Part Four: Brielle Meets the Family

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Here is the last part of Brielle’s birthday. Brielle’s anencephaly was very severe and David and I don’t feel comfortable sharing images of her face. There are people who will take these images and misuse them. That being said, the images I post with this post are the ones I feel comfortable sharing. I refused to cover Brielle’s face during our time with her. It felt wrong to hide who she was. There are more pictures that I will share in the future from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.

“I remember them asking how I wanted the family notified and I didn’t know what I wanted. Lauren and Dr. Bootstaylor went out and updated the family. The next thing I remember was being back in my room and Brielle still on my chest. David took Brielle and walked towards the window and started telling her about the sun and what it looked like. He was showing her around the room, even though we both knew she was dead. Later, David told me that he didn’t think there was a point in showing her the sun. I told him that even though she was dead, that didn’t mean she wasn’t still there and wasn’t happy to hear him talk to her.

I remember a flurry of nurses everywhere. I think Lauren asked if I wanted the parents to come in and I asked if Bernice should come in and David said yes. We didn’t know if his mom would be able to handle the situation. Lauren wrapped Brielle in blankets that she had brought. They came in and held Brielle. I think my Mom held her first, then my Dad, and then Bernice. They all cried. Bernice stood in the back and sobbed. My parents were very upset as well. They didn’t look like they wanted to leave.

Tessa and Zach then came in and held her, Tessa had a very hard time with it. I can barely remember this. People were asking me questions but I didn’t know how to answer. Grandma and Ari then came in. Grandma looked very upset. Ari held her and I couldn’t tell what she thought or remember what she did. I was struggling to stay awake at this point.

Emily came in and looked very tenderly at Brielle and held her, rocked her back and forth. She was very kind to her. At this point my memory begins to become a bit clearer. Her mom, Haekyong, then came in and met Brielle. Haekyong stayed for a while and looked lovingly at Brielle. She loved on me as well, held my hand, and stroked my hair. During all of this meeting Brielle time, I kept dozing in and out and struggling to stay awake.

After Haekyong left, Ari came back in and the rest of the family joined her. Then everyone was in there and things were livelier. Lauren began to do memory making. I had Brielle with me for most of the time. At other times I would hand her off to other family members and they would love on her and look very kindly upon her. It made me happy to see Brielle so cared for.

At one point something was mentioned about putting on a diaper and one of the nurses was about to do it and I said, “No, let David do it!” I called for David, it took about all the energy I had to stop her and call for him. He came over and I found great joy from watching him put on her diaper. If you remember on my birthday we practiced putting on diapers, this was a new thing David wasn’t sure how to do and I wanted him to have that experience with Brielle. He was grateful for that later. Linda helped him and he did such a great job. I could tell he was very happy that he had put on her diaper. David held her and loved on her a lot too. And that made me incredibly happy. In some ways it made me happier to see him with her than for her to be with me. He was so perfect with her. He loved on her, doted on her, cared for her. He was just perfect. He helped Lauren do molds and prints.

The time seemed to fly by. It felt like she had just been born and then it was seven pm. And I was confused. I was so exhausted. Nurses kept asking me questions, but I was never sure how to answer. Lauren filled my Mom in on things, but I couldn’t tell what. I saw Lynda the charge nurse say something to someone about how beautiful our family was and how special we all were and she was crying, she said this as she was leaving and changing her shift. I don’t know why she said those nice things, but I appreciate them regardless. I wish I knew who she had been talking to and what she had said. Robin stayed a little late too and helped me. And the other nurse for that shift came in and helped me. They asked me about pain pills and I said nothing until everyone had left and we had finished our memory making.

Dad walked around and took a lot of pictures. Lauren offered me things for Brielle and I picked out a few things, she gave us a lot, but I couldn’t understand a lot either. Linda was very sweet and kind (also a minister’s wife). She gave me a special card and brought me special booties, bonnets, etc. She was so kind. She stayed late and after everyone had said goodbye to Brielle, David, and she made sure I was tucked in and comfortable and that Brielle was sleeping as close to me as possible. She had brought in a bassinet for Brielle and put her bed next to mine. She had filled her bed with Brielle’s toys. Linda also gave Brielle a sweet pink fluffy bear and a beautiful crocheted angel. She placed both in her bassinet. And the angel on top of a very bundled Brielle.

I fell asleep holding onto Brielle’s bassinet and I woke up later with my hand still gripping the edge of her bassinet. The small little girl that was the nurse in charge of that room and us woke me up a while later and told us it was time to move to the other room. Brielle was put back on my chest and David loaded everything in a cart for us. She asked if I wanted to cover Brielle. But I said no. I refused to hide my daughter. Brielle was bundled up like she had been while I napped. I held her close, cried, and told her I loved her. I just looked at my beautiful baby and cried. So proud of her. We passed a couple of nurses on the way to the room.

When we got to the room our nurse was waiting on us, her name was Alicia. I helped move myself into the new bed. It wasn’t a seamless experience, but it wasn’t bad either, just a lot of big furniture in a very tiny room. The little girl helped Alicia get me settled and then left. Alicia told me that we would need to remove my catheter and get up and walk around 2 AM. I asked her if we could wait until morning so that I could sleep, she said she would check with the doctor. They did vital checks and such too. I also asked if the rail on my bed could be put down so that Brielle could be as close to me as possible for the bassinet. She said they weren’t supposed to. I didn’t fight her, but after she left I cried and cried. I just wanted to sleep with Brielle, but was afraid it wasn’t allowed. I was drugged, in pain, exhausted, and grieving. The whole situation broke my heart and I had very little will to do much of anything. I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t want to go on. I just wanted my baby back.

David positioned me so that I could be as close to her as possible. He lifted the bed so that it was just about as high as it could go and I did my best to touch Brielle as I slept. David settled in on his bench and made himself as comfortable as he could be.

The nurses were all very respectful and left me alone to sleep that night. They checked vitals a couple of times, but I was pretty much out of it. I slept as close to the edge of my bed near Brielle and fell asleep with my hand on her sweet little tummy.”

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