Four years ago today...
...was the last day of Cora's life. I woke up in the morning and when I stood up I realized that I could breathe. I walked into the bathroom, and sure enough, my belly was noticeably lower. I could fit my hand flat between my breasts and the top of my belly, and most of my other hand too. I had random contractions throughout the morning, but nothing definite, and nothing regular.
Everyone at church noticed, and there was a buzz of excitement during the women's group meeting. Everyone smiled and giggled and was excited for me. Everyone asked "So how are you feeling?" My neighbor's mother was there, saying "See, I knew it would be soon! I bet you go into labor tonight."
I had to work that evening. It was a closing shift, 5pm-12am. I decided being on my feet for all that time could only help things along, so this time I was almost excited to go to work. Almost.
All throughout my shift, I kept feeling like I was "dripping" and I was worried I was losing amniotic fluid. In reality I think I was losing pieces of my mucus plug.
Cora was active during her active time, but...it wasn't the same. I had a sort of foreboding and I was worried, but I couldn't pinpoint about what. A coworker (and good friend) of mine came in to get soda, candy, and rent a movie. I told her that I was worried, and she offered to take the rest of my shift so I could go up to the hospital.
I said, "No, I think we'll just wait until morning and see what happens."
Someone once asked me what my biggest parenting regret so far was. It was those words, that sentiment. She was still alive when Bree offered to take my place. She wasn't the next morning. I'm fairly certain Cora was dying as Bree and I were talking. Her movements had been weak and slow, almost sluggish. Right about that time, Cora pushed hard against my ribs, and that was the last thing I remember feeling. I felt reassured at the time, but thinking back on it....*sigh* It got busy right after that, the just-before-closing rush, and then the mad flurry of activity of cleaning up so we could get home. I was so tired by the time I got home (at nearly 1am) that I went straight to bed without thinking about anything.
Thanks to my epiphany yesterday, I can't say my ignorance killed her. But I think there were a few crucial pieces of information I was missing that could have saved her life. First off was knowing she was wrapped up in her umbilical cord. Looking back on the ultrasounds at 23 weeks, it's quite obvious she was wrapped in her cord even then. But, not being an ultrasound technician, I didn't know what I was looking at. Not until after the fact. If I had known, I wouldn't have adopted that wait-and-see attitude.
kick-counting and the proper way to do them, I think I would have realized what was wrong with Cora's movements. She was active yes, but I don't think she was as active as her normal. I really wish I had been doing them.
Instead, though, I didn't know. And I couldn't save her.