Mom to Ethan Corbett
Born and died March 14, 2012
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
I found out I was pregnant on November 7th 2011, I woke up with a strange urge to take a pregnancy test even though I wasn’t expecting my period for another two days, when the test came out positive, I was so happy and spent the rest of the day peeking at the test to make sure there were still two lines. My boyfriend and I were beyond happy, we had our beautiful daughter and now we would be expecting a new addition to our happy little family. My due date was July 16th. The pregnancy was great, no problems other than a little morning sickness and some heartburn. The whole entire pregnancy I thanked God for giving me the gift of another baby, my daughter is so loved by us and so many others, I knew this baby would be just the same. When we told everyone we were expecting again, we received so much love and support everyone was so excited to meet our new baby, he was going to be the first boy in the family! We made it past the “3 month” mark and I took a breath of relief, the time you have to “worry about” had passed and everything was great. We were so happy.
Just like I did with my daughter, I had a dream of this baby’s sex, I knew it was a boy. Everyone else really thought it was going to be a girl including my boyfriend, he was convinced! I couldn’t wait any longer so I booked an appointment for an early gender identification screening, I invited my best friend and all my family…I was right, it was a boy! I had really wanted another girl, but as soon as they said it was a boy it just felt so right. Here we were about to have everything, we had our perfect little girl who was a winter baby, now we are going to have our perfect little boy who was to be a summer baby. I was so happy. One morning I got a call telling me my Dad has passed away unexpectedly, it was a shock and such a loss, I found comfort in the fact my Dad had wanted this baby to be a boy, and the last thing I told him was that it was in fact a boy and he just smiled like he already knew. It’s funny the things people say to you after such a loss, a lot of people said “a part of your Dad will come back in your baby, he will be the new man of the family”, we decided to name our son’s middle name George after my father.
Two weeks later, I had a level 2 ultrasound to ensure our baby was healthy, they ran every single test imaginable and performed the most thorough ultrasound I had ever seen, my baby had such a personality, like he knew we were watching him and was showing off! I loved him so much already. We were assured he was perfect and healthy as can be, again, I breathed a big sigh of relief. As the weeks went on, we began to buy everything our baby needed, the car seat, double stroller, swing, clothes, bottles, he had everything! I remember looking at all of his stuff, remembering I still had 18 more weeks to go and saying, “Ugh, I can’t wait for this pregnancy to be over and just meet my baby!”…the universe can be so cruel. On Monday night I went to bed feeling my baby’s kicks and planning my baby shower in my head until I fell asleep. At 4:30 a.m. I woke up because I had to pee (like always!), as I got out of bed liquid starting streaming out of me, I thought oh my god, I’m peeing myself! I tried to stop it and just couldn’t control it. I went and sat in the bathroom all alone, I called my mom and when I started to tell her what happened my voice started to tremble, I hung up and called Women & Infants hospital, the on call doctor assured me if I wasn’t bleeding or in pain it was probably nothing, I must have a bladder infection or UTI, and I could wait until the morning to come in. I felt fine, and I really believed I was. The next morning I called a friend to pick up my daughter while I went to the emergency room to get checked out, I told my boyfriend to just go to work because I didn’t know how long I’d be there and they would just give me antibiotics and send me home. I didn’t bring anything with me besides my purse and phone, in triage the nurse put the Doppler to my belly to listen for his heartbeat…she was having trouble finding it, my chest tightened and the nurse saw the panic in my eyes just then she said, “Oh! I found it!” She and I both breathed a sigh of relief.
Once in the room, the doctor began to examine me, in my head I was planning what to make for dinner and wishing she would hurry up so I could leave. She got up, snapped off her gloves and left the room without saying a word. I was so confused. She came back with another doctor, they told me they thought I was leaking amniotic fluid, before I had a chance to say anything they disappeared again. When they reappeared there were 3 doctors and 2 nurses, they said they wanted to do an ultrasound, I held my breath–then I saw my baby on the screen, his heartbeat strong and moving around, I was sooo happy God had answered my silent prayers, my baby was okay! I looked around the room and wondered why no one was sharing my excitement, I could tell by the look on their faces they were seeing something I wasn’t. Two nurses came over to me and held my hands, the nurse from triage who had been looking for the baby’s heartbeat was there, she had tears in her eyes, the doctor simply said “There’s no fluid left, I’m sorry.” The other doctor looked at me and told me I needed to call someone to be there with me; that’s when I knew it was over. I literally felt as though someone ripped my heart out of my chest, I called Andrew and I don’t remember who else I called or told, but everyone was there immediately. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard in my life, I just didn’t believe what they were saying to me, they were telling me there was no chance my baby would survive being born now, they told me to make a decision to be induced now or go home and wait until I made it to 24 weeks then they would give steroids to develop the baby’s lungs and see how long the pregnancy would last, they warned me if I went down the latter path my baby would have profound disabilities IF he even survived. I cried and told them I wasn’t making that decision, it was literally a life or death decision and I am not God. On one hand I wanted to give my baby the chance, maybe he would prove everyone wrong, make it full term and be perfectly healthy, even if he was disabled I would still love him with every fiber of my being, but if I chose to continue the pregnancy and he was disabled I would be keeping him selfishly for myself, what would his quality of life be, would he suffer? I knew if I chose induction he would be born only to die shortly after. How can a mother make that decision? I prayed to God to please take this decision out of my hands, and right after I prayed those words, I started bleeding, they checked me and said I was 2 centimeters dilated. I was taken to L&D but put far in the back away from all the other mothers giving birth to their healthy babies. I waited for my baby to be born I was really losing it, falling apart, but I continued to feel my baby moving inside me and I decided I would be calm so my baby’s and my last time together would be peaceful, I didn’t want him to feel what I was feeling, to be in distress, to be scared…I only wanted him to feel safe and loved. I didn’t want him to know what was about to happen. When it was time to push, I panicked, I didn’t want to do it, I couldn’t, I knew what was going to happen, at that moment he was alive and okay inside me, but I knew if he came out he wouldn’t be. How are you supposed to feel when you know hello will mean goodbye? But he was born and it was the most beautiful experience of my life, he was born alive & fighting, he opened his mouth to take a breath and I begged the doctors to PLEASE help him, they said there was medically nothing they could do, his lungs and organs were not developed enough to survive. They said just hold him & comfort him. All that love could do was done. He was so perfect, he looked just like us, just like his sister. We were new parents all over again gushing over our precious baby. We managed to fit an entire lifetime of love into three hours. We had him baptized by the hospital chaplain; he was wiping away tears as he touched our baby and prayed over him. Three hours and a million kisses later we knew it was time to say goodbye, the hardest thing I have ever and will ever have to do is leave my new baby behind in the room with the nurse, we were devastated.
In recovery, I guess I fell asleep I was so exhausted, so drained. At about 10:30 am, I woke up panicked, looking for my baby. I knew what had happened, but my body was panicked, it’s like my body could tell it wasn’t pregnant anymore so it was screaming to my mind to find my baby. I couldn’t stop it, I couldn’t shake it. I’ve never felt so robbed in my life. That was MY baby, he wasn’t supposed to come out, he wasn’t supposed to be taken. I will never forget that feeling. Ever.
The hospital staff was amazing, and we left with a beautiful memory box filled with pictures, hospital bracelets, his hat, blanket and baptism outfit but other than that but other than that the whole entire hospital experience, the things I had to endure from check-in to discharge was traumatic…literally a series of traumas.
Leaving the hospital – ugh, packing up the things I had acquired in the past couple days, pamphlets, booklets, prescriptions, flowers. Walking through the corridors with all the visible symbols of having a baby, but with no baby. People looked at us…new parents stared as they walked out with their new babies and we walked out with a box. On the way out we had to stop at the window to sign for our baby’s birth certificate and death certificate. It’s not natural to give birth and leave your baby behind in the care of strangers. It felt so wrong leaving our baby. I felt so guilty I couldn’t be the one taking care of him.
We made funeral arrangements that day. We wanted to give our son the best, we will never be able to throw him great birthday parties or buy him the best Christmas gifts, this was our only chance to give him everything he deserved and I’m so thankful we were able to do so. Five hours after leaving the hospital I was back in with a 103 raging fever, I was in so much pain and I felt like my body was giving out on me. I was so dehydrated from crying and the fever it took 4 hours to get an IV in…torture. Twenty four hours of antibiotics later and I was free again. We went to the cemetery to purchase the plot, my first major purchase as an adult, I officially owned something, I had a deed to a cemetery plot before a deed to a house, life can be so cruel.
We buried our son on a Wednesday, exactly four weeks to the day I had buried my father in the same cemetery, only a short distance away. That was the hardest day of my life. But that day I made a promise to my son…that he would always be remembered, more importantly always be remembered as a BLESSING. I knew I couldn’t fall apart, I don’t want my son to be remembered as the thing that destroyed me or ruined my life, I want him to be remembered as the driving force behind my future success, as the gentle reminder to everyone who hears his story of how fragile life is, how important it is to love deeply every moment because you never know when the moment will be cut short. I will always be thankful for the five months I was able to love him, talk to him, feel him and share him <3
Jill blogs at http://dillllyyy.blogspot.com.