Mom to Finnley Joseph Charles
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
February 12, 2015
[This is] the story of our angel baby, Finnley Joseph Charles. Although this is not the story we had planned in our imagination on the days leading up to our due date, we still feel that our story needs to [be] shared and our baby boy be celebrated. Born still but still born.
On June 13, 2014, my life changed forever. I had been feeling so tired, sleeping all the time and [having] tons of headaches. Shawn had said to me multiple times, “Babe, you’re pregnant!” but I was in denial. I couldn’t be pregnant. When I finally decided to take a pregnancy test on Friday, June 13th at 3:15 p.m., I couldn’t believe my eyes. The test was POSITIVE!! I was filled with so many emotions. I was so happy but so nervous to share the exciting news with everyone. Shawn was working until 4:00 p.m., so I had 45 minutes to come up with a game plan to break the exciting news to him. I decided to write him a long love letter and wrap the test in the letter.
I remember it like it was yesterday; my heart was racing. It was 3:59 p.m. and Shawn would be home any minute! I saw him pulling up, so I went to the back door to meet him. I handed him the rolled up letter and I ran outside crying (LOL). He didn’t even read the letter; he just glared at the test and ran outside after me [yelling] “You’re pregnant!” and I shook my head yes. We hugged and cried tears of joy for what felt like hours. He was so excited too! I’ve always wanted to be a mommy and this was my dream come true. We were so excited but nervous to break the news to our parents. When we did, we got the reaction we had hoped for [and] they were all SO excited to be grandparents to our first born child.
I had an amazing pregnancy. The first 12-16 weeks were a little bit rocky with lots of migraines. I also had quite a bit [of] “morning sickness” that seemed to last all day! We had originally decided we were going to find out the sex of our baby. But as our 20 week anatomy scan approached, we decided that we were already half way through the pregnancy and we would wait for the amazing surprise!
From the day we found out I was expecting, I just had a weird feeling we were having a baby boy. Shawn (along with many others) said we would have a girl.
By the time I was 6 months pregnant, we had the nursery all painted, decorated and set up! We were so ready for our little bundle of joy. I have always loved looking at “baby gear” and I was so excited that I could finally buy it for myself to use as a mommy. I did so much research on the safest carseats and the best stroller for our active lifestyle. We had almost everything we needed for our baby by the time I was 7.5 months pregnant.
I really didn’t start looking pregnant until I was around 26-28 weeks or so. I just looked like I ate a few too many pancakes! It was so exciting when I finally had a round belly to rub. The most amazing part of my pregnancy was feeling our baby move around and kick. We also loved the hiccups! Nighttime was party time for our little one. As soon as we would lay down to relax on the couch, the baby would be going crazy! Shawn loved watching my belly move around and watch baby’s limbs poke out. It was so amazing!
I started seeing my OB at 32 weeks. She was the most caring & compassionate doctor I’ve ever had. She had done my measurements at my 32-week checkup and was concerned that my belly was only measuring 28 weeks. I went for an ultrasound, and everything was good! Baby was head down and heartbeat was perfect; 154 bpm! My baby was just hiding, but growing healthy and appeared to be a good size!
The next couple of weeks went by so slow! They say the end of pregnancy always seems like it takes forever, but I enjoyed every minute of being pregnant! I loved it! I was due to go back to my OB at 34 weeks on February 11th.
Little did I know that we would end up at the hospital the night before (February 10) because I was worried about how little of movement I had felt from the baby that day. I felt movement until about noon that day, which was normal for me, then the baby was always quiet the rest of the day until about 9:00 p.m. when party time would start. We were laying on the couch and I said to Shawn, “I haven’t felt the baby move in a little while,” so he got me some juice (which always made baby go crazy). But, I didn’t feel anything. We called labour & delivery [and] they told me to lay down quietly for 30 minutes and focus on feeling the baby move. I didn’t want to wait 30 minutes [so] we rushed to the hospital. Up to labour & delivery we went. They put me in triage and the nurse came in to hook up the fetal monitors to my belly. She was moving them around for what felt forever to find a heartbeat. She said, “I’m going to grab the ultrasound machine; it’s easier to find the babies heartbeat on that.” She wheeled the machine over to me and put the cold jelly all over my belly. She began to do the scan and I was watching her facial expressions. Her face dropped and she looked at us and said the words that will haunt me forever, “I’m so sorry, there is no heartbeat. Your baby has passed.”
I looked at Shawn as he was weeping over my round belly. I couldn’t talk. He couldn’t talk. All we could do was hold each other and cry. The nurse sat with us and comforted us. She explained to us that sometimes these things happen for absolutely no reason. Sometimes there is an explanation, sometimes there isn’t.
All I could think to myself was “Why me? Did I do something wrong? Why us? What did we do to deserve this! We don’t deserve this!” We had to make the worst phone call I’ve ever made. We had to call my mom and tell her. They were at the hospital within 30 minutes. The doctor came in to explain to us what had to be done. He said I had a choice to stay in the hospital overnight, which he didn’t recommended as there is always crying babies which is very upsetting in this situation. So he suggested I go home for the night.
We came home and all of my parents were here with us. I was lost; I didn’t know what to do. I tried to sleep but I couldn’t. I had to go back to the hospital at 11:00 a.m. for a confirmation ultrasound. At 3:00 p.m. I went to see my OB. She was devastated and felt so bad for us. She told us our options and what had to be done. We decided to ask her the sex of our baby so we could decide on a name. She showed us the paper, it said “probable male gender.” We were having a little boy! I knew it!
She explained to me that I would be induced the following day. I went to the hospital that night to have Cervidil put in to hopefully kick-start my labour for the next morning.
Thursday February 12, 2015
We got to the hospital at 7:15 a.m. [and] we had all of our friends and family there with us. I had the most amazing nurse, Michelle. She started my IV and my Pitocin drip to get labour started. My OB came in around 8:30 a.m. to break my water. I still couldn’t grasp what was going on; I was still in shock and so confused. It was such a bittersweet day. I knew I would be giving birth to my sweet little boy, but he would be born still. I didn’t know what to expect. I just couldn’t wait to see how cute he was going to be!
My contractions started around noon and started getting pretty strong and regular by around 2:30 p.m. I decided to get an epidural. The doctors recommended an epidural in this situation as they said it would be less traumatic to not have to feel the physical pain on top of the emotional pain of giving birth to a still born.
After getting my epidural, I finally slept after not sleeping for almost 2 days. Shawn and I both slept in my hospital bed for 2 hours. My nurse came in to check to see how dilated I was. Around 5:00 p.m., I was only 3cm dilated. It felt like forever! But, we were enjoying all of our company to keep our mind off of the obvious. Everyone was taking turns coming in to visit me as I couldn’t get out of bed due to my epidural. Before I knew it, it was 6:45 p.m. Michelle, my nurse, came in to check me again and I was 5cm dilated. Yay! I was making progress. My dad came in to hangout with me and he was rubbing my belly; I think that REALLY got things moving. I started to feel contractions again and felt like I should push. Sure enough, Michelle came in to check me and I was fully dilated within 15 minutes and ready to have my baby boy.
My OB arrived just in time! I had about 15-20 minutes of pushing. At 7:19 p.m. our beautiful 5lb 6oz baby boy, Finnley Joseph Charles, was born sleeping. Then we heard my OB say the words we never thought we’d hear, “I see what happened.” Finnley’s death was caused by a tight true knot in his umbilical cord, and only in exceptionally rare cases are they fatal. She reassured us that knots are usually formed very early on in pregnancy when they have lots of room for somersaults and movement.
My OB put his lifeless little body skin to skin on my chest; it was the happiest but saddest moment of my life. He looked so much like his daddy [with] tiny little rosebud lips and a perfect little nose. He had a FULL head of blonde hair that looked like he had streaks put in. He was perfect! We were so proud to show him off to all of our family and friends that were there with us all day. I can’t even describe what I felt when I saw family lay eyes on him for the first time. I was filled with joy and pride as they said how perfect he was. But then they fell apart as they also mourned the loss of a life they too had held so close to their hearts. Our son had made such an impact on so many people in his short life. It was so comforting knowing we were not alone. Seeing Finnley in the arms of his grandparents, aunts and uncles was amazing. Watching Shawn hold our son was the best memory I’ll hold onto forever. The pride and love I saw over his face was also covered with so much pain. The love he showed Finnley is unforgettable. I will cherish that moment forever.
My heart felt so heavy knowing what had happened to our precious little Finn. But, we also felt somewhat relieved knowing it wasn’t something we did or did not do. Knots are undetectable. But, in the same breath, it broke our hearts that there was nothing we could have done; it was out of our control.
I still do not understand why this was God’s plan for us. This pain will never go away. Every time I think about our little boy, I feel so proud to be his momma but my heart shatters because I just wish I could have my baby here with me. This is not how I pictured my life 4 months after having my baby boy. I find peace in knowing that Finn is being taken care of by all of the angels in heaven. I know that Grandma is cuddling him so tight and rocking him to sleep and Grandpa would be taking him fishing and on tractor rides.
I have wanted to share our story and celebrate the short life of our little angel for so long. It has just taken me this long to finally work up the courage to come up with something.
Infant and pregnancy loss is such a tragic thing to go through. I hope this inspires others to share their stories. Please feel free to share my story!
You can email Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org.