October 15th is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Rememberance Day. Today we remember babies who were born asleep, or whom we have carried but never met, or those we held but couldn't take home, or the ones who made it home but didn't stay.
I remember Ian. I will share his birth story in the hopes that others will not forget him. He was born after all. He does have a birth story. It just doesn?t have a happy ending.
I got pregnant for the first time in July 2010. Daryl and I were so excited and everything was going perfectly. My estimated due date would be April 17th 2011. I felt great! I had hardly any morning sickness or any other symptoms at all. I loved feeling the baby move and never had a problem getting the baby to move. In January we started to put the nursery in order and at the end of February, I had my first baby shower. It was starting to feel so real! There was baby stuff all over the house!
On Thursday March 3rd, I had an ultrasound to check my placenta since at my previous ultrasound it had been low. Everything looked great. Baby was moving all around and had a strong heartbeat. I just loved seeing my little baby on the screen.
On Friday March 4th, I woke up in the morning and felt the baby moving. There was one really good kick that made me go "Wow! You are getting so strong!" That was the last time I felt the baby move.
I went to work that day feeling happy but with a lot on my mind. My parents were coming over that night to help organize all the baby stuff from the shower and finish some last touches on the nursery. I kind of thought it was weird that the baby didn't move after I finished eating lunch but figured it was just having a sleepy slow day and running out of room.
My parents came over as planned and we had a great night. We ate Chinese food for dinner and we got a lot done in the room. I didn?t really start to get worried until I went to bed that night. The baby was ALWAYS active went I went to bed. Daryl fell asleep right away as he was supposed to get up at 5am for work on Saturday. I tossed and turned all night. I drank some OJ and lay on my stomach. Still nothing. At 4:30am I woke Daryl up and told him what was going on. I was so scared. We drove to the nearest hospital that is 45mins away in only 30mins.
When we got there the first thing they did was a doppler check to find the heartbeat. Nothing. Three different nurses tried. Then the doctor confirmed with an ultrasound that my baby was gone. My life felt like it was over. I wanted to die. It felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest and I couldn?t breath. It felt surreal. I was living in a nightmare that I couldn?t wake up from. The pain and confusion of that moment is something I will never forget.
They decided to move us to a private room. For some crazy reason, I decided that I needed to walk, and refused a wheelchair. I couldn?t think straight. I just needed to move. As soon as I entered the room I collapsed. Daryl and the nurse caught me before I hit the floor. Somehow I got put into the bed where we would wait to see what would happen next. I remember my parents and Daryl?s mom arriving. I just wanted to be left alone. All anyone could do was sit around and cry.
A nurse came and took a bunch of blood to be tested to see if they could discover what had happened. I was so numb that I didn?t even feel the needle. Around 8am they sent me for another ultrasound to see if they could learn that way what had happened. Everything came back looking perfect. They had no idea what happened. All they could offer, is hopefully, with delivery, we may have an answer.
I begged for them to knock me out and do a c-section but they would not. I had to be induced. I had cervidil placed to soften my cervix. Then we waited. And cried. One word kept running through my head. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? I couldn?t sleep, I couldn?t eat. I felt sick. I still could not believe that this was happening. My little baby. Gone. I thought that as long as my baby was inside of me that it would be safe. I was supposed to protect it. I failed. It was a long day. Finally, our parents left, and Daryl and I were alone.
Early Sunday morning, they placed a second round of cervidil. I just wanted it to be over but we were in for another long day. Our parents couldn?t stay away and came back to be with us. I asked for no other visitors. I couldn?t handle seeing anyone else.
Finally, at 4pm they started pitocin to get contractions started. After that everything went really fast. I had an epidural place and they broke my water. At 8pm my epidural started to wear off. I was feeling the contractions and I felt like I had to pee. I told the nurse so she went and got me a ?top up? for the epidural then emptied my bladder. Then she checked to see how close we were to delivery. I was completely dilated and ready to push. The nurse got the room set up and called in the doctor. It was 9pm. All I remember thinking is ?how can I do this? I don?t want to do this!? but then I realized that no one else could do it for me. I had to find the strength some how. Our son was born at 9:12 pm. He was 4lbs 15oz. All I remember thinking is how quiet it was. I wish I could have heard him cry. He was so beautiful and perfect, with lots of wavy dark brown hair. I never saw his eyes. They were closed.
His umbilical cord had been wrapped around his neck three times and also there was a true knot in it. The doctor and nurses were surprised that he had both. For either one to happen is rare. They showed me his cord and told me that is was about twice as long as one should be. There is no reason for this. It can just happen. I was told that we were lucky to have an answer. Many people never know why their babies died. I didn?t feel lucky.
When I held my son for the first time the nurse asked me if he had a name. I didn't even think about it and just looked at Daryl and said, ?how about Ian?? Daryl looked surprised at first, this was not a name we had discussed or even mentioned before. He just looked at me then and said "okay." I was kind of surprised myself. Where did that come from? But I knew it to be true, his name was Ian.
We spent some time alone with him and held him and loved him. He was so beautiful and so perfect. I didn?t ever want to let him go but knew that our parents were waiting. We invited them in to meet their grandson who looked as though he could have been sleeping. Instead of happy tears as there should have been, there was nothing but grief. After our parents left, I finally fell into a fitful, angry sleep.
The hospital staff was amazing and let us have as much time with him as we needed. They also took pictures of him and made a memory book for us. I have some of his hair and impressions of his feet that I now have as a tattoo. The artist did an amazing job and it looks so real. The hardest thing I have ever had to do was say goodbye to my son. I didn?t want to let go. The nurse promised me that she would take good care of him. It wasn?t fair! I wanted to take care of him! I felt so guilty having to leave him there. When we were leaving the hospital, Daryl left me to go get the truck pulled up to the front. I was with my nurse who wasn?t ready to leave me yet. Good thing too. As we were waiting, another couple were there getting ready to leave the hospital with their new baby girl. All I could do was cry while my nurse held me.
Please do not tell me that this happened for a reason, or that he is in a better place. I do not believe it, and it is hurtful to hear. Also, I am not ?strong?, to have survived this. I won?t lie. I did think about ending my own pain. I could not be so selfish. I couldn?t bring even more pain to the ones I love. If you must say anything, simply tell me that you are sorry for my loss, or that you send your love.I share this not because I want sympathy or attention, but because I want my son remembered. Speaking of infant death is a taboo subject in our society. I wish to break the silence. Please don?t ever hesitate to say my son?s name to me. I love to hear it and to talk about him. Even though I now have another son, Zachary, he cannot, and will not, ever replace my Ian.