I need to go back and read my own birth story. We left that hospital with no regrets.
But weeks later, regrets have crept in. I should have sung to Mila after she was born. I should have prayed with her. I should have read Scripture to her. I should have prayed for her by name. All the time she was in the womb, I only referred to her as "baby" because we didn't know whether we were having a girl or a boy (although, now when we look back at the pregnancy, we realize it was Mila all along).
I should have called the kids earlier to come to the hospital so that they could meet their baby sister sooner. I look back at the timestamps of the digital pictures (technology...too much info...sometimes better just not to know) and maybe Mila was no longer alive when they finally came in. Her heartbeat was slow at 4:20. We cut the cord soon after. The kids arrived another ten minutes later. I don't remember whether she moved or not on me once they arrived. We didn't check her heartbeat again until 6pm, and by that time, I knew she had left this world long before. But for whatever reason, in that moment I felt like she was still with us when the kids entered in. And it is impossible for me to know otherwise.
So I need to go back and reread that birth story, and remember God's mercy and goodness. And kick out all these doubts and regrets that are trying to creep in and discourage me in my weakness. We did the best that we could with what we knew at the time. We honestly were not expecting a live birth at 31 weeks. We were still preparing for a still birth at this point, so our memory making list did not include talking to the baby and singing to the baby and praying with the baby. We were just so stunned that she was with us, wiggling on me, and we cherished every moment we had with her, but we were in such shock that we simply didn't know what to do.
Really, though, we treated her like any other of our kids at birth. We greeted her with excitement as we met the newest member of our family. We were just so amazed that she was alive, that we didn't treat her like she was dying.
And I still can't believe she died. But even more, I can't believe she lived. She seemed to defy all odds. Her story didn't match up to any of the others I read. Under her circumstances, she should have been a still born. She should have survived only a mere few minutes outside the womb. But she was born, alive, moving, wiggling. With a little bit of life still left inside of her. Life is life. And she remained with us for at least an hour. And, by God's mercy, that stiffness of death never set in while we held her. All our memories of her that day were sweet & precious.