I wrote this a few months after Cara's death. I share it almost one year later, on another Monday morning....
It was a pretty normal Monday. Dragging myself out of the bed after a full weekend of making final preparations for the arrival of our firstborn daughter, Cara Grace. Anticipation was in the air. I said goodbye to Cynthia that morning thinking that at any time my cell phone could ring while I'm at work and I'd have to go rush home to take Cynthia to the hospital. Little did I know that fateful call would come but for all the wrong reasons.
I just got back to my desk after lunch when my phone rang. Cynthia tells me she hasn't felt Cara moving this morning and she's upset. She has a call into the OB-GYN but they haven't gotten back to her yet. I tell her to go drive to the doctor's office right away. I'll meet her there and we'll check this out.
I scramble and rush out the door. As I'm driving on the highway my pulse is quickening and my thoughts start running..."this can't be happening...everything will be alright...maybe we'll deliver today." I remember thinking in that moment that maybe the worst that happened, but that "no, everything would be OK."
I got to the doctor's office before Cynthia and tell the receptionist what's going on and they say we can do a non-stress test right when Cynthia gets here. Cynthia arrives in about 5 minutes and we head right into the room.
The first nurse listens for a heartbeat. Says she doesn't hear anything but makes some excuse that it could just be the equipment. She goes and gets Dr. S.
Dr. S sets up the ultrasound machine. We see a blurry picture of Cara but no movement. Nothing. No heartbeat. She tells us she "doesn't know why this happened but there's no heartbeat." She doesn't have to say the words...we immediately know Cara is dead, she's gone. Cynthia keeps saying this can't be right, that they need to take Cara out of her belly immediately. I fall to my knees and place my hands on Cynthia's belly...shocked, numb, broken, hurt...."this really can't be happening."
Cynthia and I hold each other. We cry. We're in a state of disbelief. This just can't be true. Cynthia summons up the strength to call her mother. I hear her mom's shock. Their dream is dashed.
Cynthia and I shuffle down the hall to Dr. W's office. Dr. W is a soft-spoken, kind, wise, doctor. He says he's so sorry this has happened since it is the worst thing that could ever happen to someone. We didn't know quite yet how true his words were. Dr. W explains what our options for delivery are. Deliver naturally, c-section is an option but not recommended. We choose to deliver naturally. Dr. W encourages us to go home and they'll call us when they have room in the hospital. The hospital is busy right now delivering healthy babies.
Somehow, Cynthia and I drive back home. How did we have the strength to do this? How did we not lose it right there? Did we need to just be home? Probably so.
I don't remember the car ride too much but I do remember walking into the house. It had felt the most quiet than ever before. Empty. Totally empty. Cara's cries would never be heard here.
Quickly, Cynthia and I were drawn up for Cara's nursery. This was the place we felt closest to her spirit. We sat, huddled up in Cara's rocking chair and wailed. She can't be gone. How are we going to live without her? How are we going to get through this? This is a nightmare. Cara, we love you. We can't believe you're gone.
After some time in Cara's nursery, we went back downstairs and quickly made a call to our pastor. He was expecting a call of good news and asked "if we had some news" with a sense of excitement. Quickly, I told him "Cara's died." He said "oh no" and said he'd be right over.
Pastor G was quickly there to offer sympathy and comfort in such a special way. He cried with us, prayed with us and even helped us start planning a way to honor Cara at her funeral. Almost immediately, we wanted to think of practical ways to honor our beloved daughter.
Within a short time, the house started to fill up which was a really good thing. Our friend and pastor L and our friend M. We huddled together. They provided the strength we needed to get through delivering Cara. They were a perfect friend, there for us to express our grief and pain.
Around 9pm we got the call. The hospital was ready. It was time to leave...