Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Leila's Hello and Goodbye
Leila's birth was an experience I will never forget. The amount of love, pain, joy and grief were overwhelming that day but I wouldn't ask for it any other way.
Around one o’clock on Thanksgiving Day, I informed Will that I'd be making a quick trip to labor and delivery to have the on-call doctor check things out. I had been having regular contractions for a few days, been on bedrest to try to help them subside, but it didn't seem to be working. I was confident I’d be coming right home after so we could join our friends for Thanksgiving dinner. I arrived and was placed on a monitor to watch the contractions, and sure enough, they were coming every four minutes. The doctor asked that I stay a few hours, and I knew in my heart it was time to call Will and have him meet me there. Our friend Ashlee picked up Dallas so he wouldn't miss out on the holiday festivities, and Will drove to the hospital. He walked into the room and told me he had a feeling this is where we’d end up that day.
Around seven o’clock that evening, we decided it was time to allow Leila to arrive. Though we could have gone home and waited, the chances were that I would remain in early labor for a week or more as the contractions I was having, combined with Leila’s inability to contribute to the progression of labor, were uncomfortable and not causing further dilation. The doctor began medical intervention to help my body prepare to deliver, and from there, it was a waiting game.
Being that we were completely unprepared to deliver so early, we had to rely on friends to bring us the things we needed for her birth. We were brought the teeniest outfits that could be found, blankets, even make-up for me so I could feel at least a little like me when she arrived. We were even brought a turkey dinner since we missed our Thanksgiving! We are very lucky to have the amazing friends that we do. The willingness to drop their lives and help ours was incredibly touching.
Much of Friday was a blur for me. We slept as much as we could, and I was kept fairly sedated as my anxiety levels were rising as her arrival became closer. I do remember we watched a LOT of football the whole weekend, just as Will had wanted. I also remember sneaking bites of leftover turkey dinner when I was advised to remain on a clear liquid diet. Friday evening rolled around, and I had progressed to the point where delivery was imminent. My epidural was administered and I was advised to get a little rest, that Leila would be making her entrance sometime in the middle of the night. We made calls to our close family and friends that we had decided would be present for her birth, as well as the awesome photographers who so graciously offered to capture her journey into the world. I was given some medication to help me sleep and drifted off.
I was awoken around 2:30 am to Will and Rachel “oooh”ing and “ahhh”ing at the contraction monitor. “Oh, here comes a BIG one!”, “Oh my gosh, look at that one!” I was amazed at their amusement, as I couldn't feel much of anything! A few moments later my doctor came to check my progress, and confirmed that Leila would be arriving any time now. I prepared myself, held Will’s hand and was surrounded by the people I love as she entered the world at 3:25 a.m. on Saturday, November 24th. She weight one pound, six ounces and was 11.75 inches long.
Leila took a few short breaths, and blinked her eyes before the Lord called her name and she left her earthly body to fly with the angels. Pastor Alex came in to bless her, as we all held hands and wept. It was a beautiful, heartbreaking and life changing experience.
I was able to help bathe her and dress her. We wrapped her in her football blanket, complete with a Ducks bow, and held her for a day and a half. The three of us lay in bed together and watched the Ducks beat the Beavers in the 2012 Civil War, and I will forever attribute that win to the fact the Leila arrived on game day. She was Oregon’s guardian angel.
Sunday morning around eleven, Will and I left the hospital and drove to the funeral home to say our last goodbye and send Leila off on her next mission: to guide her Mommy and Daddy through the rest of this life.
I will forever be grateful for the way our daughter has touched our lives, and so many lives around the world. My love for her is stronger than I ever imagined it could be, and I will keep that love in my heart all the days of my life. My dear friend said to me yesterday, “God makes childbirth and loss so devastating so that we always remember.” I will always remember.
Thank you for sharing this journey with us. It’s not over. There will we days ahead of sadness, of grief, and of happiness, and we are so lucky so have so many kind souls to share those days with us. God bless you all.
It broke my heart to lose you, but you didn't go alone. Part of us went with you the day God took you home.
Leila Grace Chapman
November 24th, 2012
1 lb. 6 oz.
Mommy and Daddy love you.