The words cut through me like a knife, and then the shock set in. No heartbeat? I had just heard it the day before, at 2:30 pm on my Doppler. I recorded it and sent it to my Husband. It was 142 – just like it always was. How could Kenley be dead? My Daughter, our most wanted thing, the one thing we had spent the past two and a half years trying for through fertility treatments is gone? Just like that? How? This isn’t happening. This doesn’t happen to people like us, it only happens in movies, or to other people, not to us.
I had a c-section at 10:30 p.m., and Kenley was born silent into this world. At 10:32 p.m, 12.29.15, at 38 weeks and 4 days- just a week before her scheduled c-section. Her silence was the loudest sound I will ever hear. They took her lifeless body from me, and weighed her- 7.5 oz, and 20 inches long. My perfect girl. Wrapped in a handmade blanket, she wore a tiny pink crocheted hat. She had dark brown hair, with auburn flecks near her temples. Kenley had her Daddy’s lips, and nose. She looked exactly like her Big Brother. I took in every detail about her, down to the triangle of freckles near the corner of her left eye.
She was the most Beautiful Girl I ever laid eyes on
CuddleCot Donations Allowed Us Some Time to Say Good-Bye
Kenley was able to spend the next 2 days with us thanks to a Cuddle Cot donation. This pad, when in the bassinet keeps the baby cooled enough to stop the deterioration process. She could sleep next to me in the hospital bassinet. It felt normal to wake up in the middle of the night and see her next me – even though it wasn’t normal; My baby was dead.
I look back now and wish that I would have held her and never let her go.
There was a moment before we said our final goodbyes where my Husband and I laid in the bed with her, telling her about her life, and how much we loved her. That memory remains burned into my heart until the day I die.
We have a 5 year old Son who was looking forward to meeting his baby sister.
When my Mother in Law brought him to the hospital, he was under the impression that Kenley was alive. When we told him what happened, the loss confused him, which is expected. He was so sad, and cried with us. Our Son wouldn’t come near me- he thought that I killed Kenley. He didn’t understand that what happened to her was an accident. Because- how do you explain that to a child? My heart broke into a million pieces, again. This poor little boy never got to see or hold his little sister, the one he said good night to every day for 38 weeks. His heart broke too. The following weeks and months we would walk with him through our grief and now we are able to openly talk about her without tears from me. I know that he loved her so incredibly much, and I think that’s what still hurts the most. I feel like I failed him, and I couldn’t give him that sibling that he so desperately wanted.
The nurses who took care of us in the Hospital did what they could to make this horrible process a little easier
They cared for Kenley the same way they would have cared for a baby who was alive. The nurses dressed her for us, and clipped a lock of her hair. They even wheeled in an extra hospital bed for my husband to sleep in next to me. We were given a memorial box with her “items”, and a teddy bear to leave the hospital with. On our last day there, they cried with us. We have never gone back to that hospital and I don’t know if we ever will.
(Our memorial box, and Kenley’s urn in her crib)
Home without Kenley
When we returned to our home, I walked in the door and went into her Nursery. I had spent the last 9 months preparing for her to come home, and now she never would. I sat in her glider and sobbed for my beautiful girl that I had to leave at the hospital. The following days filled with tears and nightmares. Family members took care of our son, who was trying to process his grief. But the worst of it all? My milk came in the first morning home.
When I couldn’t breastfeed my son due to complications and excessive medication, the loss devastated me. With Kenley I knew I wanted to try again. I scheduled a C-section. With no rushing, or tons of medication, I knew that I could do this.
This time, my body failed me in a much bigger way. It took my baby, and still allowed my milk to come in. It had missed the memo that we are without a child to feed.
(My son wanted to go into her Nursery and play with her toys)
Support through our grief
On October 29th, Kenley would be 10 months old. Thinking about everything that she should be doing breaks my heart over and over. Our family as a whole is better now, but we are still sad. We still cry for her, we talk about her every single day, we miss her and we didn’t even get the chance to know her. Our families and friends were such a great source of support through our grief, but I have found the most support from women who have gone through similar baby loss.
I was an active member of a support website for 2 years prior to losing Kenley. The women on that board watched me go through fertility treatments, 2 miscarriages, and then through Kenley’s entire pregnancy. They sent us gifts for Kenley- headbands, photos for her room, sweaters, clothes, an excersaucer, a rock N play, a breastfeeding pillow, and other essential baby items. When I lost Kenley, they were there for me. They sent us a support package that was beyond words-incredible. They continue to check in on me still to this day. I will forever be thankful for them and their support during the hardest time of my life.
I’ve found strength through blogging
I never knew how cathartic it could be to just express what I was feeling on a daily basis. I have made friends through my blog, and through Instagram with other mothers who have lost their babies. Seeing Kenley’s name written, or hearing people talk about her is the only way her memory will live on with people other than myself and my Husband.
I will forever hold space for her in my heart, and it warms my soul to know that her story has touched so many other’s lives, even though she isn’t here.
Lauren Lewis is no stranger to childcare development, having spent over 10 years as a nanny or family childcare provider. She's the wife of a travel geek, mother of two vivacious children, and has an amazing talent for trailing lost things behind her a la Hansel and Gretel.Her passion for lifting up women and advocating for children pours out in her work as a Central Indiana Event Coordinator, Writer, and Social Media Relations Director for Breastfeeding World.Her life is full of busy, crazy and LOUD. It is full of love and hope, ups and downs. And coffee, always lots of coffee- but she wouldn't have it any other way.