Mom to Finn Liam
January 24, 2016
Two years after we initially started trying, we wondered if we would ever be able to have a second child. In June 2015, we went on vacation to the Smoky mountains and visited Dollywood. After riding a triple inversion roller coaster, I felt very off, which was unusual for me because I usually handle roller coasters very well. The next day I took a test and was thrilled to see two lines — I was finally pregnant with our second child! My pregnancy progressed smoothly and uneventfully, and our 18-week sonogram revealed a healthy baby who danced his little legs around and showed off for us. We learned our baby was a boy. Over the next few months, we painted his room and re-assembled the crib. As his due date of February 27th drew closer, I unpacked the baby gear and folded the newborn clothes neatly in his closet, including a couple of “Little Brother” sleepers I had picked out just for him. I packed a hospital bag with a newborn-sized coming home outfit. I unpacked and washed the infant car seat and ordered diapers online. We were so ready and excited to meet our baby!
On the morning of January 23rd, I didn’t wake up until it was almost time to leave for my hair appointment. I was exhausted as I had been fighting a cold and sinus infection all week. It didn’t seem like my baby had been very active that morning, but then again I hadn’t been awake very long and thought I might have just missed his activity. He was usually most active at night around bedtime. I had an anterior placenta, so it was often difficult to notice his movements unless I was paying attention. I didn’t feel him as distinctly as I had with my first child, Jaxton.
After my hair appointment, I still wasn’t feeling much, so I went home determined to monitor his movements. At home I glided the home doppler over my belly. Immediately, the sound of his strong heartbeat met my ears and I relaxed a bit. Maybe he was just having a slow day or in a different position than usual. Lying on my side in bed, I attempted to count his movements. I tried shaking my belly to get a reaction. I was getting barely anything. I decided to go eat and drink some sugary juice to see if that would perk him up. As I ate, I noticed his feet were poking out in their usual spot at the top of my belly. We often played a game in which he would poke out his feet and I would push back in on them and he would react by pushing back or moving them. On that night, his feet seemed to be pressing out with more force and they remained that way despite me pushing on them.
At that point, I was getting really worried. I checked the doppler again and his heart still sounded strong. I sat in a chair with my 3 year old son Jaxton on my lap while he was watching YouTube videos. In retrospect he should have been in bed, but I was too worried about the situation at hand to go through our bedtime routine. Usually when Jaxton would sit on my lap and lean against my belly, the baby would squirm or kick in response. My husband Phillip and I always joked it was sibling rivalry starting early. That night, there were no kicks or squirms. I thought I felt a shifting inside of me. I grabbed my doppler, hurriedly rubbed coconut oil on my belly to help it glide, and listened again. Nothing but the sounds of my own body met my ears. At that moment, I truly understood the meaning of deafening silence. My heart raced as I searched and searched, hoping and praying that he was just hiding or that my doppler wasn’t working correctly. I frantically told Phillip we needed to go to the hospital right away. We grabbed our coats, bundled up our son, and rushed out the door. I didn’t say a word the whole way there; I just prayed to God to please let my baby be ok.