Mom to Sophia
Born still December 31, 2008
My husband John and I found out we were expecting Mothers Day weekend 2008. This was a total surprise as we had been trying for several years and had just begun looking into the possibility of adoption.
My pregnancy was fairly easy. I felt great the entire time. The only issue that came up was gestational diabetes. I will admit this was incredibly stressful. My blood sugar would go through the roof at times even though I was very strict with what I was eating. Overall, I was able to control it through insulin shots (another not-so-fun experience)…I remember sitting in the nutritionists office and crying while they showed me how to do the shots…I did NOT want to do it…Thankfully, my husband stepped up, and although I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him, either, he gave me the shots daily and we got through it.
Around 16 weeks we found out we were having a GIRL. Part of me had been hoping for a boy, but I was so psyched when I found out it was a girl. I am a girly girl and was excited about all the dolls, dresses, and girl things I would now get to start shopping for! We painted the nursery lavender and spring green and bought flowery girly bedding / accessories that matched perfectly.
Christmas came and went…my due date was just two weeks away. We couldn’t wait for our little girl to finally get here!
On December 30th, I got out of bed knew something was wrong.
I did not feel Sophia moving around …and she was typically a very active baby.
My mind went back and forth between the terror that something may be wrong, and the rational side that maybe she was just running out of room and that’s why I wasn’t feeling her move around. I went downstairs and chugged orange juice because I figured the sugar would wake her up. I got online and Googled my situation and looked for suggestions as to how to get my baby moving.
I tried everything.
My husband was at my brother’s house. I texted him and told him I wanted to go see the doctor to check on Sophia because she didn’t seem active. I called my doctors office, got an appointment and off we went.
At the doctor’s office, a midwife saw me. It seemed like hours passed before she came into the room for my appointment. I felt like vomiting due to the level of fear I had that something was terribly wrong.
She finally comes in, checks for the heartbeat. She is checking everywhere…there is no sound…
Finally, while pushing the Doppler into my hip bone…she says, “THERE WE GO! THERE IT IS! SHE’S HIDING TODAY!”
Oh, thank You, Jesus…Thank You! I laid there thinking…but something still just didn’t feel right about the location where she found it…
She said, “I am going to send you up to labor and delivery for a non-stress test anyway just to be on the safe side,”…OK…
Go to labor and delivery – they put the monitor around my stomach -silence. They cannot find the heartbeat. They call in another nurse to check. Silence. No heartbeat. They call in a nurse who is an ‘expert’ at this to check – she will definitely be able to find it. Silence. No heartbeat. They then decide to send me downstairs for an ultrasound.
John and I do not say anything to each other. We proceed downstairs for an ultrasound. The tech has the screen turned away from me. The room is silent. He does the ultrasound and does not say two words to us the entire time. Then he pushes something on the monitor and I hear the ‘flat-line’ sound.
The ultrasound ends and the technician says, “You need to go upstairs and see your doctor. She will let you know what you do or don’t need to do.”
Ok….What does that mean? I ask John about that flat-line sound we heard. He says he doesn’t know. We are both upset. Silent.
We go upstairs to my doctor’s office. They lead us into her office. The midwife is in there.
My doctor says, “I am so sorry.” I am thinking, “What are you sorry about?” At this point, no one has said what is going on. No one has been brave enough to just say it. Our daughter, our firstborn, is dead.
John is immediately emotional…head in hands, crying. I, on the other hand, have, without any effort, slipped into an instant state of denial. I am angry. I question my doctor: “How do you expect me to break this news to my family? Why didn’t you take her out two weeks ago when I begged you? Had you just taken her out before now – she would be here!”
My doctor assures me had they taken her out early it may not have been good for her – she could have had a brain bleed, etc for being taken out too soon. I say, “Well, now what?” They tell me I will need to come back in the morning and get induced.
I say, “Can you just do a c-section tonight?” They say, “No, we do not do c-sections unless necessary, and it may cause issues with your next delivery.” So, you want me to come in tomorrow, go through the labor and delivery…and while in labor, know that I am not getting that joyous end result…to know that after all that, you are handing me my precious baby, who is not breathing…the baby I will not get to pass around the room and celebrate her arrival…and the baby I will not be able to take home??
Yes. That is what they are telling me.
We leave the hospital. We are en route to John’s father’s house to tell him the news. We arrive and the first thing John’s stepmother says is, “Oh, on your way back from another baby appointment? We’re getting close!”
So, we don’t say anything. I don’t think John could even get the words out. So, eventually, after awkward silence I say it. I say the words I’ve never thought I would ever have to say. “We lost the baby.”
John’s stepmother: “What do you mean, you lost the baby?”
Me: “We went for an appointment and there was no heartbeat.”
I say these words like a robot. I feel nothing.
We head home. John pulls into a dealership parking lot. He thinks he is going to vomit. I feel nothing.
We get home and I text my brother and ask if he can stop over. He says sure. He gets to my front door and asks what’s going on, and I , like a robot, say, “I lost the baby.”
He says, “No you didn’t. What?!”
I explain the appointment and ask him to go tell Mom what has happened. I can’t tell her. He goes to her work, brings her to my house…she knows me. She knows by the look on my face something is horribly wrong. She says it for me. “You went to an appointment today and there was no heartbeat.” We are all in a state of shock. I tell her I need to be back at the hospital at 6am to be induced.
Next morning she and my brother meet me there…John’s family shows up later. They induced me around 9am…I had her around 4:30pm. No pain-killers. I literally felt so removed from the entire experience – I did not feel physical pain during labor and delivery. I would later learn that the brain during traumatic experiences like this will go into self preservation mode just to be able to survive something like this.
Our families rallied around us at the hospital and at home…doing everything and anything they could to help make things any easier. A couple short days later we stood in the cemetery, burying our baby. The experience was surreal.
Fast forward 3 1/2 years later – the pain and horror of this experience is as present in my mind as it was the day it happened. Since then, we went on to have another baby, a son, who is just an absolute blessing to our family.
I would lie if I were to say we have ‘moved on’. When I am doing something with my son, I am reminded that I did not get the chance to do these things with our daughter.
I miss the girl I was prior to this experience. Every now and then I get a glimpse of the old me, but I know that girl will never truly be back. The anxiety and panic that this left me with – made it nearly impossible to move forward with another pregnancy.
I pray one day I will find answers to why this happened. Why us? Why our daughter?
We were robbed. A cord accident. It’s not enough. It’s not enough of an answer.