I started having some contractions on Monday, September 29. I wasn't sure if they were contractions or not because they were so sporadic and strange. It felt like she could have been just pushing and stretching out, but looking back on it, they were contractions. They increased a little on Tuesday, and then became more regular on Wednesday. I had planned on starting my maternity leave on Thursday, giving myself a day to relax and then having an appointment on Friday and thinking I could be induced on Monday, if necessary. So when I started having contractions on Wednesday, Josh and I laughed because it was like she waited until 1) it was October, and 2) I had finally mentally let go of work responsibilities.
When I got home from work Wednesday, Josh and I were both so excited and relieved that we would finally be meeting our little girl soon! We went out to eat at Texas Roadhouse, and Josh timed the contractions while we ate, about every 7-8 minutes apart. We went home and watched some TV. I listened to my HypnoBabies tracks and tried to relax and get comfortable. At about 11:30pm, Josh called the on-call doctor to see when we should come in because my contractions were about 5 minutes apart. He said to come in when they were 3 minutes apart and were taking my breath away each time. The rest of the night was pretty restless...I remember laying on the couch and Josh rushing around trying to make sure everything was ready.
At around 5:30am, we left for the hospital. We parked, grabbed our bags, and went into the maternity ward. We had to wait about 10 minutes before a nurse coming to get us. She brought us back to a room and pulled out the doppler to check the heartbeat. She had a really hard time finding it, but I did not think twice about this because it usually took our midwife a little while to find it because Sloane moved around so much. The nurse told us that she couldn't find the heartbeat, but that she would get the doctor to check for it. Again, I still wasn't very worried. The doctor came in and couldn't find it either. I remember her looking at me and saying, "I'm so sorry, Sarah." I still didn't believe it though, I was sure that Sloane was just being sneaky and these two were just not finding it right away. Josh must have understood the severity of the situation, though, because he immediately gave me a blessing. The only thing I remember from the blessing was that I would be healed, whether that be physically, spiritually, or emotionally.
We went into another room to have an ultrasound. I closed my eyes because I knew if there were good news, people would tell me, but I could not bear to look at the sadness in people's faces if there were bad news. No one said anything, except repeating that there was no heartbeat. Still in shock, I headed back to the first room, but on the way down the hallway, it hit me that we had lost our baby girl, and I started sobbing.
A lot of the time after this is a blur. We made our way into a permanent room upstairs in the high risk unit. The midwife that was working that day, Sharon, talked us through what the day would look like. Although I had planned on having a natural birth, I knew there was no way I could do that anymore. I got an epidural pretty quickly, and that improved the physical aspect of everything a lot. I was able to rest some the rest of that day. They started pitocin around noon to speed things up. It was a pretty awful day. Josh was by my side the whole time, and I think we were both in a state of shock and despair the whole day.
They started to ease off the epidural around 7pm, and I started to push about 8:30pm. It was pretty awful. I was doing ok at first, but then it just seemed to last so long, and I was so tired, and it hurt so bad. I thought I was going to explode and I wanted to give up but I knew the only way for it to stop was for me to keep going. I had Josh on my left hand, the nurse on my right hand, and the doctor below. Finally, at 10:09pm on October 2, 2014, our dear Sloane was born. Physically, I felt instant relief and gratitude that that part was over.
They cleaned Sloane off a little bit and Josh brought her into me. She was absolutely beautiful and perfect. She weighed 7 lbs. 14 oz. and was 20 inches long. After she was born, the doctor showed us her umbilical cord--it had been wrapped around her neck twice, had a "true knot," and was clotted. The true knot is most likely what caused her death. Sloane's head had been tilted up during the delivery, so she was bruised and scratched pretty badly, but that didn't matter to me when seeing her. I finally got to hold the perfect little baby that I had carried for so long and wondered about every day and night. I anticipated this time to be very difficult, but it was so precious and sacred. We knew she was there with us, even though she was not with her body anymore.
Josh and I got to spend that night and the following morning with her. One of our friends came that night and made molds of her hands. We held her, talked to her, told her how much we loved her and were going to miss her, and enjoyed every second of our short time there. In the morning, a professional photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep came and took pictures of her and us. Again, this was a very special time-the lighting was beautiful and it felt like we had a small slice of heaven in our room that morning.
We decided we were ok to leave around 2pm. We had reached the point where we were at peace with the fact that she was no longer with her body.
Driving away from the hospital was awful. We had the carseat in the back of the car, but no baby in it. I had no baby in my arms as I was wheeled out of the hospital. And we were going home to a nursery that would never have Sloane in it. I don't know how we made it home safely, because I'm pretty sure we both cried the whole way home.
Again, the next few days are a blur. We met with a funeral director and a cemetery manager. We had friends pick out a white dress for her to be buried in. My mom picked out flowers for the casket. People started bringing us food. So many things that had to be done that were not easy--I felt like I was just going through the motions.
We had her service on Tuesday, October 7 at All Saints Cemetery in Wilmington, DE. It was simple, small, and beautiful with just a few close friends and family. Josh and I both said a few words, along with our bishop. We sang a couple of hymns and buried our little girl.
Now we are just surviving. I don't really know where to go from here, or how to keep going. I know we will, and I know we will be ok. I know I will never be the same-she changed me and who I am forever. I am so grateful for her...grateful to be her mom, grateful that she made Josh a dad, and grateful that she will be spared from the difficulties of this world. But I am also sad...so sad that she is not in my arms now, sad that we do not get to know her personality now, sad that we will not have her in this life, and sad for all of the time I will miss her. So for now, this is my new life, a constantly changing state of emotions.