Last Friday, I had a Stillbirth.
I found out that I was pregnant on December 19, 2015. It was a surprise pregnancy. I was still in high school, and my baby's father and I were just friends who had a moment of hormonal passion two weeks earlier. Needless to say, I was in a sticky situation, but I already felt this deep love for my child, and I got excited for motherhood. My due date was August 25, 2016.
On March 19, we found out that my budding belly was protecting and nurturing a baby GIRL. We were all so ecstatic! My favorite musician is Norah Jones, and I've always adored her name. Therefore, we decided that Norah was a perfect name for our daughter. Her daddy always had a thing for mythology (or legends or whatever), specifically King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. He picked out a name from that, which was Guinevere. I was unsure of it at first, but grew to love it. Our daughter would be Norah Guinevere.
On July 7, I turned 33 weeks pregnant. I didn't feel her move much in the morning, and I didn't feel her at all that evening. As a FTM, I was super nervous and worried about my Norah. I called my midwife and told her what was going on, and said to drink some cold juice and do kick counts. My little girl did not budge.
We went into the clinic and my midwife couldn't find Norah's heartbeat with the doppler. She went and got a more experienced midwife and she tried to find it. She couldn't find it, either. So they decided to do an ultrasound and told me that Norah could be lying in an awkward position that would make her heart difficult to hear.
I was devastated by this point. My mom was crying. Norah's father was pacing and probably screaming in his head. The ultrasound was performed, and my midwife said, "I don't see any movement in her heart. I don't think she's alive anymore, sweetheart."
My world shattered. It had been such a tough year and Norah was the only thing that brought me joy and provided hope in the coming years. But she was dead.
We discussed our options. We decided to go home for one final evening with Norah, and come back later that night for an induction. When we got home, I took a shower. I held my belly that held the corpse of everything I ever wanted. The water cascaded over my emotionally exhausted body and I sobbed.
We went back to the birth center and I started Pitocin and they broke my water. I labored for nine hours. I gave birth to her at 8:07 a.m. on July 8, 2016. She was stillborn into warm water. I caught her and brought her up to my chest. The room was silent. I looked at her face the first time and broke the painful silence by whispering, "She's perfect."
She weighed 4 pounds, 2 ounces. She was 17 inches long. She would have been a big baby! She had my nose, my pout, her daddy's eyes, and my mom's ears and chin. She had a full head of brown hair, and long fingers and toes. We saw that she had passed due to a knot in the umbilical cord. She was absolutely stunning.
We held her. Sang to her. Kissed her. Took a ton of photos with her. For the first and last time.
Since he will never give her away at her wedding, it was important for her daddy to give her away to the funeral home.
We held her memorial today. It was hard. I'm not okay yet, but I will get there, eventually.
If I were a painter
I would paint my reverie
If that's the only way for you to be with me
We'd be there together
Just like we used to be
Underneath the swirling skies for all to see
And I'm dreaming of a place
Where I could see your face
And I think my brush would take me there
If I were a painter
And could paint a memory
I'd climb inside the swirling skies to be with you
I'd climb inside the skies to be with you
"Painter Song" by Norah Jones