Posted by: Jayme | May 9, 2007

Thoughts…

Elora’s been on my mind so much lately. She’d be a year old next month if she lived. I can’t believe almost an entire year has gone by. Last year around this time, we took the kids to Myrtle Beach for a long weekend, right before the boys left for NY. It was a good trip, lots of fun. I remember thinking that it really was going to be the last trip we took with all of us before she was born, and then we’d have to lug all the newborn paraphernalia with us when we went anywhere. I thought I had all summer to get ready for her, so that when the boys came back for the school year, all that would be left was to give birth. I dreamed of having her at home, instead of a hospital birth. Of course, I didn’t even know she was a girl at that point… we hadn’t found out at the ultrasound and my instinct (and Lili!) was leaning towards boy.

I can’t believe how much has happened since then. The hospital, the girls in NY, the c-section… driving to Wilmington every day just to look at her, and touch her hand. It was six weeks before I even got to hold her, but I went every day. I loved sitting there and just staring at her, talking to her. I couldn’t wait to bring her home, she had such an awesome little personality. I wanted to know more of her.

Then the day before she died- I had spent the afternoon with some friends, reconnecting, being a grown up for a little while. I had planned on visiting Elora that evening, after the shift change, hoping I could hold her during her touch time. That morning she had been doing so well- they were so happy with her progress. And the next thing I know, I’m driving as fast as I can down to the NICU, hoping to get there to see her before they brought her in for emergency surgery.

After that, everything is a blur, it was such chaos. I sat up with her almost the whole night. The next day, Aaron and the kids all drove down. I wouldn’t leave. We had all five kids there with us, it was touch and go. Meetings with the doctors… pumping her with a million things trying to make her better… and her just laying there, miserable, not herself, so swollen, just getting worse.

We knew we needed to spend the night near her again… we hadn’t eaten… and the kids were restless from sitting in the waiting room all day. Shift change was coming up- so Aaron took half the kids back to the house for clothes, diapers, whatever we needed to stay the night near Elora… and I took two biggest ones to dinner, I didn’t want to go far. I had to be close to her.

I set the boys up in the waiting room after we ate and went back in to see her. She was worse. Before I knew it, before Aaron even got back to us, her body gave out. I stood there, my heart breaking, watching them do chest compressions, trying to get her heart beating again. I saw the looks of the doctors and nurses, the frustration because nothing was working, and the tears in their eyes. I couldn’t watch it anymore, that wasn’t my baby laying there, not my little fighter. She was gone. I just wanted to hold her, let her go, stop her pain.

I don’t know how long I held her, sitting in the rocking chair they brought out for me. I don’t know how many of the NICU staff came over and told me how sorry they were, how surprised they were that she was gone. One of them called Aaron’s cell phone and told him. He was driving to the hospital. I can’t imagine what he was thinking, feeling, when he got that call. Then I remembered I had two kids in the waiting room that I had to tell.

If I could have stayed in that rocking chair and held her forever, I would have. Instead, I remember going out to tell Ethan and Evan… and them hugging me and us all just crying. Then Aaron and the rest of the kids got there… and he went in to see Elora, to hold her one last time. I held her for a few more minutes after Aaron. I remember kissing her forehead one last time, and it was cold, when it had been warm and full of life such a short time before. She was really gone. She wasn’t coming home. And it all happened before she was even due to be born.

I don’t understand why this happened to us. We loved her and wanted her so much. All I know is suddenly now, almost a year later, the grief is hitting me so hard that it’s overwhelming, like it happened yesterday. For some reason, her death is that much more real to me right now than Connor’s, even though his is more recent. I can barely focus on him. It just feels like a dream, like it happened to someone else, or in another lifetime.

I suppose I just need time. Time to grieve, time to realize it really did happen to us, again. Time to heal, and to figure out how we’re going to move forward from this. Time to think, to try to figure out why. Time to learn how to live with the fact we’ve lost yet another much wanted and loved child.

How can I do this a for third time when I’m still struggling with the second?

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