Mom to Thomas Noah Keppler

Stillborn at 36 Weeks on April 12th, 2011

St. Louis, Missouri

My husband and I were married in December 2008, after dating for over 5 years. We had planned on waiting awhile to start a family – since I was only 22 and he was only 24. However, in August of 2010, we found out I was pregnant. We were surprised, but so excited – this baby was going to be the first grandchild for both sides of our family.

We began to adjust to thought of our own little baby; one that was going to look just like us! At 12 weeks, I had subchorionic hemorrhage after working a 12 hour shift (I am a registered nurse in the ICU). Right away, I just knew I had miscarried. We were terrified. Thankfully, everything turned out to be OK. I had ultrasounds every 3 weeks to monitor the bleeding, and by December 2010 the bleeding was gone! We also found out a week before Christmas, that we were expecting a BOY!!! We had always wanted a little boy first, and he was going to be named Thomas, after his Daddy. The name Noah came from a character from our favorite movie, “The Notebook”.

As 2011 began, we were on top of the world. In March, we had 2 baby showers and completed his nursery – nautical ships:) On April 11, we went in for a scheduled doctor appointment. I was 36 weeks gestation that day. Only 4 weeks to go until our due date! I mentioned to my OB, that I wasn’t feeling him move as much as I had before. So she recommended a nonstress test, just to make sure everything looked OK.

My husband and I proceeded over to the Labor and Delivery unit, and got settled into a room to wait for the test to begin. As the nurses started to hook me up to the equipment, they had a hard time locating his heartbeat. After 3 nurses had tried, they brought a doctor in to do an ultrasound, “just to make sure everything was fine.” When the doctor found his heart on the screen, I knew as a nurse, something was wrong. He looked for a minute, which seemed like forever. He then turned to us and said, “I am sorry, but I don’t see a heartbeat here.”


We could not believe the words that had come out of his mouth. My OB was called and she rushed over. After taking a second look, she confirmed the news that our little boy had died. We were devastated. It felt like a bad dream, like a nightmare I just had to wake up from.

My husband immediately called our families. How could this happen? We were almost to our due date. I began throwing up. I couldn’t stomach the emotional pain. I begged for a c-section. I couldn’t bear pushing, knowing that we would not hear our son cry. My OB warned me not to, as I would always have a scar on my body to remind me of this horrible day. We were then admitted to a new room, and the reality sunk in. I was induced that evening at 10pm. I labored through the entire night, and finally received my epidural at 5am.

And after that terrible night of hell, I delivered our son at 12:20pm the next day, on April 12, 2011. He was perfect. So beautiful, so peaceful. He had my cheeks, lips, and nose. He had my husband’s eyes, forehead, and toes. He was the perfect combination of us, of our love. I used to think, if God was going to take him from us, why wait so long? Why so close to the end? Why not at 12 weeks, when we thought we miscarried? But I now think, God wanted us to meet our angel. He wanted us to know that we had a son, what he looked like, what he felt like. And I wouldn’t trade those 36 weeks for anything! I am so grateful for the time I carried him.

We still don’t have an answer as to what happened to Thomas. We know the cord was loosely wrapped around his neck, but my OB is not convinced that was the cause. But regardless, we know that he is in a better place now, than all of us are here. And we also know, that it wasn’t goodbye. We will be with him again one day.

We are now beginning to try for our rainbow baby. We know we will never replace our sweet Thomas, but our arms and hearts are empty…

Ashley blogs at

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  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I also lost my first child this April and like you, we are still healing and also now trying for our rainbow. Interestingly enough, I also had a subchorionic hemorrhage, but mine was at 6 weeks. Why not take my sweet baby then? Why wait till 37 weeks and 1 day? Anyway, thanks for sharing.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. We just found out we are 6 1/2 weeks pregnant with our rainbow. I know Thomas will a wonderful guardian angel to his brother or sister:)

  2. Ashley, my sweet beautiful daughter. I love you more than you know. I am so proud of you for writing this article. The last 4 months have been so very hard for all of us, but mostly you and Tom. You deserve so much happiness and I hope you get it with this next pregnancy. I have been praying all summer for you as have others. I will continue to keep you and Tom and our new precious bundle in my daily prayers. I love you!

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. My husband and I lost our first child Feb.26,11, We still dont have an answer to what happened.
    Hugs & Rainbows

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. I am very sorry for your loss. My fiance and I also lost our first child, a daughter, Chloe on March 31, 2011. I was 28 weeks along. She had a rare tumor and I was a high risk pregnancy but everthing was turning out perfect. Until one day I noticed I hadn’t felt much moven’t either. It turned out her umbelical cord wrapped around her tumor several times. This is something that is extreamly difficult to go through let alone share. I comend you on your strenght and I hope everthing is perfect with future pregnacies. Thank you.

  5. Thank you all very much! I am sad that we have found each other here, but glad we can openly talk about our angels.

  6. Hi Ashley,
    I also lost my only child to stillbirth. I could relate alot to you especially why didn’t it happen earlier in my pregnancy. I was 2 weeks away from my due date. And her name was Ashley Marie stillborn on Feb.20 2004. The weekend before was my baby shower. My b/f at the time who is now my husband was going to raise her as his own and is the one who named her Ashley. He meant me when I was 3 months pregnant. That day I didn’t feel a heartbeat so we took a bus down the hill and was about to go to the hospital when I decided I would go home and have pizza because she always moved after I ate pizza, but she didn’t so I went to the hospital and they told me sorry my little girl passed away. So I went through 22 hours of labor and delivery for nothing. I held her but I think that made it harder for me to let go. She was 5lbs 5oz. I got mad at god and said if he was gonna take her why didn’t he take her earlier? Why 2 weeks before my due date. The baby’s biological father was not there to support me wanted nothing to do with it (turned out he had a wife and a son).But if it wasn’t for my husband who I married dec 2004 I don’t know where I would be. I still have a hard time with it more so when I see the Ashley furniture truck.Please email me back thanks for your support

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