It was February 28th, 2015, around two o’clock in the morning and it was nearly delivery time. Dr. Gautreau, along with my best friend, Emilee (the labor and delivery nurse who was actually off), my nurse, Margaret, my sister and Brandon were all working to help this delivery go smoothly. My sister was there, in the corner, allowing us privacy for this moment but prepared to be supportive of us if we needed it. Emilee was helping coach me through delivery along with Margaret. Brandon was right by my face and talking me through each and every push. He was so encouraging and patient with me. I can’t imagine not having him in this moment. He was my everything. Brandon is so tough all of the time, and I leaned on him to help me get through this so we could meet our angel. My mom wasn’t in delivery but she was right outside my room. She had been there with us for all of these long hours. She had seen me in pain physically and emotionally for 36 plus hours. I know as a mom, her heart must have been torn apart to witness something so awful yet not really be able to fix it. As mothers, we just want to make our children’s problems better, and I can’t imagine how this was for her. It’s crazy though, she is really the toughest, strongest woman I know and even though she was so broken inside, when she was by my side, I never knew. She was so encouraging and faithful through all of this. I know it had to be hard for her to not have my father to lean on in this moment. We all missed him because he was always our sense of reason and who would remind of us that God was working with us and not against us. I tried to keep focused on what I knew he would say to me through this whole process.
At exactly 2:28 on 2/28 we welcomed our angel to our arms. We knew that she was in heaven rejoicing with our Lord. And most importantly, I knew my dad was holding her. In this very moment, his passing almost two years prior, made so much sense. Had it not been for his passing, there is no way this moment would have been like this. I had an overwhelming sense of peace just knowing he was there for her. I also know that for Brandon, the words my dad last spoke to him, “take care of my baby girl,” now had an even deeper meaning. Now, that’s a favor my dad can return to Brandon. Those words, those six simple words, have more meaning than anyone could imagine. It’s almost like, he knew what that would one day mean to Brandon.
“…for I know the plans I have for you.” Said the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and hope.”
I was scared of holding her right after birth. Dr. Gautreau had asked me before delivery if I wanted to hold her right away. And I replied, “I’m just not sure yet. Let’s just see.” I feel bad sharing that, but I only share that to console another mother who maybe felt the same way. It’s scary to think of what your baby will look like in this moment, but we were so blessed and she was literally perfect. She looked as if she were just sleeping peacefully.
Something to note, Sawyer was our first child. So her delivery was full of different emotions. Every first born child gives parents a feeling that can never be replicated in a certain way. Seeing her gave me a sense of protection I had never felt before. Suddenly, my life changed, and she was my sole purpose. Protecting her was my job. This doesn’t change because she was “sleeping,” it’s still the same. The silence of her delivery was also very heartbreaking. I had experienced delivery after delivery and I know the sounds that fill a room when a baby is born, and in this instance, it was all missing. I can say for sure, right then, I felt like things were a bit unfair to us. I felt robbed of what this experience was supposed to be for us. I wanted to hear that first born cry that first time parents wait for, and it wasn’t there. I quickly had to lean on God to get through these emotions that had me so broken. I found ways to be thankful in this very moment. I was so blessed to see what Brandon and I had been able to create, the life we did create. She had lived life, she lived a perfect life, and she was safe from the sin of the world.
Brandon and I spent time looking so closely at every part of her! Her hands looked like mine! Long fingers and big palms, and her thumb was shaped like mine! She looked like Brandon. The bridge of her nose was strong like his. Her hair was light, and this was a shocker! Her cheeks looked more like his than mine and her skin on her cheeks was so very soft. Perfect cheeks for kisses. I spent hours remembering her features and wrote them down in her journal so that way they would she would forever have a lasting impression on me!
We allowed family and friends to come in and hold her and spend time with us. I’ll never forget the support we had in the middle of the night on a Friday night or an early Saturday morning. We are so lucky to have the support around us that we do, because this moment wouldn’t have been possible without their support.
The nurses did a phenomenal job on all of our little keepsakes for Sawyer. We had so many things to take home to help remember her! One nurse, Ashley, who I just recently leaned had lost a baby of her own, went and bought a beautiful outfit for Sawyer. We took her pictures in this outfit. I was so thankful to have something of her own to place on her and that’s exactly what Ashley wanted for us.
We spend the next few hours with our baby until it was time to finally say goodbye. Goodbye was so hard but necessary for us. I wasn’t prepared for that moment but I feel that Brandon and I made it through goodbye just as we had everything else. We just relied on one another and trusted in God’s plan for us.
Later that night, we were ready to go home. We had been in the hospital since Thursday evening and we were just ready to go to our own space. It’s hard being in a hospital that is focused on baby births and your arms are empty. So I was ready to escape and go to my own happy place. My house also had its own obstacles waiting for me that I hadn’t quite considered though.
When we arrived home there was food everywhere! I know Brandon was happy about that! I didn’t really have much of an appetite and I think I lived off of some awesome cupcakes for a few days! The smell of fresh flowers filled my house. It was pretty late, so we went to bed right after we nibbled on some goodies.
It was very cold outside so our house was a bit chilly. We said our prayers together and cried together. The cry I had during this time was something I had never heard before. I’m really not sure how to describe it, but it was just a different sound. The emptiness I felt was pretty awful. I longed so badly to have her back in my arms and even back in my belly. This longing feeling is very difficult to explain but it was the most pain I had ever experienced. It was so deep. It was so heavy. We had a blanket that our sweet friend, Margo, made for us. We used it in her pictures and we kept her wrapped in it. So during these moments when I wanted her back and I missed her, I would hold her blanket. I actually slept with her blanket for a long time and it remained in my room for about a year or so.
While sleeping over one of the first few nights home, I noticed that Brandon and I would have to be touching one another all night. I would randomly wake up to us holding hands, me holding his arm or him holding on to me. I thought this was so sweet! It was just a representation of how much we relied on one another. And this continued on for months as we worked through how to grieve the most precious life we had ever known.
You have shown me the way of life, and you fill me with the joy of your presence.