A year ago, I was holding her...she was already gone of course, but I was soaking in her features, her tiny little hands, her curly dark hair, her little button nose, her chubby little knees. I was trying desperately to drink it all in. It was all that I would get, just about 32 hours to do make a lifetime's worth of memories.
After laboring through the night, in a stupor of half working-epidural, half-functioning brain, half-sleeping body, I was nearing the end of the time of waiting. Around 4 am, the doctor checked me again. To my dismay, there was still little progress. In fact, at around midnight he had said he could feel her head down, but by 4 am, he could feel her tiny hand instead. Some of my family dispersed to get much needed showers and rest. I just couldn't quite settle in at this point.
At 6:30 Dr. H. returned again, and I had finally made "a little" progress. Still he saw no need to call my sister back to the hospital and it seemed that I was in for another long morning. For some reason, my Mom decided to call Megan anyway (she had just had surgery less than a week before and had finally listened to reasoning and gone home to rest.)
At a little after 7, I knew that something had changed. I asked someone to have the nurse call my doctor...I could feel pressure and was just about to have a baby, I just knew it! By about 7:15, I called out frantically that someone needed to get in there...now! The nurse came in and luckily my doctor arrived soon after. By the time he checked me, I was ready to deliver. It took only a couple short pushes to deliver my 1 pound 9 ounce baby girl. At 7:33 am, McKinley Rebecca Crum was born.
The birth was peacful and calm (other than how quickly it happened!) My mom, sister, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law, as well as Jacob were all present for the birth. Kinley entered quietly into the world...no crying, from her or from me.
The doctor immediately noticed the knot in her cord and reasoned that it was probably what had caused Kinley's death. He allowed Jacob to cut the cord and laid her gently on my chest. My first reaction was fear and nervousness. She looked so delicate and I was almost afraid to touch her. But, no matter whether she was breathing or not, she was mine and my motherly instincts took over. I kissed her on the head and held her for a few moments. I wrapped her up and cradled her lifeless little body. She was beautiful, more so than I ever could have imagined. She had her Daddy's full-lips and my round little cheeks. She had the same little nose as Brenna had and lots of dark curly hair! (Aunt MiMi the hairdresser said she had a "crazy" curl pattern!)
Luckily, my sister had the presence of mind to grab my camera and start snapping pictures. Those candid first shots are the best pictures we have of Kinley. Her body failed quickly and even by that evening when the photographer arrived, she looked much different, much worse!Through the day, our family and friends filtered in, saying their hello's and goodbye's. We had a steady stream of visitors in and out of the room and Kinley was rarely put down at all. We introduced Kinley to grandparenst, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We cried tears with friends who had already been in our shoes.
I definitely had my moments of tears, but for the most part I just didn't want to miss one tiny thing about her. I was terrified I would someday forget what she looked like, what she smelled like, what she felt like in my arms....I was right to be worried because I already forget many of the little details.
That night, we decided to send Kinley's body with the nurses in hopes that the cold room they would keep her in would help "preserve" her body a little longer and that I might get some sleep. I had, for the most part, been strong. I didn't sleep well at all, and at some point got up to use the restroom and half walked, half crawled to Jacob's bed accross the room. I collapsed in bed with him in complete hysterics and sobs. He held me tight and between sobs, I said "go get my baby, I want her back, tell them I want her back!!!"
We held her together and rested for a few more hours, but I was already beginning to panic about leaving her. Leaving her to be taken away and put into a tiny casket, leaving her for good, leaving her forever...that time would come all to soon!
My sweet McKinley,
I can't believe you've been gone a year already!! I miss you so much more than words could ever really say! I long to hold you again, to kiss your sweet face, to tell you how much I love you. I know that God had a bigger plan for you than this world, but it doesn't make it any easier for me.
You've touched a lot of lives in the past year! I know that you know that, even more than I do, and I'm so proud to be your Mommy! There are people who live on this earth for a hundred years and never make the impace that you made in just a few short months...you're my little world-changer!
My life today is not anything like I pictured it would be when I was feeling you moving and kicking inside me. I still feel lost sometimes without you. There are days that I'm not sure I'll get through it all. How could someone who was here for such a short amount of time be missed so very much?
We're having a little celebration for you today, we'll be sending you some cards and balloons. Of course I know that the eternal gifts of heaven are far greater than anything we could ever give you here! I hope you're celebrating today too. I hope you're celebrating the mark you made on this world!
I love you baby girl!! Happy Birthday!!!
P.S. You know Mommy has so many friends whose babies are there with you...will you give them kisses from their Mommies too? Tell them how much they love them and miss them too!