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My Kayla

by Kim Rhoden

Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999

The spring of 1998 started like any other spring in Florida. Birds were singing, flowers were beginning to bloom and the sun began to shed rays of warm light against the earth and all of it's creations.

For my husband and I though, this spring would be like no other. One month before our wedding we discovered that I was pregnant. I will admit that I was confused and very distressed, as this was certainly an unplanned event. Because our June wedding was to be a simple affair with just a few family and friends we decided to cancel the formal arrangements and instead engage in a simple ceremony at our courthouse. And so, on May 20th 1998 we were married and later in the day made our first visit to the obstetrician's office. A sonogram was taken and it was further confirmed that I was approximately 7 weeks pregnant. Though hard to believe, our first child was on it's way...due January 1, 1999.

I kept my pregnancy a secret at first, sharing the news with only a few close friends. They were all very happy, and thought that I had been truly blessed. I became anxious and nervous with each new change in my body that this pregnancy brought about. Fortunately though, I was rarely sick and was able to continue all of my normal routines. I ate really healthy (thanks to my husband who cooked wonderful meals) and begin to take in every piece of information that I could get my hands on concerning what it means to be pregnant. Never in my life had I imagined how wonderful and exciting this experience could be.

Fall came and I returned to work. I am a teacher, and to my delight, all of my co-workers, students and parents were thrilled with my great news. They rallied around me with great support and I could not help but be happy!! In November a baby shower was held and soon our house was filled with all of the necessary and even "unnecessary" items a baby would ever need. A previous ultrasound had revealed that we were having a girl and soon pretty pink and yellow outfits filled our baby's closet and drawers.

The Holidays arrived and I said goodbye to my students and friends at work vowing to return in two weeks with news about my baby. "Yes," "Yes," I assured them all of a phone call the minute our baby had entered this world. At home a Christmas tree was decorated, all the while thinking that next year this time, our baby would be here to revel in the delight of this season.

January 1, came and went. A New Years Baby, my child was not. I was not worried though, because this being my first I was told to expect a later arrival. Each doctor's visit had revealed that my cervix was still not dilated.

On January 4, my doctor kidded with me about "talking the baby out." I laughed thinking... the baby will come in it's own time. Each and every minute of the day however, was spent wondering when the moment would finally come. I had become very familiar with Braxton Hicks and was accustomed to the soreness between my legs each night as I got up to use the bathroom. The heaviness in my stomach was just an extension of my existence. When my baby had not shown any signs of arrival by Friday, January 8th, my doctor scheduled me for an induction on Tuesday, the 12th.

Hopes became reality as my husband and I made final preparations for our new arrival. Family members called daily... anxiously awaiting the news. On Monday, January 11th, I dashed out of our house into the crisp morning air and headed to the doctor's office for what was to be my final visit. I was to be administered a tablet that would help to soften my cervix. The drive that morning, just a block away, was peaceful and calm. I remember sitting in the waiting room chatting happily with another women whose baby was due any day as well. In the examining room I waited patiently for my doctor to share her news that everything was fine and that I'd see her at the hospital tomorrow. That news was not to be.

Upon examining my cervix, the doctor informed me that I would go to the hospital that night. I smiled and my doctor smiled too. It was finally going to happen. As usual, my doctor gently placed the fetal monitor on my round belly. A loud shrieking sound was heard...which almost sounded like a baby's squeal. "That was not your baby" my doctor said grinning. As she placed the monitor again, however, there was a low rumbling noise. She tried re-locating the monitor, but still came up with the same noise. " I can't find a heartbeat she murmured, why didn't you call me?" I turned to gaze at the picture on the screen and began to understand the worried look on the face of my doctor. The picture was completely still and "I'm sorry" was all that my doctor could say. I began to cry and was told to dress quickly so that I could be taken to the nearby hospital.

It was then that I felt as if I had been shoved down a deep, dark hole. I cried so hard and so long that I could barely whisper. Nurses tried their best to comfort me, but all I could scream was "Why?" I kept thinking that it must have been something that I caused. I was tormented by grief and guilt. Never in my life had I felt so much anguish. My mother, my best friend, had died suddenly just two years before, and I remember like yesterday the pain and hurt. But for some odd reason, I was not at all prepared for this agony.

I was comforted for almost 24 hours before delivery by kind-hearted hospital staff and friends. I tossed and turned throughout the night as all sorts of medicine dripped into my veins. Nothing though could stop the bleeding in my heart or the empty lull in my stomach. Finally at 7:30 a.m. the next morning my doctor walked in and told me to push. With my husband by my side holding me tight, I did as I was told and at 8:42 on a beautiful January morning our daughter, Kayla Yvonne, was born. I cried from the moment I laid eyes on her...she was so precious and slept like an angel in the baby warmer and in the arms of all who were so lucky to have held her.

After 9 of the most exhilarating months of my life, a cord accident is what doctor's say claimed our innocent baby. A small graveside service was held in her honor amid close family and friends. Poems were read and tears were shed for the sweet little girl in pink who has changed our lives forever.

It's been almost 3 months now, and I must admit that time is a healer. I've let go of most of my anguish and have come to accept that God is still in control. Some days I take out the only picture that I have of my daughter and whisper sweet words of love to her as I gaze upon the face and hands that look so much like mine. Each night, I close my eyes and imagine my daughter in heaven. God takes care of her surely and it is my mother who stands by the clear blue river holding and loving her granddaughter and knows that she has come from me.

As spring once again approaches, I am reminded of a season once known before. Birds chirping, flowers blooming and the rays of sunlight peaking through the trees. They are a sweet and gentle reminder of all that was, and all that is yet to come! For God and for Kayla...thank you for the memories.

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