Mom to Calvin Michael
3/25/15 – 3/27/15
Dover, NH

My husband and I had wanted a second child for some time.  When we were finally financially secure and healthy in our relationship we began trying.  It took two years but finally a positive pregnancy test!  We were thrilled, and our five year old son was too.  We began planning right away, I did all the “right” things – ate healthy, exercised, and tried to relax.  I had terrible morning sickness for about 18 weeks but otherwise had a perfectly healthy pregnancy.  Everything looked normal, baby was growing just fine.  I wanted to have a vbac and so they did a few extra ultrasounds to be sure our baby was head down, we discovered our baby was going to be big!  I didn’t care.  There was one slight question about me possibly having gestational diabetes, but I began testing at home and being very careful about my diet and exercise.

Our baby moved all the time, my now six year old would giggle and kiss my belly.  At 37 weeks 3 days my water broke.  I headed to the hospital but my labor didn’t start.  I was transferred to a Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center where my labor could be induced.  I had wanted a natural birth but quickly changed my mind and about six hours in received an epidural.  Some time later the pain returned worse than ever, it took almost two hours for them to realize the first one had come out and restart a second. Around 11:30pm, 25 hours since my water broke, it was decided a c-section was needed.

Calvin Michael entered the world at 12:42am, 9lbs4oz, full head of black hair, and perfect!!!  He did have low blood sugar but I nursed him right away and that was fine.  He was was gorgeous, we were so happy.  The next day was uneventful he amazingly slept from 9-noon, I hung out with my baby, nursed him, kissed him, kept him close to me for skin to skin as much as possible.  He seemed to struggle to latch on but he was early and I brushed it off.  We face timed with our six year old, and made plans for everyone to meet him the next day.

The next day things changed.  Cal began making weird noises when he exhaled, but the doctors weren’t too worried.  He didn’t wake up to eat and it was a struggle to feed him, but he ate twice.  I was beginning to worry about him sleeping so much, but my husband reassured me it was ok.  Then the nurses came to take vitals and Calvin began to twitch, they called in the pediatrician, within five minutes our baby was in the NICU.   We were told he was having seizures but it was probably just a small infection, they would treat him and monitor his brain waves overnight.  He had a breathing tube but wasn’t needing it.  Our older son arrived and he met his brother, we thankfully took some pictures of them.  Family left, we prepared to go visit and say goodnight to Calvin.  Suddenly doctors rushed into our room and whisked us to his bedside, he had coded.  They were shocking him and giving him Epi.  I prayed so hard, and relaxed when he came through, what we didn’t know yet was that he hadn’t come through at all.  They began running labs and EKGs and talking to us.  Ammonia levels kept coming up.  Finally the head pediatrician told us he thought Calvin had a metabolic condition and it caused his ammonia levels to get too high which led to the seizures and his heart stopping.  They were giving him medication to lower the levels but he would need dialysis, so they would send him to Boston Children’s.  It still seemed like he would be ok.  The head nurse asked if we wanted some pictures and we said yes, and we had him baptized.  We went back to the room to discuss me being discharged early so I could go to Boston with my husband.  While getting the paperwork together the head pediatrician came in, he told us that Calvin had stopped moving after his heart stopped, and that there was a chance his brain was too damaged for him to survive.  My husband and I cried but promised that as long as he wouldn’t be a vegetable we would save him and do whatever it took to care for him.

In Boston we were taken right in to see our baby.  We were asked to step out for them to perform a sterile procedure, and we were going to go lie down but the doctors asked us to wait.  They asked us to wait because they had to tell us our baby was gone.  He was only “alive” because of machines and medications.  My entire world stopped, I had to get out of the room we were in, I just about ran out.  I fell into my husbands arms sobbing, my dad behind me rubbing my back.  Thank God for my husband and dad, they went back into the meeting to discuss what had happened, what next and things such as what we needed to know for future pregnancies.  An amazing nurse sat with me and cried with me and brought me to hold Calvin.  My perfect baby boy, he was still so perfect, so warm, just covered in tubes and wires and his beautiful eyes were closed tight.  I held him for an hour until my husband came in and then he held him.  That day my in-laws came down and brought our son and my brother and sister-in-law came too.  We spent the day stroking his hair, our son did foot and hand prints of his brother, we took turns holding him.  I signed a million consents for testing, organ donation and for research.  My mother in law gave him a bath and helped dress him.  They brought in a bed, and most everyone left.  They placed Calvin between my husband and me, the child life specialist snapped pictures, my mother in law stood near and the nurses and a doctor behind us.  They took out his breathing tube and my mother in law came over to touch him, he never moved.  He never shuddered, never tried to take a breath, and within a few minutes the three of us felt whatever was left of him go.  he was declared dead at 3:46pm on 3/27/15.

There was no way of knowing he had this condition, and now we wait to find out if there are any genetic markers, anything we can be tested for. Our six year old misses his brother, he cries a lot.  I cry a lot.  I have a friend who is due in a few weeks and I am giving her diapers and other odds and ends, I thought i might just die putting the box together.  I know it’s only been a few days and I know it will get better but I miss him.  I miss the alert perfect baby I had for one day.  I keep picturing him on his boppy pillow, or what we would be doing here at home.  We brought home a puppy today because I need something to keep me busy, and cheer up our son.  I’m terrified to try again, I’m terrified to not try again.  I’m just so sad and depressed, and I know it will lessen but I’m almost scared of that too.  I’ve called my sons school and told them, his horseback instructor, my massage therapist, but I know I am going to run into someone who doesn’t know and I will have to find the strength to tell them.  We are all still trying to make some sense of it, trying to find a way to make it hurt a little less.  I just miss my baby so very much.

Emily can be reached at

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  1. I am so sorry for your loss… I have lost my 5 months old baby (Emily) 2 months ago, after a long surgery (she had a very complex CHD). I just wanted to tell you I know. I know how awful you are feeling right now, how confused, and shocked, and overwhelmed… But, i also know that one day at a time you will get better, even if you don’t think that’s possible today. One day you will smile. One day, crying won’t be the first thing you do in the morning, and so on. One day at a time. It’s hard, but it’s possible. I just wanted you to know.
    Big hugs and all my love

    PD: I apologize for my english (I am from Argentina).

  2. Emily, I can’t make the tears stop flowing as I read your story. My husband and I lost our son on Christmas Eve at just 6 days old. He was 16 weeks premature. It has been just over three months, and I still hurt just as I did the day that we lost him. I don’t know that it will ever make sense; most days it seems impossible to wrap my head around everything. My heart hurts for you. All you can do is take it one day at a time. We are thinking of you! Hugs!

  3. Firstly I am so sorry for your loss. Big Hugs x

    We lost our beautiful girl Emily Amelia 38 minutes after she was born (full term). It has been 19 weeks & 1 day since she grew her Angel Wings & each day is a struggle, I feel like I am on constant auto-pilot.

    I hope for all of us Angel Mummies that one day the pain will lessen and become bearable but at this moment in time we just need to take each day as it comes & talk when we need to.

    Much Love Nikkie xx

  4. i am so so sorry. please know you will be in my thoughts this year. we lost our precious granddaughter to SIDS at 67 days on february 15, 2015.

  5. I’m so sorry… It gave me chills to read your story. My water broke at 37 wks 5 days with my 3rd full term pregnancy. My son, Bentley Cole, was born on Sept 16, 2014, at 5:55pm! He seemed perfect in every way! That night and all the next day he latched to nurse beautifully and everything was ok! Dr. did circumcision the next morning and he seemed lethargic, didn’t eat well, but the nursing staff said that was normal so we went home. By late that night/early the next morning we knew something was very wrong but we never saw death coming! He was fussy and wouldn’t/couldn’t eat and I was trying to calm him and the next moment he was gone. :( Newborn screening and autopsy revealed a severe metabolic disorder called MCAD.
    It has been very painful to find out that not only did we lose our son, the disorder is genetic and we could face this again should we choose to have another! But our arms and hearts are so empty that how can we not try again!!
    My prayers are with you as you walk this dark road! Bentley would be a little over 7 months old now and I have moments of intense grief but it is getting less…
    Love from Erica

  6. I am so sorry for your loss. My baby, Abigail Grace, passed at four days old on July 13,2015. Our situations are very similar and I even have a five year old son. We are still waiting on autopsy results. Prayers with you and your family.

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