Every Soul… A star

My Angels angel…

I remember when Tall Child first called me… “We want to bring you dinner”

We? The new boyfriend that I met a few weeks prior? He seems nice enough… and encouraging her to spend time with me gets a bonus point… “I would love that”

I know there is more to this… I knew immediately… But I didn’t let my conscious mind wrap itself around that yet… and looked forward to the visit instead….

Tuesday night… 5:45 pm… phone rings.. Tearful daughter… “Mom, we aren’t going to make it down… I didn’t want to do this over the phone… I’m pregnant”… Breathe… all I say is… “I love you”… breathe… “Thanks mom”….” We will talk about it when you can come … How can I get you to come see me…” we make arrangements for a few nights later… I figure out something else to feed my son for dinner… and I crawl onto my bed and cry… and cry… and cry… pause.. put son to bed… cry some more… wake up to a wet pillow, I’ve been crying in my sleep…

A couple of days later, Tearful Enraged Mother and Tearful Enraged Daughter have it out… Just the two of us… and it’s not pretty… but we come to an understanding… it is her life… and I love her… that is all that matters…

But, I will not be called grandma!

Flash forward a few weeks… I force myself to buy baby diapers at the store… I am getting used to the idea… I hold friends babies, and coo and ahhhh at them and smile… maybe I can do this… I try to communicate with daughter… I try to be supportive… Christmas has arrived; there are presents under the tree labeled “Baby”… The previous mentioned diapers… a teddy bear frying pan… Only teddy bear pancakes are good enough for this baby on the way… Christmas is a family event, I have everyone I love under one roof, that can be under the roof… and I am sure that everything is going to be okay….

Flash forward a few weeks… My cell phone rings… I am expecting the call, she calls after all of her doctor’s appointments to tell me how the baby is doing…. I smile at her picture that pops up on my phone when she calls “Hi angel girl”…. “Mom”….”Honey… what’s wrong?”…. “There is something wrong with the baby… there are these lumps on her neck… They said they are cysts… they are running tests… we are not panicking yet….”… desperately trying to find something to write on… “Heather, tell me what they are called… spell it for me?”…. “Cystic Hygroma… They said not to google it… that it would only be upsetting”… “Of course honey” I am already typing it in on the computer… I tell her I love her and to let me know what she learns…. And that I can be there in a heartbeat if she needs me… as I look at the monitor on images of babies with cystic Hygroma… Tears fill my eyes and dread fills my stomach… and I read, and I read, and I study… and I know the outcome and the odds… and I am prepared… this baby is going to be just fine… as long as it doesn’t develop into Hydrops… the cysts will dissolve… and we will get through this….

Flash Forward a few weeks… “Mom… they are running more tests… the baby is missing a chromosome…” I am already typing on the computer… oh my god… please don’t take this baby from my baby… Missing chromosome.. Google’s response? Down syndrome…. A Down syndrome baby… my heart does a little leap… we could raise a little down syndrome baby, I have worked with children my whole life and have a lot of experience with down syndrome… they are the most beautiful children in the world… We can do this… I continue to walk the baby aisle every time I grocery shop, just waiting to find out of it is a boy or a girl…

Flash Forward one week…Cystic Hygroma, It has now developed into hydrops… The baby is not going to make it… There is not chance… They give her two weeks… and Tall Child gives her a name. My heart feels like it is breaking, breaking for my angel girl… and her angel as well… we wait and we wait, each Friday they check to see if the baby has passed on… but she doesn’t, she can be seen on the ultrasound, moving around, waving at her Mommy and Daddy on the screen… Licking her fingers… playing with her toes… Soon Tall Child can feel her moving, they both feel her kick… by placing their hands on her stomach, she is showing for sure now… Tall Child cooks teddy bear pancakes and eats them, She sends me a text that says “I made teddy bear pancakes for Corynn today, I think she liked them”….

Every Friday my throat tightens, and I work until I hear from her and then fly across the valley as fast as my little car will go to her… to check on her… to see the ultrasound images…. Pause Here for a moment… Tall child could have ended this from the moment she learned the baby wasn’t going to make it… Tall child could have chosen to terminate and have a D&C, But she chose a different option, She wanted to wait and let it happen naturally, and then she chose to have the baby, and keep her as whole and baby like as possible, This was no small task, because Corynn didn’t pass away in two weeks like was predicted…

Tall Child let her belly grow, and went through some of the hardest things of pregnancy … and then prepared to give birth to this little angel. Flash forward to this last Wednesday… The text comes in… “Just had an apt. Corynns heart rate is very low. We have another apt. On Friday and the doctor suspects she will have died by then.” “I love you angel girl what can I do to support you?” “I have no idea The doctor kept telling us to have a clear idea of what we wanted to do at the hospital … and burial… and I don’t know what I’m going to do” “I think you should have a plan… What do you believe in when it comes to that?” “We are talking about it right now… There is one thing I need” “ What? Anything” “A Blanket. At the hospital they will wrap her in it and bring her to me and then the support group will make a bear out of it I would love for you to pick it out” “ I am so so so honored to do that I will go right away and it will be amazing” “Thank you” “I Love you, you can call me if you need anything, I am very proud of you and your daughter” “Thanks mom”…

HOW! How do I give my angel girl her baby? When all she will have to remember her by is this blanket? How am I doing to do this… I walk the aisles of Babys R US, HATING every single person in that store… those people shopping for babies that are alive… Grandmothers for their grandchildren… mothers for their young… I am desperate, and so sad, it overwhelms me, drowns me, and I shop in sunglasses, tears pouring down my face… I find the perfect blanket (I hope it is at least) and I pay for it… hating the cashier with every offer of baby registries and frequent shoppers cards… I wont be needing those… I throw my card at her and buy this beautiful blanket… It is getting hard to walk, I feel sadness physically at this point…

Flash Forward to Friday… The doctor’s visit went as they predicted… The baby’s heart has stopped beating, I went to the national star registry and named a star after this little baby, I put her in the Aries constellation because that is where her birth date will fall… The star is named Corynn Lily… After Corynn Lily … I wrote her a little message that will get launched into space on some future date… with her name and the coordinates of her star….”Instead of little feet, you grew wings, tonight a new star adorns the sky, a new voice joins the choir of angels and sings” … I spend Sunday with Tall Child… They have scheduled inducing labor for first thing Monday morning, I take her to buy some comfortable clothes, and out to breakfast, and I show her the blankets I have chosen, and the certificate for the star as well as a satellite image of it, and a star chart showing it as well…. They have at this time planned where to bury her, thought of caskets… have someone sewing a special small dress…. We all start to prepare for the following day, I leave mommy and daddy alone, and go home and am surrounded by and comforted….

Fast forward to Monday, March 28, 2011,  they are checked in and have text me the room number and I make it right up to them … And we wait… We talk a little… I completely lose it when the social worker comes and gives them a little box of remembrance, the people here are kind, and careful, and refer to the baby by name, and to me as Grandma…I’m so okay being called Grandma… They seem to take things a little better than I do, I glare at the newborn window every time I pass it… and as the social worker leaves, I go walk outside in the crazy snow and try to catch my breath… I need to be tougher… I need to try to not cry all day… Her room is right above the helicopter landing pad…. The sounds of the life flight helicopter will always haunt me… that’s another story…. But I listen to them all day, they give her an epidural at 4pm, she is just now starting to feel contractions, and there is no need for her to feel any pain at all… I’m sitting here in the waiting room typing this… I see an older couple walking the halls, she is older than I, and pregnant, I’m sure they are trying to speed up labor… for the first time I don’t hate the woman who walks past me… Tall Child will be here again one day… I’m sure of it… 6pm she is dilated to a one and her water broke…sitting in the lobby so she can sleep some… its nine pm… no change… 3 am dilated to a two…. 4 am a two…. 5 am… She was getting more medicine to help her induce when a very strange look crossed her face… “Something just happened” to the nurse and I…. The nurse checks her… the same strange look passes her face… “You are at least a six, I am paging the doctor now”… The doctor is here within fifteen minutes… and I leave the room, because Mommy and Daddy want to have some privacy… By Five Thirty, and it is over…. Emotions are running very high, I might be verbally assaulting every person that walks by me with tearful pleas of how she is… They all assure me she is okay, their answer isn’t enough, and I continue to ask again and again… Mr. Amazing comes and takes me to sit down, worried that I might agitate them just on the other side of that door, and only twenty minutes pass before he comes to get me, and let me in to see her.. And there she is, holding that little bundle wrapped in pink… I am so relieved to see that they all hadn’t been lying to me, she is okay…. I took a turn saying my goodbyes to that little angel as well… I left my beautiful strong daughter in the care of the most amazing and tender nurses… and let her rest finally. And then she will lay corynn to rest as well…. I am so proud of both of them.


4 comments on “Every Soul… A star

  1. Rhonda Johnson

    Kerry! I am so glad you are writing down these stories. I am learning so much about you and love you more each time I read one. I am really wishing we lived closer at this point.

  2. Telisha

    Eyes wet and with a sad heart, now words can express my feelings. Even in your story (which I don’t know how long it took you to write) the emotions are behind the words.
    Hugs ~ Love the gift of the star.

  3. Kerry

    Thanks you guys… it was corryns birthday this week… I wrote this in memory… Tall child just gave birth to a healthy baby boy four weeks ago..life has a way of moving forward

  4. Dawn Marie Black

    I wish I could hug you and Tall girl. Give her my love. I cried reading this beautiful, heart wrenching detail of your life. The star was a great gift.