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Putting a face on miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss
It still doesn’t seem possible that this has happened to my family and I…
This was my 7th pregnancy. Not a surprise, a bathed in prayer, highly anticipated baby. Children #1-4 were all wonderful pregnancies, delivering at home. Baby #5 in late winter 2006 ended in miscarriage at week 12. Up until this time, I’d always been impatient with women that felt the need to talk about their miscarriages, especially early ones. The loss of this pregnancy definitely caused me to feel much more sympathetic to miscarriage survivors.
I got pregnant for the sixth time in October of 2006 and had an amazing pregnancy, delivering in July of 2007. This pregnancy, since we thought it was our last, we decided to try a birth center…almost delivering our daughter in the car en route to said birth center! very nerve-wracking. All in all, another wonderful experience, made sweeter by previous miscarriage.
My husband and I prayed about having our 7th pregnancy, asking God to bring JOY into our hectic home. Since our last name begins with a Y, we thought it’d be cool to give this child initials spelling JOY. When we found out it was a boy, we knew Jack was a perfect fit to our children’s name line-up.
The pregnancy was challenging…chalked it up to being 4 years older, tired, and very anxious. And I was…I was worried the whole time, more so than ever. Reading back on my journal now is almost eerie. It’s like I knew, subconsciously, what lay ahead. My blood pressure was good, my appetite wasn’t too horrible, but the heartburn was obnoxious. I kept telling Jack and anyone that would listen that this little guy had better have an amazing head of hair. (he did…it stood straight up and was light brown. I’d never had a child with hair quite like this)
Baby Jack’s heart rate was always amazingly strong, and he moved, hiccuped and wiggled consistently. My little hiding friend who I was eager to meet. The day before delivery (which was 5 days past my June 24th due date), my midwife (we’d decided on a home birth again, found a wonderful midwife) did a 15 minute check on Jack’s heart, moving him to speed it up and he responded very well. I was dilated to 3 cm. When she examined my cervix and felt his head, he moved away from her.
Labor started in the middle of the night and stalled mid morning. I mowed the lawn to encourage labor to pick back up, checking his movements frequently, and he responded well, as he always did.
My kids, husband, sister and I swam all afternoon, timing contractions, which were not painful at all but becoming more consistent. We got out at 4 p.m. to go shower and get ready for midwife to come check me. By 5 p.m., I told David to get on the phone and tell her to hurry up, it was getting more intense, very rapidly. I moved up to the garden tub, which is where I wanted to deliver. Midwife arrived, and so did the urge to push. She told me to go with it. Push.
The cord came out. She yelled for David to call 911, proceeding to tell me that I had to get this baby out. He slithered forth in less than 2 minutes, completely limp and with a true knot in his cord. I remember looking down at him, thinking he’d start moving any moment. He had amazing hair, his daddy’s sweet chin and long feet like his big brother, Levi.
This is where I proceeded to drift above the room….My midwife and her assistant did an excellent job, trying to oxygenate Jack and doing infant chest compressions. Local volunteer firefighters arrived but didn’t know infant resuscitation so midwife’s assistant resumed doing them…once ambulance arrived, they handed sweet Jack over and my husband went with them to the local hospital. He was pronounced dead at 6:41 p.m. It still doesn’t seem real…like this sad story has happened to someone close to me.
The initials JOY meant more than we could have ever imagined! Even though we grieve him immensely, we know he was born straight into Jesus’ arms. Yes, I want him here more than you can even imagine…the stories we hear from people that we don’t even know, who
have been touched by our sweet boy’s life bring comfort. His life was not in vain.
Katie Couric said it best…grief is like a wave. You can be going along, busy, distracted, happy even and then it hits me, and I sob. I’ve wailed and sobbed like I never have. It comes from down low in my gut.