Now I Lay Her Down to Sleep

Aurora Skye Nickerson.  We thank G-d that she lived for ninety glorious minutes.

Aurora Skye Nickerson. We thank G-d that she lived for ninety glorious minutes.

We held her for hours.  We talked to her, we sang, we just stared in the silence.  Finally, the nurse came in and said we needed to say goodbye.  I begged for more time.  They assured me it was in our best interest to let her go.  As soon as they took her, I demanded to leave the hospital.   Even though they had us in, “the quiet room.”  I knew mothers were with their babies and I felt like I wasn’t a mother anymore.

Our first daughter Aurora Skye, had been born on June 21st.  She was perfect in every way.  Her beautiful blond hair had natural finger waves, her skin was smoother than a petal on a rose.  She gave out two cries and then went silent.  I remember staring at her perfectly shaped oval fingernails, she looked so, normal.  3 pounds 11 ounces, and she snuggled in my arm so naturally.  I was convincing myself it was all a mistake and that she would live.  G-d had answered my prayers.  She lived for ninety

Later, the Neonatologist came in to check on her.  We looked at him with great hope, only to see him shake his head.  We knew. My head fell onto her tiny body and I began to sob.

She had lived for ninety miraculous minutes, but I wanted more.

We had been prepared long before her birth, that she would likely be born,”asleep.”  I prayed day after day, asking G-d to change His mind, to allow us more time.  She had no amniotic fluid, I could see the shape of her body on my small rounded tummy.

I went back and forth wondering if we should put up a nursery, just in case. My sister brought over her son’s cradle and let me borrow it. She probably knew it would never be filled, but had mercy on me.

It’s hard to explain to others what it was like being pregnant, knowing your child will never come home. When we went out, people would ask what we were having and when we were due.  I found myself stuttering as I tried to explain we couldn’t tell what we were having because our child didn’t have any amniotic fluid.  We had an estimated date but knew our baby would be coming early and probably wouldn’t survive.

Some days I glowed with motherly love. I adored feeling her kicks getting stronger.  She knew when my husband was going to be home before I did. My strongest memory was during one ultrasound. We were about 19 weeks along.  My doctor was a compassionate man and allowed me as many ultrasounds as we wished.

The tech had the wand on my belly. I am thankful Aurora was our first because we didn’t know any better.  Instead of seeing a smooth outline, we saw her skeletal body.  Seth loved to talk to her. He would crouch down by her and speak so sweetly. Each time she would stop fidgeting and hold really still to listen.  As soon as he stopped, we could actually see her jaw moving up and down. She was talking!  We thought it was a fluke thing and he tried again.  The same result; she would stop, listen, and then talk!  She had won our hearts.

Every step of the way, we got to see her slowly grow.  I LOVED being pregnant. I have never felt so whole in my life.

The worst day of my pregnancy was going to the funeral home. I was still pregnant. I felt horribly guilty planning her funeral while she was fully alive.  I remember sitting there and feeling her movements slow down.  She could feel my sadness.  I felt like a failure as a mother.  I just wanted to go leave and pretend everything was normal.  I went home and cried all night.

There was no baby shower.

No real nursery.

Just reality.

I share these things with you, not to make you sad.  Instead, I want anyone who reads this to take away the fact, that these little lives matter.  These small people leave a mark on our hearts that many can’t describe.  Their life starts in the womb, not after being born.  G-d sends them not to upset our lives, but to learn and take care of His greatest treasures.

What I LOVE about our G-d is that He doesn’t measure anyone’s worth by how long they live.  Instead, G-d measure’s His love by His standards.  He loves us all.  I don’t understand why things had to happen the way they did, but I believe that we only see a small part of a big picture.

Our children dying is not a punishment.  Each life is a gift no matter how long they are placed on this earth.  The weirdest thing to explain was the feeling that she wasn’t really gone.  Like they had made a mistake. I have spoken to a lot of people and this is a common thread.  You stand by their graves and await a resurrection.

I feel that is something that G-d puts in our hearts to remind us, that their lives aren’t over. It’s a knowing in our spirit assuring us, we will be with each other again.

While I fully believe our children are in heaven, it’s hard for us who have been left behind.   I have found throughout the years of our journey that, no mother forgets.  I can’t tell you how many times I go somewhere and once a woman knows my history, they open up about their losses.  Some are new to grief while others have carried it in their hearts.  It never ceases to amaze me when they open up and at the end say, “I don’t know where all that came from?”  Silently I think in my head, “I do.  You’re their Mama.”

Silently I think in my head, “I do. You’re their Mama.”

Thirteen years ago I wasn’t on FB or social media.  I would have thought you a liar to think years later, people would be lighting candles in honor of their little ones.  It sadness me that there are so many of us.  Yet, I am thankful we can unite and share of our heavenly children with great acceptance and awareness.  In a world where babies are literally being cast away, we stand and say, “They matter. Each and every single one of them.”

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To the world, it may seem foolish, but to G-d, it makes perfect sense.  I am forever changed by the loss of my children here on earth.  It is an ache that never goes away.  They are precious and I will hold them close to my heart until I am carried into heaven myself.  The true treasures in heaven aren’t gold, diamonds, and pearls.  I think the treasures are our loved ones, knowing that death no longer has a hold on our spirits.  Our loved ones are in the hands of our Father, and so are we.

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6 thoughts on “Now I Lay Her Down to Sleep

  1. I read this with tears streaming down my face, with a huge lump in my throat, my heart aching. It has been 37 years, and our baby girl lived for 2 hours, 51 minutes here on earth. We knew nothing beforehand, we had no time to prepare. My first glimpse of our precious daughter was at the funeral home. I never got to hold her. Things were so different back then. We know she is waiting for us in heaven, but some days the pain still overwhelms me. Thank you for sharing your story.

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    • Becky, I am moved beyond words. I can tell your daughter is so deeply loved and forever cherished. I am humbled that you would allow me to share in your daughter’s life and memory. I love how you know exactly down to the minute, how long she lived. I am almost 37 myself. That’s my whole life time and little more of missing her. I think it is extraordinary and beautiful that you miss her so much. You are proof a Mama’s love never ends. As you know, we WILL see them again. However that doesn’t take away one ounce of what we long to hold.

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