Monday, December 28, 2015

A journal of grief and healing Part One

I've toyed with the thought of sharing these random thoughts/impressions/opinions for a very long time. They are very personal and it has seemed almost imprudent to put something so private on the web. However, I just recently (yesterday) felt VERY strongly that I should put them out there. They're raw and jumbled but in the order of the way they came to me. I also recorded them as they came to me. Sometimes I would write down several in one day. Other times I'd go days or weeks in between jotting my thoughts and questions down. At one point I even went months without writing anything. Not exactly sure why I did that. I sometimes remembered to write the date and time of when these impressions/questions came to me. You'll see a lot of times they were recorded very late at night when I would lie in bed and think long and hard about my situation and life. Writing them down was a way of organizing my thoughts. Most of the time I couldn't sleep unless I had written them down, like I'm doing now at 1:30am. Sometimes I repeat myself or say a thought more than once in a different way. I didn't want to censor anything so if I wanted to write it again, I did. The prompting hit me to share this and my mind is racing with what I want to say about this. It's all very personal, and like I said before, pretty raw and real. My hopes in sharing this is that maybe, someone who goes through a similar trial to me, might find something that they can connect with. If that doesn't happen, then maybe someone who hasn't experienced something similar can get a glimpse into what it's like to grieve and then begin to heal.
(Side note, I've also added in a few notes here and there to explain what a few things were if I was vague or used acronyms.)

>When you start to feel better physically you can really start to heal mentally and emotionally. It's amazing how much feeling poorly physically can bring you down mentally and emotionally.

>Why can't we just be normal? I don't want her to be too special or too precious for this life. I just want her.

>I want to get pregnant ASAP. The thought of all those months being pregnant with no precious baby to hold and raise in this life makes my heart ache. I'll go through all of the pains of pregnancy again to have that warm squishy baby in my arms and to keep in a heartbeat. It just seems so incredibly far away. I was so ready for her in my heart to come to us now. I don't know if I was ready to be a parent, I had no idea what I was doing but I was ready to do what I needed to do.

>I now somewhat know what it feels like for a woman who is having problems getting pregnant when they see other women that are pregnant or just giving birth. There's a small hole in my heart that yearns to be filled by being where they are.

>We want to be the best that we can be so that if Indi’s ever visiting us we won't offend her.

>I want to hold her and feel her soft warm body. I want to kiss her perfect little sweetheart lips and smell her breath. I want to hold her in my lap and stare at the wonderful creation that we made. I want to give her a warm bath and smell her soft baby skin. I want to snuggle her in my arms and fall asleep with her in my safe embrace. I want to kiss her soft cheeks and belly and make her smile. I want to watch her in her sleep. I want to wake up every morning eager to see her and watch her change and grow. I want to see those beautiful little eyes open up and watch me in recognition as her mother. I want to wrap her to my chest and feel her warm breath on my skin. I want to watch Andy dote over her and love on her with a love he's never experienced before. I want to see her napping on Andy's chest while he naps on the couch. I want to watch Andy be a father to her and teach her to gain a love for the outdoors. I want to watch him learn to change a diaper.  I want to see Andy be so gentle and sweet with his little girl.

>She came to us with ten fingers, ten toes, two eyes, two ears, beautiful dark hair, sweetheart lips, all four limbs and a dimple in her chin. What a miracle it is that she formed so perfectly inside of me.  Our perfect baby girl.

>I didn't kiss her enough.  I didn't snuggle her enough. I didn't hold her enough. I'm so grateful to have shared her with so many people but I look back now and wish I had held her more. I wish the three of us would've had more time to ourselves. We only got one night before bed and then the 40 minutes before they took her away with just the three of us.

>Sitting in church. Last time I was here I was pregnant. She always seemed to move like crazy while sitting here in sacrament. We spent  a lot of our sacrament feeling her roll around and kick and stretch and punch. I would sit here so uncomfortably and would very frequently have to get up and walk around the church to relieve the tension in my ribs and back. I was SO uncomfortable! What I wouldn't give to be uncomfortable and walking around the church again. What I wouldn't give to sit here and watch Andy's face react as she would kick his hand so hard in my belly.

>I wish we could've had just one day with her alive. To feel her warm breath and see any movement from her. To actually see her eyes. I have a baby and Ive never even seen her eyes. Her lifeless fragile body was perfect and beautiful. I wish she could've at least drawn a few breaths so we could have a few memories of that little heart pumping outside of my body.

>Getting answers won't take away the loss.

>My daughter is in a small box on the top of a shelf... Everything is not ok.

>Let's say I get pregnant pretty quickly here, like April, that means I won't be giving birth until December or January (since the doc said I most likely won't ever deliver past 35 weeks ever again). Which means I'll be closer to 29 when I have my next baby. This was not the life plan I had set out for myself. I was hoping to be on my second child by the time I was 30. I know technically I would be on my second child but I think we all know what I mean.

>I am angry. I feel overwhelmed and blam the doctor. Lack of understanding has led to confusion. Confusion has led me to replay every teeny tiny thing that happened leading up to her death. I feel like I was swept aside. That I fell through the cracks. That the doctor did not take me seriously. I trusted him. I trusted his judgement because I didn't know any better. He's the doctor here! I know he's human and makes mistakes but this was a HUGE mistake. I trusted him with not only my life but most importantly, Indira’s life and she's gone. Saying he dropped the ball is an understatement.

>I have to go through every emotion. I have to experience it all as it comes and not fight it.

>A mother's intuition is real. I knew I felt "off." I knew she shouldn't stay inside of me as soon as we found out the results from the cholestasis blood test . Why wasn't I more proactive?

>She trusted me with her life and I couldn't provide what she needed to survive and thrive and grow.  

>Indira is the greatest example of Christ’s pure love that I have ever personally experienced. How is it that one tiny little individual who never even took a breath on this earth can teach me so much about love? She was and is about selflessness, charity, love, joy, greatness, any adjective that describes perfect.
>I want to live my life in a way that will be worthy of Indira. I want to be the best that I can be so that if she is ever in my presence I will never offend her.

>How do this happen to us? Why did we get chosen for this?

>I never thought, in my wildest dreams that something like this could ever happen to me. But then I realized, I'm not exempt from tragedy. No one is.

>I don't know how to answer the question, "How are you?" I don't know what to say to someone when they tell me, "I'm sorry for your loss/I'm so sorry." Kind of an odd thing to say when you think about it but I admit that really it's one of the only things we can say. I understand these times (when someone you know has experienced a tragic loss) are delicate and everyone handles grief and loss differently so saying a simple "I'm sorry" is the safest thing to go with. But it doesn't make it any easier to respond to.

>I think I'm at a place in my grief/mourning where I'm overwhelmed with "talking." Rehashing the whole thing to people that I run into makes me emotionally tired.  I get to a place where I just want to have a normal conversation. But I also want people to know that they can talk to me about her. She is my daughter, I don't want to feel like she's forgotten.

>I haven't quite figured out how to handle the situation where I/we have to drop the bomb on someone that our baby was stillborn. So far, as of March 6th I've only experienced dropping that bomb three times and it sucks. It sucks because, one, I actually have to say it and somehow that always makes it worse, and two watching that person's face drop in horror is absolutely heart wrenching to watch. I automatically feel like I need to comfort them Such an uncomfortable experience for all parties. Dont quite know how to remedy the situation yet. We'll see what time will bring.

>I know we'll get to a time in the future where people will stop tip toeing around us and it won't be brought up that much anymore. I understand why some choose to tip toe because going through the grief cycle is absolutely, completely different from person to person. My first month of grieving has been very open. I'm now going into the phase of being more vague about details and not giving all the information that we have like I have been doing in the last month. Where as others in the grief cycle don't want to speak to anyone for the first month and may now be just getting to a place a month later where they want to start opening up and sharing the intimate details. That time in the future could be a bittersweet place. I hope that place doesn't bring me a different type of sadness where I start to feel like she's been forgotten or that she's fallen through the cracks.

>I see the beautiful maternity photos that Andy took of me a mere three days before Indira passed away and I see the look on my face. I see so much excitement and happiness that comes with the unknown of what is about to change a couple's life forever. The excitement of wondering who this little human being inside of me is going to be and what she looks like. I now look at these photos and see that belly from the other side of pregnancy. The side where you are no longer pregnant and have given birth. I look at my belly now knowing who that human being inside of me is and what she looks like. So that is who was in my womb for all these months! So that is who was kicking and pushing and hiccuping inside of me! So that is my child. 3.8.14  12:04am

>Just seems like so much work and time and effort to create that little body and she doesn't get to use it in this life. 3.10.14.  11:17pm

>What if, at the beginning of our mortal lives, we were told and given a full understanding of what our trials throughout life would be? What would we do? Would we accept it or say, "forget it?" I wonder how knowing beforehand and preparing for these trials would affect how we react to them and deal with them. 3.13.14  11:48 pm

>Everything is exactly the same, but everything is completely different.  3.16.14  9:51pm -- Andy
We are totally changed but have nothing to show for it. We are not the same human beings that we were a month and a half ago. On the outside it looks as if our lives haven't changed at all but on the inside, you may not recognize us.

>Four weeks ago, I was all consumed by my grief and thoughts 24/7. Now I find myself being less and less consumed by my thoughts and emotions of her and I almost feel guilty like she's slipping away. 3.16.14 9:54pm

>Just heard a Country song on the radio called "Hey Pretty Girl." I imagined it was indira as a grown woman that this singer was singing to. Made me think of what Indi's life may have been like had she lived. What kind of person would she have grown up to be and who would she marry and start a family with? What kind of mother would she have been? What career path would she have chosen? What would her talents have been? What would her trials have been? Which leads me to think about the millennium and how her life will be at that time. I believe that I will be able to raise her from infancy as my child. But I wonder if we will be able to go through all the motions of raising a child just as we would've in this life just without the trials and temptations. Will we get to give her her first haircut and watch her take her first steps? Will we watch her play out in the yard with other children? Will we be able to help her pull out her first tooth? Will we be able to watch her grow into a young woman? Will she date and find the love of her life just as people do in this life? Will there be a wedding celebration when she is sealed to that man that she loves? Will she get pregnant and give birth to her own babies? Will life just be as it is now but without the trials and temptations? I know all will be made equal in the millennium. For me, that equality would mean being able to do all those things that we had hoped to do with her and witness all the different stages of her life. I want to take road trips with her and teach her how to climb and ski. I hope those will be things that we can do in the millennium.  3.20.14  5:20pm

>People tell me I'm strong... I don't even know what that means. I don't feel strong. I'm just doing whatever comes natural to me. Sometimes that means anger or gut wrenching sorrow or depression. None of those things represent strength to me right now. 3.25.15   10:21pm

>I wonder what it was like for Indi when she died. Did she experience fear or pain or suffering? I don't ever recall any feelings that she was in distress but part of me wonders if she did react in distress and I just didn't notice. If that is the case it makes my heart ache that I couldn't recognize her distress. I hope with all hope that is in my being that it was peaceful for her. I hope she did not feel lonely and afraid. 3.26.14  11:27pm

>Sometimes going to that place in my heart to visit Indira is too hard. The ache and the sadness outweighs the joy and happiness. 4.2.14    1:12am

>At night I like to talk to Indira in my mind. I "pray" to her in a sense and ask her to watch over me. I usually find the next morning that I fell asleep while talking to her. Which brings me comfort because talking to her calms my mind and very few things calm my mind when I am laying down to sleep 4.2.14  1:14am

>Sometimes, while lying in bed, I reach my hand up into the air and I feel like she is reaching down to me. I can feel the tips of our fingers brushing each other's.

>I went to grab my scriptures from the cupboard and I found my gratitude journal from my (LDS) mission. I decided that I wanted to see what I was grateful for five years ago on February 6th which is Indi’s birthday. It surprised me to see that I was celebrating my one year anniversary as a missionary. Meaning that February 6th, 2008 was the same day I entered the MTC (Missionary Training Center). I came in to tell Andy what I had discovered and he got a shocked look on his face and said, "No way!" I asked him what was so crazy and he told me that he entered the MTC on February 6th, 2004. For Andy, myself, and Indi, February 6th is a birthday for all of us in a sense because we were all starting a new life on that date. We all started a new mission. Indi started her "mission" in heaven on February 6th, 2014.     4.2.14   11:00pm

>I signed Indira’s paperwork yesterday to have her final autopsy records released to us. It's only the second time I've written "mother" in regards to myself. I have a sense of pride when I write that but it also brings a somewhat uncomfortable feeling knowing that, that may be the last time I ever write that when it comes to Indi. While other mothers are signing permission slips and excuse notes and signing waivers or signing their children up for baseball and dance class, I sign my name for my daughter's cremation forms and her autopsy.  4.2.14   11:40pm

>This is so stupid and messed up!!!!!! I want to scream at the top of my lungs and swear and forget about everything but my daughter.  She should be here! She should be warm in my arms! 4.2.14   11:43pm.

>I feel like this is my greatest lesson in discovering how strong I am as a woman and a mother.    4.2.14   11:55 pm

>How can something be so beautiful be so painful simultaneously? Some days it's more beautiful and some days it's more painful. Right now, going to that place in my heart for her is more painful.   4.6.14   12:49am

>I've stopped crying everyday. How is that possible? I think subconsciously I'm protecting myself. This suffering is too hard. My mind won't allow it.   4.22.14   11:39 pm

>Her room is so empty. I can't go in it. 4.22.14

>If she had been born on or around her due date she'd be around 6 weeks old. I can't even imagine me actually having a baby to take care of. I don't know how to imagine myself in that role. I'm a mom but I don't know what it's like to be a mom. Such a foreign thing for me that should actually be something that would've been coming so naturally right now if she had lived. I know I would've made mistakes and it would've been hard but I wish I knew that hardship rather than this one.  4.22.14   11:43pm

>Church for all three hours for the first time in 11 1/2 weeks. Probably went to the wrong Sunday school class. It was a marriage and family class. The topic was raising children properly and in the gospel. It was hard to think about how I have no experience when I should have some. The question arose, "How do we help our children make correct choices?" The thought struck me, "My daughter is teaching me to make correct choices." She is the one that is setting the example . She is the one that is helping me to rethink my thoughts, actions and words to become a better person. She is the one giving me more of an eternal perspective. Because of her I am learning more about life and how to live it and love it. My choices will affect whether or not I can live with her again. She is my teacher. I am not her teacher.    4.27.14.    11:19am

>What if we knew from childhood exactly what trials would come to us in our lives? What if we knew what demons we would struggle with or knew what our inadequacies would be? Would it make a difference in how we would live our lives? Would we be able to adequately prepare for these trials and be ready for them? On the other hand, what if we knew all the joy and all the blessings and good times that would come to us from the beginning?  4.27.14   11:52am

>Maybe it really just was not my time to be a mom. Maybe I wasn't prepared or ready for this. I know no one can ever be really fully prepared for a baby, but maybe there was just something about me that The Lord knew was not quite there yet. It's weird to imagine me having a baby right now. Doing all the things I see other mothers do. It just seems so strange and foreign for me to be doing that in this exact moment. I just wasn't ready for it I guess. 4.26.14   2:23pm

>Everything with Indi is either past tense or imagined.

>Today we saw the mfm again. Andy and I were both on the verge of tears the whole time. I came to realize it was because I was starting to get a little taste of the panic and the anxiety that will come with the next baby. Andy agrees that, that was why he was holding back tears too. We were also told that I do not have the antiphospholipid syndrome which is very good news but then at the same time it would be nice to blame something. With no clear answer it just makes me feel like a failure. That by some fluke accident my body wasn't able to do its job and I feel like a failure.   4.30.14. 8:00pm (Mfm = maternal fetal medicine. Also, we later found out that I do have antiphospholipid syndrome)

>You go through so many stages of worry in your preparation of becoming a parent. Many people say that the moment they hold their child the worries of the world and anything bad that could happen to their child, hits them. As soon as Indira was born, the worry ceased. The worst had already happened. 5.6.14   11:15 pm.

>For a time, writing thank you notes was cathartic. It helped me to heal and connect with those that had been supporting us. Then I came to a place where I shut myself off to anything that led to speaking or writing of her. I went into hibernation mode when it came to her.  I realize it was subconsciously done and was a way for me to protect myself. In fact, I didn't realize I had done it until several weeks had passed. And now, I know what's happened but I've still had a hard time facing the music again.  5.6.14. 11:23pm

>Disneyland was an interesting choice for us on this Mother's Day weekend. It was bittersweet. Both Andy I looked at children in a more precious way. We seemed to notice their purity and excitement more than ever. We loved watching how excited they would get and see how loved they were by their parents. On the other hand we seemed to recognize more when the parents just seemed to be going through the motions with their children not really enjoying them or appreciating them in the moment. There were so many little girls that looked maybe like what Indi would look like. With olive skin and dark hair, dark features. Watching the dads play with them and hold them was very sweet and heart breaking. I was a little afraid of being forgotten today but so many friends and family stepped up to the plate and made sure I was recognized as a mother. That too was bittersweet. I wasn't forgotten but was reminded all day of how I'm a mother without my child and I'm going to be ok. It doesn't make me any less of a mother. Someone commented on my photo that they know Indi is celebrating me as her mother, today. The image popped into my mind of heaven having some sort of an Instagram and Indira posted something about me to honor me as her mother. Sounds silly but that's what came to mind and it would be sweet.  5.11.14.  9:33pm

>All I want for Mother's Day is a letter from Indira. I wish I could know her thoughts and feelings. I wish I could know what she thinks of me as her mother. Would she tell me she thinks I'm brave and strong? Or beautiful or lucky to have me as her mom? 5.11.14   10:37pm

>I wish I could just take a peek into heaven and just see her. Just one moment to see what she looks like, what she's doing, to know her a little better. I don't have to even touch her or talk to her, even though it would be torture not to be able to. But at least I could just see her again.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What motivates you?

I am married to an incredible human being and we have two of the most beautiful children in the world. So grateful to these awesome filmmakers for creating this video and for sharing the story of Indira.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Our Story Part IV

The next morning, Thursday, February 6th, I slept for a while. People were in and out of my room but I was in a haze and not very aware of what was going on. Andy later told me that at some point while I was still asleep, Dr. Jones, my actual Ob showed up. Andy met with him in the hall so as not to wake me. Dr. Jones seemed distressed and kept saying that he didn't understand where things went wrong and what he could've done different. Andy expressed to him that he knew that I would appreciate being a part of this conversation with him so Dr. Jones offered to come back later when I was awake. We never saw or heard from him of his own free will again...

To be honest, the earlier part of that day seems like a blur and I can't remember much. Family and friends came and went, crying and hugging. I remember falling asleep mid conversation with some friends. I was so mentally and emotionally worn out that even though the Ambien had most likely worn off, I still couldn't keep my eyes open.

Once I was more alert, my thoughts were a mess. I was so scared and unsure of what I wanted to happen. The nurses warned us that after so many hours of being in fluids and no blood flow in her skin for so many hours, that she might not come out looking as we would hope. There was no guarantee that she was going to be easy to see. I went back and forth between feeling like I absolutely wanted to see and hold her, to, no, that sounds too scary and too hard. I didn't know how I would feel mentally, emotionally and physically in that moment. There was just too much unknown.

Looking back now, it may seem crazy to some that I was even considering not holding her, but, when you're in the position that I was in, you can never fully predict how you will feel or what thought processes you might have. You might think you know what you'd do, but I'm telling you right now, you don't. You're in total survival mode, overcome with grief and sadness, and those two things alone can do strange things to you.

Lying there, looking at my belly, knowing that the little life that had been so vibrant and full of personality for so many months inside me, was gone, was some of the hardest hours of my life. No more kicking, no more hiccupping. Our symbiotic union was over. I was having moments of denial where I thought I could feel her and that they had gotten everything wrong. That feeling continued for weeks after I gave birth where I would have a sudden feeling that Indira was just at the hospital and that they got it all wrong, she really was alive and that I could just go pick her up. But in the same instant that I had that feeling, I would realize the truth. Torture.

At this point in the day, word had spread among our friends about our situation. A friend of mine sent me a text telling me about her friend that is a photographer, whom she had told of our story and someone that I had never met, and she was willing and would be honored to come document Indira's birth story for us. I was hesitant to invite a stranger into our room with a camera that would obviously be in our faces, documenting our grief and a very delicate situation. Andy is a very private person yet some how we agreed to it and I will never regret inviting Ashley Thalman and her talent of capturing our little family, into our lives that day.

Around 2pm I was really starting to progress quickly and contractions were coming on harder and faster. The doctor, Dr. Cloward who was on call for Legacy OBGYN, stepped in to inform me that she would be delivering my baby. She was in and out in less than five minutes and I didn't see her again until about 2 and half hours later.

I wasn't prepared for labor, I had no idea what I was doing. You think you can read and do all the research in the world but you can't really know until you're in it. Luckily, I had Andy, my mom and dad, and my sister in the room with me. I also had my grandma and brother in the room next door waiting patiently. Pushing was long and hard. I put absolutely everything I had in me to bring her mortal body into this world as her sweet spirit strengthened us from the other side. Andy stood by my side, holding my leg and counting to ten with every push. Patiently and lovingly encouraging me with absolutely everything he had inside of him. I ended up pushing for 2 1/2 hours total. In the middle of my pushing, I threw up and almost passed out from too much epidural. I was given a shot of adrenalin when I could no longer form any words or keep my eyes open. A half hour went by and when the adrenalin kicked in, I remembered feeling on top of the world and I literally yelled, "Let's do this!" to everyone's surprise. Still, Indira was not coming as fast as we had all hoped.

People had mixed opinions for us on whether or not the baby being alive helps with the birthing process. Some said that without her being alive, it would be much more difficult since we would have no help from the baby's instincts. Others said, it made no difference at all in labor if the baby was alive or not, that the woman's body is the only control factor of what happens or doesn't happen. Well, combined with my moment of throwing up, passing out, and coming back to life, it took a total of 3 hours for Indira Usha Earl to enter this little world at 4:57pm.

Andy and I had planned for him to catch her as she came out but things were happening too fast. Indi was immediately whisked away from me, umbilical cord cut, and wrapped in a blanket then handed to Andy. Dr. Cloward suddenly became serious and I could see that her "game time" face had replaced her "normal delivery" face. She became so focused and honed in. She told me that I was hemorrhaging and my after birth and placenta was not coming out on its own. Andy recalls the sound of blood pouring out of me into a bag they had place beneath me accompanied by the intense smell of iron and feeling very scared in that moment. I immediately went into shock. I started shaking and shivering uncontrollably so they brought me some heated blankets and I didn't move from under those for about an hour. I don't remember at what point the shaking stopped.

Dr. Cloward told me that she needed to go in manually and pull the rest of it out, otherwise I would need a d&c which would be more painful than what she was about to do. I've never had a d&c but I can't imagine it being more painful than what she ended up doing. I told her to go ahead and the next thing I know, she is elbow deep inside of me clawing at my insides while simultaneously using her other hand from the outside to push down from the top of my abdomen to the bottom to try and push everything out as well. That's when I felt like the real pain had kicked in. In my mind I was screaming out in pain, praying for it to be over, but in Andy's words, I was "barely even moaning."

And just like that, she was done, I was stitched up, Indira was in my arms and I never wanted to let her go. She hadn't been cleaned yet but she was incredibly beautiful. Her lips were crimson red, she had her daddy's dimple in her chin, my nose and a head full of dark brown hair. In that first moment of holding her, I felt so many endorphins that I felt no grief or sadness. Just joy that she was finally here, that I was finally seeing the little human I had been so anxious to meet. You wonder and wonder for so long what your child will look like and finally laying eyes on her was heaven for me. Immediately, the spirit in the room changed to what I termed, "the love bubble." The moment I left the room the next evening to go home, I felt a change. Her little spirit was so near.

 Heather, an angel of a woman who is a volunteer to help families through infant loss, bathed, weighed and measured her and brought her to us to be dressed. 6lbs and 20in. of the most wonderful baby I've ever beheld. Her skin was soft but there was a slight tinge of purple to it. As the nurses had warned us, her skin had formed blisters where some had popped and the skin had started to slough off. Dressing her was beautiful but difficult. She was so limp and fragile and her skin was slipping off in little areas around her arms as I touched her.

Andy had gone home earlier in the day to pick up a few things for Indi. We didn't have any onesies yet, so someone in my family had to go buy some. I asked Andy to grab a pair of grey and white striped little pants I got from Gap for her, a few blankets to wrap her up in, and a little beanie. How do you choose the one and only outfit your child will ever wear?

After several hours, I decided I needed a shower. After a while, I felt so much better and opened the bathroom door to find a VERY full room. Slightly overwhelming but it was nice to finally have all of Andy's family there. Andy's brother Todd, had arrived a little after I gave birth and when I walked out of the bathroom, Andy's parent's had arrived from Colorado, his sister and her husband, and his brother and his wife had arrive around the same time.

It's strange because, for the rest of the evening, I felt fairly happy, calm and so excited to introduce my little one to anyone that would bat an eyelash near her. I think the adrenaline was still pumping through my veins leading me to just feel happy. The rest of the evening was a steady stream of family and close friends. Phone calls from family far away and texts continued to stream in. So many people were reaching out and giving us strength to get through the greatest trial of our lives.

Giving Indria a name and a blessing, an LDS tradition for all new babies, was not even on my radar because most babies receive this when they are weeks or months or even years older and are also obviously, living breathing little souls in a mortal body. Heather, asked if we were LDS and said that she had brought a blessing gown as a gift if we would like to bless her right here in the hospital. As soon as she brought this to my attention, the only thought I had was, "duh! of course!" So we dressed her in a beautiful sparkly white gown and every worthy priesthood holder in the room encircled Andy and Indira with their right hands underneath her tiny body to hold her up and their left hands on each others right shoulders to complete the circle. Andy blessed her little soul and gave her a name to be known in the heavens for eternity.

Later in the evening, after everyone had left, the room was quiet, the lights were dim and it was just the three of us. For the first and one of the last times, it was just us. We cuddled her sweet little body together and cried together. Andy gave Indi to me and let me cuddle her until I fell asleep. I don't know how to try and describe that moment. It was peace, it was comfort, it was real, it was mine. In that moment I felt nothing but absolute love and nothing but pure joy. The only words I could say: "This is the best thing ever."

Sometime a few hours later, a nurse came and took Indira to keep her in a cooler over night. Not the nursery with other crying babies, but the cooler, to keep her preserved as long as we could.


The next morning Andy and I had some time alone again. A nurse brought her wrapped in two warm blankets so as not to shock us as to how cold she was. She was so much more stiff and her color had changed so much. Her lips were no longer crimson red, but a darker deep red color. 

Family and friends trickled in and out for the whole day. Again, I seemed to be the more calm collected one as Andy grieved and grieved. (That would change a day or so after we returned home.)
The day was long and hard, but so filled with the Spirit and her spirit. I could see it in the eyes of every person that held her. 

Throughout our two days there, a social worker and nurses had talked to us about our time in the hospital. We couldn't stay there forever, putting Indira in a cooler every night to keep her around, and at some point we had to decide if we would want an autopsy done and also make funeral plans if we wanted one. Every minute we had there seemed to become more and more precious as we realized our time would be coming to an end very shortly. We would have to go back to our normal lives where everything had changed, but everything was exactly the same. I would have to recover from pregnancy and giving birth with no baby in my arms. Going home was not something that I had thought through fully. As reality settled in more and more, home was not an enticing place. 

We were told that we would be able to stay two nights after I gave birth. One night had already come and gone and simultaneously I felt like it had been an eternity in that one room but also as if I had just stepped into the hospital. In the end, we decided that we would not spend another night, Indira was physically changing so quickly and that an autopsy and cremation were what was best for our family. 
Arrangements were made for a man to come down from Primary Children's Hospital to collect her little body and take her for the autopsy at 9pm that evening. 

Our family had to start saying their goodbyes. One of the hardest things I've ever had to witness. 

By about 8:30pm we had said our last goodbyes to our family and were left alone one last time just the three of us. We spent the time with Indira lying on the bed as we kneeled beside her looking over her hands, her feet, every inch of her. Andy took our last photos of her that I will cherish forever. The time went by too quickly and before we knew it, our nurse was in the room telling us that the courier had arrived for Indira. These were our last minutes and seconds with her and I suddenly became anxious and panic stricken. We decided to keep her in the onesie she was in but kept the hat, socks, and pants she had been in. The nurse laid out a blanket that I remember had Disney characters all over it. That blanket will forever be engrained in my mind. The stark contrast of the happy cartoon characters against my lifeless beautiful daughter and the hardest moment of my life. We placed Indira in it and swaddled her up. I handed her to the nurse with the full knowledge that I would never see her earthly body again for the rest of my mortal life. The nurse turned quickly and I tried to follow her out the door but she shut it quickly behind her. Not in a rude disrespectful way, but in a way that would make it quick. Like pulling a band aid off quickly. 

And just like that, she was gone.