I was holding Evie and trying to steal glimpses of her and kisses from her but it's a little hard to do when you're laying flat. The nurse had a long list of questions to ask me which were quite annoying to Josh. We obviously didn't know how much time we had with Evie and he was so worried that I would have spent all of our time answering questions about past medical history and whether or not I had taken a vitamin that day. Just his protective nature I think. I honestly didn't think one time that Evie might pass before we were ready. Subconsciously I was wholeheartedly believing in the promise the Lord gave me that He would not let us say goodbye without feeling ready.
At one point the nurse had to do something with me but I can't remember what. It was at that point that all of our family and friends that were there got to hold Evie. Everyone passed her around and was able to gaze at her sweet face. Many kisses were given and whispers of love. When my dear friend Lauren held her Evie got the hiccups. I thought it was especially cute because she got hiccups several times a day while I was pregnant with her. Old habits die hard, I guess.
Evie never cried because she was so weak and frail, but she did often let out these little cries, almost like kitten mews. It was just so sweet to hear her voice, no matter how tiny. Micah noticed this rather quickly and would mimic her sounds whenever she made them. It made us laugh every time.
Josh and I were able to give Evie a sponge bath. A nurse brought us a tub of warm water and then Josh and I shared the privilege of cleaning our little girl and being able to see every part of her. We wiped and caressed every crease and crevice of her tiny body. Her daddy was so careful to clean her up and make her pretty and I was just holding her and turning her as needed. When we were finished I rubbed lavender-scented baby lotion all over her. I love having that smell memory. I am so grateful we were able to share that moment.
During Evie's little bath I was able to wholly see for the first time the physical aspects of her condition. Her skin was not a very healthy color nor did it have the same suppleness to it that newborns do. Her ears, hands, and feet showed signs of how cramped she was in the womb. Noticing these things just broke my heart, not because they were ugly or abnormal, but because they were obvious signs that my little girl was not well.
But her face. Oh, her face! May I gush for a few moments? She had the most amazingly soft and plushy cheeks. I loved pressing my face against hers just to feel the warm plumpness. And her nose was just so perfect. A little button nose just like her brother's. It fit so perfectly between my pursed lips and I assure you I planted a kiss or two! And speaking of lips ... hers were beautiful. I could not stop touching them. My hands and fingers often made the trek from her forehead down and around her cheek, across to her little nose, down to her sweet lips, and then finished up on her substantial double chin. My precious girl ...
After Evie's bath the nurse came in for the height/weight. I could not see her but I could hear her small little mews as she protested the nurse's handlings. Her stats: 5 lbs. 3 oz., 20 inches long. I think everyone was so shocked at her size and we all cheered for her.
After that we were able to dress her. She was such a good size that her preemie outfit was a bit tight! She protested us dressing her and we heard lots of little mews as we tried to get her dressed. I loved hearing her opinion on the matter.
The crown jewel was putting on the headband I had made her. I had dreamt of that moment and it just felt so ... right. She looked like a doll.
Josh thought we should probably keep her head warm so we put on a hat a dear friend had knit for her and put her headband over that. The combo was absolutely adorable!
Micah popped on and off the scene regularly. One can't place too much expectation on a not-quite-two-year old but he did so well. He was certainly out of his comfort zone - sleepy, something obviously happened to mommy, who on earth is this little tiny human. But he was as sweet as he could be.
I had picked out a special little ladybug toy for Micah to give Evie. We had talked about it for weeks as I was trying to somewhat prepare him for meeting her. He was really excited when Josh walked over to him and handed him the toy. He remembered that he was supposed to give it to Evie as a special "surprise". But once he got over to her the pressure got to him and he just tossed it onto the bed haha! Poor guy. It was not the moment I wanted but it certainly made us laugh. He did want to share his motocycles with her though. I suppose to him, those were much better than a ladybug plushie.
At one point someone suggested that we sing happy birthday to Evie. It was a really sweet moment and I am so glad we did. Shortly after that everyone circled my bed and Josh's dad prayed over us.
I suppose it was strange that we were basically just waiting for Evie to die but it honestly never really felt that way to me. The Lord gave me so much peace during that time and I just tried to focus on my baby and what was happening right then instead of wasting our time dreading the inevitable. Thank you Lord for that.
After two hours a room was made available on the maternity ward and we prepared to leave. While I was changing my clothes Josh was holding Evie. I glanced over to him at one point and I hope I never forget what I saw. Daddy was sitting on the floor with Evie just staring at her. It was as if they were the only ones in the room. He was caressing her and kissing her and whispering to her. What an unbelievably touching memory for a mommy.
On the way to the maternity ward I was at the head of the line, followed by Josh pushing Evie in her baby hospital bed thingy, and then our entire crew. Josh called my name in the hallway and I looked back. He pointed down at Evie and I saw this:
Micah wanted Evie to have a motorcycle for the trip! What a sweet boy.
We got settled in the new room and I felt so good. Evie had been born at 11:07 and it was now after 2 am and she was still with us.
And for all of you who remember this post, I got my dream. I remember absolutely beaming at one point as I held my tiny girl in one arm and my squiggly boy in the other one. Our dear friend who was snapping pictures got the perfect shot - I looked right at the camera and felt almost giddy. My other friend whispered, "your dream ... ".
|this is not the shot I mentioned, but still so sweet|
I needed to go to the bathroom and so we handed Evie off to her mamma who was sitting close by. I washed my hands and headed back toward the hospital bed to see mamma getting up and talking to Josh. Josh was feeling Evie's chest and I knew what was coming.
We climbed into the hospital bed together. Josh held Evie so tight in his daddy arms and cried over her telling her how sorry he was. I tried to be brave for my little girl and just closed my eyes and moved my face right next to hers and started singing. It was hard to make the words come and I was barely whispering at times but I hope she was comforted.
Josh passed Evie to me. Her breathing was slow and labored, much like those deep hiccupy breaths you take after crying really hard. Daddy and I just kept touching Evie and snuggling her and trying to make her passing as peaceful as possible. She wasn't terribly responsive to any stimuli really, but if you touched her lips she would often open her tiny mouth. So each time she took a slow breath I would touch her soft, supple lips to see if she would respond. After her last breath I touched her lips just to make sure and Josh whispered to me, "I think Evie is with Jesus now." "I know" was my soft reply.
After that we just held each other and sobbed. We held our tiny girl and cried over her body which was now only a shell for the soul that had been taken to Jesus. Josh choked out a prayer of thanks to the Lord through tears and sobs. We had been able to spend four amazing hours with our daughter and now she was safely in the arms of Jesus - how could we not be thankful!
Shortly after that our friends and family started to leave. They all gave Evie one last kiss.
Josh and I snuggled our little girl for some time after that. It just felt to good to have her with us and hold her even though she was gone.
Around 4 am Josh decided to go to sleep and Evie and I were just by ourselves. I dressed my sweetie in the gown I had picked out for her and completed the outfit with her adorable little shoes and another custom mommy-made headband. I swaddled her and wrapped her in a warm fuzzy blankie and settled her on my chest and eventually fell asleep.
We kept Evie with us until we were dishcahrged around noon. Leaving her was hard but it was very obvious by that point that there was no longer life in her body, which I think made it a little easier.
It was strange going home with no baby. More than strange. It felt so empty. But at that point we had memories. Memories of our sweet girl and our time with her. Memories of God's goodness. And memories that were shared by some of the dearest people we knew.
How we wish Evie were still with us! But I can't say enough how grateful I am to the Lord for creating Heaven and making a way for us to get there so we can be reunited one sweet day.