Mom to Eli Fred Lyman

Born Asleep September 20th, 2011

Payson, Utah

Our sweet baby boy passed away at 34 weeks gestation and was born asleep on Tuesday, September 20th, 2011.

Let me prefix this by telling you that from the beginning of this pregnancy, I knew he would be born early. I didn’t imagine it would be anything like this, but I knew. I was absolutely sure of it. Call it premonition or wishful thinking; call it what you want, but I knew.  I didn’t tell many people because the initial reactions I got were that of either ridicule or doubt. Not that people were rude, but they probably were thinking I was nuts so I stopped insisting. I simply figured I’d have him around 37/38 weeks and not have to be miserable the last couple. 

 I wish.

 I had my 34 week doctor appointment the previous Thursday, September 15th. Everything looked normal – I was ecstatic because I hadn’t gained any weight over Labor Day, and I heard his precious little heartbeat loud and clear. My doctor mentioned that they would plan on inducing me at 39 weeks, on the 19th of October, because my labor was so fast with Aleyah (4 hrs). He didn’t want me to accidentally deliver at home, or on the way to the hospital. I was excited with the thought of meeting him a little before his due date. 

Friday was Deco’s 29th birthday. My mom came up from Hurricane for a day visit. That day I didn’t see much of Deco because he left right after work to help a friend with their computer and I was busy making his birthday cake. It was a full day and that evening it crossed my mind that I hadn’t really felt our baby move. I pushed it aside thinking I was just too busy to notice. No worry.

Saturday was just as busy; that morning I went to a baby shower for my friend Stacy up in Bountiful and didn’t get home until late that afternoon because I stopped to see Dacya on the way. That evening, BYU got smashed by U of U and we didn’t get to bed until around 11pm. Again, the thought crossed my mind that I hadn’t felt him move. I pushed it aside because I had been so busy I probably just hadn’t noticed. 

Sunday evening, Noelle took our family pictures. I spent the afternoon making dessert for the dinner we had at Noelle’s before pictures, and we didn’t get home until after 8pm. Late that night, I decided to lay down and make our baby move because I still hadn’t noticed any movement. I couldn’t get him to respond and started to feel anxious. I decided to go to bed and try again in the morning. I was sure I was just paranoid, because Aleyah stopped moving at 30 weeks and she had simply gotten herself a little stuck turning from breech to head down. The doctor got her unstuck, and told me that she would have probably wiggled her own way out of it. I figured it was probably a similar situation.

That night was filled with strange dreams going back and forth between him being born still, and my doctor telling me he was just fine – that I was being paranoid. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep. When Deco got ready to leave for work in the early hours of the morning, I told him I was worried that I couldn’t get our baby to move so I would be headed to the doctor later.

I wish I had made him stay home.

Around 8:30 am, after trying to get him to move unsuccessfully I called my mom.  Because she’s a nurse, I always call her with every little concern or question I have – especially when I’m pregnant. Usually I feel foolish for bothering her, but as soon as she said hello I started crying and couldn’t talk for a min. When I calmed down, I explained that I couldn’t remember when I felt him move last because I’d been busy but that I hadn’t been able to get him to respond when I tried. She reassured me that everything would probably be just fine, but that I needed to go to the hospital right away just in case. I told her I’d call them so they were expecting me, but she insisted I go straight there instead.

When Aleyah and I arrived at the Payson hospital, I got checked in and headed up to Labor and Delivery. When they asked me when I last felt him move, I could tell they were frustrated that I didn’t know. I told them I’d had my appointment on Thursday and everything had checked out so they visibly relaxed.

As I lay in the hospital bed waiting for the nurse, different scenarios ran through my head. Then she tried to find his heartbeat. Time started to slow down the longer it took her and after less than two agonizing, eternal minutes, I knew.  My baby was dead.

One nurse turned into two, and then four.  The minutes passed by and after 15 min, they called in the ultrasound technician.  I called Deco. He called my mom. None of the nurses dared voice what I already knew. When the technician arrived, she immediately began looking for his heart. I could see when she found it, and I could see it wasn’t moving. She shook her head then caught herself and glanced and me. I looked away. She continued scanning as she told the nurse to call the on-call doctor. When he arrived they kept saying back and forth to each other,  ‘Do you see what I see?” “Are you looking at what I’m looking at?” I wanted to demand that they cut the crap and start telling me why, but I knew if I opened my mouth I wouldn’t be able to control my despair. The nurse put Aleyah next to me on the bed and I put my arm around her. I can’t imagine not having her there with me. It was bad enough that Deco wasn’t able to be there, and I don’t know how I would have been able to stay in control if I had been alone. Aleyah could see the tears leaking out of the corners of my eyes. She leaned over me to see my belly and said concerned, “Are you having a ‘traction mom?” I couldn’t help but smile.

The doctor finally turned to me and said, “ I’m sorry I don’t have better news, but your baby didn’t make it.”

I lost control and started sobbing hard. I already knew, but hearing the words twisted my heart. I asked him if knew why and he told me he wasn’t sure, but he thought he could see something wrong with the abdomen that should have been caught at my 20 week ultrasound. I asked him if it would have made a difference if it had, and he said that if it was what he thought that it wouldn’t have – it would simply have been a waiting game. 

I called Deco and told him our baby didn’t make it.

When I hung up, I realized that probably wasn’t the best idea because he was driving from work clear up in Murray.  I couldn’t stop worrying that he would drive safe until he walked into my hospital room. My brother took Aleyah home while we waited there for the doctor to tell us what would happen next.  It was determined that we could deliver whenever we decided, so we headed home. Out in the hospital parking lot I realized we still didn’t have a name for our little boy and felt a little panicked. When we got home I called the American Fork hospital where we planned to have him, and they said we could deliver that day. I found out my doctor (Dr Parker) could deliver him if we waited until the next day; I really love my doctor, so we decided to schedule it for the following morning at 7am. My mom arrived later that morning and Deco’s parents arrived that evening. After Aleyah went to bed, Deco and I stayed up late to figure out what our little boys name was. After discussing the few that we liked we felt strongly that we knew what his name should be.

Eli Fred Lyman.

Deco brought up the name before we were even expecting and we both really liked it. In the beginning, we had kind of decided that would be his name. For personal reasons I became unwilling to name him that, and we searched for a different name. Since my reasons for not wanting to name him that were no longer valid, we began discussing it again, and I realized I still really wanted to name him Eli. We settled on Fred as a middle name in honor of Deco’s grandpa Fred, and because Deco’s middle name is Fred as well.

 We found out a few days later that Eli means ‘Ascended to Heaven’. That night neither of us got much sleep.

6 am came slowly. Aleyah woke up as we were getting ready, but I gave her a sippy of milk and put her back to bed. She fell asleep quickly and we were able to leave without too much hassle. The 40-minute drive to the hospital was very difficult. I felt bipolar – I’d be calm one second and bawling the next. When we arrived at the hospital they showed me to my room and had me change into a gown. It felt strange when they hooked me up to monitor my contractions, but not my baby’s heartbeat. I desperately wanted them to check just one more time, but I knew it was pointless. Dr Parker came in to check me and found that I was 2+ dilated and 70% effaced. It took them two hours to finally start my pitocin.

My labor officially started at 9 am. My mom, Deco’s parents and our friend Dacya were there to support us. Dr Parker tried to break my water but it wouldn’t give, so he decided to come back when my contractions got stronger. They started me out with a low dose of pitocin but increased it quickly. Every half hour or so, the nurse would come see how I was doing. She commented several times that I was registering pretty strong contractions, but until around 11 am they weren’t even as painful as the Braxton Hicks I had been having for the past 2 months. The anesthesiologist gave me an epidural a little after that, and then we just waited.  The hospital social worker came and helped Deco’s parents get everything we needed arranged so that we could take little Eli to Blanding and laid to rest next to Deco’s grandpa Fred. I don’t know what we would have done without them.

Deco’s dad left to walk the hospital and Dacya had to go home. Deco, his mom and my mom were in the room. 

Around 1:30 pm my epidural started to wear off just enough that I could feel the tightness when I would get a contraction, but not enough that there was any pain.  My contractions were about 2 minutes apart. Just before 2 pm I began to feel some pressure. It wasn’t enough that I felt the urge to push, but something was definitely going on. I became really shaky and was unable to fight off a serious bout of nausea. The nurse checked me and I was only at a 5+, so she left saying she’d come check me again in another hour or so. I pushed the button to receive a little more epidural and after a few more contractions with some moderate pressure, I suddenly felt an immense amount of pressure. I panicked. I felt like Eli was just going to fall out of me. I tried to stay calm and told my mom to tell the nurse to come check me. The next contraction brought an even stronger amount of pressure, pain and the very strong urge to push.  The nurse still hadn’t come, and I demanded that they tell her to get here right away. I felt like I was losing control; reality was crashing down around me. I knew my baby had passed away but once I delivered him it would really be over. I wouldn’t be pregnant anymore and I wouldn’t get to bring my baby home. I wanted to leave. To be anywhere but in that room. The nurse arrived right as the next contraction started. She checked me and was shocked to find that I was complete and ready to deliver only 5 min after her last check. She called for Dr Parker to come immediately.

Eli Fred Lyman was born asleep at 2:10 pm. He weighed 3 lbs 13 oz; exactly 3 lbs less than his sister at birth. We never got his length.

When he was delivered, the cord was wrapped around his neck.  Dr Parker laid him on my chest, and I didn’t have the courage to look at him right away because it would make everything too real. When I looked down, I saw a perfect little boy. He was so fragile.  My little Eli. Tiny, white hands with skin so wrinkly that it looked like he had gloves on. Such a perfect little button nose. And so much dark hair! His face was swollen and bruised, but he was beautiful.

I held my little boy for a little while, and then passed him to his father. It was so much harder for me to see others hold him than it was holding him myself, because when I could only see a little bundle with a head of dark hair, it was easy to imagine that he was just fine. After everyone had a chance to hold him, I held him again for a little bit and said goodbye. I felt ok letting him go. The nurse asked if it was ok to wash him up, and I declined because I didn’t want his fragile little body more disturbed than it had to be.

After the nurse took Eli, I tried to relax. I couldn’t sleep, so I played on the computer. I found myself saying out loud anything that popped into my head. A lot of times it didn’t have anything to do with anything, but I couldn’t seem to help myself. I had to do something to keep my mind off the seriousness of what just happened. It took a couple hours for my epidural to wear off enough that my legs felt like they might be stable under me, but I was finally able to get up and shower. As I was getting ready, Deco brought in a memory box that one of the hospital workers had put together for us. It contained little Eli’s hand and foot prints, a lock of his dark hair, a tiny diaper, his identifying bracelet (that he never even got to wear), and most importantly; molds of his hands and feet. Not just mold imprints, but actually molds. So perfectly accurate that you can see all the wrinkles, creases and curves his hands and feet have. The exact position they were in when he was born. The lady who put the box together is truly a miracle worker and I will forever be thankful for her expertise and willingness to share her talent with us.

After I showered and was finally dressed in my own clothes again, Deco came in to ask if I wanted to hold Eli one more time before his parents left to take Eli’s body to Blanding. I almost said no because I had already said my goodbye to him, but after the thought passed I realized I wanted my baby in my arms one last time.

Letting him go again was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  Harder than letting him go the first time. When I first held Eli after he was born he was so limp and fragile I felt like I was going to break him. The trauma of his birth made his passing very real to me, so even though I grieved, I knew my baby was gone from his body. When he was brought back to me the second time, he seemed so much more alive. The same worker who had created the memory box for us had tenderly washed his little body clean and wrapped him in a soft afghan. The cold from the cooler meant to keep his body preserved had given some firmness to him and the soap she had used to washed him gave him the typical new baby smell. As I cuddled my sweet boy and rocked him, all I had to do was close my eyes and he was there. He was alive and new, and he was mine to keep. I could see in my mind Aleyah, when she hugged and kissed my swollen belly, saying, “Oh I love your baby!” I could see her when she leaned forward saying, “I need to talk with my baby brother with your belly button” and she proceeded to talk to my belly button, saying, “I love you baby brother and I’m out here with my mama!” She was so excited to be a big sister! I remembered her saying she would hug him ‘so tightly’ and it pulled at my heart to know she never would. She constantly talked about helping give him a bath, wrap him in his blankets and change his diaper. “Eww, dross!” she would always add. I cried as I remembered her telling me stories about how he would be so sad, so she would hold him and say ‘It’s ok baby. We love you and you will be so safe and so safe!”

I didn’t feel as if I could ever let my baby go, but somehow I did. I couldn’t watch as they prepared him for the ride home. When Deco’s parents left, I went to the window in my room and looked out. The warmth of the evening sun somehow lessened the despair I was feeling and I could see the hospital entrance. I watched as they carried my sweet Eli out to their car, and cried. I felt at peace by who he was with; both on a temporal and a spiritual level. As I watched the car drive away, I could imagine my baby going home where I knew he was safe.

We held a private viewing for Eli just before the graveside, where I was able to prepare my baby for his beautiful, tiny casket. I swaddled Eli for the first and last time and laid him inside.

The graveside was short and sweet, just how I wanted it to be. My mom said the opening prayer and my sister-in-laws sang a medley of ‘I believe in Christ’ and ‘I am a Child of God’. Deco’s mom said a few comforting words, Bishop Lyman gave a few remarks and the congregation sang ‘Families will be together forever’, a cappella.  I love the harmony of voices together, alone in song. It makes me feel close to God.

Deco’s dad dedicated the grave.

Eli Fred Lyman was laid to rest on my 24th birthday, September 22nd, 2011. 


The official cause of death is “unknown”. I have my strong suspicion as to what caused it, though I’ll never know for sure because we opted not to do an autopsy. Initially the ultrasound tech thought he could see something wrong with Eli’s abdomen wall. After Eli was born and the cord was around his neck there was that possibility as well, although most pregnancies with a cord abnormality turn out just fine – ask Deco’s sister Noelle. I also had a small bleed in my placenta. When my doctor reviewed the ultrasound and compared it to my 20 week, it was determined that what the ultrasound tech from Payson hospital thought was something wrong with the abdomenal wall, was in fact not the case. Eli was perfect. My doctor mentioned that his heart was inflamed and there was fluid in areas there shouldn’t have been but couldn’t find a reason for that. 

When I was about 26 weeks pregnant, I contracted a virus and both Aleyah’s pediatrition (a family doc) and my OB believed strongly that it was 5ths disease; one of the most common causes of stillbirths, if not caught. I was tested but didn’t recieve the results for several weeks. When I finally did, I was told that the test came back with antibodies present, but not high enough to be considered positive so nothing additional needed to be done. I pushed it from my mind. 

The night after we buried Eli, I awoke from a horrible dream that caused me to remember the scare with the virus. I looked up the symptoms in a stillborn if they had contracted 5ths and not been treated, and compared it to the results that my doctor gave me; Inflamed heart. Fluid in the tissues that shouldn’t have been there.  It was a perfect match. Because 5ths causes Fetal Anemia, if that is what Eli had, the small bleed in my placenta would have most certainly compounded that as well.

We’ll never know what caused Eli to leave us after such a short time, but we do have faith that we will meet our little boy again. We know that God is real, and that he cares for us. Life happens. We chose to come to this earth knowing that pain will happen. Our Heavenly Father will help us through if we look to him.  That doesn’t take the pain away, but it does comfort us when it gets hard to bear.

 Kera blogs at

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  1. I lost my son this May and I still cannot fathom the pain from a loss like yours. Sending strength and love. I’m so, so sorry for your loss.

    • Im so sorry for your loss of little Eli. I lost my little zachary 4 years ago this month. I was 33 weeks along. My little girl was 17 months old. Your story is almost identical to mine. Thank you for sharing your story. It really touched me. I just found this website yesterday. Its amazing! Im not alone in losing my baby.

  2. Hi Kera, I could visualize your story so well – Dr. Parker also delivered my angle baby, Luke, in August. I wish we could hold our babies again. I know we will one day, but waiting for that glorious resurrection feels like it will take forever! I’m sure Eli was simply perfect both in body and spirit. Sending my love and prayers to you. Shelley (Payson, UT)

  3. billie jo says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your precious baby. Do you know what your levels were for parvovirus, fifths disease? My daughter was stillborn at 40 weeks and in my medical records it showed that i tested positive for parvovirus. However her autopsy came back with no problems for her.

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