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Mom of Baby Marshall

Born and died September 16, 2013

Anderson, South Carolina


In July of 2013, we found out we were having our second child.  We were simply over the moon because we had been hoping for a baby for a while.  Our first child was 5-years-old and had also been asking for a little brother or sister so he wouldn’t be so lonely anymore.

At 8 weeks, I started having some spotting, and went in for my first ultrasound.  Everything was fine with the baby, and the heartbeat was a strong 175 or so.  My fears were quelled somewhat, but I was feeling lousy, physically.  I just chalked it up to early pregnancy symptoms and tried to go about daily life.  Daily life as a teacher in late July, August and September is not a peaceful life, so I should say I tried to go about daily life as best I knew how under such stress, excitement and frustration as we teachers have at the beginning of each year.

About 4 weeks later, I had to go back in for another ultrasound, as I was spotting more.  Again, the baby was fine, and I was told not to worry.  On September 13, Friday the 13th, I went in for my second monthly appointment.  The baby’s heartbeat was strong and loud, but had to be found with the vaginal ultrasound again, because the Doppler wouldn’t pick it up from the outside.  The doctor said my placenta was right in the front of my uterus and was “in the way” of the Doppler.  So, despite some pains, some light bleeding, baby was good, and again, I was told not to worry.  That weekend, I went nowhere and did nothing.  I laid around the house as if I had the flu.  The bleeding got worse, and by Sunday night, I was hurting so badly that I couldn’t sit comfortably, and had trouble sleeping.  I texted my boss and arranged to miss school on Monday morning so I could see the doctor first thing.

At 7:00 am, on Monday, September 16, my husband left to take my son to school, and then he was going to go into work.  After they left, it was as if my pain worsened astronomically by the minute.  I started to realize it was more than the stretching and “growing” pains I had been trying to convince myself I was having.  I was able to take a shower, but after that, I paced.  I hurt. I leaned on the wall.  I couldn’t think straight.  I called my doctor, and he said to meet him at 8:30am in his office.  One hour more, I thought.  About 10 minutes later, I decided to sit on the couch for a while.  I was only able to sit for a minute, though.  I just couldn’t get comfortable.  Then, I had a rushing sensation, that felt like I was about to pee everywhere.  It was my “water” breaking.

I ran to the bathroom as fast as I could.  I got the wet clothes off, and didn’t know what to do.  I knew I needed to call my husband and my doctor, but I didn’t have a phone near me and I was afraid to leave the bathroom.  At this point, I am not sure what happened.  I don’t know if I went back to the living room to get my phone or if I stayed in the bathroom or even how much time elapsed, but I do know I was standing with a towel in my hand, and I just reached down and felt something coming out.  I gently grabbed it.  I was actually delivering my baby.  The baby who had, at some point between Friday afternoon and Sunday night, died.  Our sweet baby who we had all three come to love and anticipate had just arrived.  Dead.  In my hands.

Looking back on it, it feels like a blur of events – when did I go get my phone?  How did I know I needed a towel?  Where was all that noise coming from – the sobbing, the screaming and the roaring in my ears?

While still standing, I called my doctor back–screaming into the phone–and he told me he was sorry.  He told me to come to Labor and Delivery immediately.  Wow. Already?  Labor and Delivery?  I wasn’t supposed to go there until March, for my c-section he and I had just discussed on Friday.  But, oh… I had just delivered my baby myself.

I think I finally got enough thoughts together to call my husband as I sat down on the toilet.  I screamed for him to come home now, and I don’t remember exactly what happened next.  I do know that it was about this time that the lady who cleans our house came in the door for a scheduled cleaning.  She heard me and came running into the bathroom.  I didn’t know it at the time, but God sent her to me the way he sends angels in times of need.  She was my angel.  She sat on the edge of the tub, talked to me and helped me decide what to do with my sweet baby.  She got a container and a cloth for me, and helped me with my own clothes.

My husband got home, saw our baby and me, and he and I just sobbed together, there in our bathroom.  I will never forget the raw emotion we shared at that moment in time.  When I finally felt able to get up and walk without bleeding badly, I got more clothes on and they got me into the car.  Luckily, we live fairly close to the hospital where I knew my doctor would be waiting.  Close or not, my husband sped through the busy morning traffic, and we jostled from stoplight to-stoplight, from side-to-side, with our baby in the box between us.  And I couldn’t stop crying.

We got there; he wheeled me upstairs and the admitting began.  They weighed me, took me to a room that was ready, and somewhat strangely welcoming.  A soft light was on in the room, a gown was lying on the end of the bed, and I had at least two nurses with me the whole time.  Everyone was very quiet and respectful, while my husband, and shortly thereafter, my sister, and  I just quietly continued to cry.

The doctor came in, began the exam, which was torture.  I shouted and screamed while he insisted that I just try to relax.  Seriously?  Newsflash for him, relaxing wasn’t going to take place for days.  They ended up deciding to do a D&C, so I had to wait to be taken to surgery and put to sleep.  Afterward, to my knowledge, they put our baby with the material from my uterus to send off to pathology.  For analysis.  It was like my baby was a tumor or something and they had to send it to pathology, of all places.  For analysis.  No service, no ceremony, no remembrance, nothing.  I know my baby was not connected to the umbilical cord when I delivered him.  He was dead and had been.  That was my analysis.

That afternoon, once we had gotten home, I found my house in immaculate condition, and even my laundry done by my angel who had arrived early that morning. I was slowly starting to come to terms with what had happened.  My in-laws brought my son home from school and just the three of us were together in our quiet living room.  We broke the news to him, because he had been just as excited as we were about this new little baby in our lives.  Telling him that the baby died was extremely difficult, and I felt my heart truly break once and for all, as he sobbed in my arms there on the couch.

My husband stayed out of work with me for most of that week.  He stayed up with me on the nights I couldn’t sleep at all.  He helped me as I replayed the events of that morning over and over in my head.  He prayed with me and loved on me more than ever.  This terrible, heart-breaking event has brought us even closer together; this is a true  blessing in the midst of such a horrific situation.

There are so many of those little blessings: 1. My son wasn’t home for the terror of the physical delivery; 2. My housekeeper, my angel, showed up at the perfect time and stayed to clean my house and wash my soiled clothes; 3. My husband was not out of town like he sometimes is, and he was completely healed from an emergency appendectomy from a couple of weeks before; 4. I have a direct line to my doctor–What if I had not been able to call him that morning?; 5. I delivered my baby with my own hands and not into the awful toilet or onto the floor; 6. I got to see and hold my baby – if only for a short time – many women who miscarry do not get that opportunity, to see those tiny hands, sweet toes and facial features already looking like Mommy and Daddy; 7. My coworkers and my boss, several of whom have suffered miscarriages as well, have been awesome and totally supportive.  They have carried on my job without me and have done countless things for me so that I don’t have to worry right now.; 8. I have been able to talk about this and share with others, which has been very therapeutic for me.; 9. We were able to plant a tree in honor and memory of our sweet baby boy, and my 5-year-old helped and prayed with us, as we covered its roots in our back yard.; 10. And most of all, I have God, who supplies all these blessings and comforts in the midst of turmoil and sadness.

We will heal, and God and time will help.  I come away from this with a deep knowledge of what it’s like to lose a child.  I also come away asking questions that all begin with why: Why did it happen?  Why me?  Why did my body “get rid of” my baby so quickly and violently?  Why did the baby die?  Why didn’t the hospital provide me with a support group or remembrance ceremony?  Why does no one else talk about their own experience with this until it comes out that someone else has suffered too?  Why is it a taboo subject?  Why are other people not grieving a death, like I am?  And, why is it called “miscarriage” anyway?  “Mis” means “wrong” as a prefix.  So, I was carrying my baby wrongly?  Seriously, what was wrong?

I know I cannot try to answer these questions, as the attempt to do so might drive me to insanity.  I do know that I am blessed with a ton of family and friends who have been loving on us.  From my sister, who was by my side in the hospital, to my boss, who brought dinner, to our minister who preached a sermon about loss and endings in life that touched me as no other sermon ever has–they have all touched us deeply with their compassion.  We will get through, and maybe this hole in our hearts and this void in our little family will slowly, but surely, fill back up.

You can contact Amy at amylomars@gmail.com.

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