Jolon Sherin

Mom to Larissa

Stillborn on her due-date, November 15, 2010

Pittston, PA

It was March 11th, 2010 when the word ‘pregnant’ on a Clear Blue digital pregnancy test changed my life forever.  From that moment on, I was a mom.  

I had an uneventful pregnancy and was one of the lucky women who never endured any morning sickness, backache or heartburn.  Sure, I had my swollen fingers and feet, unable to wear my wedding ring and had to succumb to wearing sneakers the majority of my pregnancy as I couldn’t squeeze my feet into any other shoes.  However, to see my belly grow with life inside made it all worth it.
I enjoyed every second of my pregnancy and spent each day marveling at our daughter’s movements inside of me.  I never complained and embraced every change that pregnancy brought with it.  With each month that passed, my husband would snap a photo of my growing mid-section that I would then arrange into a scrapbook which told the story of my forty week journey to motherhood.  Little did I know that my scrapbook of my pregnancy would be one of the few mementos we would have of our beautiful daughter.
I was anxious during the first twelve weeks of my pregnancy and breathed a sigh of relief when we passed the first trimester ‘danger zone.’ I was thrilled that we had made it through without any complications and that the thought of a miscarriage was significantly decreased.  I couldn’t believe how truly blessed we were, having conceived quickly and to not have had a miscarriage.  I did remain a little uneasy at each of my doctor’s appointments when the Doppler was placed on my belly.  However, even those fears subsided once I began to feel the baby move.  Each visit to the OB brought with it the reassuring sound of the ‘whish, whish, whish’ of our baby’s heartbeat, serving as a reminder of the miracle growing inside of me.  I was on cloud nine for forty fabulous weeks.
It was a week before my due date when I had my final appointment with my OB.  Being that I was due just ten days prior to Thanksgiving, he gave me the option of scheduling an induction around my due date.  I chose the actual due date, November 15th as our day of delivery.  My primary OB was scheduled for that day and I was excited to deliver with him.  He explained the induction process to me and told me I would be brought into the hospital the night before to start the process as it typically takes a long time for the labor to progress.  I left that appointment so excited that in just seven short days I was finally going to meet this baby.  I conjured up images of whom our child would resemble.  At this point in time we did not even know if it was a boy or a girl.  Everyone had me convinced it was a boy even though I had three dreams that we were having a girl.  It didn’t matter either way and I was grateful that it wouldn’t be long before we found out.
My last week of pregnancy continued as any mother’s final week of pregnancy typically plays out.  I busied myself with all of the tasks that just had to be finished before our little one’s arrival.  I continued to work up until the Friday before my scheduled induction on Sunday night.  My last day at work flew by as I prepared my desk for the covering staff and made sure everything was ready.  When I arrived home, I was busy cleaning and preparing meals for the days ahead of us at home when we would be too tired to do such tasks.
The next morning when I woke up and was putting on my makeup, it dawned on me that our little one wasn’t kicking and moving as she usually did at that time.  She always moved when I was putting on my makeup as it was one of her active times of day.  I began to get nervous and tried giving my stomach a few good jabs to wake her up.   There was no movement and I began to get really nervous.  I drank a glass of orange juice on my way out to meet my sister.  Even the orange juice didn’t make our little one stir, but I convinced myself it was just because she had run out of room and that everything was okay.  After all, nothing could possibly go wrong at this point, not after forty weeks of preparation and anticipation.  Life could not be that cruel.  I know life is unfair, but certainly one would not lose their child after getting them ready to enter this world for forty weeks.
I was uneasy that entire day, rubbing my belly periodically and each time convincing myself that I had felt some movement.  I was certain I was feeling some activity inside of me and kept reassuring myself that our baby had run out of room and less movement at the end of a pregnancy is common.  I was on edge until we arrived at the hospital the next evening.  However, I still was convinced I was feeling movement.  The possibility that our baby could be stillborn didn’t even cross my mind.  However, I don’t think it is something anyone even considers until they are living the nightmare.
Our big day did not turn out anywhere near as planned.  We were admitted to the hospital on the evening of November 14th.  My husband and I came to the hospital by ourselves and told our families we would call them when my labor was progressing for them to come and meet our new arrival.  Little did we know that our phone call to our parents would be far from celebratory.
When I arrived at the hospital, the nurse instructed me to change into the gown.  I then lay on the bed and she put the monitor on my stomach to listen for the heartbeat.  After several seconds of searching for the heartbeat, I saw the fear in the nurse’s eyes.  She reassured me that the baby was probably just in an awkward position and went to get the doctor to perform an ultrasound.  I knew when that first ultrasound was completed that our baby was no longer with us.  The doctor told us the equipment was old and it was hard to see the baby on it and that they would call the ultrasound tech to complete an ultrasound with the better equipment.
I immediately began to panic and kept repeating to my husband “Our baby is dead.”  Even when saying those words, I couldn’t believe it.  My husband tried to calm me down and told me to relax until there was a reason to worry.  After what felt like an eternity, the ultrasound tech and doctor entered the room to confirm our worst fears.  Although I didn’t look at the screen, my husband’s quivering chin made me realize that our baby was gone.  He, unfortunately, was looking at the screen of her still heart.
I cannot tell you exactly what happened in the moments following that confirmation.  I recall the doctor’s words that our baby had passed.  I kicked and screamed and heard the sobbing of my husband beside me.  I didn’t cry.  I couldn’t produce any tears at that point.  I think it was my body’s way of protecting me from the shock of the experience.  I just shut down and felt that I was having an out of body experience and that I would wake up and realize it was only a nightmare.
My husband relayed the news to our families who were at the hospital by our sides shortly thereafter.  We spent the night crying and holding each other waiting for the morning when my regular doctor would arrive to decide how I would deliver.  I couldn’t believe that it was expected of me to go through labor to deliver a baby who would produce no cry upon her arrival.  I was convinced I would have a C-section, but changed my mind when my doctor arrived in the morning and assured me that inducing labor was in my best interest.  I trusted him and we began the process immediately.  I didn’t want to let go of my daughter but knew I was only putting off the inevitable.
The labor progressed very quickly.  Within three hours I was fully dilated and ready to push.  I felt each of those labor pains, but it didn’t matter.  Nothing mattered without our daughter.  To this day when I hear women complain about childbirth, I think to myself “Imagine giving birth to death.  Then, you would have a reason to complain.”
After our precious daughter’s arrival, a wave of many emotions overcame me.  I was sad, angry, shocked and in complete disbelief.  I sat and stared at the beauty of our daughter, holding her close to me, knowing my time was limited.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that this beautiful baby was not coming home with us.  We spent several hours with her, admiring each of her features.  We wanted to make the most of those few hours with Larissa.  Never did I imagine that we would have to say hello and goodbye in the same day.
I’ll never forget the sight of my husband when he placed our daughter in the bassinet to have her taken away from us forever.  He couldn’t bring himself to do it.  He would place her in the bassinet and pick her up again.  He did this several times before I gently encouraged him to say his final goodbyes and tell the nurse to come get our beautiful daughter.  Saying our final goodbyes when we just said hello was the hardest thing we ever did.  We would have taken her home if given the option. However, I knew that there would never be a right time to let her go and that we had to eventually say goodbye.
We left the hospital the following morning without Larissa.  I am not sure how I found the strength to go on after such a tragic loss.  I was determined in the weeks following Larissa’s death to make her short time here on this earth count.  She provided me with the most fabulous forty weeks of my life.  I am grateful to her for making me a mom and will always honor her as our firstborn.   I don’t regret the time we did have together as I enjoyed every second of my pregnancy.  Larissa was truly loved and there wasn’t a second that went by that she wasn’t appreciated.  For that I am grateful and I want her memory to positively affect each woman who is unfortunately living this nightmare.   I relied on other women’s stories to help me through those first few dark months.   I hope that sharing my story and these resources will help you in the upcoming days, weeks and months.
You can contact her at joruddy80@yahoo.com.
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Comments

  1. jamie lea says:

    Jolon, I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Larissa. My son was stillborn on 9/12/00. My story seems very similar to yours, and your emotions are so familiar. I have said a prayer for you that God would give you his joy and comfort, and that you would hold your daughter again in heaven.

    • Jolon Sherin says:

      Hi Jamie,

      I am so sorry about your loss as well. As you know each and every day continues to be a struggle and I miss Larissa daily. I pray that you too find comfort in your journey and that we both come to some sort of acceptance with our losses. I recently started a blog about our loss at
      http://larissaslove-jolon.blogspot.com if you are interested in visiting it.

  2. Marilyn says:

    Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly…the anger and bitterness is so natural and I always feel guilty for not being happy for other moms. I’m so sorry for the terrible experience you had to go through.

    • Jolon Sherin says:

      I struggle with that anger and bitterness. I hear some of that subsides after the birth of a live, healthy child. I am currently 27 weeks pregnant and I still feel so jealous when a birth and/or pregnancy is announced. I cannot help but think “Why is it so easy for everyone else?” I hope that wherever you are in your journey, you find peace and happiness soon.

  3. Suzanne says:

    Jolon,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you so much for sharing your story. My story, thoughts, and emotions are very similar to what you described. My son, Kenny was born still on November 12, 2011. Today, 12/5, was his estimated due date.

    • Jolon Sherin says:

      I’m so sorry for the loss of your precious son Kenny. In my opinion it is the worst thing a woman can ever endure in life. I hope that you find joy and happiness once again soon. I certainly know that our children that we lost are forever in our hearts and with us daily.

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