Harper Alayna Mary was born by emergency c-section on the night of November 9, 2019. When seeing her for the first time, I said as I cried, “She’s so pretty!” I was so happy I wept. Her skin was so soft against my face as the nurse placed her by my head. It was the best moment of my life, I felt pure love.
I got to keep Harper for 6 weeks of her precious life, but on the morning of December 22, 2019, I woke up to a nightmare that forever changed my entire being.
My fiance came into the nursery around 5:00 am and woke me up, I had fallen asleep in the rocker with Harper. Immediately upon opening my eyes I knew something was wrong. She didn’t look right. “Something is wrong, something is wrong,” I said in a panic.
I got up from the chair and Harper didn’t move, I tried to wake her and she wouldn’t wake, she wouldn’t move. The pallor of her skin was off. All I could hear was my fiance shouting, “Harper, Harper, Harper wake up!” I told him to call 911 and I laid her on the floor and tried to perform CPR.
The rest is a blur. I remember paramedics in my living room and running down the stairs following them as they carried Harper out to the ambulance. They were in a rush as if they could save her and we were going to the hospital.
I stood in the cold December air and continued to ask what was happening when one of the paramedics approached me, “Ma’am, what is the baby’s name?”
“Harper! Her name is Harper!”
I will never forget the sound of his voice, so cold and emotionless, “Harper is dead.”
I fell to my knees and screamed, “No no no no no!” All I could say was NO. How could this have happened? My world was crushed in an instant.
The next few hours were spent at the police station, my fiance and I being questioned about every minute detail: did she sleep in a bassinet, was there a humidifier in her room, did she sleep on her back, did she use a pacifier? I did everything right, so why did I fall asleep this time? Why?
I locked myself in a dark room, sleeping and sobbing for two days straight. My fiance held me in his arms and I have never wanted to be closer to someone, my only safe space. He was and is my rock through it all. Without him, I don’t believe that I would still be here today. I wanted it all to end.
My family and friends made all of the memorial arrangements for me and for that, I am forever grateful.
My true friends, the ones who know my heart, still talk about Harper. They know that I do not want her to be forgotten, they know that she is still alive in my heart and she will forever be my daughter, my firstborn.
I knew very soon after Harper left us that I wanted to give her a sibling. Her spirit and love can never be replaced, but I knew that I needed the joy of another child in my life. As soon as my doctor gave us the okay, we started trying. In about two months I was pregnant with our second, due date of August 10, 2021.
My rainbow, Lincoln Allen Gerald, was born by planned c-section on August 4, 2021, two days before my maternal grandfather, Gerald, passed away. He has brought healing to so many hearts. I was pregnant with him when we found out that my father had Multiple Myeloma (a blood cancer) and I know that gave him another reason to be strong and fight the disease.
Lincoln’s big, bright eyes bring a smile to everyone’s face and he fills hearts with joy with his laughter. I know that even though he can’t tell me yet, he loves his big sister and carries her in his heart as his father and I do. We celebrate her life and know she watches over us. We are beyond blessed.
Every year for Harper ad my birthdays (both in November) I fundraise for Cribs for Kids and I am a certified Safe Sleep Advocate. I also walk the 5K for the Star Legacy Foundation and plan to do so every year. I have made many friends who share in the grief of losing a child through The Compassionate Friends groups on Facebook. Thank you for the opportunity to share my story, I pray that it gives other parents hope that there IS a rainbow after the storm.
Photos taken by Agape Moments.
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