Mom to Jacob “Brodie” Lankford
Born sleeping on February 28th, 2010
I still remember the night like it was yesterday. After a lazy day of sitting around the house watching television and resting from a long night before, I finally decided to go over to my friend’s house and take a pregnancy test. When I got there, it took a few minutes for Brodie’s dad and my best friend to talk me into taking the tests. You know the feeling of wanting to know something, but you don’t want to know? Well, that was exactly how I felt, I was so anxious to find out, but then again I just didn’t want to know yet. I absolutely couldn’t believe it when both tests came back positive. So many emotions filled my mind at the exact moment. Excitement, nervousness, fear, and shock. What was I going to tell my parents? What would I do about school? How would I afford everything? Although I was worried about what would happen, I have to say I was so excited and happy from the start. I just knew everything would work out and in nine months I would be the proud mommy to a sweet little baby.
After everything was out in the open, my parents and family were absolutely furious. I had just graduated high school in May as valedictorian and had a full- paid college scholarship. They asked how I was going to do this, and I simply told them the best way I knew how. I would continue with my classes throughout the fall, and then take online classes during the spring because I would be nearing my due date. It took a few weeks for them to come around, but it happened, and they supported me.
At my first doctor’s appointment they confirmed my pregnancy, and I was told that I was about five weeks along. I loved going to my doctor’s appointments, and they were always the highlight of my month. I wished I could go every single week, just to make sure that my little bundle of joy was doing okay. From the very beginning, I worried about every little thing. I was so scared that I would hurt the baby or have a miscarriage. From eating healthy to getting plenty of rest, I made sure everything I did was safe for the baby. Pain didn’t matter to me, and I even refused to take Tylenol, which my doctor told me over and over was a safe medication. The risk just seemed to be there, and I couldn’t live with myself if something happened.
The days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and the moment had arrived when we would find out if we were having a boy or girl. At my eighteen week ultrasound, it was confirmed that my miracle was a boy. For some reason, I always knew deep down that it was going to be a little boy. I could just see him growing up to be an Alabama quarterback and making his mommy proud. Of course I would be proud of him with whatever he chose to be, but that was just my imagination running wild. After a few weeks of countless name ideas, we finally came to the decision of Jacob Brodie Lankford. Jacob was after his daddy, and Brodie came from the star quarterback, Brodie Croyle, of the University of Alabama. I wanted to buy him every single little outfit and baby item I saw, they were just all so cute. My perfect boy was going to be quite the little man with all of his Polo outfits, and he even had a pair of red and black Nike Shox!
Everything seemed to be going perfect with my pregnancy, except for those pesky bladder infections I seemed to keep the entire time. I don’t think I ever complained about them though because I just knew it would all be more than worth it. My sugar test came back normal at my twenty-eight week visit, and my boy’s growth was right on track. For several months, I had put a little money aside so that I could do a 4-D ultrasound at my thirty week mark. I was so excited to see all of his features and could hardly wait. When the day finally came, the ultrasound tech kept telling us what a beautiful profile he had, and that he was going to be a big boy. Of course, that was a huge relief to me, supposedly meaning that everything was okay. After worrying my entire pregnancy so far, I finally decided that I would try to stop stressing myself out so much. I figured that since I was over thirty weeks that even if I went into labor early, he would still be okay if something like that happened. How naïve could I have been? The thought of stillbirth had crossed my mind, and I had read about it online and in books, but it only happened in one percent of pregnancies. So, I was safe, right?
As soon as I started to enjoy being pregnant instead of worrying about every little thing, the unthinkable happened. In week thirty-four of my pregnancy, I woke up on a Wednesday morning and noticed a slight decrease in movement. I tried drinking some orange juice, and that got him moving around a little, but I was still concerned. I called my doctor’s office and was told to come in for a non-stress test that afternoon. During the test, Brodie was moving, but still not very much. After an hour on the machine, I was sent to labor and delivery for some fluids and to be monitored for a while longer. They told me that dehydration could be playing a factor, so I was given an IV. After drinking countless bottles of water and juice, I figured there was no way I could be dehydrated, but I listened to the doctors. They are supposed to know what they are talking about you know. After a few hours of rest and fluids, Brodie’s movement picked up and his heart rate was normal, or so I was told. I was sent home and scheduled for a check-up the following Monday. If only I had known that would be too late.
On Thursday, Brodie was being very active, but then on Friday his movements decreased again. I woke up and laid in the bed for a little while waiting on his movements to pick up, but I had to get ready to go meet some friends for lunch. Sometimes he would be lazy in the mornings so I decided that everything was fine and not to worry yet. While driving to lunch, I felt him move a few times, and then during lunch also. That would be the last few times that I was sure I felt his little kicks and punches. The entire afternoon I started to worry about him, but once again I made an excuse up and blamed it on my moving around all day and just not noticing it. After laying down from an exhausting day, I decided to drink something sweet and do my daily kick counts. I thought I felt him moving, but now looking back, something was different. He also had hiccups, so that could have been a sign that he was in danger. Why didn’t I know that, or why doesn’t anyone ever tell you that hiccups are a bad sign?
The next morning was my very first shower, and everyone was so excited. I could tell that I was feeling “strange,” but then again you aren’t exactly supposed to feel normal when you are thirty five weeks pregnant. Of course, I thought everything was just normal pregnancy aches and pains. The day went by, and I still didn’t want to bring myself to believe that something was wrong. I think I knew it all along, but I was scared to death to have it confirmed. On Sunday morning, I woke up crying. I couldn’t get him to move or hiccup or anything. I told my mother that we had to get to the hospital as soon as possible. I was supposed to have another shower that afternoon, but everyone was just going to have to wait. Brodie’s health was more important than a shower.
When we arrived at the hospital, we signed in at the emergency room and were sent for a non-stress test once again. The nurses searched for his little heartbeat, but it was no where to be found. My poor baby boy was gone, and it was all my fault. The ultrasound technician came into the room to confirm the outcome, and it was true, there was no heartbeat.
What was I supposed to do now? I couldn’t bear the thought of being in labor for hours and hours and not even getting to hear his first cry. My doctor gave me the choices of being induced, waiting on natural labor to occur, or his least favorite possibility, a c-section. Everyone tried to talk me out of it because it was major surgery, but it was my decision. I was an emotional wreck. No one could calm me down or stop me from crying, and the only words I could say were, “I’m sorry.” All I had to do was get my son here, and once again I failed. I seriously shook the entire time, and the epidural only made it worse. After hours of waiting because I had eaten breakfast that morning, it was finally time for the operation.
At 6:08 P.M., Jacob Brodie Lankford was born into heaven. He weighed eight pounds, two ounces, and he was eighteen inches long. Just like everyone said, he was a big boy. He was perfect in every single way except for his umbilical cord. About an inch from his belly button, his blood flow and oxygen was just completely cut off. No knot, no kink, just cut off. I chose not to have an autopsy because I couldn’t stand the thought of him being hurt, so I guess we will never know the exact reason.
Over the next few days, I spent as much time with him as possible. On the day I was due to be dismissed, I begged the staff not to send me home. I felt like I was leaving my little boy, and that absolutely killed me. A few days later, Brodie was buried right beside my great-grandparents. That week will forever be the worst week of my life. No parent should have to bury their own child, especially not an innocent baby!
Losing Brodie has changed my life. He was my little miracle. He was one of the few things I have ever done right in my life. Now, after nine months of a perfect pregnancy, here I am. Empty arms and a broken heart.