Mom to Thomas Noah Keppler
Stillborn at 36 Weeks on April 12th, 2011
St. Louis, Missouri
My husband and I were married in December 2008, after dating for over 5 years. We had planned on waiting awhile to start a family – since I was only 22 and he was only 24. However, in August of 2010, we found out I was pregnant. We were surprised, but so excited – this baby was going to be the first grandchild for both sides of our family.
We began to adjust to thought of our own little baby; one that was going to look just like us! At 12 weeks, I had subchorionic hemorrhage after working a 12 hour shift (I am a registered nurse in the ICU). Right away, I just knew I had miscarried. We were terrified. Thankfully, everything turned out to be OK. I had ultrasounds every 3 weeks to monitor the bleeding, and by December 2010 the bleeding was gone! We also found out a week before Christmas, that we were expecting a BOY!!! We had always wanted a little boy first, and he was going to be named Thomas, after his Daddy. The name Noah came from a character from our favorite movie, “The Notebook”.
As 2011 began, we were on top of the world. In March, we had 2 baby showers and completed his nursery – nautical ships:) On April 11, we went in for a scheduled doctor appointment. I was 36 weeks gestation that day. Only 4 weeks to go until our due date! I mentioned to my OB, that I wasn’t feeling him move as much as I had before. So she recommended a nonstress test, just to make sure everything looked OK.
My husband and I proceeded over to the Labor and Delivery unit, and got settled into a room to wait for the test to begin. As the nurses started to hook me up to the equipment, they had a hard time locating his heartbeat. After 3 nurses had tried, they brought a doctor in to do an ultrasound, “just to make sure everything was fine.” When the doctor found his heart on the screen, I knew as a nurse, something was wrong. He looked for a minute, which seemed like forever. He then turned to us and said, “I am sorry, but I don’t see a heartbeat here.”
We could not believe the words that had come out of his mouth. My OB was called and she rushed over. After taking a second look, she confirmed the news that our little boy had died. We were devastated. It felt like a bad dream, like a nightmare I just had to wake up from.
My husband immediately called our families. How could this happen? We were almost to our due date. I began throwing up. I couldn’t stomach the emotional pain. I begged for a c-section. I couldn’t bear pushing, knowing that we would not hear our son cry. My OB warned me not to, as I would always have a scar on my body to remind me of this horrible day. We were then admitted to a new room, and the reality sunk in. I was induced that evening at 10pm. I labored through the entire night, and finally received my epidural at 5am.
And after that terrible night of hell, I delivered our son at 12:20pm the next day, on April 12, 2011. He was perfect. So beautiful, so peaceful. He had my cheeks, lips, and nose. He had my husband’s eyes, forehead, and toes. He was the perfect combination of us, of our love. I used to think, if God was going to take him from us, why wait so long? Why so close to the end? Why not at 12 weeks, when we thought we miscarried? But I now think, God wanted us to meet our angel. He wanted us to know that we had a son, what he looked like, what he felt like. And I wouldn’t trade those 36 weeks for anything! I am so grateful for the time I carried him.
We still don’t have an answer as to what happened to Thomas. We know the cord was loosely wrapped around his neck, but my OB is not convinced that was the cause. But regardless, we know that he is in a better place now, than all of us are here. And we also know, that it wasn’t goodbye. We will be with him again one day.
We are now beginning to try for our rainbow baby. We know we will never replace our sweet Thomas, but our arms and hearts are empty…
Ashley blogs at www.angelthomasnoah.blogspot.