Yes, it had started to rain. The sound was soothing. If I didnt have crying and suckling to listen to, the rain was the next best thing. The outside matched my insides.
We held Sybella for four hours. The whole time was a myriad of experiences. I was ultimately aware of the peace in the room. I had never felt so peaceful and organic. My heart was full. I am not sure that it had hit me yet, all that I was aware of was that my newborn daughter was lying in my arms, sleeping. I felt sad, but I decided to deal with the sadness later, and at this time, all I wanted to do was celebrate her and be in touch with the moment, which was pure serentity. I had given birth to a live baby before, Jack. That experience was nothing like this. Jack's birth was full of noise and joy and excitement and possibilities. Sybella's birth was tranquil and quiet. The quiet was palpable. But it wasnt bad, if that makes sense. The quiet just the way it was. Kelvin held her for a time, and I used that time to send a text message to let everyone know Sybella had been born. I felt cheated of making the joyous birth announcement that I had been looking forward to so much. But I made the announcement anyway: "Sybella Eve was born asleep today, the 24th of April 2010 at 4.01pm. Just too perfect for this world" was what the message said.
Kelvin and I then went over our daughter in minute detail, inspecting every inch of her. Her nails, her toes, which were exactly the same as Jack's. Her tiny ears and cherub lips. We marvelled over the curly hair, as Jack had no hair as a newborn. The length of her limbs. The words to describe her were strong, yet delicate. Oh so delicate. My GP came to the birthing suite, which was so beautiful of her. She is such a special doctor. She held the baby and tears rolled down her face. I smiled and said "why are you crying? Look at my beautiful baby." Like I said, the fog had not lifted. My doctor said that the peace I carried was like nothing she had seen before from me. My previous life had been full of angst and agitation. Now I seemed calm to her. My mum arrived also, and held Sybella, kissed and caressed her. She was most distraught. Not only was she mourning the loss of her first grand-daughter, but she was watching her own daughter grieve also. A double whammy for her, I am sure. Mum asked if she could be the one to pick out a funeral outfit. Of course I let her. Later, as she walked out the door to leave, I called out "make sure you buy a long sleeved singlet, so she wont be cold." All I could think about was keeping her warm.
Once Kelvin and I were alone with Bell again, we asked for the midwives to bathe her. Vanessa asked me to help, but initially I refused. Then I gave myself a mental slap. How could I not bathe her? I was her mother. She needed her mother to give her a bath. That was my job. Vanessa carefully filled the tiny tub with warm water and I stood with her as we gently wiped the cloth over her soft skin. Floating in the water, it looked like Sybella was moving. That was most heartbreaking. Vanessa lifted the baby out of the tub and wrapped her in a towel, murmuring softly in her ear the whole time, "...come on darling, here we go, sweetpea..." It was so comforting to hear Vanessa speak to my daughter as if she were alive.
We dressed her in a beautiful white dress, hat and tiny, tiny booties, that looked like doll's clothes, provided by the hospital and wrapped her in a pink crotcheted blanket. We spent some more time holding her. I whispered to her how much I loved her, how sorry I was. I kissed her eyelashes and hands and cheek. I sang a little song.
Vanessa took Sybella into another room to take photos as well as some hand and foot prints. There, they measured her, weighed her and did the head circumference. She was brought back for a bit more time with us, and Kelvin and I said our goodbyes. Once we were ready, Vanessa placed Sybella into the perspex bassinet and wheeled her out the door. Not to the nursery. To the morgue.
I waved and blew kisses until she was gone from sight.
All I could worry about was that she'd be warm.