October 2, 2013
I had her for 26 hours. I was going to say I held her for that long, but I shared. Tonya talked me into taking a bath while she weighed and measured Sofia and took her footprints.
There were some drops of blood on my belly. They had come from Sofia’s umbilical cord. I hesitated before washing them off. I didn’t want to because they were hers.
My dad went to my place and brought back her baby quilt, a receiving blanket, and my… her… our christening gown. (Yes, it’s the gown my mom made for my christening back when I was three weeks old.) We wrapped her in the receiving blanket and snuggled under the quilt to keep warm.
I was exhausted, but I didn’t want to sleep. I didn’t want to lose any of those moments with her. She smelled like a baby is supposed to smell, sweet and fresh and new. And her skin was so soft…
I finally said that if I could lie down on my side and snuggle her that way, with my chin gently touching the top of her head, that maybe I would be able to sleep. My dad went home, but my mom stayed with me. She held Sofia when I needed to roll over. She placed Sofia someplace safe when I needed to get up to go to the bathroom. (I wasn’t quite steady enough to walk that far unassisted.) In the middle of the night when I was crying, she snuggled behind me. A mother holding her daughter holding her daughter. But I did sleep. I’m sure I wouldn’t have if I’d given Sofia up that Friday.
Instead I held her. I held her until I knew it was time. 26 hours.