Our little baby girl Lauralyn Emily Graf was born yesterday evening. She was able to spend 6 hours on this earth fighting for her life till she went home to be with a more peaceful world.
So in a nutshell leading up to the event, I started having some really low pressure in the afternoon followed by the start of contractions. I called the doctor on call and he suggested that we go into the hospital. We got there and admitted at 4:50 and lots of pain and frustration and rushing later the baby was born at 5:57 pm. It was very fast, but probably very easy. She came super fast. It hurt A LOT of course but we were grateful at how "ease" it went considering she was breech and came out but first. Good thing she was small. She was 2 pounds and 13 inches long. Very small.
They immediately pulled her over to the little warming bed and worked on her for about 20 minutes. The doctor in charge of her came over three different times to tell me it was not going well. It was like she was asking me to tell them to stop trying. I felt a little confused though. I heard them say they did have a heartbeat and I could tell they were still working and that she was surviving, so I don’t know why she would ask me that. Yes keep going, do everything as long as needed. The only thing I could see was them doing chest compressions. She looked so little.
They finally got her to a point where they could take her into the NICU to get her onto a ventilator and try to get her doing better.
Mom and dad came in shortly after that. They said they wanted to be there with us, and I am glad they came. I am glad they got to share all of this with us. The Dr. in charge of her in the NICU came in a could times to tell us what was going on. She said that she was on the ventilator and that they would be watching her heart which had gone up at that point, and her oxygen exchange, which was not great but went up over the next couple hours. However they were concerned about the blood ph because it was really a struggle to get oxygen even started into her.
The next few hours were really a whirl. It went pretty fast in a way. I felt pretty calm and we just waited. We went down to see her in the NICU at about 8:30. I was not super alarmed at all the wires and machinery as might be expected, it was actually less than I thought it might be. I was actually shocked at how little she was and how much I didn’t recognize her. I was sitting in a wheel chair so I didn’t get a great look at her or anything but she almost didn’t feel like mine. I didn’t touch her, I didn’t know if I was allowed to. The nurse talked to us about her and that her stats were going up. We didn’t stay very long. It was kind of weird. This whole thing has just kind of been so distant, almost like I am watching it happen. I haven’t felt a lot of deep anything yet.
We went back to a new room and shortly after that I sent Charles and dad back to give her a blessing. I felt like that was important. Charles recorded it on my phone and we all sat and got to listen to that. The only thing that stood out to me is that he mentioned that the angles might be able to come be with her. I think I kind of knew at that moment that that meant she needed to go home. I didn’t really let myself think that. I have been so calm through this whole thing and that can be mislead as hope I think. Not long after the blessing the doctor from NICU came in and said that she was declining and that she would keep us updated. At that moment I felt almost an urgency to go back and see her. I hadn’t even talked to her. I hadn’t touched her, and I hadn’t told her that I loved her. Moments later they called us to come down right away. We did and there was a bustle of people around her giving her things and doing compressions and bag breathing for her. I think that was the moment it all hit me and I started to cry. I knew we were on our way down. The doctor talked to us and told us there was also something a little off with her spine. She had some contractures anyway from being so squished in the womb with no fluid and that might have led to some problems physically. But they also found a vertebra that was askew in her spine. I am not sure what that meant. They think it might have been a chromosomal problem. We won’t know that for a week or so. I got to touch her little head and talk to her. I told her that her mommy was there and that I loved her and that we were so glad she got to come be with us. They had to give her two more shots of epinephrine to get her heart rate back up. But her oxygen was down again and the ph was dropping again. The doctor said that this is normally what happens. They are able to get a baby into the NICU and they see a slight elevation in the stats for a while but then their little bodies just can’t sustain it and they give out. She said that basically they have just been applying a band aid to a really big wound. There were drastic measures that could be taken but not really with any extra hope that it would help and I think I knew right away it wasn’t right for them to be cutting into her.
We went back to the room and I got a blessing. Dad blessed us with the ability to be calmed by our decision and not second guess or feel inadequate but to know what was right. I think we had both actually decided before the blessing to let her go. That was the worst moment. To have to say those words and say that we weren’t going to try anymore. But while she was talking to us about the more serious problems these thoughts came across my mind. I thought what a blessing modern medicine is. But if this little baby would have been born 30 or 50 years ago, she never would have even made it that far. She never would have been meant to survive. I kind of felt like, maybe this is just more than she needs to handle. Maybe it was never meant to be.
A few more minutes later they called us down again. We told them we were going to just let her go. I just wanted to touch her and hold her and I could tell Charles did too. He kept a hold of her little foot like he wanted her to know we were there. They showed us back to a little room and they unhooked her and brought her back to us so we could be a lone with her. She was the tiniest little thing all bundled up in a blanket. I was worried, I didn’t know if she was gone right away or if she was still with us a little. But after a minute I could tell she was still with us. She still had some little body jerks and she was warm and looked good. We all got to hold her and we told her that her name was Lauralyn Emily Graf and that we were so happy she came to be with us for even just a little while. Then mom and dad came in and we asked them to help us sing a song for her. We sang her I have a Family Here on Earth. I knew I wanted to sing her a song that is what I do to calm my kids. I couldn’t think of which one until right before they brought her in and I knew it was right. We all struggled through it and I don’t think it was real musically astounding, but I wanted her to know those words and that we couldn’t wait to be with her again. Then dad started singing Sleep Sleep till the darkness Ends. I don’t even know if that is the title, but that song seamed really appropriate as well. Then everyone took a turn holding her. Charles told her that we were releasing her to go to sleep and rest and go home now. We sat a little while longer and also sang I am a Child of God. The doctor came in once and told us her heart beat was really low, and then came in a while later and we all knew she was gone. It was so amazing to be able to hold her and be with her in those last moments. I am so grateful that she was able to fight long enough for us to be able to have that with her. I hope she will always know how much we love her. I just know that she needed to be with us for a little while. It felt so right. I hope she has great work to do.
She felt like my babies. When I got to kiss her and hold her little hand. She felt just like when I have done that with my kids. That was amazing. Mom and I both think she looked a lot like Ethan and we both feel that this little girl will be super close to Ethan in some way. They are less than a year and a half apart and I think there will be a strong bond between them somehow. I am a little sad to tell Audrey about all this. She is old enough to understand and she was starting to get excited about it. I am going to have to take down the crib in our room now and tell her the new baby won’t be coming. That makes me really sad for some reason. I was starting to really be ok and excited about having this little baby with us. But, honestly, I think we know that this was the right decision. I never would choose to have my kids have a life of hardship and misery. And I wonder if that is what it might have been. I am just so eternally grateful to know that she is being taken care of and that she can watch over me and hopefully help her mommy to be a better person!
Mom bought this for me for my birthday to fill a much wanted request for an original nice piece of church artwork. She brought it over today to give to us early. It immediately brought tears to my eyes at how appropriate and perfect this it. I hope that this is the peace she feels now!