Monday, November 12, 2012

Evie's Birthday, Part II - Our Time with Her

So after Evie's dramatic entrance we were taken to a different room for recovery.  I was still pumping with adrenaline and trying to process all that had happened so I don't remember a lot of what happened right after we were taken there.  I remember holding Evie and looking at her and still trying to keep her little oxygen mask on.  Eventually Josh just removed it since it wasn't a necessity.  At some point I delivered the placenta and sometime after that our family came in.  I think.  It's all a bit blurry I suppose.  But onto what I do remember ...

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.  

20 comments:

  1. Beautiful thoughts, Sarah. So sweet. Here's another thing that I've been thinking about.

    An Understandable Lack of Understanding
    At 23 months old, Micah must have thought that having this four-hour family reunion in the hospital room was a delightful idea--staying up all night with Mommy, and Daddy (who has been so busy lately), and with both sets of grandparents, the entire contingency of aunts and uncles, four good friends, and the brand new baby sister we'd all been talking about so much since spring. Most of the time, Micah was enjoying the constant rotation of playmates who had plopped down next to him on the floor to join him with his favorite toy motorcycles. Sometimes, especially when everyone was crying, Micah would seem to get concerned, watching reverently, trying to process what was happening in his world. And every once in a while, in the middle of some very somber moment, he would come up to Sarah and Josh and start talking about one of his toys or some trivial little observation about something, like the hospital identification bracelets Mommy, Daddy and Evie were wearing.

    But at no time were Josh and Sarah, or any of us, annoyed at Micah's conduct or attitude during our nighttime vigil. (He was, in fact, perfectly behaved. We could never have asked for better. And he is amazingly bright and articulate--ahead of his peers, really.) His innocent ignorance was actually a delight, in many ways, and while it protected him from the awful intrusion of death that we knew was fast approaching, it also reminded us of the many happy blessings of life that were everywhere we looked around us. His lack of understanding, even now, is perfectly understandable. He is, after all, almost a baby himself.

    Query: Is Micah's innocent ignorance a metaphor of my own ignorance of what was happening on Thursday night? (Was I well-behaved, bright and articulate for my age?) In God's wisdom, was my puzzlement about this event something like Micah's--so, so much that I failed to understand? And were my words like Micah's--sweet enough, as far as that goes, and yet pretty much missing the eternal enormity of the moment? We all are, after all, almost babies ourselves.

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    1. Thank you for adding this Pastor. Your last paragraph is especially thought provoking. There must be much that we miss. How wonderful Heaven will be when that darkened understanding is redeemed. I am thankful that through Sarah's focus on abiding in God and His words, we are continually blessed by a focus on Him, His all-surpassing Goodness and Tender, LovingKindness.
      Continuing to lift all of you up before Him.

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  2. What beautiful, beautiful moments together.

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  3. Such a journey Our Lord has lead you and your family on. A journey of the unknown, of love, of sorrow, of joy and of the the knowledge that Heaven awaits, and Evie will be there, with her headband and booties and a subtle cheeks awaiting you! Thank you for sharing this journey with us.

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  4. Beautiful, touching, I have no words to really describe it. Thank you for sharing your life with us so candidly. I can only imagine how many people Evie has touched. You're all in my thoughts and prayers.

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  5. I can't thank you enough for sharing your journey with us. You and Evie have ministered to me in such a tangible way, putting real life to so many of the questions we struggle with when faced with "tough stuff", as you put it. I really don't know what to say other than I am praying for you and your family. I am blessed and humbled to "know" you through reading your blog.

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  6. Dear Evie,

    I've been following your story for awhile and while I sobbed about how you left this world I also cried because you left this world an innocent and sinless little girl. Evie, you are so gorgeous and your mommy made sure you were stylish to boot! Thank you for your little life. While I am here waiting for my turn to meet Jesus I promise to be nicer to my husband and snuggle our son way too much and to pet our puppy more and to appreciate every breath I am given. For such a little life you've had such a lasting impact. I know you don't know me, Evie, but when. The day comes and Jesus brings us all up to Heaven, I hope we can meet. I wonder what color your eyes will be and how kissable your nose will be!

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  7. Sarah, you seem so brave, so peaceful so content as I read your story. The Lord is definitely with you and I pray He continue to work in your hearts and lives as you navigate through these tough times. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with Evie, they have done nothing but bless me and others, I'm sure. I know you don't know me but I hope you will know that a family out here in California is praying for you.

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  8. I am both so happy and so heart broken for you. Not to mention I can barely read or type through the flowing tears. I completely overjoyed that you got to spend such precious hours with your daughter. And completely in agony that you don't still have her to enjoy for many more. Praying for you and your comfort all the time. She was the most beautiful baby! I loved her little outfits and hats/headbands. They made a great frame for those kissable chubby cheeks!

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  9. Sarah, Congratulations, Evie is the most beautiful little girl. I have read and followed your blogs and although I find myself extremely heartbroken for your family,I know that you were also very blessed. Your belief and love for God is why he chose your family to bring Evie into this world. I am very humbled by your strength, courage and religion. I am so glad that you got to hold your babies together and had all the love and support there for you all. May God continue to bless you all.

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  10. Sarah, I cant stop crying as I read this, looked at the beautiful pictures of your family and baby Evie and now as I type this. Your story made all our memories from delivering our annabelle and our time in the hospital with her and being at home without her afterwards all flood back. Friend, I dont know you but I know your a sister in the Lord and now our lives will be forever linked together as you have joined the babyloss community. I am so very sorry you have had to join this community but I will say that through the hardest days, it feels so good sometimes to know your not alone and to get to know other Godly women who have faced the same thing or similar thing. Our baby girls are in His presence worshiping Him...what more could we ask for! My little guy was around 11 months old when we lost Annabelle and I remember him touching her and looking at her and getting our pictures taken together...something I will never forget. I LOVED the picture showing how Micah put his motorcycle on his sisters cart for her...that is so touching! To this day, Isaac talks about his baby sister annabelle and it melts me everytime! I am SOOOOO glad you guys had that precious four hours with her. Something you will NEVER forget! I remember almost detail for detail our time in the hospital with annabelle, since it was the only time we had with her...precious moments that will always be with me until I see her again!

    These next few days and weeks honestly are going to be really hard my friend. I wish you didnt have to go through them but please know, that from someone who has gone through this....you will make it through...not on your strength but His! He will carry you! When you can't breathe, when you don't feel like living, when you ache so bad for her that you just want to hurry up and go to heaven .... that is when He will be carrying you. When you bury her, when you visit her grave for the first time, when you pick out her headstone...when you realize and face these moments and first milestones and feel like WHY did this have to happen, or when you dont understand...He will be carrying you! I still go out to her grave and sing to her and everytime, I cry because I can hardly believe Im only 28 and already buried my daughter BUT He IS FAITHFUL and will never once leave you alone on this journey. Oh if only we had eyes to see what He is doing through our precious little girls lives...one day in eternity we will see! I am here for you if you need anything or need to vent or have any questions! love, april

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  11. I feel privileged to have shared these sacred moments. Thank you. May the God of all comfort hold you moment by moment. We all have so much to anticipate.
    Go under His grace,
    JoAnn

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  12. Such a beautiful story. I look at Josh looking down at little Evie, and I know that moment - the moment of holding your baby girl for the first time - and I cannot imagine what you must have felt. All I know is that reading your story just makes me so happy and so heart-broken. It makes me cry both tears of great sadness and tears of gratefulness. I read these poems today, and immediately thought of you guys.

    A Gift From Heaven

    A gift from heaven
    I prayed from above
    That one day to find
    My one true love

    My soul so warm
    And learns to grow
    And a gift from God
    I received below

    A flower so beautiful
    Your one of a kind
    A love so pure
    Most will never find

    A gift from God
    You are to me
    Someone to love
    And to make happy

    I pray to God
    One day you’ll see
    My love for you
    Will always be

    ~Anonymous

    If tears could build a stairway
    and memories a lane,
    I'd walk right up to heaven
    and bring you home again.

    I love you guys.

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  13. So glad you shared these sacred moments with those of us who have journeyed with you. Such a touching time, such a beautiful presentation of such a loving, painful time.
    Know you are loved, and that we share your loss. We will try to be brave but my "momma heart" hurts for you. Love and prayers and hugs all around.
    Marie

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  14. I've thought back on those 4 hours so many times in the last few days. I replay those holy moments we shared together with you and Josh and Evie. I try to pick a favorite and come up with several. At the top of that list is certainly holding her in my arms, touching her cheeks, and then watching her get the most dainty and sweet little hiccups. It felt like her gift to me. This girl, who I prayed daily would be healed so she and my girl could be besties forever and have tea parties and play dolls... she was giving me a sweet memory in place of all the ones I feel the loss of so greatly right now. The other thing that warms my heart and makes me smile through my tears and grief is that the time we all shared in that room wasn't all sad. There were moments when all our hearts were breaking, but when she was with us we smiled and laughed and truly rejoiced over her. For that I am thankful... thankful that I got to share in that most sacred time. Evie will forever be Arsema's first friend and her very special friend. They have shared so much already... from tough beginnings, to special blankets, and now nourishment from you. And their mommies... well we're friends and sisters for life. I love you Sarah. I love Evie. I can't wait to stand in heaven with you and watch our girls embrace and maybe Asher, Cyrus, Mareto, and Micah will stay special buddies in heaven too. Those thoughts make my heart happy in the midst of all my tears right now. You are beautiful inside and out and I thank Jesus that he brought us together. Both you and Evie have made an eternal impact on my life. I love you, friend. <3

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  15. In pastures green, not always
    Sometimes He who knoweth best
    In kindness leadeth me
    In weary ways
    Where heavy shadows be.

    And by still waters?
    No, not always so;
    Oft times the heavy tempest blow,
    And o’er my soul the waves and billows go.

    But when the storms beat loudest;
    And I cry aloud for help
    The Master standeth by,
    And whispers to my soul,
    “Lo, it is I.”

    So where he leads me
    I can safely go
    And in the hereafter
    I shall know
    Why in his wisdom
    He hath led me so.

    Author unknown

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  16. Though I don't know you, I have been following your story for awhile. Thank you so much for your honesty, openness, and courage in sharing. You'll never know how much your words have meant to me (and others, I am sure). Evie was a precious girl, and you seem like an amazing person. Thank you for making Jesus seem more believable and beautiful. Praying for you in the days ahead.

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  17. Thank you for sharing your story Sarah. It's so hard to read anything on your blog without bursting into tears. I am praying for you and Josh and I hope God blesses you and helps you through this hard time. It has been a reminder to me of how precious life is.

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  18. What a blessed and beautiful little girl. She lived her whole life feeling safe and loved...

    This story broke my heart. I pray God gives you strength, comfort and joy as you grow through these trials.

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  19. What an amazing and beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it xx

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