Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Leila's Hello and Goodbye

Leila's birth was an experience I will never forget. The amount of love, pain, joy and grief were overwhelming that day but I wouldn't ask for it any other way.

Around one o’clock on Thanksgiving Day, I informed Will that I'd be making a quick trip to labor and delivery to have the on-call doctor check things out. I had been having regular contractions for a few days, been on bedrest to try to help them subside, but it didn't seem to be working. I was confident I’d be coming right home after so we could join our friends for Thanksgiving dinner. I arrived and was placed on a monitor to watch the contractions, and sure enough, they were coming every four minutes. The doctor asked that I stay a few hours, and I knew in my heart it was time to call Will and have him meet me there. Our friend Ashlee picked up Dallas so he wouldn't miss out on the holiday festivities, and Will drove to the hospital. He walked into the room and told me he had a feeling this is where we’d end up that day.

Around seven o’clock that evening, we decided it was time to allow Leila to arrive. Though we could have gone home and waited, the chances were that I would remain in early labor for a week or more as the contractions I was having, combined with Leila’s inability to contribute to the progression of labor, were uncomfortable and not causing further dilation. The doctor began medical intervention to help my body prepare to deliver, and from there, it was a waiting game.

Being that we were completely unprepared to deliver so early, we had to rely on friends to bring us the things we needed for her birth. We were brought the teeniest outfits that could be found, blankets, even make-up for me so I could feel at least a little like me when she arrived. We were even brought a turkey dinner since we missed our Thanksgiving! We are very lucky to have the amazing friends that we do. The willingness to drop their lives and help ours was incredibly touching.

Much of Friday was a blur for me. We slept as much as we could, and I was kept fairly sedated as my anxiety levels were rising as her arrival became closer. I do remember we watched a LOT of football the whole weekend, just as Will had wanted. I also remember sneaking bites of leftover turkey dinner when I was advised to remain on a clear liquid diet. Friday evening rolled around, and I had progressed to the point where delivery was imminent. My epidural was administered and I was advised to get a little rest, that Leila would be making her entrance sometime in the middle of the night. We made calls to our close family and friends that we had decided would be present for her birth, as well as the awesome photographers who so graciously offered to capture her journey into the world. I was given some medication to help me sleep and drifted off.

I was awoken around 2:30 am to Will and Rachel “oooh”ing and “ahhh”ing at the contraction monitor. “Oh, here comes a BIG one!”, “Oh my gosh, look at that one!” I was amazed at their amusement, as I couldn't feel much of anything! A few moments later my doctor came to check my progress, and confirmed that Leila would be arriving any time now. I prepared myself, held Will’s hand and was surrounded by the people I love as she entered the world at 3:25 a.m. on Saturday, November 24th. She weight one pound, six ounces and was 11.75 inches long.

Leila took a few short breaths, and blinked her eyes before the Lord called her name and she left her earthly body to fly with the angels. Pastor Alex came in to bless her, as we all held hands and wept. It was a beautiful, heartbreaking and life changing experience. 

I was able to help bathe her and dress her. We wrapped her in her football blanket, complete with a Ducks bow, and held her for a day and a half. The three of us lay in bed together and watched the Ducks beat the Beavers in the 2012 Civil War, and I will forever attribute that win to the fact the Leila arrived on game day. She was Oregon’s guardian angel.

Sunday morning around eleven, Will and I left the hospital and drove to the funeral home to say our last goodbye and send Leila off on her next mission: to guide her Mommy and Daddy through the rest of this life.
I will forever be grateful for the way our daughter has touched our lives, and so many lives around the world. My love for her is stronger than I ever imagined it could be, and I will keep that love in my heart all the days of my life. My dear friend said to me yesterday, “God makes childbirth and loss so devastating so that we always remember.” I will always remember.

Thank you for sharing this journey with us. It’s not over. There will we days ahead of sadness, of grief, and of happiness, and we are so lucky so have so many kind souls to share those days with us. God bless you all.

It broke my heart to lose you, but you didn't go alone. Part of us went with you the day God took you home.

Leila Grace Chapman
November 24th, 2012
3:25 A.M.
1 lb. 6 oz.
Mommy and Daddy love you.


  1. Thank you for sharing your story so openly and with such authenticity. Leila Grace is a beautiful addition to your family, and she will forever be in your hearts. God bless you and your family.

  2. I've never been so touched by a story as I am by yours. I am part of the JM Feb. 2013 DDC and have been following your journey. I'll never forget how brave you have been through your heartbreak and please know that Leila Grace has touched many people's lives and has inspired many to love and cherish our loved ones.

  3. Oh my gosh, I have tears streaming down my face reading this & seeing the emotion in the pictures. I have been following your story through everything & I feel like I know you - I know that's crazy! I suffered a loss as well, and my heart still hurts over 6 years later when I think about my little Angel. I'm so glad you were able to spend as much time with her as you did, I only wish I pushed for the same thing Here's to hoping you find peace in your heart, know that Leila will always be looking over you and your family <3

  4. Oh Em! These pictures are amazing. I am so thankful you decided to share them with us all. She is absolutely gorgeous. Love you guys, and you will be in our thoughts and prayers. <3

  5. Your story is beautiful and your pictures are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your story and Leila's life with us. Peace be with you and God bless you.

  6. This is probably the most Amazing Heart Wrenching and beautiful story I have ever read or followed in my life! God Bless your sweet Angel and your entire family! Thank you for sharing! xo

  7. Thank you for sharing your heart and life with us all. May God bless your family in a mighty way love ya kat

  8. Thank you for showing us Grace, we all need to learn a bit of this. This story will live in my heart forever. I have prayed for your family everyday since I heard about you on SS. Know you have been blessed with a precious gift from God. My prayers will continue for all of you.


  9. Thank you so much for sharing such personal and profound experience as this. These photos are beautiful. Your willingness to fully embrace this experience in love is a testament to your strength and has touched so many lives already. That's the power of Love. You may not realize it now, but sharing this story will probably transform many more lives than your own. My prayers are with you and your family. God bless you all and your beautiful baby girl, Leila, who has touched so many hearts in her short time on earth.

  10. May God bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you, and give you peace...prayers for comfort...What a precious little miracle. I have lost 3 and they are all playing together in heaven with Leila and Jesus...

  11. Honor her with what lies ahead.

  12. You are an amazing couple and the love that you have surrounding you is so comforting to hear about. Your precious little girl is now your guardian angel and will forever be in your hearts. The photos were amazing and so inspiring to see the love that you have for each other and Leila. God bless you in your journey that is ahead.

  13. Oh, Emilee, you have captured your daughters life so beautifully with your words and the pictures taken by your special friends. I know many have said how your story has touched their lives. I, too have been touched and will never forget the story of precious, beautiful Leila Grace.

    God bless you and your family as you continue to travel along in your journey.

    Jennifer Harrel
    (SS Portland FB team)

  14. You both are so incredibly brave. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us, it has deeply touched me. Your daughter is a precious angel with amazing parents.

  15. Thanks for sharing ur story. So sad i truly know how u feel. My brother lost twins n it the worst feeling in the world so much heartache. He lost a boy n a girl one died and the other died the next day :( hope time heals u both

  16. As tears roll down my face, I thank you for sharing such a personal, heart wrenching and beautiful story. Your words, strength and courage are truly inspirational. You are in my thoughts and in my prayers. God bless you. <3

  17. Emilee - I don't know why you and Leila are on my mind tonight, but you are. And I didn't know what else to do besides come here to dwell in the space that you created for your beautiful daughter. I hope and pray that you and your little girl are at peace these days.