Mom to Oliver James

June 14th, 2011

Poulsbo, WA

My husband and I found out we were expecting our fourth baby in the beginning of December 2010. We were so excited! I couldn’t wait to tell the kids.

When I was 5 weeks pregnant I was out walking with the kids when I felt a weird feeling in my lower stomach. A few hours later I started bleeding and I thought I was having a miscarriage. After a few hours the bleeding stopped but I had mild cramping for a few days. I went in to have an ultrasound and they told me the baby was fine but that I had a subchorionic hemorrhage. The nurse didn’t give me much hope. She told me to rest and take it as easy as I could. This happened on December 21st. I was so scared I was going to lose my baby.

Luckily my husband was home for 10 days after Christmas so I could rest as much as possible. I had really bad morning sickness this time, a lot worse than with my boys. I was really sick with my daughter and this was close to it. I remember laying on the couch a lot, watching movies and reading books. I tried so hard to rest even though it was hard.

The weeks went by and around 12 weeks I saw my OB who told me that I could start living life like normal and exercise if I wanted to. At this time I had only told the immediate family that I was pregnant. I was planning on telling the rest of everyone I knew after the 20 week ultrasound. My morning sickness started to get better around 15 weeks. We were counting down the days before we would have our 20 week ultrasound. In the beginning of the pregnancy…I always kind of had some sort of doom and gloom feeling because of our scare at 5 weeks. I also felt like, “This is my fourth child and I have three healthy ones…maybe something will go wrong this time.” I was worried about everything…something just didn’t feel right. I remember the morning before the ultrasound I was talking to one of my friends and I was telling her how nervous I was for the ultrasound….I just wanted to see that the baby was healthy. Another thing that made me nervous with this baby was how much later I started to feel the baby move compared to my other ones. Things just felt wrong.

I was so nervous on our way to the ultrasound. My husband and my youngest son came with me. The technician started the ultrasound and I was so happy I was going to see the baby. In the beginning, she told us what she saw, but after a while she got very quiet. She kept looking at the heart at different angles over and over again. After a while I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I asked her, “Does that heart look normal?” She told me that she was not allowed to say anything but she was going to ask the radiologist to come in. At this point I knew something was very wrong. My heart just sunk. I looked over at Eric and said something like, “What’s going on?” I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I felt like my heart was going to stop. I felt so empty. This was supposed to be a fun thing, and now it felt like a nightmare. After a while they came back, with serious faces. They told me that there was very little amniotic fluid, and that they couldn’t see the kidneys or the bladder. They told me that they wanted me to get a level II ultrasound at the University of WA as soon as possible. I felt totally numb. Something was wrong with our precious baby. This was on Thursday March 31st. We didn’t get an appointment until the following Monday.

That weekend passed in a blur…I felt sick, weak and I cried a lot. I just wanted to go into my bedroom, close the door and never come out again. I cried on people’s shoulders and felt embarrassed by it…My heart just ached so badly.

The following Monday we went to our appointment, had another ultrasound and then met with a doctor. She told us that the baby had a heart defect, no kidneys and there was no amniotic fluid, so the lungs could not develop or mature. This condition is called Potter’s Syndrome.  All these conditions are lethal… She also said that they had seen fluid in the baby’s lungs and that was a sign of heart failure. She told us this was a fluke and most likely this will never happen again and that I had done nothing to cause this. Sometimes things like this just happen.

The doctor was so sweet and talked to us for a long time. She told us what our options were. We could terminate the pregnancy or go on with the pregnancy. She told us that our baby would most likely be stillborn if we continued with the pregnancy. We decided to keep going and let this baby stay with us as long as we got to have him with us.

I went in for heartbeat checks every two weeks and I had another ultrasound at 25 weeks were the technician told me she was 75% sure it was a boy. It was a long and hard road to carry Oliver when I knew I was not going to get to take him home with me. I wanted my baby so badly.

I had Oliver James on June 14th 2011 when I was 31 weeks along. He was 3 lbs 6 oz and 17 inches long. I had a long labor and when it was time to push I was so scared that he had already passed away. I pushed a few times and he came out breech. He started to move and we were so thrilled he was alive! They handed him to me right away. He made three little cute noises and took a few gasps for air. The rest of the time he was laying in my arms as though he was asleep.  The nurses checked his heart beat every 5 minutes or so. My husband gave our son his one and only bath and it was so special. Oliver lived for 72 blissful minutes before he peacefully passed away in my arms.

I am so grateful for the short and precious time we got with our baby.  We love and miss you Oliver.

Beatrice blogs at

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  1. Love your story!! :) Thank you for sharing!! You have a beautiful eternal family!!

  2. Catherine says:

    I so admire your courage. You and your family are absolutely beautiful. Know that I am thinking of you and praying for your comfort and peace.

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