Julie
Mom to Alistair Magnus
Stillborn on June 5th, 2010
Portage, MI
It was supposed to be a regular check-up at 26 weeks.  It was supposed to be my entry into my 3rd trimester.  It was supposed to be a day that I cried a little at hearing my baby’s heartbeat with my husband and then raced to get fresh strawberries (of which my baby was made), and went to a book sale at our public library.  It was not supposed to be the day that my midwife couldn’t find his heartbeat.  It was that moment where my day spiraled downward into a horror movie.

The doppler had been having an easier and easier time picking up my baby’s heartbeat, and so when my midwife couldn’t find it, I began to worry.  Since my baby was a little monkey inside of me, the midwife wasn’t too concerned.  She went to get the sonogram machine and tried it that way, but all she could see was the back of my baby’s head.  She called in the doctor who sat down on the edge of the exam table and took my hand and told me that my baby “was in an unusual position”.  I was whisked off to the ultrasound room where the same woman who did his 20 week ultrasound found his heart again, but this time it was no longer beating.  “Now what?” I asked.  “You need to go to the hospital to delivery your baby.”

I hadn’t read up on labor and delivery, I hadn’t yet taken lamaze, I hadn’t yet even had my tour of the hospital, but here I was, en route to the hospital to delivery my baby after a call to my parents who rushed into their car for the two and a half hour drive to the hospital.  I was given a room at the end of the hall with a leaf to symbolize loss.  At 7:00pm, I was induced.  At 9:00pm, I went into labor, even though I didn’t even know it at the time.  By 7:00am, I definitely knew I was in labor.  Nothing seemed to help, because I couldn’t bring myself to do anything that I normally would have done, such as take walks proudly in the hall, or dance around the room.  Nothing seemed to help, and no, I did not want an epidural.  I wanted to experience the fullness of this birth on my own.

At 10:00am, my water broke, right on the toilet.  I laughed, thinking that this was the universe’s hand out to me.  I was told that the midwife and nurse couldn’t help me much at all.  My baby was breech, and any pulling may rip my baby in two.  Three positions and an hour later, I delivered a baby boy.  I was asked questions that I couldn’t think to answer.  Did I want to hold him?  Yes.   Did I want to name him?  Yes.  What did I want to name him?  Alistair Magnus.  My head whirred, and I’ll admit to being scared to see him, to hold him, knowing that he was already dead.  When they took pictures for us, I thought it was the oddest thing in the world, and yet I let them, and I am so glad today to have those pictures of my son.

I later found out that Alistair’s death was caused due to a stricture in his umbilical cord.  A portion of the inside was only one third the diameter.  This is undetectable by ultrasound, and there is nothing that I could have done.  It is a rare occurrence, nothing genetic, nothing chromosomal, and nothing that will repeat, other than by as sheer of a chance as it was in the first place.

Alistair Magnus is buried in the cemetery near my public library, where I would have been that evening, where I would have taken him afternoon after afternoon to read.  He is buried in a cemetery that allows perennials, and I have made him his own garden, just like his mom’s, just…miniature.  He is buried in a cemetery where he is visited by fawns, rabbits, woodchucks, and dragonflies.  It is a peaceful place, and my husband and I go there each evening to read to him a few pages of a book I started reading to him when we went on our babymoon.

I miss my son, and now I am trying to conceive his brother or sister, torn with all of the feelings that go along with it.  Torn with the fact that it may never happen again, for I conceived Alistair while on birth control, and I was seven weeks along when I found out.  I know that having another baby will help me heal, but it will never replace my first child, whose hand and footprint I wear forever around my neck as a memory.

You can contact her at tisiphonie@gmail.com
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Comments

  1. Alistair's story is the same as mine, same exact thing. Such a waste of life for this to happen. It is not very common at all but I am so sorry u have had to endure this awful tragety. My son Jared was born just days after your July 15th 2010. I'm sure they are together

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