Mom to Noah
September 29th, 2008

The last week of January 2008 we found out that I was pregnant. Although it wasn’t planned, we were very excited. I went to the doctor for the first time on Feb. 18th. I saw the heartbeat in the little black circle that would become the baby that we were already in love with. Seeing the heartbeat just made the love even stronger. I was about 4 to 5 weeks along and due to deliver in October. The doctors and I disagreed on the actual due date. They thought I was about 2 weeks farther along than I thought I was. 

The doctors suggested that I have a routine ultrasound and blood test to see if the baby had Down Syndrome, they had no reason to think he did but they offered the test to everyone. I decided to have it done. I went in at 11 weeks to have the test. The baby didn’t have a nasal bone at the time and the blood test results increased the risk to 1 in 16. I immediately went out and started reading everything I could about raising a child with Downs. I was never upset about the fact that he might have it, I was only concerned that he would have some of the other health issues that came along with it. My entire family was very supportive about all of this and we grew anxious to have him here. I chose not to have an amnio because knowing for sure didn’t matter enough to me. I was having him no matter what. 
From then on I had several more ultrasounds and fetal echos to make sure he was healthy and that there was nothing that needed to be fixed with surgery right after birth. The last ultrasound was very encouraging because the doctor told me that we had absolutely no reason to be concerned about the baby’s health. Everything looked good. All of my other appointments were good, always a good heartbeat and no problem that they could find. 
I was 1 day sort of being 38 weeks pregnant when I went into labor. My contractions were too far a part to go to the hospital so I waited until the next morning to go into the doctors office. I had called the doctor a few times to see what I should do and he told me that unless the contractions were closer or my water broke to just stay home. We got to the office and the doctor said that I was about 3 or 4 cm dilated. I was excited because that meant we were going to be meeting our baby for the very first time. He tried to find the heartbeat but was unsuccessful. I was a little worried but I thought I had just felt him move. We went into another room to use and ultrasound machine. He told us that the baby was no longer alive. His best guess as to why was that his kidneys had failed because I didn’t have a lot of amniotic fluid. 
I don’t remember exactly what I did at that point but I think I screamed and started crying and thinking about what he was telling me and what that meant for us. I remember thinking that I didn’t know how I was supposed to go on living without part of my soul. So many things were going through my head at that time I’m not sure how it didn’t explode. My husband Tommy’s mom had called only a few seconds after we found out. I called my sister and she immediately came to meet us. Paula and Bob (Tommy’s Mom and Step Dad) started on their way too. 
I was told that I would need to go over to the hospital to deliver. I was unsure of how I was supposed to go through the labor process while I was dealing with the indescribable amount of emotional pain that I was in. We went over to the hospital and went up to labor and delivery. They had placed a white rose on the door of the room. I was induced into labor. People came and went. My entire family and some of Tommy’s was there at some point. I had to have an epidural because the pain got unbearable. I kept feeling pressure and then I felt him actually coming out. I told the nurse and she and three other nurses delivered him. That was it. The moment every mom hopes for, her baby coming into the world. But instead of hearing a beautiful cry we heard silence. I had been told that he was gone but some part of me still expected to hear the cry. They wrapped him up and handed him to me. 
Noah Paul Crickenberger, the most beautiful baby I had seen since my other son had been born almost six years prior to that day. He was perfect in every way despite the fact that he was gone. I held him and kissed him and told him that I loved him. Tommy held him and did the same. As did all the other people that were there . The amount of love love in that room was overwhelming.  The nurses told us about a non profit organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep that would come and take his picture. The photographer did an amazing job and those pictures have been more help than anything else I have to remember him by. My dad went to pick Brayden (my oldest son) up from school and he brought him to the hospital. We made the decision not to let him see Noah because he was very dark and I didn’t want to scare him. I told him that Noah was born but he was sick and he had to go live with God. He cried, which broke my heart even more. Brayden went home with my cousin Holly that night. 
We went back to the room where there were still a lot of people. The nurses did everything they could to make sure we had as many memories as possible. They put his foot print on a seashell and cut a lock of his hair for us. Tommy and I laid in the bed and talked to Noah and kissed him as much as we could until the funeral home came to pick him up. That was a very difficult thing for me because I didnt want him anywhere but with me, but I had to let go. I do my very best everyday to honor Noah’s memory and have made it my goal to make sure the world knows who he is.
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