Kerry
Mom to Evan Tyler
September 12th, 2010
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

I was almost 36 weeks pregnant and had started my maternity leave a bit early to get the house ready for baby #2.  I had noticed a bit of lightening and a decrease in movement for a couple of days, but that’s normal in the final months of pregnancy because the baby has less space to move, and I still felt the baby rolling and turning and at times it felt like he was stretching out in there so I just brushed it off as being normal. The Friday before he was born I went to Toys R Us to buy him an infant rocker and I remember while I was sitting on the floor at home putting it together that it seemed a bit easier to move around, I just figured it was the lightening you hear about as the baby begins to drop…

A couple of weeks earlier I had been treated for a bladder infection and had a followup appointment with Dr. Blunt. She was filling in for Dr. Ghazarian while he was on vacation. She told me that the baby was lying sideways and that if he didn’t turn I could expect a C-Section. I did a bit of research and found a way to guess at the baby’s position called “Belly Mapping” based on where bumps and kicks were felt and where the heartbeat is found, and had been keeping tabs on these things every week or so trying to figure out if he had turned. The day before Evan was born, Jon was helping a friend fix his roof, and Lauren and I went about our typical day with her going down for a nap at 1:00. I felt pretty tired and decided to lay down too. At about 3:00 I woke up and was lying there wondering if he had turned and decided to use my home fetal doppler to locate the heartbeat so I could try to make a “belly map”. The doppler that I have is pretty good, I could hear his heartbeat at 12 weeks, but you have to position it correctly over the area where the baby’s heart is so it usually takes a minute or so to find the right spot. I remembered the nurse at my OB’s office saying that sometimes mom’s get freaked out because they can’t find their baby’s heartbeat using a home doppler because they’re just not the best quality. I couldn’t find a heartbeat, so I figured that maybe he was just in the wrong position, so I drank some juice to perk him up and get him to move around a bit, and I called the hospital just to be on the safe side. I remember saying to the nurse who took my call that it was probably nothing, it was probably just something wrong with my doppler, but, you know, it’s better safe than sorry. She told me to lay very still for about 30 minutes and if I didn’t feel anything or was still worried to come up to the hospital for fetal monitoring.

After another 20 minutes or so of laying still and trying to locate his heartbeat and finding nothing, I knew. I could feel the realization start to come over me but I wouldn’t allow it to take root. I couldn’t. This couldn’t possibly be real. That was ludicrous. It couldn’t really be happening. I gave up on the doppler and just lay perfectly still and waited for him to move. He would. Of course he would, he always did. Sometimes I would have to nudge and prod a little bit, but he always gave a little shove back…but then I couldn’t remember the last time I had given him a nudge and waited for his response. I nudged and prodded, but nothing happened. I pushed on the side of my belly and I could feel him move in there, but it was different this time, he wasn’t pushing back, he was just being pushed. I remember at one point I started to cry out, but I stifled it because this couldn’t be real. I still would not allow myself to accept this as reality. Jon came home at around 4:00 and found me silently lying there on the bed. He knew right away that something was wrong and then it all came spilling out of me. I started crying and trying to tell him that I couldn’t find a heartbeat and the baby wouldn’t move and the nurse said to come to the hospital but it’s all okay it’s normal the doppler just isn’t a good one everything will be fine I’m just being silly and they’ll find the heartbeat at the hospital so don’t worry okay it will be fine…

It was very quiet in the car on the way to the hospital. I turned to Jon and said, “No matter what. No matter what happens, good or bad, don’t forget that God won’t give us more than we can bear. And the Bible says that He knows the plans He has for us. Plans for hope and a future. And plans not to harm us. Don’t ever forget that, okay?”

Even then I was so sure that everything would be fine.

At the hospital a nurse took us to the Triage room and got the monitors all ready to hook me up. Even the nurse didn’t seem to believe that anything could be wrong. Once she put the doppler on my belly and moved it around for about a minute she found a heartbeat, but she looked me in the eye and we both knew…there was only one heartbeat, and it was mine. “I’m so sorry.” she said, “This is the worst news.” I looked over at Jon and he just sat there with his hands over his face, his eyes blank with shock and sorrow, tears streaming down his cheeks. And still I couldn’t believe it. It felt like a nightmare. Like I wasn’t really me and this wasn’t really happening, not really. Dr. Rutledge came and confirmed what the nurse had said. She showed us the ultrasound screen where you could see Evan’s heart, not beating, just still. She told us I could be induced Sunday or Monday, or we could wait for me to go into labour naturally, which happens within two weeks of antenatal death. We decided to go home and talk about it before we made a decision.

I couldn’t bear the thought of having this lifeless baby left inside of me, knowing that he would never wake up, knowing that he was already gone. We decided to be induced on Sunday. We told our immediate families, and every one of them came to be by our side. It was so calming for us to have them all there, holding us up, sharing our heartbreak. I was in labour for about 9 hours and they were all there for most of that time. I remember there were a lot of softly spoken words, quiet tears, and looks that spoke a thousand words of heartache.

I remember throughout my labour, praying and crying out to God to please take this cup from me, don’t give me this heartbreak, give me a miracle. Make it so the doctor was wrong. Give me my son’s life. I didn’t know how I could possibly do this. How could I possibly find the strength to give birth to a child I would never bring home? Whose cries I would never hear? Whose smile I would never see? Evan was born at 5:48pm on Sunday September 12. Even then, I waited for the miracle that I truly, completely believed would happen. I waited to hear his cries break the air.

The doctor said that his cord was wrapped around his neck twice, so tightly that it cut off his oxygen and nutrient supply. Although nuchal cord (around the neck) is quite common, it’s very rare for it to cause death, and is highly unlikely to happen to us again.

Each member of our family met Evan that night. They all got to say hello, and goodbye.

The hardest thing I have ever done in my life was not giving birth to a lifeless baby, it was letting him go forever after holding him in my arms or only a few hours.

Mommy loves you Evan. Always.

You can contact Kerry at kerryboot@hotmail.com
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Comments

  1. Francisca says:

    Oh, Kerry, I am so sorry for your loss. Our stories are very similar. I lost my son at 40 weeks. It is a huge heartbreak.
    Sending you peace,
    Francisca

  2. Nicole says:

    Kerry,

    There are tears streaming down my face as I read this. I know that feeling, the knowing something is so wrong, but not allowing yourself to accept it. I even know about going to triage, and finding no heartbeat, and having to wait for the doctor to show you that still ultrasound. We lost our first baby, Caroline, in the 39th week in October 2010. Ours was also due to a nuchal cord (X3).

    My heart aches for you. But I will be praying for you and thinking of you.

    I have a blog: http://babycarolinesfamily.blogspot.com and you can email me at babycarolinesfamily@gmail.com

    Lots of love and prayers,
    Nicole

  3. Dana says:

    I am so sorry. I agree that the hardest part is handing the baby away, never to hold him again.

  4. Stefanie says:

    Kerry,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I know just how you feel, waiting for a miracle to happen. I too, was waiting for my son to start crying and prove the doctors wrong. In fact, I still feel like I am living in a horrible nightmare. I lost my son May 9, 2011 and every day since then feels like a really bad dream. I pray that someday we will hold our babies again in a place that is free of this pain. Please know that you are not alone. Thank you for sharing your story.

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