Sure, it’s the title of a Nicholas Sparks book (that I haven’t read) and subsequent movie (that I haven’t seen), but it is also how it felt making the empty drive from my parents’ place back to our home. People often speak of empty arms following infant loss, though they overlook the empty bellies. This drive was originally supposed to take place after a baby shower and a babymoon trip to Colorado. I was supposed to be 34 weeks pregnant on this drive with a belly full of kicking baby, but instead I was holding a box. My belly was empty, and my arms reminded me why.
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
– Psalm 61:1-4 –
The hospital room was quiet after Rayna left. Family and friends trickled out with hugs, tears, and well-wishes until Nick and I were left alone. What to do now?
Early in the afternoon, Rayna was outside of our hospital room for x-rays and other tests, which provided us a moment to take a break. With our minds having been elsewhere up until that point, we suddenly realized we were hungry and snuck in a small lunch. It was also during that time I began to again feel my legs… and my bladder. I had to GO! It took two nurses to help support me, but I made it to the restroom and back to the bed. It was a pretty funny scene, I’m sure.
She got her name while we were alone together after delivery. Despite many car rides and conversations, we had not decided on any baby names, particularly girl names. We were stuck; even throughout the day on Sunday when we knew a baby was coming soon!
After sleeping very little and deciding to stay where we were, labor was induced the morning of Sunday, July 26. Induction started slowly, as my body was only 33 weeks pregnant and not prepared for labor. I hadn’t had any cramping or spotting; my body was still completely unaware our baby had died. To start labor, I took a pill every few hours (probably Cytotec, I don’t remember), and small contractions came and went throughout the day. Our Sunday nurse had also experienced infant loss and had some insight for us throughout the day.
We were going to post these to Facebook right around the time Rayna died. I thought this could be a good place to share them. We started taking them at 20 weeks, and mostly did them on Saturdays… but not always 🙂