Except for the devastating end to my first pregnancy I loved being pregnant. To me there was something wondrous about having a baby, another human being, living and growing inside me.
As the months flew by with this pregnancy I didn’t even consider something might go wrong. I was taking care of my two beautiful daughters and another baby was soon to arrive adding to our joy. My doctor had made it very plain everything was proceeding as it should and all our bad experiences were in the past.
Heidi was excited to be getting another baby in the family. Robin was too young to understand another one was on the way.
Our due date of April 1st quickly approached but the joke was on me as no baby came. On April 10th my labor began. The labor progressed slowly. After several hours Dr. Bigelow ordered an X-ray to rule out or discover any problems. When he ordered an X-ray it frightened me. I thought X-rays were harmful. There are always signs up in the X-ray labs saying to notify the technician if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant. A familiar fear began to creep into my tummy.
Dr. Bigelow said he was hearing lots of heart beats and wanted to know if perhaps there were two babies in there again. My fear turned to joy. How exciting. Could I now be going to have twins after all? When I got to the lab the technician had a puzzled look on his face when he saw my belly. He didn’t say anything. When he was finished he was very quiet and wouldn’t look me in the face. I figured if he had discovered twins he’d be happy. A feeling of dread began to flood over me.
I had been back in my labor room for only a few seconds when Dr. Bigelow and Larry came into the room. They were both an ashen color. Dr Bigelow looking me square in the face and said, “Joyce, we have a problem.” He proceeded to explain to me our baby was going to die. He told me we were having a baby girl. She had a devastating life-ending problem and would either be born dead or die in the following hours.
Dr. Bigelow must have been thinking back to the time when our twins were born. I know I was. It had not occurred to me that something so horrible could happen to me again! The doctor left and Larry took his place by my side. He didn’t leave me again for even an instant.
My mom and dad, Larry's mom, and several friends and relatives gathered in the waiting room. My dad came in to my room. He didn’t try to offer any false hope. He simple climbed into my bed with me, held me in his arms like a father trying to comfort his little girl, and cried.
The morning passed slowly. Little progress was made. In a way I just wanted it over. We had chosen Cari to be the name of our baby if it was a girl. Our little Cari continued to move and squirm about inside me. Every time I had a contraction I was torn between wanting her to stay inside me alive and wanting the agony of labor to be over.
At one point I was hemorrhaging quite badly. One of my favorite uncles, Johnny Stevens, was in the waiting room. When he found out I was in trouble he went to the nurse and said, “She can have my blood.” I only mention this because he didn’t say “some of my blood.” The nurse even laughed when she told me later that he seemed quite willing to give me all of his blood.
Larry and I held one another. He stroked my brow, he rubbed my back, and he caressed my swollen belly. I cried. He cried. Then we prayed together that our little one would be born dead so no one would be starring at her and waiting for her to die. I couldn’t believe we were praying for our baby to die. I couldn’t believe we were loosing another precious child.
About noon I noticed something odd. I put my hand down where the baby would be coming out. I felt a little foot. I ran my fingers over the five little toes, down the bottom of the arch, and around the heel. When I rubbed the arch the foot straightened out. I was tickling my daughter and she was reacting. She was in the position that one leg would come out and then the other leg and body at the same time. I was so uncomfortable.
I honestly looked for and expected to see Cari’s angel come for her as I had with our twins. I guess God knew this time I would be strong enough. He knew I knew the angel was there if I saw it or not. As He always is, God was right.
It was about four in the afternoon when Cari was finally born. Much to our relief our beautiful 8 pound 12 ounce little one was stillborn. The nurse gently wrapped her and carried her from the room.
Once again Larry had to make funeral and burial arrangements for a child. On the stone for Joyce and Jayne, who are buried together, he had inscribed “Our Darling Daughters.” Now on Cari’s stone he had “Another Darling Daughter.” The three of them are at the Lakewood Cemetery in the baby section.
I stayed in the hospital for three nights that time. Labor had been long and hard. I was exhausted. I think Dr. Bigelow had me stay in the hospital partly to recover from delivering Cari and partly to keep me from Heidi and Robin.
I remember getting into the wheelchair. I had many bouquets of flowers. I took only a couple flower arrangements and asked the nurse, Miss Mott, to give the rest to other new mothers. When she took the flowers from the room she had tears in her eyes. She said she’d find just the right rooms to put them in. She walked us to the car. When she helped me stand and transfer to the car she stopped me and gave me a long warm hug.
I had been too ill after Joyce and Jayne were born to attend their funeral but I went to Cari’s. I don’t think I heard much of what was said. All I could hear was silence. I don’t know if I am saying this right but I only heard a sound like a waterfall. Maybe it was my blood rushing through my aching heart or maybe it was God’s own protection. Maybe God knew I didn’t need to hear what the pastor was saying. I remember seeing a tiny beautiful pink casket. I remember seeing a handful of my friends. I remember walking, with Larry’s help back to the car. My arms and legs felt so heavy I was amazed I could move them at all.
Mom and dad, Larry’s mom and dad, and Heidi and Robin were home when we got there. Life needed to go on. When driving sometimes we hit speed bumps. This had been another “Life Bump” but I had so much good in my life I was eager to get on with living!
I visited the cemetery the Easter after Cari was born. The other little graves were covered with Teddy bears, Easter rabbits, balloons, flowers and messages. It was very sad. Realizing my little girls are not actually at the cemetery I have not returned more than a few times in all these years and then it was only to show our other children where they were buried.I take great comfort in knowing they are alive and in Heaven. Often I stop and think of just how many wonderful people I know there with them. My dad and mom, Larry’s mom, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, relatives and many friends wait for me there. It will certainly be like going home some day to see all those familiar faces and so many new ones as well.