Caroline
Mom to Cale Harrison
June 28th, 2010

Columbus, GA

It’s hard to write this story. All the entries on this site are sad, but it’s important for others to know they are not alone. And while Cale’s story is a story of loss, it’s also a story of love. While the ending is tragic I want people to know Cale’s story and know him as best they can. He was and always will be our first born son. His life, as short as it was, deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated.

I found out I was pregnant on October 27, 2009. It’s amazing how two little lines can change your life. We told only our Family our big news as we wanted to wait and tell friends once I was further along and everything seemed to be going well. On December 10, 2009 I heard Cale’s heartbeat for the first time. Unfortunately my husband was away at training (he is in the military) and couldn’t make it to the appointment, but we were able to come back a few days later so that he could hear it too.  He said it sounded like a helicopter.  Because I was near the end of my first trimester we decided it was safe to share our news with friends and did so by announcing it in the Christmas cards that were sent out that same weekend. The first trimester was very easy and I was fortunate never to have morning sickness.

In January we found out we were having a boy. My husband always said he didn’t have a preference and would be happy either way, but I wanted a boy first and was so thrilled when we found out.  About a month later we had another ultrasound in which we saw that everything was progressing as it should and Cale was healthy and developing into a perfect baby boy.  All my appointments went well ; I never had high blood pressure, all tests done came back negative, he always had a good strong heartbeat and his growth was always right on track. As soon as I hit the halfway point my belly just started growing at a rapid pace! This was around the time Cale was moving more and his daddy and I could feel his kicks and movements much more than before. We ordered all the nursery furniture and started getting his room, and our lives, ready for the new addition.

My husband deployed when I was about 25 weeks, but fortunately his unit’s deployments are relatively short. However we knew he’d be sent home a little early from the deployment to make sure he was there in time for the birth. While he was gone I had maternity pictures taken that I sent him for Father’s Day and I also got a 3D ultrasound done. I’m so glad I did both of these things as they are now part of the memories of our sweet little boy. Cale continued to do well at all appointments and proved to be a very active growing baby.  I would send my husband videos that I would take of my stomach when Cale was moving as I wanted him to get to experience as much of the pregnancy as he could. I sent him pictures once the nursery was complete and would always stand to the side during our webcam chats so he could see the growing belly.

On Thursday June 24, 2010 I had a routine check-up and everything was just fine. I was just over 38 weeks and was even starting to show signs that my body was preparing for labor which had me worried that I would progress quickly and my husband wouldn’t be back in time for the birth. But he came home that weekend. I picked him up in the early morning hours on Sunday June 27th and we finally got home a little after 3am. On the way home I was having very slight discomforts and light contractions and we joked that we’d have to go straight to the hospital before my husband even got to go home, but none of the pains were very strong or consistent. We both got to see and feel Cale move a lot that next morning and I’m so thankful that he was so active for his daddy. When we went on a walk that night I commented that I hadn’t felt Cale move as much, but I was starting to have a little more regular contractions although they still weren’t very painful.

The next morning I went in to work, but because I still hadn’t felt much movement and my contractions were starting to present themselves a little more often I decided I’d go to the hospital and get checked out.  I sent my husband a text and let him know and told him it was probably nothing and not to worry. Fortunately for me he is a wonderful man and he met me at the hospital anyway. I was being hooked up to the monitors as he walked into the room and the nurse was having a hard time finding Cale’s heartbeat. It never took long to find so I was worried and knew something must be wrong. For a brief second she thought she found it and I immediately started crying, but then she couldn’t find it again. Another nurse and a midwife came in and they too couldn’t find it.   They then sent for a doctor and an ultrasound machine. When the doctor came in I couldn’t even look at the ultrasound. Not only were there too many tears in my eyes, but I think I knew what he was going to say and I was too scared to see it for myself. He turned to me and said, “I’m so sorry Caroline, but the baby has passed.”

I’ll never forget those words. I’ll never forget how my husband wrapped me in his arms as I cried harder than I ever have before. I was only nine days from my due date.

We decided to induce labor right away and later that night on June 28, 2010, I gave birth to our beautiful son. He was 7 pounds even, 20 inches long and looked just like his daddy. He had dark brown wavy hair and the cutest little nose.  It wasn’t until he was born that we learned that the umbilical cord, which was around his neck, had gotten too tight (or compressed) that it cut off his blood flow. My guess is this happened after my contractions began once I went into early labor. We had some time with Cale and both held him, kissed him, and told him we loved him. I wish I held him longer, but forever wouldn’t have been long enough. He was a beautiful baby. I wish I could have shared him with the world. 

We will love and miss Cale for the rest of our lives, but we are thankful for the time we did have with him. We are thankful that he made us parents and thankful that we are able to better understand and appreciate love, friendship, family, and all the things that truly are important in life. We now know the pain that is associated with losing a child, stillbirth in particular, and can better reach out to others who will unfortunately go through the same journey. Cale’s life, as short as it was, has made us better people and he will never be forgotten and we look forward to the day when we get to hold our baby again.

If you are going through this just know you are not alone.  While stillbirth is rare, it’s not as uncommon as people think.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and just know that any emotion you are feeling, be it anger, sadness, fear, or even joy, are totally normal and there’s no need to rush through your grief. Also know that it will come in stages and it will sneak up on you. But you are stronger than you think.

If you know someone who is going through this my biggest advice is to not be afraid to reach out. Don’t let the fear of saying the wrong thing prevent you from saying anything. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I’m sorry,” or “I’m thinking of you” as its words of encouragement and love that will help bring comfort to someone during their darkest days. Don’t pretend that nothing happened and don’t avoid talking about it. Our babies may have been stillborn, but they were still born. 

You can contact Caroline at caroline.hidalgo@yahoo.com
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Comments

  1. So sorry for your loss Caroline. Strangely I found out on June 28, 2010 that I had lost our daughter as well. It was the day I was to be induced. She had a heartbeat just the day before. I gave birth naturally to her at 12:09 am on the 29th.

    Again I am so sorry for your loss.

  2. Anonymous says:

    So sorry for your loss, Caroline. I lost my first baby at 20 weeks in 2009 and not a day goes by without me thinking about her even though I have been blessed with an Earthly baby since who is thriving. I can't even imagine the difficulty of the journey you have been through losing your baby so close to due date.

    Your writing really touched me. As you stated in the beginning, the story is extremely sad but also full of love and positivity. Thanks for sharing with us. Take care!!

  3. So sorry that Cale is not at home in your arms Caroline, my heart goes out to you.

    You've written his story so beautifully and powerfully. Thank you for reminding us all of this important fact…

    "Our babies may have been stillborn, but they were still born."

  4. Anonymous says:

    your last sentence really touched my heart. i am sorry to say that i have many friends that have lost babies and i sometimes feel like i dont know what to say so i just say i am sorry. i too am sorry for your loss

  5. I'm reading this at my desk at work with tears in my eyes. You are such an amazing mother and your words are so inspirational, even to those who have not gone through something like this before, like myself.

    Cale will always have a special place in my heart.

    Love you,
    Anna

  6. Sarah Avila says:

    Caroline – You, Miles, and Cale are such an inspiration to others who have experienced similar loss. I can only imagine how difficult this has been for you when I can't even read the story without crying myself. I am extremely sorry you had to experience something this devastating, but your willingness to share your story is unprecedented kindness and maturity. I know you are and will be a wonderful mother in the future. Stay strong…I'll be praying for you and Miles.

    God bless,
    Sarah Avila

  7. Your strength and courage in the face of adversity touches everyone whose path crosses yours. You and Miles are not alone in this journey; your friends and family grieve beside you and wish there was a way to soften the pain. They also morn for what could have been.

    May God hold you in the palm of His hands,
    Cale's Grandparents

  8. Barb and Larry says:

    We think of you so often, and marvel at the strength of the little girl we knew growing up. I'm so glad you and Miles have each other to hold, because you both have truly found a love that can withstand the darkest hours. I hope that your time with Cale will sustain both you and Miles as he settles into a very special place in your hearts.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Caroline, I am so very sorry for the loss of your precious firstborn son. Your love for him shines through with every word. Our stories are similar – my daughter was stillborn on June 5th, and she also died of a cord accident. I was 36 weeks at the time, so our due dates must have been very close (mine was July 5th). It sounds like you have a great support system, and I wish you continued peace and healing.
    – M

  10. Anonymous says:

    You wrote your story so beautifully. You were thinking of others even as your wrote it. I am touched. And I am sorry for your loss. Hugs.

  11. Thank you for sharing your story and for the words of encouragement. I lost my baby at 35 weeks 2 weeks ago.

Trackbacks

  1. […] a child, please take the time to check her blog and read all of Cale’s story by clicking here. Also check her blog to see posts of Finley and just their life in general by clicking […]

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