man the go ahead to take me on downstairs without her. That's when I realized that she noticed my blue box and didn't want to put the baby on the elevator with me. My blue box suddenly became like the Red A from The Scarlet Letter. Everyone knew what happened to me because of my blue box. Aww. I didn't need her to hide the baby from me. I just wanted him to be okay. We finally got on the elevator and as the doors opened on the bottom floor, the new shift of nurses all stood there waiting to go up to work. Tears flooded my eyes. I felt their glares. I felt their pity and I didn't want it. I wanted to pull my face inside my sweatshirt and get the heck out of there. Mothers leave hospitals with a baby, not a blue box!
On our way home, I talked to Daddy and told him I wouldn't stay sad forever, but please bear with me as I grieved. You have been a part of me for the past 39 weeks. Now I just feel so empty. Every decision I made, I made it with you in mind. 
My dearest baby boy, 
You were born with a hole in your heart. And when you left, there was a hole in mine.
You will always have a piece of my heart with you. Always! You are my first born son and you were absolutely and completely perfect. Every single chromosome!
As Daddy exited off the interstate towards home, I happened to look up at the sky and I saw a shooting star. Was that you, baby boy? Were you letting Mommy know that you are in Heaven now and you are safe in our Heavenly Father's arms? I think it was just a little note to Mommy that said, 
"Its okay, Mom. Don't be sad. You have all the reasons in the sky to smile!"
Good-bye, my sweet little boy. I will see you so very soon. I promise this isn't the end. It is only the beginning of something very beautiful. One day soon, I'll spend eternity with you. 
Forever and Ever, 

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April said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story.

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