Mother to Michael Joseph Milner, Born Sleeping November 14th, 2009
and Mother to Hope, Miscarriage July 23rd, 2010
I was so excited to see that second line on that little strip. It was so faint but I was sure it was there. My husband said he didn’t see it so I took a digital test and there it was in plain English. We were pregnant. We couldn’t wait to tell EVERYONE and we did. We were blissfully happy and there were no doubts, everything was great.
Doctor appointments were routine and everything was as it should be. Heartbeat detected by doppler at 10 weeks and first ultrasound was scheduled at 20 weeks. It was about this time the sciatic pain started. Not too bad but painful none the less. At 18 weeks I woke up very early in the morning in a lot of pain on my left side from my armpit to my hip. I was scared and didn’t know what was going on. We went to my doctor’s office as soon as they opened. The pain was constant and getting worse. The baby’s heartbeat was perfect and the doctor ordered an ultrasound to check my ovaries for cysts, they were not concerned about the baby. The ultrasound didn’t show any problems. We got to see our baby for the first time and they showed us he was a boy. By this time the pain started to centralize and move down. Then they knew I was suffering from a kidney stone. I had never had a stone before and I will always remember that pain. I passed a large stone about 10 hours later.
Once again doctor appointments were routine and started to get closer together. At 32 weeks we had a 3D ultrasound and he was perfect. We saw all his fingers and toes, his eyes and his nose, he waved at us and seemed very content. Five days later, while at work it hit me that I hadn’t felt the baby move much that day. I tried to concentrate on him and still nothing. I called the office and they said he was probably sleeping but I should come by the office just to check. I felt a few small kicks on the way there but still not like him. He usually moved a lot. Once hooked up to the non stress machine and after a whole glass of ice water he started moving like normal. I was told he was perfect and not to worry.
Then six days later I had another realization that I hadn’t feel the baby move for a few hours again. I tried all the tricks I had learned ice water, food, sugar, still nothing. Since this had happened once before I really thought everything was okay and I was silly to worry. Since it was after office hours our doctor told us to go into labor and delivery.
When we got there the nurse couldn’t find the heartbeat with the doppler. Then I got nervous, it was always so easy to hear him before. Another nurse came in and she couldn’t find it either. They called my doctor in to do an ultrasound. We were scared but still had hope. Until the doctor showed us on the ultrasound that there was ‘no cardiac activity’. Our baby was dead. I didn’t even know how to feel, I was in shock. We were so blissfully happy only moments ago. Driving to the hospital thinking how silly we were since this happened a week before and everything was fine. I was admitted right away for induction. I couldn’t imagine keeping a dead baby inside me any longer. I wanted a c-section. I didn’t want to go through labor to deliver a dead baby. My doctor assured me that a natural delivery would be better for me and I’m glad she did. The induction took 26 hours. I had very little pain, no tearing, no cutting, and no stitches. But yet it was the most excruciating time in my life. Michael Joseph Milner was born silently into this world on November 14th at just past 3:00 in the morning. He was 5lbs 3oz and 20” long. It was apparent at delivery his cause of death. There was a very tight knot in his umbilical cord and the cord was around his neck 3 times. I later reviewed the scans with my doctor from 2 weeks earlier. The cord was not around his neck at that time. The knot would have been formed much earlier when he was small enough to loop through. I’ve been told it is very unlikely for a knot to be seen on an ultrasound, but they will look for reassurance next time. There was nothing anyone could have done to save our son. Our lives since Michael’s death have been hard. My husband and I have grown closer while grieving together. A piece of me died with Michael that day and I will never be the same.
We decided to wait 6 months after Michael’s death before we started trying again. We conceived for the second time that first month. Once again I was excited to see that second line, but, we no longer have the innocence of assuming that everything is going to be okay. We had an early ultrasound at what we thought was 6 weeks. The tech said that there was a sac that was only measuring 5 weeks. We rescheduled another ultrasound a week later. At that ultrasound we saw a fetal pole and a heartbeat. I started to breathe a little easier at that point. The next month I had a routine appointment until my Dr. couldn’t hear the heartbeat with the doppler. She said I was only 11 weeks and sometimes it’s a little too early to hear. She wrote me for another ultrasound just to make sure everything was okay. Well, it wasn’t. As soon as I saw the image come up on the ultrasound I thought that the baby should look bigger and then I noticed it wasn’t moving. The technician took a few measurements, turned off the machine and said, once again, there was no heartbeat. My doctor came in and said the baby had stopped growing about 2 weeks prior. She gave us a choice to let nature take its course or I could have a D&C procedure. Once again I couldn’t stand carrying around a dead baby so we opted for the D&C. I actually had more pain and cramping after the D&C than I did after Michaels birth. We had labwork done on the baby and a few weeks later found out that she was a healthy baby girl. We decided to name her Hope so that if anyone wanted to talk about her she would never be referred to as an ‘it.’ Hope is the perfect name for our second baby because that is what she gave us, if only for a little while.
Grieving for Hope has been a lot different than when Michael died. We hadn’t gotten to know her yet. I think it’s only natural after a loss, but, I don’t feel like I bonded with her. I was holding back to protect myself just in case it didn’t work out. This has also brought me back a step in grieving for Michael. If Michael had lived we wouldn’t have had Hope, and in turn we wouldn’t have lost her either.
Grieving a child is a process that you can’t put into words. Only other parents who have lost children can know what it’s like. I will think about and miss Michael and Hope every day for the rest of my life. I am still a mother, mother to angels.
It has been two months since Hope’s passing and we are starting to try again. It’s scary and exciting. We decided not to wait this time. We have waited a long time already to have children and I just know that someday, hopefully soon, we will be parents to a living child.
You can contact Rachel at Rachel.email@example.com