After we sent everyone home on Friday night, the strangest thing happened. They all came back on Saturday. And they brought back up. Those that did not come to the hospital started to call. And text. And if we tweeted, I bet they would have done that, too. I have never seen such an outpouring of support. Gary and I kept joking that the hospital would probably discharge us early just to get rid of the masses. And we would have it no other way!
There were shifts of people that were sent to our house to "de-baby" it. All the goodies from my baby shower had been assembled and had been all over the house. Gary and I were both thrown showers at work and so there was all that stuff, too. The first shift came and put what they saw in the basement and set up a bed for us on the main floor so that I would not have to take the steps. The second shift went to see if the first shift missed anything and then also stocked our fridge and pantry. Where they had the strength to do what they did, I will never know. Gone was the car seat from my car, the pack n' play from the living room, the swing from the family room, the bouncy seat from the kitchen. All the items we picked out with love and care and excitement were now exiled to the basement. The stroller would not get to go on long walks this summer. The highchair would not help hold our baby as we fed her cereal for the first time. They also closed the door to the nursery so that we would not have to look at it right away.
Back at the hospital, we visited with our guests and I practiced standing and then walking. The sooner I could prove that I could go home, the better. The doctor checked in on me and was thrilled to see that I was already mobile (and clean - apparently wanting to shower was a step in the right direction!) and said she did not see why we could not go home the next day. Hallelujah for that!! I also got to eat for the first time since I was admitted and although I had very little appetite, anything was better than the ice chip diet I had been on since we arrived.
Sunday morning came and with it, Allie's autopsy. Wow. It looks even stranger when I write it out. Nothing glaring was found - our 7 lb, 2 oz, 20 in long baby had nothing abnormal about her. The doctor told us that it looked like a "cord accident" had likely been the cause of death, but it was really hard to know for sure. She assured us that it was just that - an accident - and that it was not our fault and there was nothing we could have done. Babies get their nutrients from the cord and if something happens and that supply is cut off, then, well, we all know now what happens. Later we found out that I had some clotting issues with my blood, but as of late yesterday, it looks like the cord accident is probably what caused her death. We are waiting for chromosomal tests which should be back by the time I go back for my 6 week check up in 2 weeks. We are hoping the tests are all negative and the doctor seems to think that will be the case, but we need to wait and see. We have been told more than once that we can try again and that so far, there is nothing to indicate that I should not or could not get pregnant again. We were told to wait 6 months before trying and as much as we want to be parents, Gary and I both see the benefit of giving ourselves and my body some time to heal.
During this time, we called a funeral home and made arrangements for them to pick up Allie. Gary and I had never talked about funeral arrangements for ourselves and now we were faced with what to do with our baby. I am Jewish and Gary is Catholic, but we were going to raise Allie in the Jewish faith. We were in touch with a family friend who called a local rabbi and we tried to figure out what was best. Neither Gary nor I wanted a funeral so we decided on cremation. I think funerals are for the living and I wanted the people in our lives to remember her as we had talked about her for the past 37 weeks - with excitement and joy and wonder and love and I did not want anyone to think of her and think sorrow and caskets and misery. In the short term, some of that may happen, but in the long run, I hoped the love we had for her would be what everyone would remember.
So on Sunday, Gary and I went home. And as happy as we were to be going home, it was hard. 3 of us went into that hospital on Thursday and only 2 of us got to go home on Sunday. We had the "memory box" that the hospital gave us to bring home - it contained all the clothes they had swaddled Allie in, her hand and foot prints, a CD of 38 beautiful pictures, a ring they had her wear for some photos and I am not sure what else as I have not been able to look at the box since. I want to and I will - but not yet. Gary said it was the heaviest thing he ever carried. That was until we picked up her ashes and brought them home later that week. To be continued...