Memories... Like Mom Made!

Memories... Like Mom Made!
Out of dark moments, flowers grow.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Leilani Marie Decker

About a month ago I wrote about how I was going to be a "better blogger" and post new recipes almost every day, blah blah blah...

And that didn't happen.

I am sure you are wondering why that didn't happen. If you know me in the "real" world, you already know the answer. If you don't know me, and you just happen to read this blog by some fate of the internet search engines... well, read on is all I can say. And if you, like me, are easily moved to tears: you may want to get some tissues ready.

I'll be honest. I am already crying.

So a month ago when I wrote that I would be posting recipes a lot more frequently, I had specified that one of those reasons was because I was put on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. If you don't recall - my due date was May 12, 2011 (though my doctor insists it was May 18th according to her measurements). January 14th, I had a "normal" weekly ultrasound... my umpteenth ultrasound of this pregnancy... We went in as we always go in, smiling, excited, chattering about our daughter and how beautiful she is going to be and how perfect she is. During the first part of the appointment they did an external ultrasound. We watched in amazement as she flipped around and squirmed at the touch of the technician. After the technician had wiggled her around in all different positions and angles to get each picture she needed, it was time for the cervical measurement...

To spare you the gory details... this one is done with a... different approach. Not your normal belly ultrasound.

So anyway, as soon as the technician located my cervix to do the measurement (this is why I had to go every week), we both noticed something very alarming...

No cervix.


It was gone.

And our baby was trying to come N-O-W.

I instantly panicked, and though I am sure she wouldn't want to admit it, the ultra sound tech looked a little panicked too as she quickly paged the doctor.

My husband stared on in wonderment - completely oblivious to what we were worried about. All he could see was his gorgeous baby girl swimming around on the screen.

After the doctor rushed in it was obvious that I wasn't going to be leaving the hospital pregnant. The next time I left the hospital, no matter how long or short it would be, would be after the birth of our daughter.

I was admitted within the hour and as I lay on the hospital bed sobbing uncontrollably, I listened to the doctors drone on about my condition and their ideas of how to stabilize the baby so I could continue my pregnancy in the hospital until she decided to appear.

But all the talk never went anywhere, because 48 hours later I was rushed in for an emergency C section, and our gorgeous daughter, Leilani (Leila) Marie Decker, was born.

She was everything we imagined she would be, just smaller. She had ten fingers, ten toes, the sweetest little nose you have ever seen, and lots of dark peach fuzz all over her sweet little head.

She was four months early, weighing in at just 1 lb, 4 oz. She was 11 1/2 inches long. She had the longest, skinniest little fingers. Everyone said she would grow up to be a pianist or a surgeon. Her eyes were fused shut - they hadn't finished forming in the womb and would need extra time to open now that she was "out".

She was so eager. She wanted to do everything her way: always kicking and thrashing around even when the doctors had her bundled up to help her conserve her energy.

She was our fighter. From day one the doctors said she may not make it through the first night, but she showed them. She fought and fought and survived day after day.

When she was nine days old the doctors called us and told us that she was in her final hours and we should come be with her.

We prepared ourselves for the worst, went to her side, and prayed.

And prayed.

And within a few hours, she started to respond.

The doctors admitted that even they didn't expect the turn around.

We spent ever minute with her we could for the next 24 hours. She was getting stronger, she was improving.

Everyone was impressed.

We left Thursday afternoon, around 11. We kissed her through the isolette. We told her we would be back on Saturday but we would miss her terribly. We sang to her. We laughed, we smiled. We were so confident in our little fighter's ability to thrive.

All night long we received updates from the doctors every few hours. It was obvious that our decision to leave the hospital, located about an hour from our home, was a hasty one. They told us to come back: that they were having to make some decisions that we would need to be there for.

We weren't worried.

We knew she would fight. We knew she was going to make it. But we hurried there anyway. Expecting to walk in and see her waving and kicking like she always did.

But that is not what we saw.

Our baby girl was struggling. She was in pain. She was dying.

They all knew it. Even my husband could look at her and see it was true.

Maybe I was selfish, but I wasn't ready to give up. The tears are rolling down over the keyboard as I write this, but I just wasn't ready to let go. No mother ever is.

The doctors asked me to hold her. To say goodbye.

So I did.

And I rocked her, and I sang to her, and I prayed that God take the breath out of my lungs and put it in to her. That He take my heart beat and let it beat for her.

But that didn't happen.

At 3:50pm, on Friday, January 28th, Leila passed away in my arms. I begged the doctors to revive her - to do anything to bring her back to me. I cried harder than I had ever cried before. I felt like I wouldn't be able to breathe. I didn't want to let her go.

The doctors said it was multiple organ failure. Her little body just couldn't fight anymore.

There aren't a lot of words I can use to describe how the past week has been since her passing.

I have felt so empty, so lost at times... like I will never be the same. I have felt so much guilt, so much anger. Helplessness, hopelessness... all these words describe only a portion of the emotional roller coaster I have been on.

And I know it will be this way for a while. They say time heals all wounds... but they never tell you how long it takes. There is no timeline on grief. But I know one day it will hurt a little less, though the hurt will never truly be gone.

My daughter was the closest thing I have ever known to an angel. When I think about her I am filled with so many different feelings. I feel so blessed to be her mother and to have been able to know her for 12 whole days. I feel heartbreak at knowing that I will never again get to hold her, I will never see her grow up. I will never watch my daughter walk down the aisle, or have her own children.

But I will also never see my daughter cry from heartbreak. I will never have to watch her get sick or be in pain. I will never hear her say the words "I hate you, Mom". All my daughter knows is a world where her parents love her and wanted her more than anything.

There are so many more words I want to write about this precious angel and how she touched me. I can promise you that I will talk about her often, but I can also promise you that I will be posting more recipes soon. Cooking has always been therapeutic for me, and as my life gets back to normal, I am sure I will find extra comfort in the kitchen.

This morning when I woke up, my son grabbed my hand and dragged me to the kitchen. He pointed to a box of Hungry Jack and said "Pease?" (Please in Landon speak). Though part of me wanted to crawl back into bed and cry, the other part (the cooking part) couldn't help but start thinking of a recipe. Here my living breathing child was hungry, and he needed his mama. So I did one of the few things I know how to do well: I thought up a recipe, and I cooked.

And it felt good.


  1. I am so sorry for your loss. I will pray for you.

  2. I found your blog through your comment on Kellie's blog. I am so sorry that you had to lose your little girl so early in life. You are in my prayers.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss. I am praying for you and your family. I pray that God gives you peace of mind and the strength to be strong for Landon. Landon is handsome and I love his name but it could be because I also have a little blond headed Landon. Keep your Faith and know that God is there to help you through this hard time. I know that we want to know why things happen and we will never know but God does.
    Love in Christ,