November 10, 2011. I woke up that morning not knowing at all what my day would bring. I took a shower and as I was getting ready I kept looking back into our bedroom looking for Avery Kate. She wasn't there. I kept listening for her hiccups. It was silent. We went to Mr. Keith's house. This day is very blurry to me. I'm not sure the order of events but I know it was a day of decisions that a mother never wants to make.
An old college friend of mine had lost her baby girl at birth to Trisomy 18 two years ago and I remember her saying she wanted a white gown and Reese's name monogrammed in pink for her to wear when she was born. I knew I wanted the same thing for Avery Kate to wear at her funeral. I sent Mrs. Christy and Terri to Pink & Blue to get the white Kicky Pants gown. They went to Threadworks to monogram her name on it and brought it to me at Mr. Keith's house. I just stroked the soft material and wished that I'd be able to hold my sweet baby in this gown, but I knew the reality.
The only medicine I took during this time was on that Wednesday night. I took a Xanex to help me sleep, but I knew I would want to remember everything from this time as painful as it would be. I wouldn't want to wake up one morning a few months from now and not know what happened or have myself in some sort of denial. I was going to tackle this head on. I knew God would not bring me to something that He didn't plan on bringing me through. I knew he was on my side, for he lost his only son and knew my pain.
We went to the funeral home. They just wanted me to pick out a casket without actually looking at it. I knew I had to see it in person and get that first breakdown out of the way. They took us to the back to see the tiniest little casket I had ever seen. I still never had that breakdown I was expecting. I just didn't think it was fair that the manufacturers should have to make a casket so little. They asked me to pick a prayer for her prayer card. The only thing I could think of was my friend Noelle's voicemail she had left me the night before. She always knew the right thing to say to people no matter what. I knew there was nothing that could be said to me to make me feel better, but sure enough when I played her voicemail, all she did was sing the perfect song. She never missed a beat. "May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warmly on your face. May the rains fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again....Until we meet again. May God hold you, in the palm of His hands." I knew right away that that song would be on her prayer card. I played it right there in the meeting room for everyone to hear. They asked me to find about 20 pictures of her for a slide show and bring them back on a CD. I gave them her gown and realized that I could not give up one of her bows, I needed a new one. Mary at Pink & Blue gave the bow to my friend Lindsey who came in from Houston. Lindsey brought it to us at the funeral home. I couldn't believe that I was picking out an outfit for my child to be buried in. It just didn't seem real, didn't seem right. She never suffered a day in her life. What was so terrible about her life that she had to be taken from it? There are kids suffering from abuse every day, who have no homes to go to at night, who have parents who don't love them.....and they are living. Why not save them? Why take my baby? We love her, we care for her, we had hopes and dreams for her. Why, God why?
I remember getting my laptop to gather up my favorite pictures of Avery Kate. I went through my albums of her and slowly rounded up a few pictures. The funeral home knew she was only ten weeks old and didn't expect me to get exactly twenty pictures but somewhere close to that number would be fine for the slide show. I carefully only picked my absolute favorites. Once I finished I realized that I had exactly 96 pictures! I couldn't believe it...and again, they were only my favorites. When I gave the CD to the man at the funeral home, he was shocked. He said ummm.. I don't know if we can use that many. The music is really short. "No problem," I said, "I have this DVD already made with music, etc from her birth, I made it a few weeks ago." Again, he was shocked. "Umm... we can't use copyright music. But umm... that's great."
Well then, just loop the music. You are using all of these pictures," I told him. He didn't know what I was talking about, but he sure did take the CD and they all showed up on the DVD.
Next we had to go to the graveyard to pick her plot. Again, this is all very fuzzy so I'm not even sure of the order of this day. We sat in the meeting room and picked her plot and her headstone. We noticed there was another Avery Kate just a few graves down from the one we picked. Avery Kate would be buried in BabyLand. There are only babies there. It's just to sad to think that a place like this is even necessary. We walked outside and saw the place and agreed that she would be happy there. Although, I thought she would be best with me at home. I did not like any part of this graveyard business. Next we had to pick out the saying, or quote to go on her headstone. We chose, "Remembering a Tiny Angel." I still couldn't believe that we had to pick out our child's headstone. This is not the order of life. This is all wrong.
Then we had to go to the flower shop. All the Christmas decorations were out. I didn't like any of them. How unfair that my child was going to miss Christmas. I picked out all my favorite flowers and told them to put them together in an arrangement. I knew I wanted happy flowers, nothing sad and depressing, but happy pinks and greens. Of course they told me that all the ones I picked just "didn't go together." I really didn't care. I told them that that was my taste and they could go from there. I didn't care what was in it as long as they were happy flowers. I remember going back to Mr. Keith's house and visiting with my friends Ashley and Lindsey, talking on the phone with my OBGYN and our Pediatrician, but not much else. I know there was cheese dip involved somewhere in there too :) I'm pretty sure Jonathan and Chauntel brought it, and let me tell you, Chauntel was wonderful, especially with Hallie. I just had no energy for Hallie, and she made her feel special. I am so thankful for such great friends in my life.
I know Fr. Keith came and asked us about readings and songs for the service at some point that day. I wanted Amazing Grace for sure, because the night before she died, I randomly sang that song to her after her bath. I don't know why I sang that to her, but Brandon went to CVS on his nightly run, and I started singing it to her. Please note that I do not sing except when I am drunk at a wedding, and even then it's only "Proud Mary." I guess I must have been inspired that night to sing to her and that song came to mind. I also knew I wanted the song, "On Eagles Wings" because it has been sung at all of my relatives funerals, although they were all older with a long and happy life behind them.
I never in a million years would have thought I would have to bury my child. It's something you think only happens to other people, never to you. Well it happened. I don't know if throughout all this time I was just in shock or if I had God wrapping his arms around me, but I made it through this day without medicine, without a breakdown, and unfortunately without my baby.