Labor. and Delivery.

Aug 16, 2015


It was just after 2AM on August 16, 2015. The midwife, Hope, came in and check me. She said I was fully dilated, effaced, and ready to begin pushing. I wasn’t ready yet though; I was shaking vigorously. I had just received some numbing medication, so they gave me another hour to try to relax before game time. Hope came back at three, and at 3:07am, the most difficult time of my life began. Not because pushing was hard, pushing was easy. I didn’t even give it all I had because I wanted to make sure I had enough for the unknown amount of time and energy that was about to be expended. But the 57 minutes I was pushing for was so painfully unforgettable because it was the last 57 minutes I got to spend connected to my sweet baby girl. It was 57 minutes of one of the most physically demanding things a human can experience, without the expected reward at the finish line. It was 57 minutes of waiting for the next contraction, to give three pushes in silence, and squeeze in that fourth one with the little bit of breath that I had left in me. I asked that no one count. But I was counting in my head.

Ironically enough, I had just completed my OB portion of Nursing school at the same hospital a week prior, so by this point, I helped a handful of women bring their children into the world. I actually helped a woman in the same room, her daughter’s name was Graciella. Some Grace is for earth, sand some Grace isn't, I suppose.

My husband stood on my left, every step of the way, cheering me on and applauding me. He held my leg, caught my vomit in the bucket, rubbed my head, fanned me, put a cool compress on my head, wiped me down, gave me water, and really just did everything I wanted and needed without me having to even ask for anything. I think we fell in love all over again in the labor room when we realized just how far we could go for one another. A little after four I gave one final push, and the largest part of my Joislen’s body, came forcefully out of my vagina. Immediately thereafter the rest of her tiny body followed. At 4:04am I gave birth to my angel daughter, whose spirit had already went to be with the Lord, some 48 hours prior. Congratulations Trish.

The emptiness inside of me was gruesomely painful. I mean. There was nothing. I think with the birth of my daughter’s body, also left my soul for some hours. My husband and I had agreed previously, when we thought we would be giving birth to a child with her spirit still in her, that he was going to hold her first. This was my idea. I look for opportunities to honor my husband. What says I love you more than I’m willing to put aside my momma bear instinct and watch you love on our girl first? Well, it must have been God when we made that decision. Because they tried to throw the baby on my chest immediately and I was not ready for that. I told them no before they got the chance. It’s not because I was scared. I love my daughter with every fiber of my being, and there is not one thing scary about a dead body, when you carried it for 10 months, and it’s an innocent baby. When you and the person you love most, had x chromosomes meet up, and create your child in the palm of God's hand, there is nothing weird about a dead body. I loved that little girl since the late November Sunday in 2014 when I learned of the start of our journey. Shoot, I loved her even before that. I loved Joislen so much, and no mere death could change the way I felt about her. The reason I was unable to hold Joislen right away is simply because it wasn’t time yet. I knew when I held her, I wouldn’t let go for a long, long time. I knew my soul would be reunited with the emptiness I was left with, and I wasn’t able to express myself emotionally while they stitched me up. Some doctor snipped my daughter’s umbilical cord without asking, and I could’ve killed her. I said excuse me, my husband is right here. She pinched a part that could still be snipped, and my husband cut it. When you are birthing an angel baby, missing any, little, part, of the experience, is devastating; but damage control was a success I guess—we got a few pictures of the tradition.

I asked my nurse to page another nurse to help out; I wanted my daughter to wear a special outfit I had brought for her. A long sleeved, pants, dark blue onesies with little pink and white splashes all over it. The blue embodied the strength of dad, and the pinks and whites, the gentleness of mom. It was a perfect mix of me and my husband, who Joislen was also the perfect mix of. She was made up of the best parts of each of us. I wanted my amazing Nurse Melissa to dress my daughter, and the other nurse to do whatever nursing duties Melissa was doing. But Melissa misunderstood my request, and the lady I didn’t know and wasn’t comfortable with ended up dressing my daughter, and cleaning her up. I didn’t like that. At all. A bit later, my reservation was confirmed. This woman put my daughter in the onesies without a diaper. I know she’s not present in the body, but do YOU know that she still secretes urine and feces with the bowel and bladder relaxation that accompanies death?

By the way, 2nd degree lacerations. Postpartum hemorrhage. They tried to sew me up in the room for about 45 minutes but they kept making it worse. They had to transfer me to the OR for better lighting. But what is physical pain when a heartbeat that was formed inside of me doesn’t beat anymore? 2 hours of sewing. I refused additional pain medication throughout this part because they kept telling me it was almost done and I didn’t want to be high when I finally got to hold my daughter and release all that I had been feeling. Wish I would’ve known, I probably would’ve taken an injection of heroin if I knew it would take so long (joke). They put her in my arms by this point. But I wasn’t present yet. I was in my journey from shock and devastation, to the devastating shock that was my reality. I arrived back to my consciousness when they said “we’re all done!” Dwayne, again, was sitting right behind me to the left for every minute of all this. But he had been holding his bladder bowels and probably breath, for the past 4 hours. So he finally stepped out for a few minutes to take care of some basic needs. By this point I hadn’t cried—but now the tears began to flow. As soon as they wheeled my bed back to my room I ask that we be left alone for a bit. They respected my request to the best of their ability, but my nurse had somethings she needed to do, I was comfortable with her though. I gazed upon my gorgeous daughter, who was the splitting image of her father might I add, and I let out a gut wrenching cry that I secretly hoped could raise the dead. I wept and bawled all over my angels face, my tears were streaming down her cheeks. I kissed and held and longed for the good ol’ day when she was inside of me, kicking my ribs, once more. I moaned and groaned. The words “why God” never flowed from my lips though. Trust me, I had questions, but somewhere in the midst of the emptiness I felt, I somehow knew there was purpose in what I was experiencing. My husband and I must have been up for almost 36 hours by this point, only to be up for another 36, minus a few 20 minute naps here and there that our bodies forced us to take.

On the day of the 16th, my family who was in town, stopped by the hospital. Joisey’s two aunties/God-mothers came by first. I remember talking to my sister about them telling me my girl doesn’t get a birth certificate, and getting mixed information on whether she got a death certificate. How can one die if they are never born? Whatever the case was, I didn’t like the whole birth/death certificate idea anyways. My baby had a heart beat for 9 months. She was surely born. And never taking a breath, I didn’t feel like she died. I felt like she was translated. I told my sister that I wanted my Joisey to have a Translated Certificate. For those of the Christian faith, familiar with the bible, you probably know about Enoch. I told my sister about him. She was like, who’s that? I told her he was the dude who never tasted of death. She looked up the scripture, and replaced Enoch’s name with my daughter’s;

“by faith Joislen was translated that she should not see death; and was not found. Because God had translated her, for before her translation she had a testimony, that she pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5)

I was very comforted by these words. I just thought of my little warrior pleasing God and being exempt from death, and that made me smile. My sister was taking notes. A sisterhood that was formed in the military some 6 years prior was just strengthening during all this. Angie was amazed at my faith in God. She was also in complete adoration of her angel niece, and heartbroken all at the same time. I had been a god-mother to her daughter Amila for 3 years (pregnancy counts), and up until this point she never really understood how much I loved her daughter. Now that the shoe was on the other foot, now that it was her there for me during my birth experience, she realized how much you can love a child who isn’t your own. She finally understood the love for the child of a sister, it is not much different than maternal love. Then they went back home to be with their daughters, and Joisey’s uncle/God father, and her Grandma Hart came by. Uncle Paul was good for bringing love and good energy to any situation. He also doesn’t like to see people who he cares for who are mourning or even celebrating, have to worry about financial restraints in these precious moments of life. I remember during our wedding ceremony (which a 6 week old Joislen attended, unbeknownst to many) Paul had ironed out a few of the monetary kinks at the end, just so Dwayne and I could enjoy our night and not have to stress. He had a similar role for Joislen’s translation. He got with my sister, and they took care of the cremation arrangements totally, so I didn’t have to get involved at all. We are so grateful for not having to be burdened with anything else at this time.

One heartbreak was losing my daughter. The other heartbreak was seeing my mom lose her grandbaby. My mom is not shy of grandchildren, she has 10. But there was something special about her baby girl having a baby girl. From the day she learned of my pregnancy my mom was so thrilled. She began shopping for our girl almost weekly, with money she probably didn’t have. I literally never purchased one piece of clothing for Joislen, because I always knew grandma was shopping. By the time she arrived to San Diego for the birth, she had an entire suitcase full of vibrant, sassy onesies, and random baby supplies we needed. There were many times when we would be on FaceTime and she would just listen to my daughters heart beat as I auscultated it with my hand held Doppler.  She was so in love with Joislen, and I was unable to give her her long awaited granddaughter. I felt terrible about that, too. My mom is a fragile wallflower, with the resilience of a lion. This day, she was in her fragility, and I somehow felt guilty, though she was broken for me. It’s just when you love someone so much, you can’t stand to see them in excruciating pain. So you hurt for their hurt, and we were slowly dying inside for one another, and for ourselves.

The nursing staff was angelic. They spent the day making a perfect memory box of my angel, doing footprints, collecting hair bundles, and even taking pictures. My instructor dropped off a hand molding kit the day I learned Joislen was no longer with her body. Sometimes I have a hard time paying attention in pre-conference at clinicals. I do remember the day though, that my instructor Dayna told us of a wonderful lady who helps grieving families by beautifying a hand mold of the parent and the child. That stuck out to me, even though my daughter was fine and well in my womb that day. And when I learned of her translation, this was brought back to my memory. My professor was so sweet to drop everything and get this kit to us so quickly, so we could get it to her colleague, who enjoyed making memories from moldings.  We decided Dwayne and Joislen would do the mold. The nurses helped him with that, too. I had the joy of being treated by the same nurse I was following the day Graciella was born. Elise is the best nurse in the world, and I am so thankful she took care of me.

Sometime had passed, and I was informed that I would be transferred to the medical surgical unit of the hospital, and that Joislen would be transferred to the hospital’s morgue. Wait what? Med surg? I didn’t have kidney stones or appendicitis, I had a baby. Why wouldn’t I be going to postpartum? Well. They told me that most moms who lose a baby don’t want to be around other moms and babies; but we are all individuals. I was called to be a labor and delivery nurse. I didn't want circumstances to force me into a shell to where I couldn’t bear to hear a baby cry without losing my mind. So I let them know I was just fine going to postpartum. They told me okay, but once I leave labor and delivery, Joislen would have to go to the morgue. I let them know, kindly, that this wasn’t an option. Joislen would not be in the hospital morgue at any point in her stay, and we would be leaving the hospital at the same time. When I got discharged, the mortuary driver would put her in the car, and that would be that. I guess my demand was not common, but needless to say, I never left the room I labored in, and my daughter never left our side. Later, Dwayne’s cousins stopped by, and brought me a delicious strawberry banana smoothie that I enjoyed. The encouragement of family was sweet. Finally, a childhood friend stopped by; she held Joislen. I was so detached. Connecting with my baby was connecting with me; that is all I could offer at that time, and she understood. She brought a hand knit blanket for my girl. I was so thankful for a decent day, yet so weary of our circumstance. The evening was well spent and the visitors were done, Dwayne and I found ourselves on our first and last night with our daughter. Just the three of us, one last time. We grew accustomed to our little tripod. I had taken 400 pictures of my angel by this point. I was so in love. It was getting late and Dwayne wanted to spend some time with her. Dwayne fell asleep with his love in his lap and looking at the two of my babies both filled and broke my heart in the same instance. They looked so peaceful together. His blood circulated around her body for ten months. She was his seed.

I reflected on all the nights that Dwayne would come home and talk to my belly, play with her, hold her until we all fell asleep, joke with me about who she’d like more. I mean truly, Dwayne is the best father there is. I remembered the long nights he spent building her nursery from the ground up. I told him on more than one occasion to call a friend to help put some things together but he was very adamant about doing everything himself. From the crib to the dressers, shelving, space savers, you name it, he built it. I looked on him in complete adoration and wondered why God didn’t give him a chance to express his love to our daughter in this life in the manner we thought best. I dozed off in sadness, yet comfort, for some forty minutes—comfort in that it was the three of us again. When I awoke, I woke up with an agenda. These things just came to me. Joislen was born an angel. I would never get to see my girl open her eyes or smile, I would never hear her chuckle or cry, but there were some things I could experience with her in our current predicament. I wanted to feel outside with her in my arms. I know hospital policy. You can’t walk around with a baby. And I am sure taking a corpse outside isn’t an everyday request. But that’s what I wanted. Once in the moonlight and once in the sunlight. I paged my nurse. I let her know, I don’t know who you need to ask, and whoever needs to escort us, can, but I need to experience outside with my girl. Plus, Dwayne hated being cooped up in the hospital. So I knew we needed some fresh air. Not too long after, the nurse manager for the hospital came and escorted us outside. She cried for us as we walked the halls. She gave us some privacy and my husband and I embraced and prayed and cried with our daughter’s body in the moonlight.

When we got back to the room, the words of my dear friend rang in my head. “This doesn’t make you less of a mother, and it doesn’t make Joislen less of a person”. With that, I endeavored to give my girl a bath. I also wanted to scan her anatomy and learn of her every crevasse. I thought of how Mary and Martha were when it came to Jesus’s body. How they wanted to get it, even though His spirit was gone from it. How they wanted to anoint it and prepare it for burial. I realized I wanted to have one regular maternal experience. I just wanted to change and bathe my daughter. Her diaper was full of poop. I had a sensitive nose for as long as I can remember and I honestly wondered at times how I am going to be a nurse with an inability to smell poop without gagging. Well, I was cured of my sensitive nose in a moment, I really was. Seeing Joislen’s poop was heavenly to me. I was so honored to change her, wipe and clean her up. They had a size 1 diaper but my petite baby, weighing in a 6lbs 11oz simply couldn’t fill up all that space. My husband brought back a newborn size for her that fit fine. She was slim like daddy but long like me, 20.5 inches. Probably would’ve been a volleyballer like her momma had she have been earth bound. Anyway. I scanned her little body to see what she had of me, what she had of daddy, what was original to her, and what was a mix. I dressed her, and swaddled her. I had really sucked at swaddling during my rotation. I even watched videos on YouTube while I was pregnant to perfect the skill. It all came together when I had to swaddle Joislen. My swaddle game was on point. An authentic Mexican restaurant couldn’t wrap a burrito with the poise I wrapped my daughter in. I had moments of strength during this dim lit bath time. Daddy dozed off for a bit on the bed. I also had moments of intense pain and feelings of emptiness. I hovered over her body and just cried a called out to our Creator wanting any glimpse of hope that I could possibly make it to the next second. I never loved anyone this way. I have plenty of nieces and nephews and God children in whom I love dearly. With Joislen though, there was a connection to my core, my loins that no one had never been able to activate before her. It was an electrifying love that felt like it only went in one direction, that was desperate for the regular reciprocation I had grown used to. I am trying my best to explain the void, but just use your imagination as the greatest emptiness a person can feel without dying. And multiply it by the highest known number. Better yet, raise it to that number. We may be scratching the surface in trying to explain the feeling, with all that. Anyway. The best bath I’ve ever given had been complete.

I FaceTime’d my mother-in-law so we could bond and they could bond. One thing was for sure, Dwayne and Joislen are twins. So I wanted grandma to get to see her grandbaby. I showed her our daughter, and she chuckled and cried as she relived the birth of her son. We connected over similar labor experiences, and similar babies, and I was comforted by her love.

The sun had come out, and it was time for our morning adventure. The three of us made our way downstairs yet again. We basked in the soft sunlight with our Joisicle, and the crisp breeze just seemed fitting. I kissed on my love, took pictures with and of her, snapped a few memories of her and daddy, and just soaked up the only time in the sun we would ever have together in the body. Not quite your San Diego beach day, but it would suffice.

By the time we made it back to the room, the family had arrived to say their goodbyes. Leneen handed us our Translated Certificate that Uncle David designed. I knew she was up to something when she was taking notes the day prior. It was perfect. Beautiful, lovely, and had a few inside jokes on it, and just captured exactly what it needed to. My husband and I loved it. 

Social work came in, mumbled a few words to my sister and walked out. To this day, I am not sure what their job was in all this. They never uttered a word to myself or my husband, and I am pretty sure they are supposed to be the liaison with the patient and the community at large. That was not comforting but luckily I am pretty resourceful, so we just weeded out the middle man. The morning midwife came in and informed me of the steps I needed to take to slow down my milk supply. “Just apply an icepack and wear a sports bra, it will help stop the flow”, she confidently advised. There was one problem with her presumption though, I didn’t want to stop my milk supply. I liked the fact that my body had a natural response to pregnancy and labor. I found great comfort in my ability to lactate. We all cope differently. The thought of pumping seemed therapeutic to me. Sure, I didn’t have baby to feed, and my little angel was full off of manna from heaven; she would probably puke at the thought of human breast milk. But I wanted to practice for future pregnancies so there wouldn’t be any surprises. I wanted my uterus to continue to contract to promote the healing my body so desperately needed. I knew I wouldn’t be able to work out for some weeks because of the extent of my tears, so I wanted to burn some calories from the comfort of my own bed. Call me selfish but I just wanted to pump! Not to mention one event that really fueled my desire to pump. When I was in my clinical rotation, I cared for a baby in the NICU whose mother died right before she was born. The father had ordered breastmilk from a bank, and wanted his girl to be able to drink the best of the best, even though his wife was gone. I held that little girl as Joislen twirled inside of me, not knowing that Joisey would see her mom before either of us would. I affirmed the beautiful baby girl of her mother’s love. That made me want to be a milk donor. Sure, I wasn’t in the frame of mind to sign up for a milk bank the next day, but I knew soon my strength would come back, and I would want to help someone else. If I pumped in the meantime, I would be ready to donate when I had the desire. I learned this one important fact during this process, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for how you need to heal. Lactating was relaxing to me, and I didn’t want to stop my flow, anytime soon.

Uncle Paul held Joislen as tears streamed down his face. You could see all of his confusion, and hurt for us, written all over his face. He held her for as long as he could and he whispered “come take her” to me. Angie held her next and she just bawled hysterically. Angie has faith, but not the kind that can lessen the pain of a loss of this magnitude. She just truly wanted to have her J.T., and couldn’t understand why things had to turn out this way. Leneen held her for a few moments as the impact of her niece’s short life was undeniably instilled into her will; you could see Leneen’s determination to never live another day purposeless or complaining, ever again. She had a strength in her that said, I will do right by you, I will make you proud, Joislen. At last, grandma embraced her angel grandbaby and cried as she looked at her in awestruck wonder. Everyone had said their goodbyes, and it was time for us to say ours.

Dwayne nobly carried our girl down the hall has we were traveling with the hospital police and the mortuary driver. 

My mom wanted to come for this part too, and we wanted her to do whatever she needed. I asked the driver where my daughter was going. He didn’t seem to know which location my baby was going to, and immediately my guard went up. I was NOT going to say goodbye to my daughter when the driver seemed unsure of where he was taking her! My husband had peace with bidding his farewell at this point, but I knew that I had to see her one last time when she arrived at her final resting place. We went back up to our room to gather our belongings and head out. Right before I discharged some random doctor wanted to run a series of tests on me, most of which I had already taken, and also wanted to give me a drug test. My helpful nurse let me know I did not have to comply with her intrusive requests, so I declined those last set of testing the doctor wanted. When you see fetal demise, some people can accept, and some people want answers. They could dig and dig and dig, and speculate, but I don’t think anyone will really know exactly what events led up to Joislen’s passing. They wanted to do an autopsy on my little girl to find out why, but they didnt educate us of all our options, and anyway, we had peace with God’s sovereignty. Of course, if there is medically significant facts that we need to consider for future pregnancies, we would consider them, but we can’t look to man for answers to questions that can only be asked to God.

We walked outside with our helpful and loving entourage. A part of me had died in the hospital behind me. Yet because of my faith, that part never really died, but lives with Christ. That same Christ lives in me, so strangely enough, the only change was mere transfer of matter. It didn’t always feel like that, but it’s what I knew and believed in my heart of hearts. I approached my car. With a glimpse of hope. A dollop of peace. A heap of love. I can’t explain it, but somewhere in my, I knew that my daughter had purpose. Not only did she have it, but she fulfilled it, which is why she was able to go on. Somehow in the midst of this, a legacy was being delivered, a promise was being kept, prophecy was being fulfilled; but before I tell you about how all these pieces came together, let me tell you a little bit about myself. 

our blog homepage
about me
the vision of her purpose
the entire pregnancy (start from the oldest post)
life after death (start from the oldest post)

if you want to sign joislens legacy page email me at or leave a comment and i will upload <3


  1. This is very beautifully written and I am blown away by your faith and perspective. I am a nurse in L&D and I found Joislen's story because I follow NILMDTS. Many prayers for you and your family and best of luck in all of your endeavors and I have no doubt that you will be an amazing labor and delivery nurse!

    1. Thank you Brandi! God bless u <3 one day im trying to be like u when i grow up

  2. I lost my baby December 19, 2014. She was full term 6 lbs 6 Oz and like Joislen, she was fine and then her heart simply stopped beating. Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. <3 ugh. sweet little momma. thank you for reading <3

  3. hey trish.....went through ur love with ur baby girl....u hv amazing faith in almighty....ur angel is gorgeous

  4. hey trish.....went through ur love with ur baby girl....u hv amazing faith in almighty....ur angel is gorgeous

    1. Hi halima and thank you for visiting. Hope our journey blesses you in some way

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  6. Trish..your site is a blessing. I'm the mommy of an angel who is awaiting Jesus to call her out of her grave when He comes. Her name is Jaynee (it means God's grace) and she was delivered in August 2016. I'd love to join your FB group to talk more about my experience. God bless.