SIX QUIET MINUTES
The hospital that we knew so well felt different in the middle of the night. It was quiet and calm. The nurse checked my vitals, did a quick swab, and confirmed that my water had broken. She wrapped the fetal monitor around my belly; Silas kicked it. We both laughed and then tears started to blur my vision. Breathe. Don’t cry. The nurse grabbed my hand and told me that it was okay to cry. I nodded and let the tears stream down my face. Dr. Carrington came in with my file, equipped with all the information he needed to know about my sweet son. He explained that he was in the middle of a delivery, likely needing the Operating Room, but as soon as he was done he would deliver our son. We waited quietly; I held Silas as he kicked and rolled. Oh sweet Silas, I am not ready yet.
The wait didn’t seem long enough though. How could it be? I thought I had eleven more weeks with this little guy. But soon the room was full of busy nurses, and I was being rolled to the O.R. I knew that it would be several minutes before Daren would be able to join me, and I started to panic. I needed my partner to hold my hand, to be my strong calmness. My mind tried to convince my body that it was okay, but my body didn’t believe it. As I laid on the table, being prepped for surgery, my heart started to race and my teeth wouldn’t stop chattering. My body was completely numb at this point from the anesthesia. I tried to feel Silas moving; I couldn’t anymore. I’m going to puke. A nurse appeared with a bag and then wiped my face for me. Breathe.
From the other side of the curtain, a sweet voice asked me what I did for a living. I stay at home with my baby. She then asked me what I did before that. I worked at ACH Child and Family Services. She told me that she knew several people that work there. She started listing names; I knew them all. As she talked to me, I started to relax. Then she mentioned one of the teenage girls that lived there. Yes! I know Megan. She lived with me for a year. The nurse said, “Oh! Ms. Katie? I’m Shelly?” Shelly had befriended Megan at their church before she lived with me. Anytime Megan had health issues, I would call “Nurse Shelly” for advice. I couldn’t believe Nurse Shelly was here with me. My mind and body were completely calm now.
Daren was finally escorted in, he grabbed my hand, and a few minutes later Silas was born. A nurse quietly swaddled Silas, covered his head, and handed him to Daren. She listened to his heart and told us that he was still alive. But there were no visible sign of life, he wasn’t crying or moving at all. This moment was so still and quiet for me. And although I’m sure there were machines beeping and nurses talking to one another, in my mind the room was silent. It was just Daren, Silas, and me. I watched Daren hold his son; he seemed to be mesmerized by him. The nurse checked his heart again and told us that he had passed away. He lived for six quiet minutes outside of my womb.
Early on in the pregnancy, Daren and I read story after story about parents spending hours with their baby in the hospital after it passed away. These stories were often accompanied with pictures of smiling parents, holding their baby. At the time, this seemed so bizarre to me. But as a nurse laid Silas on my chest and rolled us back to our room, I understood. Even though I knew he had passed away, I wanted to hold him forever. How am I going to let you go, little guy?
Even though I knew he had passed away, I wanted to hold him forever.
Our room quietly filled with family members. My sisters, Ruby, and two of Daren’s cousins had been in the waiting room during the delivery. When they came in, it seemed perfectly normal. They held him, studying his features to see who he looked like, while Daren took pictures. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for my family; they loved our little boy so much. Soon it was just the three of us again. I couldn’t tell you how long we held Silas. It seemed like time had stopped the second he was born. Eventually a nurse came in and asked if we were ready for her to take him. We would never be ready, but we let him go. After she left, I turned to Daren and said, “Well that was just perfect.” I looked right past him and saw Peace standing in the room. It was heavy and confident, but other than that, indescribable. My fear about delivery day seemed so absurd now. I was anxious about all the “unknowns”, all the while God was perfectly orchestrating this day to bring me peace in the midst of this great loss. Oh God! You are so good!