I have finally been able to complete the story of Chiara's delivery. It is just a day shy of six weeks since we lost her. Mondays continue to be excruciating (the day we learned she was gone). Tuesdays are a challenge, too (the day I delivered her). Here is our story:
What a strange thing to wait around your house for the hospital to call, waiting for them to tell you it's time to come deliver your dead baby. In between the sobbing and the worried calls from friends and family and nebulizer treatments for your sick toddler you are sitting on your couch, in time that feels unreal. And then the call doesn't come. So you have to call them. Then you find out that the worst thing you'll ever have to do is scheduled for 1:30pm that day.
We said our goodbyes to our son and my Mom who would watch him for the night, packed our bags into the car, and left for Boston. We waited in the labor and delivery waiting room. The charge nurse came and got us and brought us into the delivery room. The sight of the baby warmer sent me immediately into tears, made it more real that our little girl would not need to be warmed. We were seen by the doctor from our practice and by a labor and delivery nurse who specializes in cases of infant loss. I was glad to have her with us to guide our way. Around 2pm I started the first round of Cytotec for induction. In the next hours we were visited many times by the doctor and nurse, by a social worker, and by the anesthesiologist. We confirmed our plans for an autopsy with cremation to follow. We discussed names for the baby. We settled on Chiara Astra. Chiara is the first part of my Grandmother's maiden name, Chiaravalotti. It means clear and bright. Astra means star. Her name means clear, bright star. We had thought of Chiara early on in my pregnancy, but had vetoed it because it felt very girly. For our daughter who will always be a baby, it was perfect.
After several more rounds of Cytotec, around 7pm, I started to feel heavy cramping. By 8pm I was in a lot of pain and asked for pain medication. I did not want an epidural. I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to needles in the back. They gave me Nubain, which is pretty weird stuff. It dulled, but did not eliminate the pain. It also made me emotionless and a little out of it. After the Nubain, I was able to sleep a little.
I woke around 11:40pm to a different sensation in my belly, not so much pain as pressure and movement. Then my water broke. I had a c-section with my first pregnancy, so I wasn't prepared for what this felt like, for the warmth. Of course the fluid would be warm from my body, but I hadn't considered that, so it was a surprise. My husband called the nurse. The baby came easily. As the doctor examined her, she noted that the her umbilical cord was quite narrow as it entered her body, and that the cord was very twisted. The nurse went to untwist the cord, but the doctor said to leave it, as it would be important for them to look at it during the autopsy.
The nurse wrapped our baby in a blanket we had brought and we held her immediately. She was only 6.4 oz. and 7 inches long. She was fully formed. I loved her feet and was amazed at her long legs. I had been very afraid of how she would look, but it did not matter. She was my baby, and I wanted to hold her. We took photos, and I am glad we did. They are so sad, we look just devastated, but I am grateful to have them. On the days when I just can't believe what's happened to us, they are helpful. We sang to her, The Rainbow Connection, her big brother's favorite song. She had probably heard it every night that she grew inside me. The nurse took her to measure and dress her and then brought her back. She stayed with us all night in our room.
I woke in the morning around 6am and just wanted to get home. We were able to leave the hospital around 10am and we said our last goodbyes to Chiara immediately before leaving. I hated watching them wheel her away. I longed to have her back inside me.