stillbirth
Paul

Dad of Johnathan Paul

February 3, 2015

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

It is 4 o’clock, four hours after we found out that Johnathan Paul is no longer with us. We walk into the hospital, to check in. My family is waiting in the waiting room, and Amanda’s is on their way. Amanda and I check in, and we walk to our room. Amanda climbs on the bed, the place she doesn’t move from for the next few days, while I set our bag down, and start to to ‘move in’.

I am freaking out in my head. My whole life is falling apart. I remember thinking to myself, “just try to put a smile on, things can be worse, you don’t have to make the tough decision on when we need to take Jonathan Paul out and to put tubes in him to save him”.

While we were at the hospital, we had three different nurses to help us get through this horrific, yet beautiful ordeal. By far our favorite was Kylie, the night nurse. She was the most calming and up-lifting when she came in to check on us, and she was the one that helped deliver Johnathan Paul.

Almost immediately we started to induce labor. We were told that the labor could last up to three days, it all depended on how well Amanda would react to the medication. Thankfully, it took less than 12 hours.

When we had down time, and it was just Amanda and I in the hospital room, Amanda turned to me and said that she doesn’t want to have an epidural. We discussed the different out comes, and to my best judgement I disagreed with her, and thought that she should not have to go through all the pain of giving birth. It would be more traumatic in the long run, plus when we have our second child, she can decide not to have one, and feel better about it. I was going to support her decision, because I knew that having to go through labor probably would have killed me. We had 3 doctors and 4 nurses tell us that we should do an epidural. Amanda held off on the epidural until probably midnight, and after the second dose of medication. She was in so much pain that her body was shaking uncontrollably.

It was the hardest thing that a husband and a father would ever have to see. I couldn’t do anything to help or make things better. As a man, especially a man that needs to fix problems, how can you not fix this, how can you not fix the situation?

The epidural took 40 minutes to insert into Amanda’s back. 39 minutes longer than what I thought it would have taken. All I knew about an epidural is what I have seen from movies, and none of what I saw was true. I thought it was a shot into the spine, and all the pain goes away for multiple hours. This is a procedure, a procedure that if it wasn’t for the nurse sticking up for me, I would have loss my right to stay in the room with my wife. While the epidural procedure was occurring, Amanda’s heart rate dropped. One of the two doctors in the room pushed me back so she could get to Amanda. Not only was I already scared that my son has died, but now I am being pushed out of the way so the doctors can get to my wife. The doctor started to talk to Amanda, told her to focus on her breathing, lean on her side. Within 30 seconds her heart rate came back up, and things went back to normal. These 30 seconds were the longest 30 seconds of my life. If I was kicked out of the room for the whole surgery, I don’t know how I would have made it. The epidural took a few minutes to start to work, and Amanda’s shakes started to calm in about in hour, and her personality came back.

We were moving closer to the actual birth of Johnathan Paul. With our parents out in the waiting room or in a hotel, Nurse Kylie told us to try and get some shut eye. At this point I had been up since 5am the morning before, and we are coming upon 3 am the next day, I had been up for almost 24 hours, and I wasn’t even tired. How is anyone supposed to sleep when at any moment the reason they are alive, the reason for being here on Earth is on his way?

I was half asleep, when I hear Amanda calling in the nurse to see if the baby was coming. Kylie comes in and said no nothing is there, try to sleep because you won’t sleep after. I looked at the clock when Kylie was leaving the room and it read 3:39. I turn over on the couch and finally fell asleep. Amanda called the nurse again, and said that she felt something again. At this point I was annoyed, I finally fell asleep, and I needed at least some sleep. The clock read 3:51 when Kylie walked in. She looked, and said “oh, it’s time”.

Once she said this, I felt horrible for thinking being annoyed, and I thought to myself, “why are you so selfish during this time. You need to be there for your wife”. (This way of thinking has always been hard for me to over come, but I am always way to hard on myself.) Two doctors run in, and told Amanda to start to push. This is it, this is the time where the physical part is almost over, or at least I thought. This is the time that I will meet my best friend, I will meet the person who is the reason why I am here. Even though I know he truly isn’t here with us. I have met him, but he didn’t met me.

Johnathan Paul was born at 4:03 am on February 3rd, 2015 in his sac. The doctor said it was extremely rare. You can see his little hands and feet in the sac, and it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Johnathan Paul was 10 1/2 inches long and weighed 12 oz. He was perfect in every way. He had my exact feet, and Amanda’s hands. He looked just like me, just a lot smaller. We had 32 hours with him in the room with us. 32 hours of hanging out with him. 32 hours of reading I’ll Love You Forever. 32 hours of conversions with him. 32 hours of holding him. 32 hours to say good bye.

Saying goodbye was the hardest thing that we have ever had to do. Handing him over to the funeral home just about killed me. Why, at the age of 28, do we need to plan a funeral for our son? No parent should plan their child’s funeral.

Paul can be contacted at psmyth149@gmail.com. He blogs at http://grievingmysonjp.blogspot.com

To read his wife, Amanda’s, story click here.

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