i came back into full consciousness in the last hour of pushing, and my baby’s little body slipped out of mine at 4:10pm, approximately 24-48 hours after he died, less than 13 hours after my first dose of misoprostol. there was no first, plaintive wail. no resuscitating. no apgar score. no birth certificate. his very long umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice, twisted all about his body and inserted into the membranous sac instead of the placenta. these complications almost certainly caused his death.
the nurse wrapped him in a blanket and placed him in my arms. i was too shocked to cry. my entire pregnancy i had a hard time believing that i was actually having a baby, a sweet small sum of joel’s and my genes, with an entirely new and unique spirit. and here he was, real, perfect … and gone. i remember being so frustrated at the tears blurring my view of his beautiful body and face. i didn’t want to cry; i wanted to see him!
we named him sky gabriel. he was 7lbs, 5.5oz, 20in long, had his daddy’s high cheekbones and cupid’s bow lips, and his mama’s turned up nose and long eyes.
my parents, brother and sister-in-law, our housemates, and a few close friends came, held him, and cried. we took pictures. the people from now i lay me down to sleep took pictures. the hospital took hand and foot casts. we chose not to have an autopsy because the cause of death was fairly obvious and i wanted to keep his little body close as long as possible. we hugged him, cried, kissed his cool face. that night i carefully arranged his body in a bassinet, and we slept in the little hospital bed next to him, waking to touch him and talk to him and hold his icy hands.
the next day we were discharged from the hospital at around 11:30am, and took him to the funeral home to be cremated. oregon law does not allow the transport of dead bodies without a permit, but they make a special exception for parents of stillborn babies. we held him until the very last minute we could, and when i finally gave him to the lady at the funeral home she was crying.
and we drove home without our baby.