Our lives were changed forever one week ago. It all started Sunday at midnight. My husband, Jon, and I went in to the hospital to be admitted for a c-section that was scheduled for Monday morning. The last six months had been so stressful and filled with anxiety. I had thought about how I would feel when the time came so many times. I thought I would be so overwhelmed with fear and anxiety that I wouldn't be able to function, but I had prayed that God would give me peace. I was oddly calm as I got admitted and prepped for surgery. We had a night full of IV's, cathether placement, admission questions,etc. It almost bothered me that I wasn't more nervous at the time, beacause it was so unexpected. My husband, on the other hand, said that his legs were shaking the entire time they were prepping me. He is usually really calm. Neither of us slept much that night. I lay in bed thinking that it would be my last night with Ella inside my tummy. That made me really sad.
Our family came to our room about 6:30 on Monday morning to see us before we left for surgery. At around 7:30, the nurses came to take me to labor and delivery. That is when it hit me. I couldn't stop crying as they rolled my bed down the hall. I was so scared that these were my last few minutes with Ella. I was so scared I wouldn't ever hold her alive.
The ceserean was a blurr. I was so overwhelmed and scared that I just remember bits and pieces. At 8:11a.m. on May 10th, 2010, Ella was born. She came out with a strong cry-it was the most amazing sound ever. I remember thinking that maybe the doctors had been wrong. I had prayed that she would be born healthy and be a miracle...but I had also prayed that God's will be done. The crying stopped and we didn't hear or see anything for minutes. It was so quiet and scarey. I kept asking Jon if he could see her?, did she have it?, was she ok? He kept saying he couldn't see anything. Then, after what seemed like forever, her doctor brought her to us. She was anencephalic, but she was so beautiful. We held her while they finished sewing me up. I still feel guilty about those first few minutes. It was such a blurr that I don't feel like I loved on her enough when they brought her to me...I feel like I was out of it. I don't remember everything that happened in those first minutes and I don't know why. I wish I could do that part again. I would kiss her and tell her over and over how much I loved her.
After I was finished with surgery, they pushed us to another L&D room and allowed our family to come meet her. We had the best doctors and nurses we could ask for. I had told her pediatrician we didn't want her to go to the nursery. We didn't know how much time we would have with her, and we didn't want to miss a minute. So, the nursery nurse was in our room with us. Her two grandmothers, her grandadddy, and her two aunts were there to meet her. Her cousin, Candy, came in shortly after. Everyone loved on her and held her. I remember this part. She was So beautifiul. She had the softest skin I have ever felt. She had the most beautiful pouty lips that begged to be kissed. I love those sweet lips. Everyone said she looked like me (my lips and nose). I have never been prouder. But she had her Daddy's big feet. She weighed 5lbs 9.4 oz and was 19 inches long. She had long legs. Her doctor said she was 3 lbs of legs. After we all held her and studied her, the nurse warmed her up. Then her Daddy helped bathe her and lotion her up. I have never been so in love with my husband as I am after watching him with Ella. He was the best dad ever. After her bath, he proudly brought her and showed her to me. She looked so happy and peaceful. She was so pink. Her nurse dressed her up in the clothes and hat that we brought for her. Then they wrapped her in her soft pink blanket and gave her back to me. They rolled me back to post partum with Ella in my arms. I remember rolling down that same hallway that I had been terrified in an hour or so earlier and feeling so much peace and happiness because she was in my arms.
After a few minutes in our room, everything changed. Ella started having a hard time breathing and started getting blue. We put blowby oxygen up to her face. We weren't ready to say goodbye yet. Her doctor went and got our family and told them it was time. Everyone came in crying. I held her in my arms and cried and prayed. This was the hardest part of all. She struggled for about two hours. I couldn't stand seeing her like that. I even remember praying that if it was her time to go, for God to take her. I also prayed that she would know how much we all loved her. It wasn't her time to go. After about two hours, Ella just got better. She was pink and warm again. I know that this was our miracle. Everyone realized how precious each minute was with her. We spent the rest of the day kissing her and cuddling her. She even got to eat 3 times that day. She had a cleft palate. She couldn't suck a bottle. The nurse finger fed her with a syringe while she sucked on her finger. She enjoyed that feeding so much. She even laughed and made the sweetest sounds after she ate.
Our family stayed until around 10:30 that night. Then Jon and I had alone time with Ella. I loved this time. I thought about what it would be like if we got to take her home. I was still hopeful that we may get to take her home. She seemed to be doing so much better. We were going to take turns staying up with her that night, but we had both been up going on 48 hours on top of me going through a major surgery. Not to mention the emotional rollerscoaster we had been on. I told Jon to sleep first and I would stay up with her. After about an hour I started to nod off. I didn't want anything to happen if I dropped her oxygen or something...and we refused to put her in the bassinette. So, my mom came up to hold her for an hour or so. I tried to sleep, but I was so worried about her. I did sleep for a few minutes. Then the nurse came to feed her again. I held her. She cried again like when she was born, and then she stopped breathing again. This time, it only lasted a few minutes and she was gone. It was so unexpected. I thought she was doing so good, even though I knew it was going to happen eventually. I wish I had known. I would have held and cuddled her that last hour. This is the other thing I still feel so guilty about. We got a total of twenty hours with her. I am so thankful for the hours that we got. They were the hardest, but most amazing hours of our lives. I would give anything to go back in time and relive those hours again. I would give anything to hold her again.
It is hard to believe that all of this has happened in the last week. We had a funeral for her on Thursday. It was the perfect service for her. I feel like all I can do now is think about my Ella. Looking at her pictures and remembering her gives me such joy. I thank God for my little angel. She touched so many hearts in her short time here. That is why her name is so fitting. She was surely "a bright light."
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