On January 30th, 2015, we discovered we were pregnant with our “rainbow baby”. She was the promise we had waited for after 4 miscarriages. Most of you have read my previous blog posts about our history trying to grow our family, so I will leave out all of those details this time around. I’ll pick back up at 26 weeks gestation when we went in for a routine check-up and discovered her heart rate was low. I had recently been “released” from having to see the other high-risk OB due to everything being perfect with this pregnancy. I was feeling good, healthy, and everything with her was the textbook pregnancy. I took all my prescribed medications and Heparin shots religiously. I almost couldn’t believe this was real life most of the time. My OB sent us to L&D to be put on a monitor. By the time we got there, her heart rate was in the 150’s and she was kicking so much they couldn’t get good readings. An ultrasound confirmed that she looked fine, her heart was working perfectly, and they had no concerns. She might have just been very soundly sleeping.
A few days later, I noticed I didn’t feel her moving quite as much, but also knew that babies tend to move some days more than others. I had been feeling bad all week, just much more tired than usual, so I thought she might be worn out as well! By Friday evening (the scare we had at the doctor’s office had been 4 days before on Monday), I expressed my concerns to Dustin. I was pretty sure I hadn’t felt her move all day. I took a shower, drank a bunch of water, then some orange juice. Still nothing. At that point we decided to go to the ER just to ease our minds. What we learned once we arrived, however, was every expectant parent’s worst nightmare. Our girl’s heart was no longer beating. She was gone. I couldn’t process it. In that moment I went numb and don’t think I really started feeling again for well over a week. For some reason, I get very matter-of-fact when these moments happen. The same thing happened with our previous losses. I have a delayed response or something. So while Dustin wanted answers as to what happened and why, I just calmly asked, “What is the next step”? The OB explained that they would send me home to rest (yeah right) and I would come back in the next afternoon for my labor to be induced. We went home to make phone calls to our family and prepare to bring our sweet baby girl into the world, in a way we could have never imagined.
The next two days were a blur. We had a very hard time getting my cervix to dilate, naturally, because it wasn’t ready for this. She was breach, which was also an issue in moving my labor along. I think they used about every method available to open my cervix. Several Laminaria sticks, a balloon catheter, 2 Misoprostol suppositories, and several bags of concentrated Pitocin later, my water finally broke and Miss Brynn Emerson Moore made her silent entrance into the world, butt first (she was a prankster from the very beginning), on 7/13/15 at 2:34 pm. She weighed 1 lb, 15 oz. and was 13 ½ inches long. I had worried so much since we found out she was gone as to what she would look like. I didn’t think I would be able to bear it if she looked “bad”, which Dr. Briere warned us she might, depending on how long it had been since she passed away. To our delight, she was impeccable (which actually means both flawless AND incapable of sin…she was absolutely both of those). All of her body parts were so perfectly formed from her head to her little sweet toes. She looked just like her daddy with wavy blonde hair (he had that when he was a child). She had his nose and chin and the most beautiful dark red lips I’ve ever seen on a baby. My mom even got out my baby pictures to compare to hers to find some similarities. None! All that work on my part and she didn’t get anything from me! J
I remember the moment they placed her in my arms, my first words to Dustin were, “she looks just like a Brynn!” We don’t even know a Brynn. Haha. The next 8 hours were spent with our angel. We held her, kissed her, talked to her, and loved her with everything we had. Her grandparents and a few close friends held her. I wish everyone we knew could have come to see her. Dustin gave her all of what he thought was the most important information in life she needed to know. I came out of the bathroom once and they were looking out the window talking about the weather. I can’t describe what I was feeling during this time. I was so overwhelmed with joy at being able to finally see and touch her, our baby, the baby we had prayed for so long. I couldn’t have loved Dustin more as I watched him hold her. But there was also the looming feeling of dread because at some point, the funeral home was going to show up to take her. I tried harder than I’ve ever tried before to live in the moment. We took so many pictures. A photographer from “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” came and took newborn photos. I will cherish those for the rest of my days. The funniest things would go through my mind during those 8 hours. There would be a loud noise and I would look at her to make sure it didn’t wake her. I rocked her just like I would to comfort a living baby. I tried to clean her face and wipe her nose so she would be presentable. I suppose all those instincts just come in no matter what the circumstance when you become a mom. I kissed her so many times I lost count. I wanted to memorize every detail because I knew it was the only chance we had to get to know our baby.
The time finally came when we had to let her go. I have never and don’t think I will ever feel as much agony as I felt in that moment. Out of everything we have experienced with her death, that was the absolute hardest thing we had to endure. I knew her spirit was with Jesus, but I would have taken her little body home with me if I could have. I felt like they were literally reaching into my chest, ripping out my heart, putting it in a blanket, and carrying it away. They prayed with us before we left. It was a beautiful moment, but all I could think of was, “please don’t ever end this prayer so I can keep holding her!” They let us choose if we wanted to leave first or if we wanted them to leave with her. For some reason, for us to leaving first felt like we were leaving her, so we chose to let them take her, our precious angel of a daughter, knowing we would never see her this side of heaven. It was so final and so, so heartbreaking.
When we arrived home, our house felt emptier than ever before. Although she had never been home, the realization that she was never coming home made it seem like there was so much more unfilled space now. We closed her nursery doors. I went in there and cried a lot for the first few days. I haven’t been back for a while. It’s a room that held so many hopes, dreams, and plans. The bucket with the leftover paint in her closet says “Brynn’s Room”. How can it ever be anything else? Her grandpa painted it for her. The clothes on hangers that Grammy bought are hers. What do we do with them? I don’t know if I could bear to ever let go of her first pair of purple Chuck Taylor’s! There is money in her piggy bank that I will probably never spend.
I was so fortunate to have my friend Amanda there with me, who lost her precious Adalyn in May of last year. She has recently moved to Lexington, but she came down to be with us every day. She offered to help us with the funeral arrangements as we were clueless. I am so thankful to her for taking that burden from us. We just weren’t in any shape to be planning our baby girl’s funeral at that moment. I really didn’t care about any of it and did not want to make any decisions. I never feared for one second that it wouldn’t be beautiful and perfect because I knew she would treat our Brynn as her very own. And she did. Her graveside service was amazing. Our pastor and great friend said the most beautiful words about her and I was able to feel such a peace and comfort I couldn’t have imagined experiencing while staring at my daughter’s tiny casket. It was so unreal. Another thing that eases my mind somehow is the fact that she is buried next to her friend Adalyn among a yard full of angel babies. I guess we don’t feel alone when we go out there because we see all the reminders that there are other parents who are walking around with the same broken hearts as us. Sometimes I will walk around and look at the other tiny graves and just cry for them and wish we would all show up to grieve our babies at the same time one day and I could hug them all and we could cry together.
The further I dive into this grief thing, the more confusing it becomes. On one hand, I wish there was a guide, maybe a formula, for the steps that I have to complete for x amount of time to reach the end-point of the grief. I want there to be a pill, potion, prayer, magic spell, neuralyzer (like in the movie “Men in Black”) that could erase my memory for the past few weeks. But on the other hand, I don’t. Because if I forget my pain, I would have to forget her. That’s not an option.
That’s the thing about grieving a person that you love so much. While I wish my heart wasn’t blown to smithereens, I will take it, because I got to know her. If you had told me in December that this would be the outcome, I would still have made the same decision. I would have gone through 27 weeks of pregnancy and those really rough 2 days of trying to deliver her just to hear her heart beating, feel her kicking in my belly, watch her being a wild child on the ultrasound screen, and hold her little lifeless body for 8 hours. I would do that labor and delivery every day for the rest of my life if it meant I could hold her again. I would have gladly taken her place. My mom said the same thing to me after she was born. I never knew that level of love could exist here on earth. And even though this love brought with it the most agonizing hurt I’ve ever felt, I feel so blessed and thankful to be able to experience it. Again, super confusing. I guess it’s true that love always wins, huh?
I do not think of her as the baby we lost. I remember her as the daughter we had. She isn’t lost. I know exactly where she is; in the arms of Jesus. And somehow He loves her more than me. Knowing how much I love her has given me a whole new outlook on the love of God. I still can’t fathom anything beyond what I feel for her, but I am in awe that there is something greater than me that has that magnitude of love and grace. I look for ways to honor her life and remember the goodness she brought to us. I think about her every minute of every day. I love to talk about her and look at her pictures. I believe the worst thing that could possibly happen is to forget her. More than anything, I want her life to mean something. It obviously means a tremendous amount to me because she made me a mom, but I pray that it is able to touch others and that she would be proud that I am her mom.
I am so glad that she never felt pain or knew fear. She felt the warmth and love of her mom and Jesus. All she has ever seen is pure beauty. That is the most comforting aspect of her loss. Although I would give anything to have her here, she will never be sick or get her heart broken (so her daddy with never have to go to jail for beating up some punk kid)! She will never feel the pain of loss that we feel right now. I couldn’t imagine having to watch her suffer. She is truly in a better and safer place than even her own mother’s arms; it is such a blessing to have this hope and know that I will hold her again someday! Until then, I will see her in the sunshine, feel her in the breeze, and know she is with me in every beautiful thing.