I Carry Your Heart With Me

*This post contains some images that may be upsetting to some*

On Friday, February 26, 2016 our baby girl's heart stopped beating after an injection was administered in order to do so. Shortly after, I was admitted to Roanoke Memorial Hospital for labor induction. I was told to expect this to be a long process and that she probably wouldn't be delivered until the following morning (possibly around 12 hours from then). My family and Matt's booked hotel rooms right across from the hospital so that they could be there for us at a moment's notice. 

The nurse started me on IV fluids as the doctor began the induction process by administering the drug Cytotec. This medication is supposed to cause contractions and help dilate the cervix. You're allowed 6 doses of it, a dose every 4 hours. After 24 hours and the full 6 doses, I was still not making much progress so they decided to stop the Cytotec and get a little more invasive. They did so by placing a Foley Bulb into my cervix. Normally this wouldn't be very painful when you have an epidural that works, but for some reason the epidural they had started the night before had stopped working and was helping very little in the pain department. This made it a VERY agonizing procedure. Matt held my hand through the whole process while I screamed and cried as the doctors told me to "relax". I felt like my insides were being ripped apart, relaxing wasn't really on the table. My reaction to the pain caused the doctor to realize that my epidural had in fact stopped working and so she ordered a second to be administered. The second epidural caused me to have a really bad reaction. I immediately became nauseous and had ringing in my ears, the whole room was spinning. I wanted to pass out. I couldn't lay down though until they finished taping it into place. The nurse held my limp body up while the anesthesiologist continued to secure the tubes, once he finished I collapsed to the bed. Eventually the epidural had to be redone a third time. I'm not sure if my body was just rejecting them or what was happening.

I had never felt so weak. I kept wondering if all labors were like this. Labor was a hard thing for me to wrap my mind around. I knew I was going to birth a baby, but because it wasn't a baby we were able to keep or even really able to meet I didn't know what to call what I was going through. It didn't feel like labor though. It felt more like surgery, that a part of me was being forcibly removed. A part that wasn't ever meant to leave me. Throughout our stay in the hospital time stood rather still. I had lost all bearing of what day it was, whether it was morning or night, how long I had been awake or how long I had been asleep. 

It was Sunday (2.28.16) morning at 7:05 am (almost 40 hours later) and everything came to a screeching halt as my water burst. Matt said the sound of it woke him up, that it had sounded like someone popped a water balloon. Omara came immediately following my water. She was so small I barely felt her leave me, but I knew she had. The nurses rushed in to grab her and immediately handed her to me. I was so delirious from all of the pain medication that it took me some time to grasp the fact I was holding my daughter and I began to cry. I admired her eyelashes and how blonde her eyebrows were. She had my nose and lips yet still resembled Matt. Then I saw the tumor that had taken her from us. It was wrapped around her from the back of her neck down to her chest and I hated it so much, I hated it for keeping our daughter from us, for killing her (there is a photo of her tumor at the end of the slideshow below - it may be a hard image for some to see)

The nurses took her from me after what seemed like just a few brief minutes and I immediately passed out. When I woke up they were bringing her back in for us to hold her. She was wrapped in a blanket and dressed in tiniest of dresses with her own little hat. I can't imagine how the nurse whose job it is to dress each of these little babies must feel.

We spent hours holding her fragile little body. Matt and I along with our parents and my siblings each said our goodbyes and told her how much we loved her. I wanted her to be alive so badly, but I knew it was best that she went without pain. She will never know pain, she will only know love. 

Meghann Chapman (Meghann Chapman Photography) and I had been discussing a fresh 48 session back before we knew everything that was happening with Omara. When she heard the turn our story had taken she reached out and offered to take some photos for us. I am so glad that we agreed. The photos she took mean so much to Matt and I. We are now able to see our little girl whenever we want.

Recovery has been difficult so far. I can't imagine how women who have older children go back to their motherly duties immediately following birthing a baby. They're amazing. I am sure grief has attributed greatly to my exhaustion, but labor is definitely taxing. Fortunately, I married an incredible man who has gone above and beyond to make me feel comfortable through this healing process. I know this hasn't been easy on him either, but he doesn't ever focus on his pain. He is always considering me and how I am feeling. I wouldn't be able to walk through this with any other person in the world. I love you to the moon, Matt. You are my person.

Matt and I had decided beforehand that we would want to have a funeral for Omara. She was our daughter and she deserved to be remembered. Her body, however small, was precious to us and we wanted to treat it as such. We arranged to have her buried next to Matt's grandmother who had just recently passed away. So on Tuesday (3.1.16) at 2 pm we buried our daughter in Blacksburg, VA with a private ceremony. It was a very beautiful service and I am so grateful that we now have a place to go and visit her.

Omara Rose - I will never forget my time with you nor will I ever stop missing you. You were a beautiful mixture of your father & I and we love you so much.

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
I want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

Here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)

- E.E. Cummings