Behind our smiles, there are tears. Through laughter there is sorrow. Joy is short lived and clouded by darkness. We cling to hope but our faith is shaken and weak. We march on because we have to, but we have no idea where we are going. We are lost souls wandering through darkness. We pray for the light to come in the dark lonely night….but it doesn’t. Anxiety and fear follow us in the shadows, we are exhausted and weary but live to see another day and we pray the new day is better than the last.
Early 2015 things were spinning out of control. Amanda was in a bad place. Her car broke down, she lost her job, every day it seemed like she was calling me to fix something that had gone wrong. I felt like I could not handle one more thing.
One early morning she wasn’t feeling well and her roommate had taken her to the hospital. A few hours later, the phone rings, I see it is Amanda and pick up the call. “Mom, are you sitting down?” My heart sank with worry and anxiety. “I’m pregnant.” Stunned, I reacted shamefully. I hung up on her! I didn’t know what else to do. I was filled with shock, rage, fear.
So many thoughts were running through my mind as I paced through the house. I was thinking “well this is great! you have no job, no car, your roommate is about to kick you out AND you’re pregnant. Fantastic!! You can’t take care of yourself! A baby…are you kidding me?” It took time for me to process it all. I am not proud of how I handled the news. She was scared and alone and I had abandoned her.
A few days later I picked up the phone and called her, “Are you ok?” “No” she replied. We had a painful conversation about choices. We had decisions to make.
After much thought and discussion we decided she would stay at a group home, a place for unwed mothers. It was a program to assist them getting back on their feet so they were able to care for the children when they were born.
It was a hard decision, painful to drop your daughter off with a suitcase, a few dollars and count on the kindness of strangers. But, we felt it was best for her to be involved in this program. As I watched her walk away from the car as we said goodbye, tears streaming down my face, I was deeply saddened, yet hopeful.
She had a job at a maternity store and was saving her money for an apartment. She was going to church every Sunday and growing into motherhood. She was glowing and the healthiest and happiest I had seen her in years! Perhaps this unplanned pregnancy wasn’t so bad after all. I was so proud of her and as her precious bump grew, our love for Emberly grew. What a blessing!
Our hearts were full of hope and excitement. She was working the program at the Hanna Home, she had saved enough money for her first apartment, the place she and Emberly would call home. What a change I had seen in her. The day she walked into the rental office to pay her deposit my eyes were filled with tears but this time it was different, they were happy tears.
We had her baby shower, and decorated the bedroom and nursery. The crib was up, the diaper and hospital bags packed and ready. Nine months of excitement and anticipation. The outpouring from family friends at her baby shower, was something I will never forget. Everyone knew this pregnancy was unplanned and she was to be a single mom but this little Angel was loved and welcomed by all.
The last month of her pregnancy there were several trips to the emergency room, she had pretty bad headaches, her blood pressure was occasionally high, she was increasingly uncomfortable (as expected) and some false labor. We were always reassured, little Emberly was just fine.
October 30, 2015 we went to her final follow up appointment. She was uncomfortable and her blood pressure was elevated. She mentioned to the nurse, Emberly had frequent hiccups, her back and hip had started to bother her and she had to quit working a few weeks prior. She asked about being induced, but they didn’t feel it was necessary. They sent her to labor and delivery due to the elevated blood pressure and kept her for a few hours. I had to leave for work so I told her to call my husband to pick her up later.
After being monitored for a few hours, some rest and lying on her side, her blood pressure was stable and she was again reassured Emberly was fine and she was sent home. (no songogram)
She came to our home that evening. We had a fun and relaxing night. We ordered a pizza and baked peanut butter cookies. After eating, she mentioned that she hadn’t felt Emberly kicking after dinner and usually after sugary treats Emberly was active. I reassured her, we were at the doctor and hospital that day, the doctors said she was fine. I mentioned she was probably running out of room to move or napping in preparation for the big day. She stayed the night in the room I had prepared for babysitting my new grandchild.
October 31, 2015 she texted from the basement. She was having contractions. We called the doctor and she had also mentioned she hadn’t felt the baby move since yesterday. The doctor instructed her to get to the hospital.
We grabbed her bags and off we went. Was she in labor for real this time? Was something wrong?
I pushed her in a wheelchair as she was having a hard time walking, she was checked in and the nurse came in to place the heart monitor. Our hearts sank, as the nurse struggled to find Emberlys heart beat. “Where do they normally place the monitor?” she asked. “right there…” Amanda replied as her eyes filled with worry and tears. I reassured her once again, relax….It’s going to be ok.
The words, you don’t want to hear at this point from the nurse, “I’m going to get the doctor.” The doctor arrives, quickly greets us and immediately uses the sonogram monitor, as he is rolling the wand over her belly, I watch his face, his body language. I look at the monitor which is placed right on Emberly’s heart. There is no blood flowing, no beating. Nothing!! He utters the words, “I’m sorry…there is no heart beat.”
We cry out “no, no!” What? this has to be a mistake! We just saw you yesterday! Everything was fine! How can this be? What happened!?” We are now in complete shock! We are both screaming and crying out in anguish, “No, no, no… God why? WHY?!?”
The next few minutes as we cry and are in a complete panic, we began making random desperate phone calls. My husband, my mother, Amanda’s father, my sisters and some close friends. We are in a complete state of confusion, and those that answered our calls were shocked and confused as well. It’s so hard for me to even write this, my thoughts are almost as confused now, as they were then. It’s hard to remember the sequence of events from here. The nurses and doctor explain what happens next and we are forced to make decisions no parent or grandparent should ever have to make.
Do you want an autopsy? Do you want to be induced or go home until labor progresses? You will go through natural childbirth, no C section. We will send some grief support in, we can get a photographer so you can have pictures of your baby. We will give you some time to decide….
We are in a fog. Shock, disbelief, and the most gutwrenching pain any human will ever experience. Amanda is transported to a different wing of the labor and delivery floor. We are provided an extra room for family and friends to gather.
Our day of joy is now a day of mourning. Our visitors will come not to celebrate but to offer condolences. We now have to decide if we want to have a funeral for our sweet Emberly. She will never come home with us.
God Bless, thanks for reading and sharing our journey. I’m not a professional, just a mom, be gentle. Please remember to share, like and comment.