Abigail Miriam Cunningham
August 25, 2015 9:40 pm
7 inches long, and 3.8 oz
How do you say goodbye to someone you never got a chance to meet? Unlike your siblings there won't come a day, when I take all of these letters I write over the years, and give them to you. You will never read these, I suppose they are really for me. Abigail means "my father's joy" in Hebrew and Miriam means "longed for child" in Aramaic. You brought great joy to us while you were with us, and we very much wanted you, and will miss you.
The last two days were incredibly hard. We went to have our ultrasound hoping to discover if you were a brother for Britt or if we'd have another little girl to dress up and spoil, only to discover that you had already left us at least a few weeks prior. We spent Monday afternoon not playing the name game, that I so enjoy, but rather trying to line up burial arrangements and child care for the other kids. We decided to leave the kids with Bro. Jonathan and Sis. Kimberly overnight, and Sis. Bonnie was going to be taking care of them during the day. We spent one more night at home just the three of us, you, me, and Daddy.
Yesterday, we had to drive down to Holy Spirit, go up to the maternity floor, and be induced. When we pulled up, I had the strongest desire to be anywhere but there. We arrived about 10:15, and at 11:45, I got my first dose of Cytotec, we had to have another dose at 3:50, and then again at 8. Your labor was nothing like the others. For me by far the hardest part, was having to listen to the fetal heartbeat machine for the couple next door to us, for hours. It was turned up so loud that despite having music going on the laptop I could hear it. They expected it to only take about 4-8 hours, and by 4 or 5 pm, I was done. I was tired of hearing the machine next door, tired of being confined to one room, and I just didn't want to have to go through with this under these circumstances. Labor was very different, it wasn't intense like the others, and because I didn't have to dilate all the way to a 10, there was no transition, no urge to push. It was hard to figure out how to push since, my body wasn't doing it on it's own.
You were born still at 9:40. One of the things that helped us get through the day, other than spending the long hours playing Hand and Foot, was to have Church singing and other acapella cds playing. When you were born, the Cindy Smith cd "Rich With My Savior" was playing. The Nurse noticed that "Standing on Holy Ground" was playing when you were born. I didn't notice that, but I did notice the song immediately after when I first held you was "I Need Thee Every Hour." After you were born, it was easier in many ways. It was obvious that you were gone, and had been. I only held the shell you left behind. Your mouth was turned up in the faintest smile, and you had these very tiny, dainty hands and feet. Your hand was about the size of my fingernails, but you could see each individual finger, each little knuckle, and your tiny fingernails beginning to grow. The nurse was thoughtful enough to take some pictures, some that I probably will not share with anyone, that I will horde for my own. The hospital had you a tiny wrap (since you were far to small for a dress) and your own blanket. They also had a beautiful burial wrap, made from part of a wedding gown that someone had donated. We got a memory box to keep a few of your things that we took home with us: there were no hand or foot prints or molds since you were too tiny, and no lock of hair, because you hadn't begun growing any yet, though I can't help but wonder if you might have finally been my red-headed girl that I always secretly (or maybe not so secretly) hope for. We spent a little time holding you. Your Daddy sang "Be Still My Soul," I so love to listen to him sing, and we said prayer before we were ready to let you go. When we gave you back to the nurse about 11:35, I had a great peace about it, because I knew you were already gone. I can only attribute it to the immense number of very specific prayers offered up by so many for us. We called it a night at about 1:30.
Today, listening to Gary call and make all the burial arrangements has again been difficult, especially since I couldn't go back to sleep after the 4 am stat check. (Whoever, decided that all patients need to be woken up at 4 am for that should be shot. There is no reason under heaven that they couldn't make their rounds at 8 pm and 8 am, instead of 4 pm and 4 am.) I expect that it will be difficult for some time, I figure your due date in another 4 months will be especially hard. But while I know basically nothing about you, I do know that "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his." (2 Timothy 2:19) If you are one of his you are in a far better place, you have more wisdom than I will obtain here, you are in a place with no more pain or death, you are with the Lord himself and while you cannot come again to us, one day we will be there too (II Sam 12:23).
We love you, our fourth born,