Mother of an Angel, Deklin Lane Chance

November 17, 2001

Bremen, Georgia

Let’s see, where do I begin? How I can I even attempt to put this into words? Not really sure but here ya go! Maybe I am writing this to help myself or it could be to help someone else that is going through or has been through the same thing. Or perhaps it’s simply to get my story out there that life truly does begin at the time of conception. Nothing irritates me more than to hear someone call a baby a “thing” or a “fetus”; they are babies plain and simple.

After what seemed like an eternity, it was here, I was finally pregnant-goodie goodie devil and doctors, my God provided and I don’t need your stupid medicines or treatments to get pregnant. My due date was May 22, 2002! Woo hoo… Dakota you are gonna be a big brother! I felt great! Everything is going great. Eating like a pig and sleeping like a baby. Couldn’t be better. No morning sickness! This is going to be a piece of cake! I went to the doctor on November 14th and he said my weight and blood pressure were right on track and he wanted me to go upstairs for an ultrasound to make sure my little peanut was on track with his or her growth as well. Yay! I was excited I was going to see my peanut for the first time.

I remember that ultrasound like it was yesterday. Everything looked good. I was 13 weeks gestation, but you could clearly see ten fingers, ten toes, kicking and moving around. There was so much movement that the technician giggled and said we’d have a gymnast on our hands and she sent me on my way with 4 pictures showing different angles and measurements of my peanut. She told me next month when you come back, you will know if your gymnast is a boy or a girl! “See you in a month” still rings in my ear. I left the doctor and went to see my mom, proudly carrying my pictures and the video of Peanut. My mom was convinced she could see girl parts and I had my little Destiny inside my tummy. The rest of the week was kinda same-ole, same-ole. I was a stay at home mom with my oldest son Dakota who was 2 ½ at the time, so my days were pretty routine. Get up, fix breakfast, clean the house, cook lunch, play games, cook dinner, give him a bath, put him to bed and then start all over again the next day.

On Friday November 16th, some friends of ours called and asked what we were doing that evening. With the response of, “We have no plans,” we were invited to come and hear their jazz band play at a little coffee shop in Bremen. Jazz and Coffee-couldn’t be better! So, we took Dakota to his nana’s house and off we went. Little did we know this night would change our lives forever.  We got to the coffee shop, found us a table and chatted with some friends as we were waiting on the band to start. I said, “Honey, I’m hungry.”–my three favorite words during pregnancy, lol.

I ordered a bowl of clam chowder soup and a red slush-puppy… yea-yea I know, gross! But hey, what I can I say…weird pregnancy cravings. The band started to play and the soup was delish! But as I was sitting there, still feeling great, mind you, I felt something warm start to run down my leg and how modified I was that a 20-year-old woman just peed in her pants in a public restaurant. So I made eye contact with Norris (my husband) and mouthed for him to come to the table.

As he walked up, I said to him, “When I stand up please walk right behind me because I just wet my pants.” As we were walking towards the door, there was the gush again! As I looked down, all I could see was red– it was not pee! Everyone panicked, including me! This was not normal. It was not normal to bleed during pregnancy and it surely was not normal for it to be gushing out of me like I had been shot. I stood in the doorway waiting on Norris to pull the car up and was terrified to move because the more I moved, the more it poured out of me.  I remember standing there with one of my best friends and all I could think about was my baby! Was I dying? What was happening to me never crossed my mind. It was my peanut that I was concerned about.  As I slowly walked to the car with the help of my friends, leaving a trail of blood behind me, you could have heard a pin drop in that restaurant; everyone knew this was not normal. As I sat down in the van, I begin to weep. Every move I made, every bump to the hospital, every word I spoke and tear I cried made it worse. What was going on??!! As we pulled up to the ER door, my husband ran in screaming for a wheelchair. I was afraid to walk; I didn’t want to move for fear of making it worse.

He ran back out to the car with a complete stranger following right behind him. He swung open the door and as he was trying to lock the break on the wheelchair, this complete stranger looked me in the eyes and said, “It’s going to be ok,” and before I knew it, he swept me up in his arms and sat me in the chair. I don’t know if he could see the sheer panic on our faces or if he was an angel of God, but he didn’t hesitate to help. Who does that nowadays? NO ONE.  He was covered in my blood and it didn’t seem to bother him one bit; he just wanted to help. He ran in front of us and held the doors open as we went in, desperate for someone to help us and for anyone to explain what was going on. They quickly moved me to a table and started pushing around on my stomach. The more they pushed, the more it gushed. The nurse stepped out to go and call my doctor. When she did, the ER doctor walked in the room and looked at all this blood coming out of my “tiny” body. I say that because at that very moment I felt just like a helpless child-so small, so innocent and so confused. The words that came out of his mouth just about killed me soul. ‘The fetus-the fetus is probably dead, I’m surprised IT has not just fallen out with this amount of blood.”

EXCUSE ME! WHAT about bed-side manner??!!! At that very moment, I went blank with anger! HOW DARE YOU say that about my baby! Before I knew it, I sat up on the bed and had my fist drawn to punch him square in the face! My husband informed him he needed to leave the room and get an ambulance ASAP to have me moved to the hospital where my doctor was. I remember him walking out of the room with such arrogance and at that moment, I fell l to pieces and begin to hyperventilate. The nurse walked back in and apologized for such a rude doctor. She assured us it would be ok, and she pulled out a heart monitor out of her pocket and placed it on my stomach. “There it is,” she said. It was a heartbeat; a beautiful, strong heartbeat.

I began to cry harder and said, “My baby, my baby is ok!!” She said, “I am not sure what is going on, but your baby’s heartbeat sounds good. The ambulance will be here in less than 5 minutes and we will transport you to your doctor so he can take care of you and your baby.” At that time, I remember feeling calm and a peace come over me. That was the longest 15-minute ride in the ambulance. As they were unloading me, I saw my mom, my pastor at the time and a bunch of friends (some from the coffee shop as well as others) all waving and
smiling and telling me everything was going to be ok and they were going to take good care of me. The first thing my doctor did was an ultrasound.  As they placed the instrument on my stomach, I remember holding my breath… and there he/she was… my peanut… moving and kicking!!! I was overjoyed! Yet, by the look on the doctor’s face, I could tell he didn’t share my excitement.

“What’s wrong?” The words that came out of his mouth absolutely made my heart want to stop beating. “The baby is alive and the heartbeat is very strong, but my concern is, you have a tear behind the placenta and that’s where the bleeding is coming from. There is nothing we can do to stop it or to repair it. There was nothing you did to cause it and there is nothing you could have done to prevent it. Sometimes these things just happen. All we can do is wait. If it stops bleeding, it will repair itself and everything will be fine. If it doesn’t, it will cause you to miscarry.”  I felt like I had just slipped into a deep, dark, black hole. Like I was the only person in that room, even though I was surrounded by doctors, nurses, my mom and my husband, I felt completely alone with no sound other than that precious little heartbeat that was still echoing throughout the exam room.

From that moment on, all I could do and wanted to do, was cry. I don’t know what else was said by any of the medical staff or my family because I was in a daze. They moved me up to the maternity floor and I was placed on strict bed-rest. I was not allowed to get up for any reason. I couldn’t go to the bathroom; I had a bedpan for that. I wasn’t allowed to take a shower; I was giving a sponge bath. I couldn’t sit straight up to eat. NOTHING. I was confined to a complete bed rest position. I don’t remember much else about that night because I was given some medicine so I would rest. It had been a very long day. The next morning, I remember waking up to the nurses checking me. “Heartbeat still sounds good,” she said as she was raising the sheet to check me, “The doctor will be in shortly.”

Still, at this point, I was really not sure what to say or think. Dr. Boss made his rounds shortly before noon and when he came, in my blood levels were going up and he said the hemorrhaging had stopped. I remember Norris and me being overwhelmed with joy. I was still on bed rest and they were going to continue to monitor me, but it seemed like everything was going to be ok. “WOW, I am so excited and blessed. Let’s celebrate. Call your mom and ask her to pick up a pizza and we eat and celebrate that everything is going to be ok!” I said to Norris, and that’s exactly what we did. His mom brought pizza and we all talked and laughed and talked about what a scary thing this whole situation had been. We ate and got settled and were just lying around watching TV when it started all over again.

“Lord, please NO. Not again.” About 2 p.m., I had another gush and as Norris ran to get the nurse that’s what I was begging and pleading.  But this time, it was even worse than before. No matter how still or how quiet I was, it just wouldn’t stop. More and more, faster and faster it just kept coming. So much and so fast, except this time with every gush of blood, it would hurt like someone was kicking me in my stomach. From this point on, I only remember bits and pieces because I was going in and out of consciousness. I recall at one point the nurses were standing around the blood pressure machine discussing how dangerously low my heart rate and blood pressure were. I began to cry because I knew not only was my baby going to die, but deep down inside of me I thought I was dying. I was going to leave Dakota without a mother. He is only 2 1/2 and he will never remember me. He won’t know how much I love him and how much I cherish every single day I have with him. And Norris will be without a wife, a helpmate, a friend, and how would my mother handle losing a grandchild and her youngest daughter at the same time? All these thoughts were flooding my mind.

I remember waking up and a tiny little nurse named Precious had crawled in the bed with me and was holding me and washing my face with a cool rag. She was telling me it was ok. She was going to take care of me and God would not let anything happen to me. I do believe she began to sing some song; I don’t know what it was, but it was beautiful. In between her singing to me and washing my face, she would get up to clean my bed. The last time she and Norris were removing blood clots off the bed, they were so large they were overflowing out of the cups they were putting them in. At some point, I remember Norris begging the charge nurse to call my doctor. I remember him telling her that I had been hemorrhaging for too long and he feared I was going to die. I remember hearing the fear in his voice as he told the nurse if she wanted him to choose, he chose me. He wanted me to live! His exact words to her were, “I love this child but if you are asking me to choose which one to save, I am begging you to save my wife. This has been going on for over 4 hours now. Why haven’t you called Dr. Boss? Look at her blood pressure, it is too low and this is getting dangerous. I have known him for many years and if you don’t call him, I will go to his house and get him myself!”

I lost consciousness for what seemed to be a very long time, when in reality it had only been a couple of minutes. When it came to this time, all the nurses were in there getting me prepared to take to the delivery room. As they were rolling me down the hall, my sister had made it to the hospital, I opened my eyes long enough to tell her I love her and thanked her for coming. As I was drifting off again, I could hear her screaming at that charge nurse, “Why did you let her hemorrhage for so long,? If something happens to her, God help you!!” Once I woke up, I was in the delivery room. The lights were dim and there was a small blanket and baby hospital bed at the end of my bed. I don’t remember a whole lot from this point other than the sounds of the nurses and doctor talking amongst themselves and the sounds of medical tools being laid and picked up off the table.

“It’s a boy” were the next words that came out of Dr. Boss’ mouth. Only this time, there were no cheers… only silence… no baby crying. Just deep, dark and cold silence. He worked on me for what seemed like forever before he was finished. He walked up to the head of the bed and told Norris and me that he would go inform the rest of the family that I was ok and he would give us some time together. He asked if Norris wanted to hold our son, but he said no, he just couldn’t do it. We cried and held each other tight for awhile, then he stepped out so my mom could come in and see me. While I was waiting on her to come back, I asked the nurse if I could hold my baby, but they told me I was too weak and didn’t need to sit up quite yet. As my mom entered the room, I remember asking her to bring my baby over to the bed so I could see my son. She walked over to the table where he was laying and picked his tiny perfect little body up and brought him back to my bedside. I remember we examined his tiny body inch-by-inch. I counted his toes, all ten! I remember counting his fingers, all ten! He was perfect and looked just like his big brother. Same side profile and same little nose. “I just don’t understand, Mama, he is perfect. Why did this happen, why????” I began to ask through the deepest sobs I have ever sobbed. I remember her taking him and placing him peacefully back on the bed and she came back to me and just held me and let me sob. She didn’t know the answers to my questions, so she just let me sob.

As they were getting ready to move me back to a regular room, one of the nurses asked what we wanted to do, and I recall asking her what exactly she meant. She asked if we wanted to arrange for a funeral home to come and get him or if we wanted the hospital to handle it. Excuse me, “handle it?” What are you talking about? She began to explain to me how some people don’t want to have a funeral and so they leave their babies at the hospital and the hospital will dispose of the baby. Once again, I felt like my heart had been ripped out. I quickly told her NO, leave our son alone! We would arrange for the funeral home to come and get him ASAP.

Once again, the rest of that evening was a blur, only this time they gave me more than just a little medicine to make me rest. I think they gave me a nerve pill, a pain pill and a sleeping pill– all which were desperately needed. The next morning, they brought in my breakfast trey. “No thanks, I’m not hungry.” Lunchtime yet again they brought in my food tray. “No thanks, I’m not hungry.” And finally here they came with dinner…”Do I even need to say anything?” The poor thing turned and walked back out with tray in hand. “Honey, you need to eat,” Norris quietly said from the corner of the room. “But I am NOT hungry; please don’t make this any harder than it is.” I know now he was trying to look out for my best interest, but honestly food was the furthest thing from my mind.

About 6:00 that evening, there was a knock on my room door. In walked a nurse with a square box with hearts all over it. I looked at the nurse and asked what that was. As she sat on the bed, she started to explain to me how the hospital gives these memory boxes to everyone that loses a child.  “What’s in It?” I asked. “Let me show you,” she said. She slowly started to pull things out of the box. Some of the most precious, wonderful and beautiful things I have ever seen and will always cherish were in that box. The first thing she pulled out was his blanket, followed by his hospital bracelet and a magazine for parents that have suffered a miscarriage. “Next,” she said, “These next two items are some things you will cherish for the rest of your life.” The first thing she gave me was a picture of my beautiful angel, and last but not least, she handed me a piece of paper that had his footprints stamped on it. The most tiny, beautiful, precious, wonderful footprints I had ever laid eyes on. At this point, tears begin to flow faster and faster down my face. How will I ever overcome this pain, this hurt, the unbearable guilt, even though I didn’t do anything to cause this, I still somehow felt to blame.

The next day, I was released from the hospital. Not how I had imagined it. When you are pregnant and you go into the hospital, you are supposed to leave the hospital with a baby and tears of joy; not a memory box, tears of sorrow and a heart broken into a million pieces. I do not remember the ride home whatsoever. We even stopped at the pharmacy to get my medicine and I don’t remember that either. That evening, Norris told me we had to go make funeral arrangements the next day, so I needed to get a good night’s sleep. We went and made our arrangements and I still felt as though I was in a daze and it was all a nightmare that I ever so desperately wanted to wake from.

Friends and family came to the funeral home to pay their respects and many people came to the graveside service. It was a cold and windy November day. As we sat out by the graveside and the cold wind was blowing against my face, I just sat there trying to comprehend how I was going to go on day-to-day, and at that time I had no answer for myself. I was sad. I was hurt and I was mad. This was not supposed to be happening! It was Thanksgiving week we should be cooking and spending time with our family not grieving the loss of a child. The depression I was feeling just kept getting worse and worse and deeper and deeper. I didn’t care if I got dressed, or if I fixed my hair. I didn’t eat and I didn’t even want to get out of bed. Two weeks after the miscarriage, I had to go back to the doctor for a follow-up and it was clear to the doctor that I had developed an eating disorder from severe depression. He put my on 2 different types of medicine. One for depression and one for my eating disorder, neither of which seemed to help me. It was not until a month or so had gone by that my husband had to show me some tough love and bring it to my attention that even though I was grieving, I still had a child that was alive and needed his mama. Boy, that was a reality check; I still had a son that was here on this earth with me and was longing for his mama to come back.

That night as I was trying to go to sleep, I cried and prayed and begged God to help me. I apologized for being mad at God and I pleaded my case for him to help me. Help me understand why. Help my heart not be broken into a million pieces. Help me God, please help me. This went on for over 2 hours and I finally went to sleep.

[After a dream that brought clarity], the next morning, I got up, took a shower, got dressed, cooked breakfast and dumped every single one of my medications down the toilet! I had my answer from the Lord and it was time to start my healing process. Was it easy? Definitely not, but it was necessary. I still had Dakota and he needed a mama, I had a husband that needed his wife and our life had to go on. This November 17th marks 11 years ago [at time of submission] that my precious Deklin Lane Chance went on to be with the Lord. Yes, I still mourn on that day, but that’s ok because it’s normal to morn. Do I grieve; no because I know God has a better plan for us than we have for ourselves.  Almost one year to the day, the Lord gave me another precious gift. Jaxon Malachi Chance was born November 6, 2002.

This started out to be a short story and has turned into over 4,000 words. Like I said in the beginning, maybe it’s meant for someone to read it or maybe it’s just for me.. either way….. it’s done, and this has been “my story.”

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