Eighteen years ago I held my firstborn daughter for the very first time. She didn’t move. She didn’t cry. Her spirit had left her body hours before.
Her labor had been typical until she was crowning (the very last stage before birth). Then, her heartbeat suddenly disappeared. When she was born, the midwife took her away and began working on her immediately, shouting for someone to call the paramedics. I couldn’t see my daughter. No one told me what was going on, but I was so exhausted that I didn’t actually understand what was happening anyway. My daughter hadn’t begun breathing, and CPR wasn’t working.
Her father rode with her in an ambulance to the children’s hospital. They continued working on my daughter at the hospital until an hour after her birth when they called it. She was gone. She had come so close to living and yet she hadn’t made it.
A few hours after her birth, the midwife drove me to the hospital to meet my daughter for the first and last time. As I held her in my arms, I was shocked to look on her face. I knew children looked like their parents, but I hadn’t realized my daughter was going to look like me. We spent a precious but far too short amount of time with her in the hospital until we needed to leave.
Eighteen years ago as the midwife drove us back to the birthing center to do an exam on me and then to send us home, I looked out over the rush hour traffic. It made no sense to me. How could all of these people be going on like nothing had happened? My daughter had died.
Eighteen years ago.
© 2017 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC