Mom to Oliver John

Born an angel February 2, 2012

Washington, DC area

The first time I thought about motherhood, I was 8 or 9 years old. Since then, I have always wanted to have a family.

Andy and I got married in 2008 and had the perfect wedding we planned for. We were both attending graduate school and got into our universities of choice. We soon were homeowners in a charming town that was filled with young families. Every corner you looked, there was a dog towed by a new mom, pushing little bundles of joy in the newest strollers on the market. I couldn’t wait for this to be a part of my life.

As springtime hit, I was secretly reading “What to Expect BEFORE You Are Expecting”. I was going to do this the right way, the best way I could. I was tracking my cycles on my iPhone app and before we knew it, we were pregnant!

I was so excited, but kept it quiet until we were out of the first trimester. Once we made it past that 12 week mark, I thought this was a sure thing. I had bought Luna (our rescue chiweenie) a shirt that said “I am gonna be a big sister”, took pictures of her and posted them on my very own pregnancy blog. I was so sure that this was happening. What was I thinking?

My pregnancy was typical for a healthy and young woman and I didn’t second guess my body for a minute. I was very conscious of what I consumed; no canned goods, organic food, natural soaps and paraben-free make-up. I had very little morning sickness at the start, a fantastic second trimester, and lots of energy! At our 20 week ultrasound we were so excited to find out that we were going to have a baby boy. I mailed pictures to all the grandparents and hung ours on the fridge. Little did I know that was the last time we would see our baby alive.

I downloaded every iPad app on pregnancy and parenting knowing I had all the tools for this journey. I eagerly answered every question asked during our Bradley birthing classes. I researched every item we added to our Amazon registry, making sure we had the best products on the market. The to-do list I created grew, and Andy and I kept on top of checking every item off.  My inspiration board for the nursery was soon a reality. The room was everything I imagined. I was SO convinced that I was doing everything right and that everything would go according to my plan.

The end of my pregnancy was blurry. The last blog update I have is at 30 weeks and I know that this is when the pregnancy began to get more difficult. Lack of sleep, backaches, huge belly growth and having to pee every minute was taking over my life, but this was “normal” for the third trimester. Despite my symptoms, my next appointment at 33 weeks proved Oliver’s heartbeat was strong and he was growing at an average weight.

The day before my last appointment, I began to notice that Oliver’s kicks were a little more sporadic than “normal” — but he was still kicking. I figured that my belly was so big and he had more room to move. I was too far along, how could anything happen now?  At 35 weeks, on Wednesday, February 1st, I went in for what I didn’t know was my last doctor’s appointment. The nightmare had begun.

The doctors could not detect poor baby Oliver’s heartbeat.  We were immediately admitted into the hospital and they confirmed the silent and still heart. I told them I was about to throw up and entered this state of shock that I remained in for days as Andy wailed in distress. The questions that I never thought about or planned for were asked by doctors, “You can opt for c-section or vaginal delivery,” “We can start inducing now, or you can go home and think about it…” Go Home?!?! Are they crazy?!?! I had a dead baby in my belly. Get him out!

We began to start the inducing process for a vaginal delivery. Andy had to make the worst phone calls ever while I sat in shock in the hospital bed wondering what I did wrong. Everything during delivery happened in stages. I remember whaling sobbing when my water broke because this marked the end of my pregnancy; the pregnancy with no reward and no bundle of joy. I was strong during the epidural, the contractions, the prepping for pushing, each breath and each push, and the final push because these all had a beginning, middle and ending. I was still determined to complete them the best I could. Once Oliver was delivered, the room fell silent. Completely silent.

Oliver John Doyle was born on February 2nd, 2012. He weighed 5lbs. 5 oz. He was 18 inches long.

The easy part, labor and delivery, was over. I was proud of myself for giving birth to my son. I think I did a great job at delivering a lifeless baby. Our families got to spend time with Oliver while I was recovering. We spent the night with him in the cold “warming” bassinet. Oliver was dead and I was numb. Completely numb, and scared. Our gracious, kind nurse asked if we wanted to hold our baby. I was too scared to hold him. I wish I did, but I know it was too much for me to handle. I couldn’t even look at Andy holding him. This was not the way I had planned it would go. We spent the night with Oliver, like the nurse had suggested and I thank her for that. Those nurses knew all the right things to say and I appreciate what they do every day.

We left the hospital with a box of mementos and booklets about grieving, instead of a baby.

The nightmare only intensified.

The overwhelming depression set in and the grieving process began. Unlike labor, it doesn’t have a clear middle and ending. The first 30 days were so hard and I am so glad I am past that. My dreams were shattered. I thought the worst thoughts and felt so many horrible feelings so deeply. Every bone in my body was in pain. I was depressed to my core and in a deep tunnel of darkness.

At 60 days things were still difficult. I saw a tiny yellow light at the end of this long tunnel but I wasn’t sure how to get there. I was going through the motions of my life, but I wasn’t living. I was alone, depressed, angry and cried every single day. My emotions were all over the place and I began to get stuck in a negative thought pattern.

Andy and I needed to clear our thoughts and get away, so we planned a trip to Arizona. It wasn’t until that trip, two months after Oliver was born an angel, that I was able I truly accept what happened. I began to feel better and slowly climb out of this deep depression. I didn’t know the deep pain in my heart was really the love I have for Oliver. To truly accept and move forward I had to speak out loud that …I am a mother…Our first baby was born an angel…I love and miss my baby Oliver…

It will be 90 days tomorrow. I continue to learn lessons from our baby Oliver and feel lucky to have an angel looking over us. I never knew how much energy it continues to take to stay positive. Since I am naturally a positive person, this depression is hard for me. Yoga, meditation, writing, talking, exercising and sending love to Oliver are some of the things helping me heal. A glass of wine has been nice too. I can see the storm clearing.  While it is too early to appreciate the rain that this experience brought, I can envision the rainbow that will come and feel the strength that Oliver has given us.

Lauren blogs at

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  1. Kristen says:

    I am so sorry. I know he was beautiful.

  2. Lauren, I can’t tell you how sorry I am about the loss of your sweet Oliver. There is a new normal, a life with smiles and laughter ahead, but it takes time to get there. It’s a roller coaster, not a road straight up, where one grows stronger and stronger and makes it through the different stages of the grief process never to fall back down into the abyss again. That has been my experience at least. Take the time you need to grieve and, know that what ever you’re feeling is right for you. I have a list of baby loss communities and support networks here if you’re interested. It’s not complete but I’m updating as I go along and find more places. You may find something there that could be of help to you. Take good care of yourself. I’ll be thinking of you.

  3. Lauren, I’m sorry to hear you have undergone the worst possible tragedy we as Mothers can face! I know the depression & pain you speak of & although it is a slow painful process, if you continue to allow yourself to feel all of it, there will be a time that you will learn how to still be grateful for his life despite the fact that he did not get to stay with you…where we all want them to stay! I lost my son last July at 39 weeks-the shock of my life! I too had a perfectly healthy pregnancy ending with a still heartbeat out of nowhere. As his 1 year approaches next weekend I am feeling a lot of the raw emotions again, but as the months have passed I have found ways to adjust to this new way of having him as part of my family. Just keep doing those things that you’ve mentioned-praying, honoring his memory, allowing yourself to grieve & you will find the grace to keep moving. Much love & prayers to you.


  4. I also had this kind of experience… My baby Quiyane was born August 22, 2012 and im still in process of emotion, feel empty and full of longing. He is also my first born. Thank you for sharing this blog. God bless.

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