November 1, 2015 I was awakened by a nurse coming into the room to check on Amanda. Labor was progressing and it was time to get the doctor. She was administered the epidural. Labor was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. The usual excitement of childbirth already overshadowed by death. How do you even breathe?
I noticed hives on Amandas back, I had seen those before as she has many allergies. I brought it to the nurses attention. I struggle to remember now if it was the epidural or something else they gave her. Then her blood pressure dropped dangerously low and she almost passed out. They administered benadryl through the IV. Her vital signs were not stable. For a minute as I watched the monitors I was worried and in disbelief watching the doctors and nurses scramble to get her stabilized. It was scary “please God, Emberly is gone, don’t take my baby too.” I prayed. I kept my eyes on her occasionally glancing at the doctor. He seemed confident the situation was under control, he didn’t ask those of us in the room to leave, so the rational part of my brain was telling me it was going to be ok.
She was stabilized and things calmed down a bit then it was time for her to push. I can’t explain what it felt like to watch your daughter going through something so tragic. Here she was a young mother who had carried her baby girl for 9 months, just to say hello and goodbye. She was so brave. She did everything they told her. With every push knowing, the end result.
They allowed some family members to stay in the room with us, and I am so glad because if it was just the two of us, I don’t know if I could have done it alone. My sisters and niece were there. They encouraged her to keep pushing. She was crowning it won’t be long now just a few more big pushes baby girl. You can do this!
She was working so hard, her final few pushes and Emberly Dionne Rumer was born sleeping at 8:30 am. I saw the cord wrapped around her little neck two times. That was it, the reason she died, the cord. There was no cry, no first breath, no congratulations, no balloons this was not a celebration. It was a funeral. No one should ever have to experience this.
After a few minutes I felt so overwhelmed with emotions and I had to get out of the room for some air and to breakdown. I couldn’t be strong anymore and I didn’t want Amanda to see me. As soon as I closed the door behind me, I collapsed on the floor weeping. “God, WHY?!” As I wept, my sister Linette a grieving mother herself consoled me. “I know”, she said and that is all she had to say. She did know.
A bereavement nurse took over from here. She was an Angel. She assisted with the arrangements. She took Emberly and brought her back to us in a beautiful gown and blanket made by volunteers for situations like this. She took Emberly’s footprints, arranged for the photographer and priest, told us how to hold Emberly and keep her bundled. We had so many decisions to make, our minds incapable of making a decision, my daughter relying on me to guide her through. I tried so hard to let her decide what was best for her.
A photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep came. She was also amazing handling Emberly and us with tender care. As you are in the room taking photographs with such a heavy heart, you don’t smile, you don’t pose the camera is just capturing raw emotion. It is the most awkward feeling to have someone there for such a solemn occasion. But you know these will be the only pictures you will ever have of that precious Angel, so you want them.
After the photographer left we were allowed to just have some time with Emberly, everyone who wanted to hold her did. Amanda was exhausted and holding Emberly and fell asleep. Family and friends gathered in the room next to her. I went to check on her and quietly opened the door to see her sleeping holding her Angel. Overwhelmed with grief and sadness, but somehow seeing her lying there sleeping for a moment, there was peace.
Later a priest came and said a blessing over us all and baptized her. Everyone was preparing to leave and gave their condolences, then it was just us.
Later the bereavement nurse informed us the time had come to say our final goodbye. We wept and wept. It was surreal. All the preparation and planning, the excitement and anticipation had come to this one moment. Goodbye. The ache in our hearts will neve fade. There are no words I can say to make her pain stop. I have nothing as a mother to offer her except to be there. My daughter had just become my hero. Only the strong survive. Fly High baby girl. Fly high.
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