Mom to Gunner Cruz

Born still April 19, 2012 at 27 weeks

Morrison, Tennessee

I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks on November 10, 2011. It was the most exciting day! I took 3 pregnancy tests just make sure I wasn’t imagining it. I surprised my husband when he got home by leaving the pregnancy tests on the bathroom counter. We were both so excited and already making plans for our future with this new chapter of our lives. We told our families we were expecting on Thanksgiving Day, 2 weeks later. I’ll never forget the feeling of telling everyone else, pure joy!

My little Gunner decided to make his presence known after that point and I was sick from 7 weeks to 20 weeks. I lost 20 pounds from the constant vomiting, but he was still making great progress! At 18 weeks we found out we were having a boy, Gunner Cruz Hertwig, and he was due on July 13, 2012.

After the 20 week mark I felt great, other than my back and hips hurting from him getting so big. My appetite was back and I was gaining weight and so was Gunner! Every doctor appointment went great and his heartbeat was always strong. Little did I know that Friday, April 13, 2012 would be the last time I would get to hear his sweet little heart beating. His heartbeat was 156 and I measured at 30 weeks instead of 27…he was going to be a big baby!

The last time I remember him kicking me for sure was that Friday, but I think he moved over the weekend, but I wasn’t paying attention closely until the following Monday when I started to get concerned because I hadn’t felt him kick like he usually did. On Tuesday evening, after I had been paying close attention, I knew in my heart something wasn’t right. I called my sister and asked her about it and she said the same thing happened to her with her son, but to call my midwife if I am still concerned. When my husband got home I broke down and was in tears, worried to death because I hadn’t felt Gunner kick like normal. I called my midwife and she told me to drink something cold and count the kicks and to go to the local hospital if I don’t feel anything after 2 hours. I already had done that before I called so we waited about 15 minutes and went to our local hospital to get fetal monitoring done. When I got there I was in tears when I told the nurse I needed to get monitored because I hadn’t felt my son move. She reassured me everything would be okay and sent me to a room right away. The monitor got put on my belly and she said she thought she heard movement but couldn’t find the heartbeat. A part of me was relieved because she thought she heard movement, but in my gut I knew something was wrong.

After a few minutes of trying to find the heartbeat she told another nurse to get the ultrasound machine. I’ll never forget looking on the screen and seeing Gunner so still. They didn’t say much to us and said they were going to call the doctor to come in because they couldn’t find the heartbeat. I remember something moving and my husband asking if that was the heartbeat and the nurses saying they weren’t for sure.  I remember asking the nurse why he wasn’t moving and she said that the doctor would look at it and tell us more. At this point I definitely knew something was wrong, but never did I guess my first child was dead. I knew my husband was worried to and this made it even worse.

The doctor got there after what seemed like an eternity and started the ultrasound again. He and the nurses were all around the screen so I couldn’t see anything, nor did I want to. I’ll never forget the silence in the room and him turning around to us and saying, “I’m sorry but there is no heartbeat.” The worst words any parent can hear. After that, everything is kind of a blur; I was in shock. My husband was sobbing the loudest I had ever heard him, my mother-in-law had come with us and I remember her asking the doctor, “Are you sure?” and him nodding, saying, “Yes, I’m very sorry.” Then I asked him what the next step was and he told me I would have to deliver. I just broke down; I was thinking how I am supposed to deliver my baby when I know he is not coming home with us?! He asked if we wanted to deliver there or go to the hospital where my doctor was, in Cookeville, and we decided to go where we had planned to deliver all along.

The 45-minute car ride seemed like it lasted for hours. My husband’s mother and step-dad drove us to the hospital and we were all silent the whole ride. When I got to the hospital they had already been informed that we were coming and what had happened. We arrived around 11:00 on Tuesday evening. The sweet nurse just put her arm around me and told me to cry as loud as I wanted. My midwife was there and she gave me a hug and told me she was sorry and that once they induced me it should go pretty quickly.  Time pretty much stood still for the next day and a half. I had 3 or 4 of the pills inserted to make me dilate. On April 19, 2012 at 9:34 a.m., I delivered Gunner Cruz Hertwig. He weighed 3 lbs 6 oz and was 15 inches long. I’ll never forget the complete silence and sadness in the room. It’s so hard to think about. I lost a lot of blood from the delivery and trying to get the afterbirth out so I ended up having a D&C to get the rest of the placenta out, and I had to have 3 blood transfusions. I was so swollen they couldn’t get a vein in my arms to put an IV in so I had to be tilted upside down on a bed and have an IV put in my neck for the transfusions. I just kept thinking, ‘This is not supposed to be happening!’

I have since found out that I have 2 blood clotting disorders, MTHFR and PAI-1, which they think were the likely cause of his death. I miss my son more than words can describe and it’s still hard for me to wrap my head around what has happened to my family. I’m hoping that each day bring more comfort and peace. One day I’ll get to hold him again. Gunner, mommy and daddy love you so much!

You can contact Amber at

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  1. Amber, my heart is breaking for you. I’m so very sorry about your loss. I hope you have been able to find the support you need to get through this. I have a list of baby loss communities and support networks here if you’re interested. It’s not complete, but I’m adding more as I find them. I know that “time heals all wounds” sounds like such a cliche and, it is to a point, but at the same time that is the only thing that will ease the pain. Eventually you’ll find a new normal, where you can smile and laugh again, even as you still keep your sweet Gunner in your heart. I’ll be thinking of you. XO

  2. Hi Amber,

    Reading your story breaks my heart even more…you see, I’ve been through the same thing and it just happened so recently…
    I was on my 24th week when I found out my baby’s heart was no longer beating. That was on June 7, 2012…hearing those dreadful words from the doctors was the most awful thing and I just felt numb all over. My husband could not even utter any word. Later on that night I was admitted in the hospital coz I had to deliver my baby normally. I was induced the next day and I was in labor for 5 days…I delivered my baby on June 12, 2012 and eventhough I knew that Kiera was gone, everything was too surreal I just coud not cry even when we buried her on June 15, I did not even shed a tear. But it was only after we went home that the reality that she was gone finally sunk in…our baby’s gone- too soon I did not even get to hold her or kiss her…it’s the most painful experience ever and I just dont know how to move on…I’ll never be whole again…somehow, your story made me realize that I’m not alone…and I take comfort that our little angel, Kiera Angelica is now with your Angel Gunner.
    So thank you Amber…I’m glad I came across your story…I hope time will come when our wounds will be healed.
    I shall pray to God that no one has to go through the same experience…

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