Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Daddy's Perspective

I was at work when Virginia text me that she was having labor pains. That moment I got excited, but Virginia told me not to get too excited yet. I mind was on her the entire day, and I started making plans in my head of how I was going to hurry home and get her to the hospital. At about 4 pm, Virginia text me that I needed to get home so we could get ready to head to the hospital. I told my boss I needed to go, and he let me off a few minutes early. I logged out of my computer, but learned later I’d forgotten to log out of the phone system. I accidentally left my phone on the “back to desk” setting. Oops.

The ride home was filled with emotion. I have a couple of songs that I listen to for Eden, “Say Hello to Heaven” by Temple of the Dog and “So Eden” by Katrina. These songs have a special meaning to me that cannot be explained. As soon as I got home I realized how real things were. I saw Virginia breathing through a contraction. They were moderate at that point. 

During the trip to the hospital, it was really hard to not speed while Virginia was having contractions. She would breathe through them, but the car was not comfortable for her. It was a colder night and some sleet had fallen, so I decided to go the longer, safer route to the hospital which added 30 minutes to the drive and did not help with her comfort level at all. 

Once we got checked into the hospital, they showed us our room and the doctor was there waiting on us. Virginia got dressed into the hospital gown and when the doctor checked her, she was not ready at all. “Oh no,” I thought. “She is not ready and we are not going to get the birth we want. Was this just Braxton Hicks? Is there trouble? Are we going to be sent home?” The questions kept coming. The doctor told us Eden was oblique with her shoulder presenting and gave us options. We could try to turn Eden so she was head down and if that didn’t work, the only other option was a C-section. I really did not want the latter of the two. They gave Virginia something to slow down the contractions so we could try to turn Eden. The doctor tried to turn her for 20 minutes but Eden would not turn where she needed to be. The doctor asked us how we felt about the c-section. Virginia said OK and accepted it. I looked at her confused. No questions? Several questions came through my mind because we were dead set against another c-section, but I soon accepted the fact that we had no other options. My Mom and Sister came in after that, and we exchanged little words. Brooklyn was running around, and we shared a couple of laughs. Virginia’s family came in, and Virginia’s Mom stood by her side and explained this was God’s plan to have as much time with Eden as possible. 

We went to the operating room where Virginia and I were separated for a few minutes. It felt like a lifetime as I paced up and down the hallway like the men used to while waiting for their child to be born. The woman that was going to do our pictures for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep came and was ready also. We exchanged very few words. I didn’t mean to ignore her; I was just worried about our time with Eden. I wanted so much time with her, and I wanted the family to get their time as well. I knew this was asking for a lot, but I had been praying for it. 

The nurse came and got us when Virginia was ready. I will never forget the look of concern on Virginia’s face. We needed to stay strong for this, and I needed to keep Virginia from losing her composure. I watched about 90% of the surgery. There were some sounds that Virginia questioned, and I told her what was going on. I remember a sense of urgency during the surgery. I had to get Eden in my arms and get her to Virginia. We didn’t know how much time we would have with her, so I was trying to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
The doctor dropped the drape so Virginia could see Eden come out. She was beautiful! Her little head with her chubby little body was perfect. I wanted to tell the doctor to just hurry up and get her to me but we wanted to delay cord clamping. I watched the cord stop pulsating, and we cut it and I was handed our angel. We put a hat that Virginia’s Aunt Denise made. It was perfect when I put Eden in my arms. I had the chance to suck out all of the stuff in Eden’s mouth and nose. It was a feeling I cannot explain because I didn’t know how long I would have with her. Once Eden was in my arms there was absolute peace, but I had to hurry and get her over to Virginia. Virginia stroked Eden’s face, and she responded with coos. She was absolutely beautiful. After a few minutes we decided to get Eden weighed and a few pictures of Eden with her blanket that had her name on it. 

Virginia brought up that I should take Eden to go see the rest of the family. I was unsure about this because I was afraid of Eden taking her last breath without Virginia around. I would not be able to live with myself for taking her away if Virginia was not around for that moment. I did go ahead and take Eden out to the waiting room though finally. When we walked through the operating doors, Virginia’s mom, Lori, was standing two feet away, looking. The look of joy and love on her face was a magical moment that I will not forget. I walked to meet the rest of the family in the waiting room. I let Lori hold Eden, and as she held her tight I shared tears with my mom and sister. We were all a family and Eden had brought us together in that moment, a moment that all the family members were honored to have. I’m not sure how long I was in the waiting room, and once everyone had got their turn holding Eden, we went back to be with Virginia. I thanked God that we got the opportunity to spend time with Eden and share her with the family, but still wanted more. Virginia was still in the operating room when we went back in. When Virginia was finally moved to recovery, we laid Eden on Virginia for some mom-time. As family members cycled through the recovery room, a feeling of love filled the room. There were tears of sadness, but there were also tears of joy with Eden blessing us with her presence.

Moving into our room and out of the recovery room was a relief. Our family could all take turns holding Eden and comforting each other. I remember Eden opening her eyes and looking at me. Sometimes it would be just one navy blue eye, and sometimes both. She would move her head just to look at me, and we would just stare at each other, no words, just sharing our life. 

Our last moments with Eden were very special. As I looked around the room, I could see that everyone was truly satisfied with the time we got with her. Everyone knew what was going to happen, but we were all in awe with how strong Eden was, and how she gave us all she could. I realized that even Virginia was okay when she told Eden that she didn’t need to keep being so strong anymore. “You can let go and be with Mema,” were Virginia’s words to Eden. 

I was on the phone with my Dad, and Virginia was on the phone with her Uncle when
Eden left the world. I noticed that she had stopped moving and was not opening her mouth to breathe anymore. I tapped her on her nose because she would flinch, but this time she didn’t. With tears in my eyes, I looked at Lori and my mom and just nodded. We all knew, and all I could do is bury my face into Virginia. My mom came up behind me and hugged me, “She is so peaceful and calm.” I will never forget those words from my Mother as everyone else gathered around. A calming still came over the room, the air was heavy, and we all just stood around Eden in silence, almost like silently telling her “thank you for your strength and blessing us for these 6 hours and 27 minutes.” The nurse came and no heartbeat was found. The doctor came in to confirm it, and he nodded and told us he was sorry. We all already knew it, but it was still heartbreaking.

The next few hours were me and Virginia spending our last moments with Eden. We cried, cuddled, took pictures, and bathed Eden. Those last moments with her I will never forget.
I have other memories that I will always keep to myself and will cherish them forever. Our angel will always be in my heart, and I thank God and Eden for blessing us with the perfect time. We were all content with what Eden gave us, and she changed our lives forever. Yes there are times when I am not okay, and there are times when everything is fine. We all have our moments, and I know it is okay to have those moments. 

Thank you, Eden Marie.

Love Daddy


  1. I am so sorry for your loss. Many prayers for your family.

  2. This was so beautiful. I am still praying for you Jamie and your family, especially with Christmas coming. Just know that God is with you always and He has Eden Marie in his loving arms. I love you guys, stay strong.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story with the world.... beautiful little Eden. Short life but HUGE blessings. It is comforting that you will see her again one day. x0x