Mom to Caleb Dean
Born April 16, 2012
My husband and I started having children almost as soon as we got married. At our first wedding anniversary, we announced that we were pregnant with our first daughter. Our family was thrilled, and so were we! We went on to have four children, two girls and two boys. When our oldest daughter was 11, our youngest son 4, and I was 35, we decided to have another baby. Everything had always been textbook normal with my other pregnancies, and we expected nothing less. We announced to the world that we were pregnant at 4 weeks. In September 2011 at 9 weeks, I began bleeding and found out that I had miscarried our child. We were devastated, but having to share the grief with our children was terrible. Sad and disappointed doesn’t cover it.
We decided quickly that we wanted to try again, although I was terrified of putting our children through more heartbreak. After the doctor cleared us to try again, I became consumed with getting pregnant. I ordered ovulation tests, documented my dates, took pregnancy tests, and planned this pregnancy down to every detail. Just before Christmas 2011, the pregnancy test came back positive. Our doctor assured us that, even though I was of “advanced maternal age,” this pregnancy would be a “nice, boring pregnancy.” My husband and I decided not to tell our children or family until we were past 9 weeks, just in case. 9 weeks came and went, the pregnancy was perfect, and so we showed our children the ultrasound with our baby’s heartbeat. They were thrilled and so were we. We were certain nothing bad could happen twice. Little did we know…
At 15 weeks, I started having mild to moderate bleeding. After rushing to the doctor’s office, I was diagnosed with a marginal placenta previa. The edge of the placenta was slightly over the opening of my cervix, causing the bleeding. The doctor assured us that this situation would resolve itself as the uterus grew. I continued bleeding for the next 6 weeks, but all the ultrasounds showed a healthy baby boy we named Caleb Dean. At times, my bleeding would increase and we would head to the OB department for monitoring, only to be sent home. I was not put on bed rest, but besides working as a school nurse, I tried to rest as much as possible. My husband and children all pitched in to keep up with the household duties, but it was very stressful for all of us. I felt so worthless, lying in bed, giving orders to my kids, and watching my exhausted husband take care of the household.
At my 20 week ultrasound, the tech could not get a good look at Caleb because the amniotic fluid was so low. She also noted his heart rate was very high. The doctor advised me to rest, drink lots of fluid, but it was a waiting game. I was scheduled for another ultrasound a week later. Over that weekend, I rested, drank unbelievable amounts of fluid, and prayed for our son. Sunday, April 15, 2012, I went to bed feeling crampy and unsettled. At midnight, I awoke to contractions 5 minutes apart. I was 21 weeks and 1 day. At the hospital, the nurses quickly found Caleb’s heart rate, which was still high, but I was so happy to hear it. Very quickly the relief I felt turned to terror. I began bleeding very, very heavily. My sweet nurse gently told me that even if Caleb was born with a heartbeat, he was too small for them to save. She asked me if I wanted to hold him in that situation. I said yes, but I was so numb that the pain did not register, yet. The contractions continued, even after medication to stop them. During one severe contraction, the nurse was pressing the monitor on my belly to track Caleb’s heartbeat. I asked her to stop pressing because I was in so much pain. When that contraction was over, we could no longer find his heartbeat. I was moved to a labor and delivery room where my doctor confirmed with ultrasound that Caleb was gone and my placenta had abrupted on both sides. At that point, I knew that I was still in great danger of hemorrhaging and began to pray for God to help me through what I was about to do, and to protect me so I would be able to go home to my four children who didn’t even know I had left the house. The doctor left the room to set up an epidural so I would not have to endure anymore physical pain. Just minutes after he stepped out of the room, I had one strong contraction and Caleb was born. I could see the pain in my husband’s face as he watched the nurse clean our son and hand him to me. Caleb Dean was 12 inches long and 14 ounces. He was perfect in every way and looked just like his brothers and sisters. I remember not feeling anything for quite some time. I truly believe God allows a fog to come over you in order to keep you from feeling the true pain of the moment. We held our son for several hours. We kissed him and cried over him. I do have regrets from that day. We did not allow our children to see him. At the time, we were overwhelmed and were afraid it would scar them. It was so difficult to make any decisions. If I could change anything, I would give them the opportunity to hold him. I also would have taken pictures of Caleb with our own camera. The hospital nurses took him to another room and took pictures of him, which we cherish, but we do not have any pictures of us holding him. That makes me sad, but I cannot dwell on what I cannot change.
Our family is attempting to heal. My children know they can come to us to cry or talk about Caleb. They know he is in Heaven with our savior, Jesus Christ, and we are promised to hold him again. My 4 year old summed it up best. “Mommy, Caleb is in Heaven. That is happy…but it is sad, too.” I know I will never be the same person I was before Caleb. I will always be the mother who was required to give her child to God. I know He has a plan, but my human heart will always be broken. I will never “get over” this heartbreak, but will learn to live with it.
You can contact Amy at Mimi3125@aol.com.