Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Although I think about her daily, I am honored to write this post in honor of my niece. My brother and his wife found out they were expecting a baby in July of 2008. I was not really close to them, but I was the first he called. They were a bundle of nerves waiting for the first appointment date. They met the doctor and had a long talk about my sister-n-law's care. She is a diabetic and knew that more appointments and test would be necessary. So began their journey to parenthood.
At 20 weeks gestation, an appointment at a speciality center was scheduled. Also at this appointment, they would find out if they were having a boy or a girl. So off to TN went my brother, sister-n-law, my mom, and her mom. I had worked all night and was sleeping all day (before my new job as a nanny). I had told them they could call me if they wanted. So around 12:30, I heard my phone ringing. The conversation that followed changed my world.
During the sonogram they found out it was a girl. However, they also noticed that she was anencephalic. A part of her brain didn't form. She would not be able to survive once she was born. The doctors tried to explain their options. They suggested that she terminate the pregnancy. My brother and sister-n-law knew that was not an option for them.
So after several more test, the result was the same. No matter how long she was alive, Harley Grace would not survive for long outside the womb.
The next weeks were hard. VERY HARD! We simply prayed and believed for a miracle.
At 29 weeks, my sister-n-law went into labor on Dec. 19, 2008. They called and we rushed to the hospital. I went back to find out what I could. Everyone there that night knew the situation and knew me. Once she got admitted and moved to a knew room, the waiting began. Waiting for her to dilate and give birth to my niece. At 1:00 in morning, the nurse came in and we tried to listen for any heart tones from Harley. It was at that moment as I watched the monitor that I knew. She was gone. She no longer was alive. Relaying that message to the parents, grandparents, and everyone else was heart breaking. Harley would be stillborn.
After 2 days in labor, 4 units of blood, a lot of test, a lot of lab work, a lot of everything; Harley Grace was finally born. She weighed 2 lbs 2 oz. She was perfect. Because my sister-n-law had to be put to sleep for surgery, no one was in the room when Harley was delivered. A nurse came out and asked my brother if he wanted to see her. His answer was yes. But he didn't want anybody to go with him. I have seen this happen before in other families. But this is now happening to me. I talked him into letting me go with him. He would need some support. They brought in the tiny pink blanket holding my brother's daughter. I will forever remember the look in his face when they placed Harley in his arms. Finally he was holding the daughter we had waited so long for.
Harley has taught me so much. Harley brought me closer to my family. Today I am happy to say that I am Harley's aunt.
I am praying for all families that have walked through this heart wrenching journey. Please remember these families and pray for them today.