Mom to Daniel James
Born May 18, 2012
My husband Tyler and I decided to start trying for a baby at the beginning of 2012. We were excited and surprised to get pregnant right away! I took a pregnancy test on Sunday, January 29th and was thrilled to see “Pregnant”!! We went to church later that morning and were so thankful to God for the blessing of this new life created. I called the doctor the next day and scheduled my first prenatal appointment for when I would be 6 weeks pregnant. We had our first appointment and after we got the official confirmation at the doctor’s, we started calling and visiting our parents and siblings to share the great news. We asked them not to say anything until we got further along in the pregnancy, as I had already been reading a lot about pregnancy and I knew what the risks of miscarriage in the first trimester were. 5 days after we told our families, I started spotting a little bit. I called the doctor right away and she scheduled an ultrasound for me. I was so nervous going to that ultrasound, but breathed a huge sigh of relief and my eyes welled with tears of joy as I saw our little baby’s heart beating away. I got a picture to take home, and I was so amazed at how tiny, but how perfectly formed our baby was. I framed the ultrasound picture and kept it on our bedroom dresser to look each and every day.
Our next doctor appointment went super smoothly and we were able to hear our baby’s heart beat for the first time when I was 10 weeks and 4 days pregnant. It was such a beautiful sound! The heart beat was a very strong 180 bpm. We were told that was normal and it would decrease a bit in the coming weeks. My doctor told me, “Well, I think you are coming along just beautifully.” That really gave us peace of mind and since we were so close to the end of the first trimester, we started telling our extended families and everyone at work. I am a teacher and my students were just as excited as I was when I told them!
The day after Easter, at 14 weeks and 1 day pregnant we had another prenatal appointment. It took the nurse a minute to find the heartbeat, and we started to worry, but she found it and it was a strong 146 bpm. We LOVED hearing that wonderful sound! After we finished listening to the heart beat, the nurse told us that we could record it. I thought about asking my husband to record it on his phone, but the nurse had already put away the doppler and I didn’t want to be a pain and ask her to get it out again. I just thought we would be sure to record it next time. Little did I know there would not be a next time and that would be the last time we ever heard that beautiful heart beat. We were told to schedule our fetal anatomy ultrasound and make another prenatal appointment. We made both for the same day, May 15th, and I would be 19 weeks and 2 days pregnant by then, so we were expecting to find out the gender as well.
May 15th had finally arrived! We were SO excited! I had a strong feeling throughout my pregnancy that we were having a boy. The day had finally arrived to find out for sure, but I was most excited just to see our sweet baby on the screen again. I lay down on the table. I felt the warm gel on my belly, and the ultrasound technician started moving the wand around. I reached out to hold my husband’s hand and experienced a moment of pure joy as we saw our baby on the screen. The technician said, “Okay, first thing I’m going to do is find baby’s heart rate.” She kept moving the wand around and was silent…I started to worry a bit, but then she started measuring the thigh bone, the brain, and we saw the spine. She was still quiet, but I thought since she was measuring those other things, she must have found the heart beat and just moved on with the rest of the exam. No one was saying a word…I started to get a bad feeling and started praying…before I could finish my prayer, she said the most horrible words that changed our lives forever from that moment on: “I’m not seeing baby’s heartbeat.” I could see in her face it caused her pain to tell us that and it seemed she was choking back tears herself. I remember lying there on the table and just saying, “What?!?!” Then my husband and I just started crying as we started to process what was happening. My husband asked if she could hear it and then we saw a flat EKG line appear on the screen. We asked to get someone else to look at it and she went to get her supervisor. The senior tech came in and confirmed the devastating news. She pressed sooo hard on my belly with the wand that it hurt and I think I will forever cringe at the feeling of the warm gel and the wand pressing on my belly. She showed us the heart up close on the screen and it was completely still. We walked through the waiting room full of happy, pregnant women across the hall to the doctor’s office. The doctor explained our options to either induce me or schedule a D&E. We decided that I should schedule a D&E.
When we got home from the ultrasound, all of my Mother’s Day cards were still up, my maternity clothes were hanging in my closet, and baby things we had begun to buy and had gotten as gifts were all suddenly so painful to look at. We began to call our family and friends and tell them the terrible news. I don’t think I slept at all that night. I cried most of the night and was just numb with my mind racing and my heart almost beating out of my chest. Our baby, the baby we had already fallen in love with and bonded with and looked forward to meeting, was dead. I kept thinking, “This has to be a bad dream. This can’t be happening.” I still wish it was just a bad dream. I got a call the next morning that my surgery was scheduled for Friday, May 18th. That was 2 whole days away and at first I was upset that this painful process was going to be drawn out longer. Those 2 days ended up being a blessing. I got to carry my baby’s body for 2 more days. We met with our priest, the funeral home, and went to the cemetery. We spent time with family and had time to try to begin to prepare ourselves for the time when I would soon not be carrying our baby anymore.
We got to the hospital on the 18th and met with a very compassionate doctor who answered all of our questions (except the ones about why and how this happened). We felt that God had personally chosen all of the doctors and nurses we met with that day. Everyone was so kind and understanding. They truly felt sorry for us and that we had to endure this kind of pain. After the surgery, I was wheeled out of the hospital by Nurse Nancy, my very sweet recovery nurse. We passed a mother waiting outside the hospital with her newborn baby in her arms, getting ready to go home. Nurse Nancy could sense my pain at seeing that and as she helped me into the car, she kissed my cheek and said, “Next time that is going to be you going home with your baby.” I sure hope and believe she is right.
A few weeks later, we got the pathology report back and it said we had a baby boy. I knew it! I was happy to know for sure that we had a boy, but was not surprised and was glad to know my intuition was right. We named him Daniel James. We have both always loved the name Daniel and when my husband said he also liked James, it just clicked and I knew it was the perfect name for our son. After some more waiting, we got the genetic testing back and found out our little boy had no genetic abnormalities. That is the news we wanted to hear, but all I could think was, “If everything was normal, then why did he die???” We have no medical reason for why Daniel left us.
Everything is a painful reminder of what should be and what could have been. It hurts with each passing week to know I should be one week closer to my due date. It hurts to see other babies and pregnant women. It hurts to see the little boy down the street riding his bike and know we will never be able to teach Daniel how to ride a bike. It hurts to cook dinner and know I will never get to cook with my little boy. It hurts to see my students playing their string instruments and know I will never get to teach Daniel how to play one. Most of all it hurts that on this Earth I will never be able to give my little boy a hug or hold him or kiss him. I know that one day we will meet our son in Heaven and oh how special that will be! For now, we know that we have a very special angel looking over us.
Kim blogs at http://youmademeamommy.blogspot.com.