2014 was a devastating year for me. I had every excuse available to just allow the months to follow to swallow me whole. But instead I strapped on some new gym shoes, grabbed my life by the horns and rode that bitch hard. 

This past year wasn't easy. I had to learn how to navigate my grief. I left a toxic relationship. Settled into our new home. Made new friends. I had to find the right balance of allowing myself to cry but also hold my shit together daily for the kids.

Writing has been a healing process. Cricket has been a rewarding project to keep me busy. But the gym has been a gift. Giving myself an hour or two a day to be present in my body. To work towards a goal and to really invest in my health has made me feel stronger then ever, mentally and physically. I'm so very grateful for my health and the happiness it's brought me. 

I don't have very many pictures of myself from "before" because I use to hide from the camera, But the top left is me close to my heaviest in '11. I went on to have 2 more babies after this picture so my progress was slow and discouraging. I started and stopped several different things more times then I could count. 

The rest of these photos are from this year. After I actively started working out,sticking with it and really enjoying myself. It feels awesome to end this year 2 sizes smaller then I started and to have gained so much energy, strength and ambition.  
2016 I'm coming for ya. 

Remembering Willow Reese

My dearest Janeen
I sit here in the dark at a warm campfire staring at the stars. A million thoughts run through my mind. This time last year...when did she actually leave us? I think of her sweet little face, that button nose. I can hear her giggle in my mind and it makes me smile. I can see her breastfed chubby thighs and bare feet with tiny nubby toes. She would have loved her siblings so much. It's not fair. It's just so not fair. She would have been lucky to be raised by you. You are a strong beautiful and gentle mama. I watch you with your babies and your patience and sweetness leaves me inspired in my own parenting. She would have wanted you to live mama. She would have wanted you to carry the light luggage and she would have wanted you to enjoy a life she didn't get to. Because of her you should choose to live and go and do all those things. She IS with you and always will be just beneath your chest. No one can ever take that away. A mother and baby can never part in spirit. Talk to her and take her with you....Always. I wish I were with you again tonight. I wish I could pour us a stiff drink and laugh and imagine and remember together. I wish we could sing Happy birthday together. I love you friend. Be good to yourself today. Take care of Willows mama. 

All my heart....

Grief & Guilt

Grief & Guilt 

I think of things all the time that I want to write about. Profound things, silly things, things in between. Sometimes I'll grab a pen or open my notes on my phone, and I can't get them out. 

"You've said enough already, Janeen" "Time to move forward" 
I push the thoughts from my head but they come back. 
They come back because processing these thoughts IS how you move forward. They don't just go away. They will wait for you.

Feelings of grief and guilt have been on my mind a lot lately. 

I watched a pilot to a TV show a few weeks ago (The Whispers)
There's a scene where a woman is giving advice to a mother that has lost her child.

"You'll get through this." That's what people say, don't they? They said it to me. It really pissed me off. What exactly does it mean to "get through this"? Through what? What's on the other side? I didn't want to get through it. I wanted to die... in it. And then my mom, she said that grief is like a suitcase that sits at the bottom of your bed. And no matter what, without fail, you have to pick it up every day, take it with you. Some days, it will be filled with rocks, and you won't think you can carry it. And then other days... light as a feather. That, she said, is "getting through it." 

I don't think I took a breath through that whole scene. Afterwards I sat there and sobbed. I haven't stopped thinking about it since. 

It's true. I carry a suitcase, everyday. I feel the weight of grief. 

The real kicker is, on the days my suitcase feels lighter the next day I feel like I have two suitcases. Not just grief, but guilt as well. Because the truth is, there are now days that pass that I don't cry. There are days I'm happy. I laugh. I go fun places. I enjoy my life. But then, I feel this enormous weight of guilt. I feel guilty for being happy. I feel guilty for enjoying myself. I feel guilty that I'm here and she is not. I feel guilty that I am not allowing myself to continuously suffer, day in and day out.

I allow myself to feel these emotions. To experience what grief feels like. What guilt feels like. I can sit quiet as they resonate with me. I reflect, I process and I  push through. I do not let them consume me. It is a lesson, and I'm learning everyday.

I've learned so much about myself in the past year. I am more sensitive then I've ever been, and yet somehow I'm stronger then I ever imagined I could be. 

I wake up everyday and I pick up my suitcase. 
Some days it's heavy, and some days it's light but I'm "getting through" 

I bet..

9 months today. 
I should have a 9 month old. 

All I could think today was "I bet.."

I bet she'd be walking 
I bet she'd be full of mischief 
I bet she wouldn't keep shoes on 
I bet she'd play in the bus with us
I bet she put all these darn Legos in her mouth 
I bet she'd love the water now that the weathers warm 
I bet her chubby baby booty would look cute in a swim suit  
I bet Wren would be sweet to her "baby"
I bet she would love to swing at the park with the girls today 
I bet she'd eat some beans and tomatoes from dinner tonight 
I bet her hair would be light
I bet her eyes would be blue 
I bet she'd beautiful 
I bet she'd be happy
I bet she'd love us
I know I'd love her 

12 hours

12 hours. 
From when they placed her in my arms to when I left her laying on the table at the mortuary. 
12 hours was all I had. All I'll ever have. 

Holding Willow in my arms I looked her over inch by inch. She was a beauty. Her skin was coated in the thick white vernix, the most I had ever seen in person. Lucky little baby. I gently rubbed it into her skin. 
I wiggled my finger into her fist, wishing she could squeeze it. Her hair was lighter then K & S but not as blonde as W, maybe even a little red. I could see the other girls in her face. Her legs were long, her nose was like mine. I wondered what color her eyes would be. Her mouth parted open just slightly. I kissed her. Wake up little baby. Please. 

The older nurse that was present for the end of my labor and delivery stayed behind once everyone else has cleared out. She was an angel. She and Randy cleaned Willow up a little a took her foot prints, a small lock of hair. They began collecting a few things for a memory box the hospital gives you to bring home your... memories. 

The Dr/nurses told me I could hold her as long as I wanted and then they could take her when I was ready. They explained to me that I could make arrangements for her to be picked up by a local mortuary. 
No. That didn't work for me. See I was in Placerville. Still living in Vacaville. About to move to Georgetown. So.. No.  
I'm not leaving her here and I'm not leaving here without her. End of story. 

There was several nurses in and out talking about options and making phone calls. At first I got a No. But I counter offered with a No. Then I got a maybe, again I counter offered with a No. Then I got a "It was going to take some time to sort out" I said I'd wait. 

It had been a long night. Randi & Sarah packed up & said their goodbyes. Chris was asleep on the couch. The nurses suggested I get some sleep too. They turned out my lights, and closed my door and there I was all alone. Holding my sleeping baby. 
It was so quiet. 
I cried and cried and cried some more. I let down all my walls, all my guards. I was all alone & it was all sinking in. The quiet was killing me. 
I've never cried like this before. Sobbing, choking, loud, messy crying. 
**months later when I saw Maleficent for the first time and the scene where she wakes up and discovers her wings are gone. That scene hit me. I instantly began sobbing with her. I knew that feeling. Watching her mourn her wings, that's how this moment looked, how it felt. Raw emotions. 

I attempted to pull myself together. Nope, not ready yet. So I cried some more. I was so exhausted. So hormonal. So broken. I couldn't sit up and hold her anymore so I laid down with her next to me on the bed. I could barely keep my eyes open but there was no way I was taking my eyes off of her. This was all I was gonna get and I wasn't going to waste it sleeping. 
I touched her and talked to her. I sang. I cried. I peeked at her eyes. They looked blue. I lost it again. I would never see her eyes, she would never see mine. 
Don't fall asleep. Don't fall asleep. 

"With heavy hearts Chris & I welcomed our sleeping baby girl Willow Reese into the world this morning. She was absolutely perfect & I feel blessed to be her mother"
I sat back up and began making phone calls. I called local mortuaries. Gathered information. Explained my situation about being in between homes. I took notes. 
I called the mortuary in Vacaville. The one we had used for Dad just a few months before. They could pick her up at an extra cost but not that day. Orrrr I could bring her in myself. I called the nurse in & we went over all the info I gathered. She was still trying to figure out how to get past all their red tape but  this was a good start. 

My mom & Carly arrived. They didn't recognize me at first. I shuffled to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I didn't recognize myself either. I was so swollen & puffy (but that's another blog post) We cried. They held Willow. I shared our story. We brainstormed more ideas. 

An hour or more passed and my nurse came in with good news. While several people were making several phone calls during the morning, a Dr. on another floor heard about what was going on. She had been in a similar situation and offered her help. She drafted some paperwork and they brought it in for me to sign. Basically releasing Willows body to me. I was very happy. 

Things start to speed up at this point. Now, I was offered to stay as long as I wanted. A night or even two but with every few minutes that passed Willow appearance began to change. I knew the longer I held her... well, it wasn't going to be easy.
*I've tried to write more about this but I can't
I called Vacaville back and they could accept her into their care but only during a certain window of time because they had services planned for the day. I'm not one to waste time so... Ready Set Go. I requested our discharged, showered & began packing up my things. 

I had birthed in a hospital twice before, and both times I walked out holding my baby but this time my feet were so swollen I chose to take the wheel chair. 
As the nurse wheeled me out of labor and delivery several nurses gave their condolences. When we got to the elevator a guy in scrubs congratulated me. I smiled and thanked him but the nurse slapped him in the arm. I heard them whisper & he apologized quietly.  

The nurse wheeled me out to Carly's car. It was a beautiful hot sunny day. The light blinded me. I covered Willows face to keep her out if the sun & out of sight as other people were passing by. Chris loaded our things and I climbed in the back seat. I held her as we made our almost 2 hour drive to Vacaville. I kept my eyes on her the whole time. I could feel my time running out the closer we got to home. Like sand running out of an hour glass. I wanted to stop time. Keep driving.

                                                     our car ride home 

When I tell this part of my story in person I get the same reaction everytime. Everyone is amazed by my strength and my decision to bring her home the way that I did. On that day it never crossed my mind that this would be considered unusual. There was no other option in my mind. I couldn't walk out of there without her. 

When we got to Vacaville we stopped by my grandparents house for a short visit so they could see Willow. In the time that it took me to drive home my grandma had been to the store to pick up an outfit and blanket and then to the mortuary to fill out all of the needed paperwork and cover the costs of their services. This was a huge weight off of our shoulders. I'll never be able to thank her enough for that. 

When we arrived at the mortuary we were given some time in the office to say our goodbyes. I laid Willow out on the table and slowly began dressing her.  It hurt to stand. It was hard to see thru the tears and my hands were shaking. I dressed her so slowly. The one and only time. Taking mental notes of how she looked. Burning her face into my memory. She would be cremated in what I dressed her in. I felt a strong urge to leave something of mine with her. I would have her hand prints, a lock of hair and eventually her ashes but she had nothing. Nothing of her own, nothing from me. I wasn't prepared, I didn't have anything. I took me a minute but I realized I was wearing the two Amber bracelets I always wore on my left wrist. I had C unscrew the yellow one and I placed it around her neck. It was a perfect fit. She looked just like her sisters now and I was so happy to share something of mine with her. I still wear my orange one and when I look at it I think of her. 

I took one last picture and said my goodbyes and then completely lost it all over again. I couldn't decide if I should just grab her and run or if I would stand there forever. "I can't do this" "I don't want to leave her" "I don't want to go home without her"  Chris wrapped his arms around me and I buried my head in his chest. He started walking towards the door, walking for me. We went straight to the car. He put me in and drove us home. I'll never see her again. My time was up. 

My body was exhausted. My head felt like fog. It had been a 24 hour roller coaster ride. No heartbeat, Stillbirth, Saying goodbye. This was all so fucked up. When was this nightmare going to end? Not quite yet.. I still had to go home and talk to my kids.. Ya know, the ones I last saw two blog posts ago jumping on the trampoline, eating popcorn. The one who were counting down the days til they would circle the birth pool and welcome their new sister.
"We arrived home last night empty handed but to a house full of love & my closest friends with their offerings of herbs, tinctures & yummy food.
My eyes burned & my heart felt like it had been ripped from my chest & broken into a million pieces. I showered, crawled into bed and one by one the kids came in to lay with me and hear the story of baby Willow.
I had no clue how to explain to these litt
les who were so eager to welcome home our new baby that she was no longer with me & I didn't know why.
My wise & beautiful friends circled around us offering their silent support & tissues as we hugged & cried & cried some more.
I was amazed at the strength of my children. Every one with their own personality coping in their own way & offering comfort to me the way they knew I needed it.

My heart was still broken but I realized many of its pieces were sitting in that room grieving with me just like you all have been as well.
THANK YOU everyone for reaching out to me. I don't think I can do this quietly or alone"
photo by Aryana D
"Motherhood is the #infinite relationship to all things. It is a collection of all skills aquired from simply living this #life and #guiding others through it. There is #divine strength derived from #Motherhood unlike any other conduit from this #world to all others and it can be witnessed in so many everyday instances. It is the #rain watering the #earth, the #food feeding a hungry #belly, a #mother offering her condolences through the grief of her own. I witnessed such divinity today that I am not the same as I was yesterday. I love you, Janeen Rose. You are pure #beauty beyond #poetry.  You are #strength beyond all #myths and your #love is eternal beyond anything I can comprehend." -Aryana, my dearest friend

The Stillbirth of Willow Reese

On July 30th I started having contractions. Mild but frequent. Enough to get me to start tracking them and give my midwife the heads up but nothing too exciting. The next morning I was still contracting so when I talked to C on the phone I told him he might want to consider coming home. He was in the L.A. area and it could take him about 7 hours to get to Vacaville. With the way things went with Wren I could labor like this for a few days BUT if I birthed as fast as I did with Shiloh then he'd never make it in time. He had just gotten off a night shift. So he napped for a few and loaded up his things and hit the road. My contractions continued thru the day but by the time he made it home that night. Nothing. 

We decided he might as well stay home. He had already made the drive. No sense in going back. My labor could start up again at anytime. I was due in a week and a half and we were moving in a week so we could use his help. 

The weekend was normal. I was big & uncomfortable, managing the lives of 5 hootenannies and a new puppy but nothing I couldn't handle. Baby was not as active as she had been but that isn't unusual for babies to slow down at the end of your pregnancy. There's less space, they're in position & with some contractions & tightening here & there I figured she was just laying in wait. 
My feet began to swell for the first time. Ever. In fact I looked down at my feet and had to double take because I didn't recognize them. I yelled for Sarah & Chris & when they came in I told them in a panic "These aren't my feet!!!" They assured me they were cause they were in fact attached to my legs but it was so bizarre to see them so big & sore. 

When Sunday night rolled around I began to wonder more about her.  I had been actively packing all day but didn't really remember feeling her much and when I laid down to prompt her I didn't get any feedback. I called my midwife and asked her if I could come in first thing in the morning on my way out of town. Just wanted to take a listen and set my mind at ease. 

The kids and I got to her office around 10/10:30 that Monday morning Aug 4th. The kids were use to joining me for these visits but they knew I was a little worried for this one. Shiloh asked as we pulled in "Mama, What if yous baby is dead?" I didn't know how to answer her & I even told her that. What if? Wow. I told them all that I really hoped everything was ok but we were going in to make sure. 
The kids played as I settled down on the exam table. Josh anxiously paced in the doorway. I could puke from the nerves but we heard her. Loud & proud, responsive to our nudges and we passed a non stress test just fine. 
We got back on the road and headed to Georgetown to meet Sarah & Chris. Today was Sarah moms memorial service. It was emotional for everyone & physically I was tired. My feet had swollen so big that none of my shoes fit me. I could barely walk on them. Just looking at them hurt. I had no appetite, I don't really remember eating anything that day. That night we all slept over in Georgetown. The house was full of the elders so we split up between a tent and the 5th wheel. I remember at the time thinking it was the worst night of my life. Sleep wise. It was so hot & I really wanted my fan. The 5th wheel wasn't completely level. To everyone else it was just fine but to someone with Meniere's Disease just the slightest tilt made me so uncomfortable. I tried every direction and position I could think of but never found comfort. Wren woke to nurse a lot & of course I had to go potty like 6 times. I was happy to see the sun rise so I could just get up already. 

The next morning we said goodbye to Sarah's family as they drove back to Idaho. The kids hung out on the trampoline (we built the night before) and we began preparing the house for us to move in the next week.

My midwife Randi came around 1pm for a home visit. We didn't know where I would be delivering. Vacaville or Georgetown? So we decided to do the home visit in GT since it was a little harder to find. I had just been keeping my birth kit in my car with me so I would always have it wherever I happened to be. Vacaville, Georgetown, the side of the road maybe :) I was ready to deliver anywhere. 
Randi & I went over my supply list, talked about the drive & the plans for the move & where I'd be setting up the birth pool in the new place and the old 

I remember these last few moments before everything changed. Before my world was shattered. 
The house was almost emptied the of its furniture aside from the couch that I was sitting on, a recliner and a bed in the back room. I remember hearing the kids laughing on the trampoline. Chris and Sarah were taking the tent down outside the window. The sliding glass door was open, the screen was shut. The weather was nice. Hot but not miserable. The house smelt like popcorn I had just made the kids for snack. 

I laid down on the couch and Rani took out her fetal doppler. She moved it around for a minute. The longest minute of my life. My belly was quiet. We were quiet. I remember looking at her face & I could see how strong she was being for me. I looked out the window and into tree tops. This can't be happening. Please no. 

She suggested we move to the bed in the back so I could lay out better but again we couldn't find her. I wanted to run but I couldn't run away from this. I could barely even walk.  I sat up slowly. Tears were welling in our eyes. 
I was calm. Randi was calm. I remember asking her what we do next. She suggested that we go into labor & delivery and ask them to take a look
and listen for us. 
Everything moved quick after this. Randy offered to drive me so I grabbed my purse. I went into the front yard and very calmly told Chris and Sarah that we couldn't find her so we were going in. They looked shocked. Quiet. Confused. Wondering what they should do next. I told them I would go on ahead with Randi and that they could finish up the projects they were working on, pack up our things and then I would call to let them know to either come pick me up or drop one of them off and go from there. We hugged and cried a little but they encouraged me to stay positive. 

Driving to Placerville isn't too far. Unless this horrible fate is hanging over your head. Then it feels like a never ending windy road to unavoidable disappointment. Randi called ahead to Placerville L&D. She let them know that she was bringing in a client and that we couldn't detect fetal heart tones. They said they'd be ready for us, and they were! I felt like the president getting off the plane. Doors opened & nurses were standing there waiting to whisk me right into a room. Right on the bed. The doctor on call was there faster then you could snap your fingers, ultrasound wand in hand. She looked, she listen, she frowned and then she suggested calling a tech with a more advanced machine to come take a look. 
Only minutes passed and she was there. She kept her screen turned from me & told me she was sorry but whatever she found would have to be told to me by the Doctor. 

Randi positioned herself at my legs & peaked for herself. She turned to look at me & softly shook her head from side to side. I nodded that I understood and both our eyes filled with tears. I laid quiet looking at the ceiling as she rubbed my feet. My head was spinning, my ears were ringing. I felt this heavy weight come over my chest. My heart was breaking. 

It wasn't long before the Dr. returned and very sweetly apologized for my loss. She told me how sometimes these things just happen & they don't usually find out why.  She gave me some time to call Chris & Sarah and said she would be back to talk about my options. I don't remember all of my phone call. I hated telling them over the phone. It was hard to speak so I didn't say much but I'm sure they caught my drift as I choked out some words. 
They decided to have Sarah drop C off with my portion of birthing supplies from my car kit. Sarah would bring the kids home to Vacaville and head back up as soon as she could. I called my mom and broke the news. She didn't take it easy but she dropped everything & got ready and headed straight to Vacaville to be with the kids. I remember her saying No No No. Asking Why? How? But there were no answers. "Sometimes these things just happen"

The Dr. returned to let me know that I had choices. I could stay and be induced. Or I could go home, and wait for my body to go into labor on its own but it could be days or even weeks before it happened. 
I didn't want to wait, I didn't want to do this not knowing when or how long. I was here now, so I decided to stay and be induced. I asked Randi to stay with me. Before I could even finish my question she told me she wasn't going anywhere and she meant it. She never left my side. 
My Dr. & Randi spoke about my pregnancy, shared files & whatnot. I shared with the Dr. about a pregnancy I lost at 15 weeks in 2008. I had chosen to miscarry at home and it had taken several days. The Dr. stopped me "THIS is not THAT Janeen. This is not a miscarriage. This will be nothing like that" 

This was going to be hard. The hardest thing I've ever done. Physically. Emotionally. Ever. There was no way out of this. No escape. No third option where I can just check out and not participate. I was going to have to give birth. In a hospital. My baby wouldn't be shifting and moving and participating in its journey. It would be all me. And when it was over they would hand me my little girl and she would be dead. And there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. 


So now I find myself completely full circle in my journey as a mother. Back to the very beginning. Everything I know, everything I've learned and I LOVE about birthing empowered is not an option for me anymore. 

This was not my home. These were not my things. There were no candles, no music, no warm tub of water. This was not "my show" 

I was in a hospital room.  
I was given an IV. 
A blood pressure cuff. 
Contraction monitor. 
There would be pitocin. 
Mother fucking pitocin. 

My induction took a while to get stared. When the outcome of your pregnancy has already been determined there is no urgency. No time clock. No restrictions (Although they wouldn't make me a rum & coke) Several nurses came and went as they prepared me. They were all so sweet. I could see the sadness in their faces. My loss was their loss too. This night wouldn't be easy for anyone on the floor. 
Pain management was discussed briefly and I immediately chose to birth naturally. It's what I had intended to do at home and I think at the time I thought it was the only part of this I had left in my control. 
Pitocin started my contractions right away. Mild, manageable. Steady start. I sat with Randi and talked. We talked around in circles. We would talk about birth and share good stories, maybe something funny, one of us would tell a a joke. Then I would just cry and cry and cry. "I don't want to do this" We went around like this for hours. The Pit and contractions increasing as time passed. Chis check out. He couldn't hang. He curled up in a ball and went to sleep. A nurse caught me looking for something to throw at him and told me to be patient. Everyone grieves differently & some people just have to check out. Fine. I guess I'll let him live. 

Lots of conversations went on over the night. I remember talking about what would happen after she was born. I could chose to hold her or not see her at all. I chose to hold her.  They said they wouldn't rush me on time. We talked about paperwork. There would be no birth certificate, but a death certificate. We talked about autopsy, I declined. How long I would stay postpartum was up to me. Still no rum & coke. 
Over these hours I did several blood draws. Did I say several? Make that a shit ton! I gave so much blood. They ran every test under the sun some more then once.  All of my labs continued to come back normal. All of my monitoring was normal. My blood pressure remained low. Low enough that I was asked half a dozen times if I was a runner. All I could do was laugh "Do I look like a runner?" 
I stayed as zen as I could, whether I was calm or hysterical I was still kind. I do remember snapping at a nurse just once when she said something about "fetal demise" I had heard that phrase several times thru the night and it was making my skin crawl "Whyyyyyyy? Why do you guys keep saying that?!?!" Stop it!!!! 
I guess it's the lingo. They dont call it a birth because even tho you are giving birth you are not birthing life. When you give birth to death it's called Fetal Demise. Well then. Fuck you. Call it what you must but just stop saying it in front of me please. 

When the Dr. checked in with me and gave me an exam I was only dilated at a 3. She said that she could feel her head but she was bobbing around in her fluid, weightless. She suggested breaking my water to bring her down onto my cervix. I agreed. At first she wasn't sure if she got my bag her first try so she said she would check back on me and try again but minutes later I felt all my water release. Her theory was right. Free from her fluid she was now engaged & bringing pressure with my contractions. 

This continued for several hours. Steady, painful pitocin induced contractions. I tried my best to get into my zone. All of the tools I used to birth naturally eluded me. There was no relaxing, no hypnosis, no birth imagery of my baby doing its part. I was not looking forward to the end result. There was a beautiful bathtub I had admired earlier. I could care fucking less about it now. I had no zone. I had no desire. I couldn't believe this was happening. I couldn't see how I would ever get thru this and every contraction that came just reminded me what was happening. Every physical pain I felt brought emotional pain with it. I was in my head in a bad way. 

I remember laying in bed. Sarah, Randi, a nurse, the Dr. all circled around for me. The Dr wanted to revisit pain management. She told me that it didn't have to be like this. I didn't have to suffer thru but for some reason I felt like I did. She wanted to up my Pit & doing so would bring more pain. I hadn't slept well the night before, I had a headache all day & neck pain from sleeping weird. If I could just take the edge off I could rest & regain my strength. I agreed to an IV med at first but it didn't change my physical pain, only made my head fuzzy, almost like a rum and coke. Sarah pleaded with me to stop torturing myself. Enough is enough. So I agreed to an epidural. I could see a wave of relief wash over Randi & Sarah's faces. They were happy I changed my mind.

Ariel the anesthesiologist appeared pretty quickly. We talked benefits & risks. I really didn't want to do this but he old me there was just no reason for me to have to experience this physically. I asked if he was going to back it off at pushing time like they tend to do so that mothers can feel to push. He said he wouldn't. I told him it wasn't my first time and I knew how to "push" He said I could be pain free for it all.  I only wanted to do this if it would really take my pain away, the whole time. Not just a tease. So we made a deal. You take my pain away and I'll promise to push like a pro. 
I may of jinxed myself because I asked him to do it quick. Well there was nothing quick about it. In fact his first attempt was off centered so he had to do it twice. I buried my face in Randi's chest. She whispered in my ear. I cried. I told him if I pass out just finish it before you wake me. It took forever and I hated every second of it but once it was done, it was amazing. I'm pretty sure I declared my love for the man & everyone else in the room. I was finally able to rest. Sarah took a nap. Randi dozed a little bit in her chair but I remember opening my eyes a few times and seeing her watching my monitors. 

I think I slept for maybe 2 hours. It was now Tuesday August 6th. The nicest nurse ever woke me up to get some new readings on my blood pressure cuff. I was so cozy but I complied. I rolled from my side to my back and BAM! All hell broke loose. 
Pain flooded in. My whole body began to shake. I was instantly freezing cold and out of control. The Dr came in and checked me. I was only at a 6. My pit was maxed. My epidural was maxed. It should be working but it absolutely was not. They paged Ariel to come back but he was off site so it was going to be a little while. I recanted my love statement from earlier. Lots of swearing went on at this point. I may of even threatened his life. 
I was mad. I was sad. I was in so much pain. He promised me. "This is fucking bullshit"  Randi & Sarah tried to calm me but my shivers & shakes were uncontrollable. I was so cold & my contractions were so strong. When the anesthesiologist re appeared 20/30 min or so later he had no answer. It was all the way up. It should be working. There was nothing more he could do. 
This was transition, and just like that I felt the need to push. The Dr had just checked me but when she looked again I was at 10. So here we go.
Everything around me was going at 2 speeds. Some things were fast. Some things were slow. There was several nurses to my right setting up trays. I started pushing. I begged I pleaded "Just get her out" "Just get her out NOW!" I pushed more. Maybe another time or two and I remember changing my mind. STOP. Nope. Stop. I'm done.  I don't want to do this anymore. This is fucked up. If I push... She will come out. And when she comes out this lady will hand me a dead baby... And I don't want to see a dead baby. No one does. Make this stop. This isn't fair. What the fuck. Why? Why is this happening to me. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck is my favorite word. Fuuuuuuck.... and my body pushes again. 

When you birth a live baby, it participates. It's body communicates with yours.  Physically and chemically (oxytocin) There is magic. But when your child has already passed you are on your own. You do the work for both of you. Hard work. Physically and emotionally.  I felt sad for myself. I felt sad for Willow. This wasn't the magic I had in mind. I completely gave myself over to this disappointment. 
I let it register and then just like that I adjusted my expectations in a split second. I needed to take back some control. It was still OUR birth. She was still MY baby. I could do this for us both. I have my own magic. I breathed deep. I pushed hard. This was still birth. Stillbirth. 

I pushed and I told the Dr. "I feel her crowning"
Dr. said "Yes, she is"
I pushed. I said "Head is born"
Dr. said "Yes, it is"
I pushed. "Shoulders"
Dr. "Yes"
One last push 
Baby is born. 

Like absolute silence. 
My ears are ringing. 
But It wasn't really quiet. 
Mouths are moving but I hear nothing. 
No crying baby 
My heart aches

I look up and see sad faces. Tears.  Them looking at me, then back to her, then back to me. I hear that she's beautiful, that she looks perfect. Dr. asks who wants to cut the cord. Chris tries to bolt but he's trapped. He's white as a sheet. Staring at me with huge eyes. I ask Sarah to do it "Please Sarah, you do it" She does. They wipe her down. Wrap her up and hand her to me. 

She is beautiful. She is perfect. She's so still. So quiet. Limp. Her eyes are closed. I could just repeat "She's perfect" "I'm sorry" "I love you" "my baby, my baby my poor baby" "I'm so sorry" over and over again.