It was a girl. A beautiful, quiet baby girl. I just wanted to take her. I wanted to hold her. I saw the resident doctor struggle to hold on to her limp body. I just wanted her. They finally brought her to me. Martin held her first. I just keep saying sweet baby over and over again. She was so sweet! She was so perfect. She was just beautiful. There was NOTHING wrong with her!! Why couldn’t I just keep her and hold her forever. The doctor handed me a washcloth so that I could clean her face if I wanted. I tried. But couldn’t. I wanted to memorize every inch of her face. Every minute detail. I would stare and then I would have to look away. It was too much. Every time I took a breath it would seem as if she was breathing. I just wanted her to open her eyes. I wanted her to cry!! I wanted to take her home with me and say, “Nope, this really didn’t happen. It’s been a cruel joke, and she’s coming home with me.” Then reality would hit, I would look down at the sweet face, again, and marvel at her perfectness. Martin and I would switch off holding her. It was so hard!! I wanted to hold her forever, and at the same time. I couldn’t hold her anymore. It was too painful. When it got to that point, I offered her to Jessica. She very tenderly held my child. As she started to rock her, and say sweet soft things to her, I started to let myself recognize the sweet spirit that had filled the room. The doctors and nurse had already left the room to give us “as much time as we needed”. I watched Jessica rock her back and forth. I heard Jessica telling me what my heart knew, but what my head couldn’t get yet. That she was there. And she was.
Miracle #9 was that my good friend Denise Pearce had recently sung at an infant funeral. There she heard about “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” a non-profit organization that finds professional photographers to volunteer and take pictures of infants that died. If this hadn’t have been recommended, I am not sure what I would have done. The photographer that was contacted said that he would come at any time of night. That he would be there no matter what. At 2 am, a sweet man quietly entered the room. He very quietly spoke to Martin and had him fill out the needed paperwork. He calmly set up his camera, and took Rebecca Phoebe to the warming station to take some pictures. He then brought her to us where we couldn’t help but hide our emotions. There was something deep in my heart that knew that these pictures, although very painful to take, were a gift from heaven. He very respectively moved the baby to various places in our arms and on the bed to get some amazing shots. Phoebe was wrapped up in a silky white and purple blanket that I had bought months before. That blanket now is on our bed. It is the only tangible thing that we have that our daughter touched. It is the only thing we have to snuggle. I hold it every night and pray that I could fall asleep a little bit quicker this time. It is our consolation prize.
As he finished, my spirit just wanted to jump out of my grieving body and hug the man that gave such a priceless gift to us. How can you repay someone for that? I will never forget his kindness. I have prayed many times that his family and business will be blessed for the work that he did for me.
As Martin took her back, I had an impression that she was fading. That it was time to let her go. What a horrific experience. This was a step that I was not willing to take. How can you say goodbye to your baby? How? Knowing that she was forever going to be in those pictures was the ONLY thing that even allowed me to let her be taken her out of my sight. I just wanted to breathe her in forever.
Miracle #8 was the impression that she needed to go, and that Jessica confirmed that she had the same feeling. Martin cradled her one last time as Jessica took some pictures. She was then wheeled over to me. I spoke to her. I told her not to leave me, and that I expected her to stay with me and help me. But more importantly that I loved her, and that I would miss her terribly. As they wheeled her away, terrible sobs overtook all of us. I honestly don’t remember much after that. I remember being wheeled into a room in the farthest corner of the floor. The floor that was above the floor where all of the new mommies were with their double beds and sweet infants to hold. I got to look at a box that holds the hat and blanket that once held my baby. I got to have my husband sleep a few feet from me. I got to sleep by myself.