Mom to Amari
February 14, 2016
2015 was an amazing year. I was just into my 2nd month of a new IT consulting career, something I had been thinking about for years and my husband (fiancé at the time), was deep into his new job that ended our long distance relationship AND it was a coaching job at our alma mater (we both met there and we also did track and field so it was an extra special job). And the best part of it all, we were to be married that summer! July 10th, 2015 was a beautiful sunny summer day and we exchanged vows in front of our nearest and dearest. Then it was off to party party party on our Cancun honeymoon before the best was to begin!
My husband was probably more ready to have children than me. He would always say, “Babe I was ready yesterday to start a family with you.” I just loved that I married my best friend AND he’s eager to be a dad. We wasted no time after the honeymoon as I finished my last pill from the pack. One menstrual cycle later, the pee stick was positive! We were so excited but in my naturally worry wart nature, it was just one positive test and so I held in some excitement until the 2nd positive pee stick a week later, the blood work two weeks after that and finally our first ultrasound on October 8, 2015 to confirm his heartbeat! This is really real!! We are having a baby!!! Our first born will be here May 26th 2016!!!!
Like most women, I kept quiet about things because of the dreaded “first trimester unknowns” we are wired to fear. We told our mothers first and our wedding party second but the majority of close friends and family found out closer to trimester 2. New Years day I posted on Facebook about how amazing 2015 was and how excited we were for our 2016 arrival.
Overall my pregnancy was fairly unproblematic. Zero morning sickness. I was tired as all heck but I still kept up my personal fitness routine, taught my Body Pump classes, worked my 9-5 job, ate well and tried to get more sleep. The only troubling news I had in early December 2015, was a fibroid near my cervix. It caused me pain but the bigger my belly got, the less pressure the fibroid put on my cervix. We did have to monitor it closely to make sure it wasn’t growing and also make sure it wasn’t taking away blood supply from our baby. We didn’t love the news but seeing our baby more often felt reassuring that we were keeping tabs on him and all would be fine.
Fast forward to February 1st. We had an ultrasound and once again, all was perfect and well. Heartbeat, organs, everything PERFECT. AND the fibroid had gone down in size! YES! Just a little over a week later, February 11th came along and I started feeling light pressure in my lower abdomen. It didn’t hurt but was uncomfortable. Over night and into the next morning, the pressure turned to a painful stabbing feeling that would come and go every so many minutes. I went to work but called the OBGYN to make an appointment. Again, I’m a worry wart but the type of pain I had in my belly while pregnant could not be ignored. The nurse over the phone thought it could be round ligament pain but she mentioned that it’s usually a 20 week thing and I was at 25 weeks. But either way, they could tell I was not getting off of the phone without an appointment, so 2pm was my appointment time. I arrived
more on time than ever and was anxiously waiting to talk to the OBGYN. The OB also said it could be round ligament pain but she did all their normal checks…pee in a cup, vitals, poking and prodding, etc. They said it could be an infection and the urine test would answer that. As always, they want to check for a heartbeat, so that was the last step.
No heartbeat. She tried and tried and told me “not to worry”. She then brought in another OB to check and once again, no heartbeat. The first OB checked my cervix to see if I was dilated and I was not. They then sent me in for an ultrasound. I watched the ultrasound screen and I just knew things didn’t look like they normally do and the tech took a few seconds before the words that continue to haunt me came out, “I’m so sorry….there’s no heartbeat”. I went into a flailing, kicking screaming mess. I had never experienced such a rush of emotion in my life and I was alone. My husband was always there for every scheduled ultrasound but this was a random appointment so I was alone, at the worst possible time. His job doesn’t keep him by his phone much, so getting ahold of him required me calling person A to then call person B on my behalf to go and find him. Eventually he called and this was the hardest next step, having to tell him that his son died. I was hysterical on the phone so he knew something was wrong and I just told him “we lost him, we lost our son”.
My husband came immediately to meet me. I never saw the kind of emotion come out of him that did. He was devastated. The OB basically told us that it’s possible the pains I had were light contractions because based on the ultrasound, he had passed away about a week prior but since my body hadn’t gone into a real labor, we needed to induce. We could go straight to the hospital or go home to think about it. We just figured there was no changing this situation so [we headed to] the hospital.
February 12th, 6pm was my first dose of Cytotec to induce labor and at 10:31am on Sunday February 14th, our son Amari was delivered. Those 3 days were awful. Just in bed either crying, sleeping, watching tv, trying to be distracted from my thoughts. The process of actually delivering him, executing my natural birth plan, just all felt so cruel. This was everything I wanted, everything I was excited for and everything I was waiting for at his May arrival but it was happening months in advance and he was no longer alive. We held Amari and I kept him with me for hours. I even napped while I held him. My doula came and took a couple of pictures of him and I’m so happy to have those. Amari had my nose and my crimped toes. I’ll never forget anything about his physical presence but I do find comfort looking at the pictures every so often. He weighed 1 pound 12 oz and measured 14.5 inches and was certainly going to be tall and long like his mom and dad. I cherish the moments we had together and I miss them all of the time. We didn’t name him until after we left the hospital because although we knew we were having a boy, we never 100% decided on a name. We had two in mind. We choose one, Amari and it has African origins to the word strength.
Today, May 26th 2016, Amari’s due date, is the day that I decided to write my story. I can’t believe that the months have passed and especially during the month of May which holds both mother’s day and Amari’s due date, it’s hard not to think about what I’d be doing this very moment. Would he have been here already? Would we be waiting still for his arrival? Would I be finished working? Would I be rushing to finish last minute things? Instead, I’m here with a shattered heart and no baby to hold. Most days get more “copeable” but a day doesn’t pass that I don’t think about our beautiful angel.
The OBGYN and MFM that we recently saw both have no reason for why this happened. Sometimes I don’t know if that’s better or worse. If we knew the reason and there were medical intervention options (like taking meds for a blood clotting disorder for example) then I’d be shattered with thinking that we could have done SOMETHING! On the other side having no answers just makes you wonder why? What did I do? What did I miss? What was wrong with this beautiful baby that made the cutest looking bicep curls in his ultrasound pictures? I try to remind myself that regardless, our son is not physically here and having an answer or having no answer will not change that.
Amari, Mommy and Daddy love you, our first baby, our first son, and all we hope is that you always felt comfort, warmth and love. Amari is with all of the other beautiful angel babies that just couldn’t be here on earth.
I also thank everyone for sharing their stories. It stinks that loss is our commonality but I’ve found comfort in knowing that I’m not alone and that Amari is amongst your forever babies.
You can email Tamara at Tjhighsmith@gmail.com.