On Saturday July 2, 2011, my daughter Jolie was born after spending just 23 weeks and 5 days in gestation at around 5 pm. After waking up in pain (which I later realized was labor ) and two trips to the hospital that morning, in which I was cleared both times to go home, my water broke in the bathroom at my sisters house. As everyone scrambled in horror and panic to get me to the hospital, my body immediately began to push her out before my sister could get me cleaned up. Before I knew it, baby was born as I sat on the couch into her fathers arms as my sister called 911.
Jolie was born alive, and I watched her wiggle her fingers and toes. Because her lungs weren't developed enough, she didn' cry. She was so beautiful. The ambulance quickly arrived, cut the umbilical cord and had my husband wrap her up with a towel before whisking her away to the ambulance. I was quickly wrapped up as well and wheeled to the ambulance to an entire block of onlookers. We arrived at my hospital within the minute and my husband quickly carried our daughter to the awaiting doctors in the emergency room. I was wheeled into the emergency room where the entire staff stared at me in disbelief before I was quickly surrounded by doctors and nurses - two of which had sent me home earlier. I felt like I was in a movie or dreaming. My shirt was being cut off me, IV's stuck in my arm and I was being asked a million questions only responding by asking if my baby was ok. I was told she was doing great and breathing on her own.
I was sent to the recovery room where all my family and friends quickly joined me. At this point because I was being told how great she was doing, I was mentally preparing my mind to having to have her stay for the next few months at a nearby hospital that specialized in premature babies. A short while later, two doctors came in and instructed everyone except the baby's parents to leave and that's when I knew things took a turn for the worse. I was told that because she was born so early, her body was starting to shut down and she wasn't responding to anything. I asked if she would make it through the night, and the doctor shook his head no. I can't remember the rest of the conversation as my husband and I both broke down at that point. I had the doctors tell my awaiting family and friends who came back into the room crying. At another point I was asked if we wanted to see her, and was taken by wheelchair to her. She was hooked up to a million machines and there was blood all over the table. I was told her organs were shutting down and she was bleeding out. I kept hearing the blood pressure machine dropping. I held her hand and smiled because I couldn't believe this was the little girl I'd been growing in my body...and then I cried because I knew she was dying. I was taken back to my room. After a while everyone left after they prayed...I can't remember if the doctors told them to leave..or my dad...I was in my own world. I had a nurse come into to help me go to bathroom and at that point the doctor came in again, I knew he was coming to tell me that she died. I saw him talk to my husband who turned his back to me, and then he left. When I got back in bed I asked my husband if she was gone and he told me yes. I can't remember if I cried. The doctor came back in and told me that she "expired at 9:56pm". I cried. I don't remember what happened after that.
A little while later I was asked if we wanted to spend time with her. I said no. In my mind, there was no way I could see my dead baby. A short time later I was asked again, we were told that parents are helped with closure by doing so, I said yes this time. At some point the nurse brought her in on the little cart. She was dressed in an outfit and still had the breathing tube in her mouth. The nurse gave her to me and after one look I said I couldn't do it and handed her to my husband. He talked to her and gave her a kiss. Finally I felt ok. I held her, kissed her, told her I loved her and cried. She looked so peaceful. She just looked like she was sleeping. But I knew she wasn't going to wake up. After a while it became too much and I had the nurse take her. I wish I spent more time with her and I wish I did have the nurse take a picture of the three of us like she asked.
Jolie was cremated a few weeks later and her autopsy showed she died only because she was born extremely prematurely - no infection.
Since Jolie's birth and passing, I've attended therapy and was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I've become focused more than ever on my Faith and positivity to help me cope. I'm lucky to have an incredible support system consisting of family, friends and you, my blog readers.
I will always grieve my daughter. No other child can take her place. I will always wonder who she would have become and all the plans I had for her will never happen. I do take solace in the fact that her soul is still very much alive and she sometimes visits me in my dreams.
She's my guardian angel.
If you'd like to read more about my story, please click the links below:
"God has a reason for
allowing things to happen.
We may never understand his
wisdom, but we simply have to
trust his will"