Friday, July 30, 2010

Mom to Brenna
March 5th, 2008
Bay City, MI

I found out I was pregnant the day after my 31st birthday. I was totally stunned because my doctor had told me years ago that I didn't ovulate and probably couldn't conceive. After the initial shock, I quickly became excited. I knew right from the beginning that I was carrying a girl; which excited me even more because I had always wanted a little girl. My husband and I had a 10 year old son, and a daughter from his first marriage. They both were very excited to be having a new sibling.

Mom to Baby, miscarried at 8 weeks on January 4th, 2007
and Baby Boy, miscarried at 16 weeks on June 21st, 2010
Newton, AL

My first miscarriage was in Dec. 2007, only seven months after my first son, Jackson, was born. I went in for my first ultrasound the day after Christmas. My husband and I were very excited. The tech started the ultrasound and as soon as the baby came on the screen I knew something was not right. 

Mom to Kamdyn
Due October 26th, 2010
Miscarried at 14 weeks on April 30th, 2010
Gillette, WY

Our son Kamdyn was delivered on April 30, 2010 at 14.3 weeks due to Placenta Previa. Our story begins with the struggles of infertility and miscarrying our precious baby.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New look...and a giveaway!

Hey everyone!
Have you noticed things got a whole lot prettier around here recently? That's thanks to Franchesca, mom to Jenna Belle and owner/creator of Small Bird Studio! Franchesca generously donated a blog makeover, and I'm just loving the new look! :) In addition to super awesome and affordable blog makeovers (she also did my personal blog), Franchesca also does beautiful custom art pieces, and more. Make sure to check out her site when you have a sec!

And now, the giveaway!

Tina, the face behind Mama Mia Custom Hand-Stamped Jewelry, has generously offered to donate a $30 gift certificate to her wonderful shop. Tina is a babyloss mom herself, as her precious twins Sofia and Ellie were born too early on April 25th, 2009. She blogs about them here (and hopefully she'll submit her story to this site soon too, right?! ;))

Here are a couple of examples of her beautiful work:

Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope is all about spreading awareness and letting those suffering from pregnancy/infant loss know that they are not alone. So, this giveaway is all about spreading the message and getting the word out about this new site.

Here's how to enter. Please leave a comment for each that you do:

  1. Grab the Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope button and put it up on your own blog or website. You can get it off the right-hand side of the main page; just copy the code and paste it into a new HTML "gadget" on your blog
  2. Share the link to this site on an online pregnancy/loss support forum you belong to (Babycenter, the Bump, Justmommies, etc)
  3. Share an idea of how we can get the word out to more people (especially those not already active in blogland.)
  4. Leave a suggestion on how we can improve this site (it really is a work in progress!)
You are more than welcome to leave an "anonymous" comment entry, just please make sure you include your name and email address.

The winner of the $30 Mama Mia gift certificate will be announced on Monday morning!

I hope to be able to do lots of giveaways here. Because they're super fun, and because I know something as small as winning a little blog giveaway can totally make the day/week of a babyloss mama :) If you have an idea for a contest, or are interested in donating something for a future giveaway, please let me know.

Thanks everyone, and thanks Tina for donating such a wonderful prize!

Kristin (and the rest of the Faces Team)

Mom to Nicholas, February 1st, 2008, lived for one hour
Sophia, February 16th, 2008, lived for five minutes
and Alexander, November 23rd, 2009, lived for five minutes
Harleysville, PA

After nearly a decade of infertility, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and treated with ovulatory drugs to facilitate getting pregnant. On our first medicated cycle, we conceived our twins, Nicholas and Sophia. My pregnancy was textbook; and, joys of all joys, we found out we were having a boy and girl at thirteen weeks.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mom to Harper Grace
Born too early on June 25th, 2010
Columbus, GA

Our daughter, Harper Grace, was born prematurely at 26 weeks and 1 day due to preterm labor caused by an infection of my placenta and amniotic sac called chorioamnionitis. It is a very rare infection, only affecting 2% of pregnancies. This infection can be fatal to mother and child, the only cure is delivery. Most premature infants with this infection will not live long after birth.

Mom to Sweetpea, February 12th, 2009 (miscarried at 12.5 weeks)
and unnamed Baby, January 19th, 2008 (miscarried at 6 weeks)
Flemington, NJ

We had been trying for another child since my son was born in 2006. After a miscarriage in early 2008, we found out I was pregnant again in late 2008. This is the story of that second loss, the baby I called Sweetpea.

Mom to Noah
April 6th, 2008-April 8th, 2008
Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Noah was SO wanted. Matt and I looked forward to his arrival from day one of finding out he was on his way. In December we found out he was a boy, and knew for sure that his name would be Noah Curtis Godwin Lloyd. Noah- is my dad's first name, and my great grand fathers first name, Curtis- is Matthew's dad's first name, and Matthew's middle name, and Godwin - is my maiden name. Everyone was so excited, and we already felt like we knew the little guy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mom to Eli
Born sleeping on August 29th, 2009
Boise, Idaho

Aaron and I were both so excited to know that we would welcome a new member into our family in early December.

We decided that this baby would be born in the comfort of our own home and we began having prenatal appointments with two of the best midwives we could have asked for (a husband and wife team of midwives). Everything was going perfectly and we were able to hear baby's heartbeat for the first time when I was 11.5 weeks along.

Mom to Savannah Grace Renfro
Born asleep on May 18th, 2009 at 40 weeks, 3 days
Yorktown, VA

I am the face of multiple losses, including a full term stillbirth and 3 subsequent miscarriages.

My husband and I had been married for 4 years and had a son who had just turned one when we found out we were pregnant with our 2nd. We always wanted more children and I especially wanted a little girl. I already had her name picked out, Savannah Grace. To me, it was the most beautiful name ever.

Priscilla and James
Parents to our three angels
Jacob Tyler, September 4th, 2003 (stillborn at 21.5 weeks)
Jordan Skye, April 21st, 2006 (miscarriage at 7 weeks)
Olivia Hayden, December 14th, 2009 (stillborn at 36.5 weeks)
Olympia, WA

My husband and I have been struggling with the loss of our three children for nearly seven years now. We got married in August 2002, and knew right away that we wanted a family. Six months later, we decided we wanted to make that a reality, so we went off the pill. Just a month after trying, we were excited to find out that we were pregnant! The morning sickness was absolutely awful, but I didn't mind, as I was too excited about having that child 9 months later. Aside from that, the pregnancy was going well up until 21 weeks. The following is the story told by my husband of what happened after that...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mommy to Identical Twins
Miscarried March 20th, 2009
Tampa, FL

The story of my pregnancy begins on February 13, 2009.

While sitting at the salon getting my hair done I remember not feeling quite right. Not bad - just not completely normal. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I chalked it up to being tired from being on nightshift & not getting much sleep that day as well as knowing AF should be starting soon.

Mom to two lost babies
March 1st, 2010
May 21st, 2010

I am missing two little babies. Words to describe the aftermath always seem to fall short. I have no physical evidence that these babies existed, except a few papers from the hospital, but that doesn’t make them any less real or important to me. They are my babies, they are loved, and they are missed. 

My angels: May 16th, 2007, February 2010, July 2nd, 2010
Salem, Virginia

The story of my most recent miscarriage, taken from my blog:

I miscarried last night just a few hours shy of being 7 weeks pregnant. I feel like an empty shell of a person waking up this morning. I don’t know what to do with myself, so here I am writing because maybe this will help me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mom to Alexandra Elizabeth Monique
Born sleeping on April 29th, 2010
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

I complained, a lot, throughout my pregnancy. I had sciatica, round ligament pain, I gained more weight than I wanted, I couldn’t sleep, and I was sick the entire time. It sucked. And I would take it all back, a million times over, if I could only have my daughter.

Mom to Eagan Nathaniel
April 30th, 2010-May 3rd 2010
Killeen, TX

My first child was born April 30th, 2010 and died May 3rd, 2010. But before I tell his story I should first tell a little of my story.

My name is Erin, and I am 23 years old. I had my 23rd birthday just about a month after my son passed away, so I was 22 when I found out I was pregnant and throughout the experience.

Mom to Rylee James
April 10th, 2010
Rocky Mount, VA

My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant diligently for about 1 year, while not trying to prevent it for another 2 years. So finally after many negative pregnancy tests, and monitored periods, I started using an ovulation kit. One Friday night I got down to my last ovulation stick, and after getting the unwanted answer I decided it was time to just let it take it's course, if it were ever to happen. Before I left the bathroom I decided to use my last pregnancy test just to rule that out, and as I waited for the results to pop up on that clear blue screen, I got a funny feeling. What if I was pregnant? I waited, thinking about the following two weeks when my husband and I were scheduled to go to fertility doctors for both of us, I dreaded that. I waited and waited...and the screen finally appeared... PREGNANT ....... wait..what?! where's the NOT in front of it that I'm so accustomed to seeing?! omg OMG . I'm pregnant! So there's the exciting start to my heart breaking story.

Pregnant from September 25th-October 14th, 2008
St. Louis, MO

After many months of trying for our first child we found out on September 25, 2008 that I was finally pregnant. I was so excited. We are high school sweethearts and had been married over six years. It was finally time. We told everyone. After all what did we have to worry about? We were both young (29), healthy, and no one in our families had any problems previously with pregnancies.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mom to Genesis
Stillborn on March 16th, 2007
Lost to Anencephaly
Los Angeles, CA

It was late 2006 and my husband and I had been married a little over 2 years and we finally decided it was time to start a family. We had no idea how long it would take to get pregnant but we thought that it would probably take a few months. To our surprise we got pregnant on the first try. I found out Thanksgiving Day 2006 that we were expecting our first bundle of joy! I was so shocked when I saw that positive pregnancy test that my hands were shaking and I remember glancing at myself in the bathroom mirror and my jaw was on the floor and I was pale as a ghost. But I was so incredibly happy.

Mom to Dominic McDylan, Feb 2, 2007 (EDD: Oct 10, 2007)
Gwendolyn Elizabeth, Jan 30, 2008 (EDD: July 8, 2008)
Aiden Alexander, Nov 10, 2008 (EDD: July 20, 2009)
Jillian Evelyn, Jan 19, 2010 (EDD: Sept 28, 2010)
Winchester, VA

Our journey started unexpectedly in January 2007 when we conceived our first son. We hadn't been trying and in fact had just started birth control. We lost our little boy before we even knew of his existence. For the longest time, I didn't even tell Chris (or anyone else for that matter). I just dealt with it on my own and reminded myself that we were no where near ready to have a child together.

Angels March 2001 and April 30th, 2010
Media, PA

My first pregnancy ended in a missed miscarriage. We were elated when we found out we were pregnant. It seemed so easy! It was the first time we tried and could not wait to share our news. We were getting ready to go on a vacation with my husband’s family so I went to Planned Parenthood just to get a test before we told everyone. Planned Parenthood confirmed my pregnancy and we could not have been happier.

Friday, July 23, 2010

First Giveaway Winnner is...

...Nicole, Avery's mom!

We numbered all the story submissions received by the order in which they came in, and used to generate a winning number. Nicole, number 53 of 77 was the lucky winner! :)

The prize is a locket of your choosing from this Etsy store. I wear the locket necklace I got from this place everyday. I love it!

Nicole, please contact me (Kristin) to claim your prize!

Thanks to everyone who sent in stories during the last week. We'll be doing another giveaway soon...stay tuned for details!

Have a great weekend everyone.


Mom to Baby Cameron (May 22nd, 2009),
Baby Oliver (July 10th, 2010) and Baby Olivia (July 14th, 2010)
Chester, Virginia

(First Miscarriage)
Last year, I went through pain alone. No one around me could help me. No one knew what to say, or how to say it. All of my friends had pregnancies that I was envious of. Everyone watched me fall deeper and deeper into isolation and depression, but no one knew how to help pull me out. This is my story. It has some joy, but it has sorrow that I never knew I would or could hold. I hope that by reading through mine, you will see the hurt and pain of my family, but you also see our strength, our growth, our love, and our determination to endure, regardless of what life throws.

Mom to Dexter
March 9th, 2009-March 10th, 2009
Palm Bay, FL

Seeing those two faint pink lines on the pregnancy test was a shock. I remember feeling overwhelmed with so many different emotions. I was surprised. I was excited. I was terrified. My boyfriend & I had only been together a little under 2 years. I had two children from my previous marriage & I was sure that this was a bit soon for us. When I revealed the pregnancy, I didn't get the reaction I had been hoping for. I had pictured being embraced & told that we could do it. Instead I was met with resistance & fear. I know that he was only scared but it was a rough two weeks where the fate of our baby & our relationship was up in the air. I was pressured into getting an abortion, something I was very much against. I made the appointment, but only with the hopes that my boyfriend would change his mind & not let me go through with it. The waiting period killed & I agonized over the fact I would be leaving my relationship to go raise the baby on my own. Luckily, the night before the appointment, I was met with a car & a onesie by my sheepish looking boyfriend when I got home from work. "Let's do this", he said. It was the happiest moment in my pregnancy. & so we were off on a journey.

Mom to Michael Joseph (MJ) Skaggs
Born July 25th, 2009 and died in my arms August 29th, 2009
Topeka, KS

After almost a year and a half and two rounds of the fertility medicine clomid, my husband Willie and I were absolutely elated when we found out we were expecting. My pregnancy started out just like any other, with the all day morning sickness and nervousness of a first time mother-to-be. We found out I was pregnant the beginning of December, and by the beginning of January, I had started spotting. I was petrified that I was having a miscarriage, and our doctor wanted us to come in and do an ultrasound to see what was going on.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mom to Audrey
September 10th, 2009-September 11th, 2009
Demoines, Iowa

It was 6 am Sunday morning when I woke abruptly. As my water broke I rushed to the bathroom thinking, "this is too early, oh God no no no, it's too soon for this!" That was September 6th. I was 24 weeks 6 days pregnant. So, off we went to the hospital and my life was forever changed - just like that, in a matter of seconds.

Mommy to James (J.T.)
Born and passed May 31st, 2010 at 18 weeks
Vandenberg, AFB, California

Everything started May 30, 2010 with what I thought was just round ligament pains. I had been at the mall with my husband walking that day and thought the pains were just from walking so much. As the night went on and we were at a friends for a BBQ I noticed as I stood the pains worsened but I really paid no attention to them. They kept on through the night and were still there in the morning.

Mom to Cara Angel
Born at 30 weeks due to severe Preeclamsia and Hellp Syndrome
November 17th, 2009
Chicago, IL

No one ever talks about what could happen, or tells you about diseases to look out for during pregnancy. I bet 90% of women don't know what Severe Pre-eclampsia or HELLP disease is. These diseases took my daughter's life and almost my own. This is Cara's story...

Mom to Aiden Arthur
Stillborn on June 8th, 2010 at 35 weeks
Wyoming, MN

Aiden Arthur was stillborn on June 8th, 2010 at 35 weeks. After a long complicated pregnancy. I had a placental abruption due to pre-eclampsia. It has only been 6 weeks since my angel Aiden went to heaven. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't cry. The pain is getting less as the weeks go by. This is the hardest thing I have ever dealt with in my life. You end up trying to find a new normal. Your life will never be the same after losing a baby.
Here is my story:

Mom to Cora
November 30th, 2009-December 6th, 2009
Indianapolis, IN

I had a perfect pregnancy. When my daughter was born, she was a big baby 8 pounds 12 ounces and declared the picture of good health. I took her home for five perfect days.

On the fifth day? She died.

Hannah Rose
Mom to Lily Katherine
Stillborn at 40 weeks, 2 days on March 16th, 2010
Raleigh, North Carolina

In that bathroom, I sat all alone, waiting for that little stick to show the two blue lines, indicating that I was pregnant. Even though I knew in my heart I was, the confirmation that those positive blue lines brought made my heart sink. Could this be real? What was I going to do? I couldn’t possibly keep this baby. There was no way. What turned my stomach the most, besides the nausea I was experiencing night and day, was wondering how everyone would react. After all, how careless must someone be to get pregnant out of wedlock? In a family of pro-lifers, it was always easy to agree with these beliefs, never thinking I would be tested by them.

My child died October 20th, 2009 and left my body on October 21st, 2009
Mason, MI

Even though we had not planned on getting pregnant our baby was more then wanted! I had missed my period so September 28, 2009 after work I decided I would just go to the store and buy a couple of tests to see what the result was. I was home alone, took the test and to my shock it was actually positive!

After pondering on how I was going to tell the daddy I ended up just asking him to come home because we needed to discuss something...automatically he knew I was pregnant! Obvious by the "we need to talk" line right? He came straight home and you could tell he was nervous and didn't know what to think but everything fell into place and the excitement began. The pregnancy seemed to be going normally. I had a my first doctors appointment the beginning of October just to get paper work started and figure out my due date. I was due June 4, 2010 (the day after my moms birthday). We had set up an ultrasound that day for November 24, 2009 because we volunteered for the new testing for down syndrome and I couldn't wait to see our little baby at 13 weeks.

On Sunday October 18th we had our normal relaxing day and late that night watched a movie, I remember him rubbing my belly as if he was petting a dog while laying on the couch. Movie was over so it was off to the bathroom then time to hit the sack! As habbit I wiped and looked down at the toilet paper... it was red. I got the absolute worst feeling in my stomach and my eyes automatically teared up. I wiped a couple more times just to reassure myself that I was really actually bleeding, I was. I came out of the bathroom and called my mom to tell her what I just saw and she told me to go to urgent care to make sure everything was ok. Off I went at 10pm by myself while daddy slept since he had to get up at 5am and it could have been 'nothing'.

I got to urgent care and to my surprise they were packed. As I walked in everyone was staring at me as if they knew what was wrong. I felt embarrassed. I checked in and told them that I was 7 1/2 weeks pregnant and that I was bleeding. I sat down and dreaded the long wait but to my surprise they called me back before everyone else. I was happy they did but then I knew something was really wrong at the same time and I just broke down. All I could hear in the background was the nurses rushing around asking if they wanted to transport me to the hospital. The nurse put me in a room, stared me in the eye and asked me millions of questions. I felt like she was judging me. They wanted me to do a urine test so I did... the urine was red, again I broke down. They also took blood, then pricked my finger to test my hcg levels to see if they were high enough given how far along I was.

She came back and again started asking more questions. She beat around the bush when she told me my hcg levels, acting like I was supposed to know what they were supposed to be. I simply asked "is that low for being how far along I am?" She said "yes, a little but it could be nothing." I remember those words like it was just yesterday, "it could be nothing," it gave me some hope.

They sent me home with a list of what I needed to do: rest, go to the emergency room if the bleeding/cramping got worse, get more blood work done in 48 hours to see if my hcg levels had multiplied, call my doctor the next day to set up an ultrasound. I got home, laid in bed and just thought about the worst scenerio to prepare myself. What was I thinking, how do you prepare yourself for something so horrible?

I was up for what seemed like the entire night. Eventually, from all the tears I think, I cried myself to sleep. The next morning (which was Monday the 19th) I didn't even want to get out of bed, but I ended up calling my boss to let him know I would not be in that day until I figured out what was going on and then I called my doctors office to see when they would be able to get me in for an ultrasound to check on the baby. Monday was such a blur, I tried to keep my mind off of everything that was going on but I did have my ultrasound that same morning.

I headed to the ultrasound (again by myself) having hope that everything was ok and it was just the normal spotting that some people get while they are pregnant. I waited in the waiting room for them to call me back, again feeling like everyone was staring at me. Finally after what seemed like an eternity I was called back. I laid on the ultrasound bed, she put gel on my stomach and looked around for baby... there it was and there was a heart beat! A sigh of relief came, but then was shot down. The ultrasound tech said "there is a heart beat but it is very very slow, it MAY be because you are still early in your pregnancy though." I knew that she knew my child may be passing away in the womb, I'm not stupid. I kept it together until I got to the car and then just had a melt down.

The 20 minute drive to my mothers I was in such a zone, I don't even know how I made it there. I sat around for a couple of hours and I couldn't help but go to the bathroom every 10 minutes to check if the bleeding had stopped and then I noticed as I peed the blood was getting darker and I was passing clots. I can't explain to you how that first clot I saw laying in the toilet made me feel. I didn't know if it was just tissue or if that was my baby laying in the toilet. I told my mom each time and she really didn't know what to say or do for me. Finally I told her I'm going to the emergency room. The bleeding had increased and now I was passing crazy clots. I wasn't just going to sit around and feel as if I was doing nothing for my child.

I get to the emergency room and at this time is when the swine flu was going around and to say the least the ER was insanly packed. I couldn't believe it. After checking in I waited in the hallway for daddy to get there from work. He popped out of the elevator and ran over to me asking if everything was ok and I just cried. Everyone passing through the hallway just stared at me crying and him holding me. There were no chairs, no where to sit, so we had to stand in the hallway door for EIGHT hours waiting for our name. As I stood there I just kept crying. A pregnant lady even walked by and I threw myself to the floor, WHY ME!? As we were waiting my pants felt really wet down there and I had to pee so I went to the bathroom and as I pulled my pants down there was blood every where. I felt ashamed I didn't tell anyone I was leaking through my night time pad. We waited and waited. FINALLY a lady walks out and calls my name but all she wanted was to give me a cup of water to drink before my ultrasound and to tell me after drinking it I had to wait 30 minutes to make sure my bladder was full. I cried because all I wanted to know was if my baby was ok. I didn't want to wait any longer!

After 30 minutes she came back to get me, I got up and walked not even caring if I had blood all over my butt for everyone to see. In the ultrasound room I was told to put on a gown and lay on the bed. I did and we waited for the tech. I remember her looking around and the first thing I said to her was "I had an ultrasound this morning at my doctors office and they found the heartbeat" she didn't say a word so I said it again to make sure she heard me even though she was two feet from me. She said "I'm not supposed to say anything but I am not seeing a heart beat" and then turned the screen towards me to see our precious baby. She was right, there was no heart beat. Surprisingly I kept it together I'm pretty sure because I was so damn angry. She left the room, I put my bloody pants back on and then walked out of the room. We were sent to another room for me to get checked which was pointless because I still had no answers. I was told "your doctor will get a hold of you tomorrow, for now go home and rest"... go home and rest? How am I supposed to go home and rest when no one is telling me whether my baby is dead or alive? Even though I knew the answer I needed to hear it from someone else.

Tuesday the 20th I had a doctors appointment. My best friend had taken me to the appointment where we were meeting daddy. They called me back before daddy arrived and as badly as I wanted to wait for him I was so angry that he wasn't on time for something so important and with my best friend by my side we went ahead with the ultrasound. She looked around not showing me the screen so I wasn't sure what she saw. I laid there looking at the ceiling hoping and praying for good news. She then took a piece of tissue and wiped the gel off my belly saying "the doctor will be in here to talk to you shortly."

We waited and at this time daddy walked in the room and in came the doctor. She then stated "we weren't able to see anything on the ultrasound, no heartbeat or baby" I just nodded my head as if I knew already. She asked me a few questions, whether I was passing clots or not, and I said "yes I have been since yesterday" and she told me my body seemed to be doing everything normally and I would probably not need a D&C. She said we have no cause for the miscarriage sometimes it just happens but we would like you to wait three months before trying to get pregnant again. Asked if we had any other questions, I shook my head no just wanting her to leave the room. As soon as she stepped out I broke down. I couldn't breathe because I was crying so hard. My world had just come crashing down. I went home and laid in bed the entire day and cried just wanting the bleeding to go away! My lovely friend came over after work with my favorite flowers, orange lilly's and I couldn't even say thank you I just said "I hate you" because she made me cry all over again!

Wednesday the 21st when I woke up thinking this whole mess would be over with I was wrong. I was home alone and to get my mind off everything I decided I would put a movie in. I bent down to pick out a movie and I felt this BIG gush in my pants so I walked awkwardly to the bathroom and as I pulled down my pants I saw something unforgettable. There was my sweet baby lying there on my night time pad. I freaked out. I didn't know what to do, I wasn't warned about passing my baby and seeing my actual baby!!! I was ANGRY! I pulled the pad off from my underwear and placed it on the counter pondering what the heck I Was supposed to do with him/her. The baby was definitely a baby, had sweet little arms and hands, eyes forming, a spine, and legs beginning to form.

What did I do wrong to make him/her pass away slowly in my stomach? I found a small box and placed the baby in it until I could figure out what to do. I paced my house for hours, just back and forth thinking if I should bury the box, burn it, throw it away. I just wanted it out of my sight so I could go back to being normal. I kept the box for days with out opening it, I just placed it in a drawer where I couldn't see it.
Still to this day I think about my sweet baby and wonder if he/she suffered. It breaks my heart to know one minute I was able to see the heart beat and that it was really slow so at that time baby was passing away. Did it hurt him/her? I wish I could have answers. I do know now my child is in a better place being loved and playing with all the other angel babies!

You can contact Ashly at

Mommy to Cristo Isaiah
Grew his wings on March 22nd, 2010 at 30 weeks
El Paso, TX

My story began on October 7, 2009. The day I found out I was pregnant. We had been trying for some time, so when we finally got the positive test result we couldn’t be happier. I had a wonderful pregnancy, no morning sickness, no complications, hardly any weight gain. On January 28 we found out we were having another boy, our third son. We were so ecstatic. He was a very active boy, always moving around and kicking. Those were the happiest moments in my pregnancy.

On March 17 I felt a sharp pain under my belly and my lower back. I called the doctor and he told me to head to the hospital as a precaution. The nurse placed all the monitors and as soon as I heard my son’s heartbeat I breathed a sigh of relief. The doctor ordered an ultrasound and everything came out fine. His heartbeat was strong, he was moving around so I was sent home.

The next few days were normal. Baby was moving and I was enjoying every minute of it. Then Monday came, March 22. The day that forever changed my life. I went to work and had lunch with my two best friends. We talked about babies, our c-sections, being moms. I asked them to take me to the drugstore to buy some ibuprofen, which my doctor said I could take for my back pain, which is what I was feeling.

When I got back to my office was when I noticed my baby wasn’t moving. I called my husband, my sister, my mom, I told my friends. They all said that maybe he wasn’t moving because I had taken an ibuprofen and he was sleepy. I agreed with them but was still worried. I went about my day, picked up my son at daycare, went to the bank and then went home. My dear husband made me dinner and I lay down to do kick counts. Nothing, I felt nothing. I knew something was definitely wrong. I called my doctor knowing that I would get his answering service. I told them what was wrong and they told me that they would let the doctor know. Not even a minute had passed when I got a call back from my doctor. “Go to the hospital now!” he said. I could feel the sense of urgency in his voice. It was around 7:30 in the evening.

I called my sister Yvonne and dropped off my son. I was crying and my husband just kept telling me everything would be OK. I called my mom and told her what was happening. She told me to calm down, that it wasn’t good for the baby. I told her not to tell Carlitos (my 7 yr. old son) anything. The drive to the hospital was a long one which made me that much more anxious.

We arrived at the hospital and took the elevator to the fifth floor. They were already expecting me. They sent my husband to emergency to get my admission papers. What a mistake, I thought. I wanted my husband with me because deep down I knew that I was about to receive devastating news.

The nurse took me to a room and told me to change. I lay down and she started to place the baby monitor, searching for his heartbeat. She couldn’t find it. Tears started to fill my eyes. She left to call another nurse. I told them that I wanted my husband with me. They called for him and I texted for him to hurry back. The ultrasound machine was brought in. I stared at the screen and saw my son. He wasn’t moving and I could see that there was no heartbeat. The technician wouldn’t say anything. My husband came back and that’s when they broke the news. Our baby was gone.

At that moment I lost myself. I cried, I screamed, I was in disbelief, but I never asked why. My husband called my mom, not knowing he had called her, I called her too. She took my call and we both cried. I told her my “Cachorro” was gone. She told me that they were coming to El Paso as soon as my sister Corina arrived from work. I called my sister Yvonne and gave her the bad news. I also called my best friend Wendy and she immediately headed to the hospital. My husband called his parents and his manager.

My husband and I hugged and cried. My doctor arrived and gave us both a hug. He brought back the ultrasound machine; he wanted to make his own assessment. He said I had a placental abruption and that I was bleeding a lot. He asked me if I was in pain or if I was bleeding. I told him I wasn’t in pain and wasn’t bleeding either. He said he needed to do a c-section and that I might need a blood transfusion because he could see that I was bleeding a lot. He also said that I might need a hysterectomy if the bleeding couldn’t be stopped. At that moment I didn’t care. All I wanted was for it to be over.

Wendy arrived and so did Norma, my other best friend. They asked me what happened but I was still in shock and couldn't explain all the details. Then my mother and father in law got there. We hugged and cried. We just couldn’t believe what was happening. I wished my parents could be with me but given that they live 8 hours away, I knew that they would try their best to be with me by the next morning. I wondered what they would tell my son. He was so excited to have another brother and was looking forward to taking care of him. My heart was breaking. Then I thought of my other son, Christian, only 3 years old. I knew he’d be too young to understand what was going on.

The doctor told me it was time to go to surgery. Knowing Norma’s husband was a photographer, I asked if she could please take pictures of my baby. Of course she agreed. My mother in law said a quick prayer and my husband was given the scrubs to change into. I was so tense that the anesthesiologist couldn’t place the spinal block, it was hurting so bad. I just remember screaming in pain. My doctor told the anesthesiologist to stop that he couldn’t wait anymore since my blood pressure kept dropping. General anesthesia it was, that was a little before 11:00 p.m.

I woke a little after 2:00 a.m. in the recovery room. My husband, my in-laws, and friends were still there. I had an IV in each hand, one for saline and the other for blood. The first thing I asked was to see my son. He was so perfect and looked just like his daddy. He weighed 3 lbs. 4 oz. and was 16 in. long. We named him Cristo Isaiah.

I don’t remember much from this time because I was so out of it because of the medication. I remember asking Norma to take pictures of us, not really knowing how terrible I looked after being in surgery for 3 hours. I didn’t care; I just wanted a picture with my boy, my little angel. I remember singing to him and kissing his cheek. Wendy undressed him so that I could see him completely. I don’t remember what happened after that, I must have fallen asleep.

I remember waking up the next morning. It was only my husband and me in the room. The baby was gone; I knew that the nurses had taken him to the morgue. My husband woke up crying and nothing I said could console him. Then people started arriving, but what I really wanted was to be with my mom and dad. Finally at 11:00 a.m. they arrived. My parents hugged us and told us that everything would be OK. I knew my sons were outside Labor and Delivery wondering what had happened to their mommy. The priest arrived and prayed for us, it was such a beautiful prayer. He said God had a mysterious way of doing things and that we are no one to be questioning him. I completely agreed. I have never asked God why this happened to me. I’ve accepted it as best I can. My children came in the room. I remember the look on my oldest son’s face. I’ll never forget it; he is too young to be feeling this kind of pain. The little one was just scared because mommy had needles everywhere. My room was full of people, my aunts, cousins, and friends. It was full of love and support.

My doctor came in and explained everything that happened. He said I had a severe placental abruption and had lost a lot of blood. He said he had no choice but to remove my uterus, he tried his best to save it but couldn’t control the bleeding. Tears rolled down his face. He tried to comfort us but I knew he was hurting as much as we were. He later explained to my sister who is a nurse that had I not gone to the hospital that my husband would not have found me alive the next morning.

I stayed in the hospital for 5 days, recuperating from all the trauma. Leaving the hospital without a baby in my arms was so hard. I cried all the way home. We had our son’s services the Monday after he was born on March 29. He looked so perfect, just like a little angel. I wanted to take him home so bad. We had him cremated, and I thought about keeping him home with me, but I decided a week later that I wanted to bury his cremains. He was buried on April 9 after a beautiful memorial mass.

I know that I did nothing to cause the death of my baby. I may not understand but I trust God and will live the life that he has planned for me. Along with my husband and children, I will live a happy and fulfilling life always remembering the angel I have in heaven.

You can contact Suzanne at

Mom to Dylan
June 11th, 2008-June 17th, 2008
Norcross, GA

This is my retelling of Dylan's 6 Days, taken from my blog. Though my memories grow more and more hazy, reading back through all of this still makes me tear up every, single time. Some days, I still can't believe that this is our story and that our son died.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Our first son Dylan Gabriel Brooks was born at 6:25 PM on June 11, 2008. The operating room experience was, in one word, bizarre. The lights were all aimed at me like some kind of sci-fi movie. All the doctors' and nurses' faces were covered with masks. It felt like there were hundreds of them. They placed a sheet coming up from my chest to cover my line of sight. I assume to keep me from seeing myself cut in half as well. They let Justin back into the room.

The doctor did an initial cut to make sure I didn't feel anything, and then he proceeded to bring Dylan into the world. Not 10 minutes after he started, they put Dylan up over the curtain so that we could catch a quick glimpse. He was 4 lbs 10 oz, a little gooey, alien-looking creature. Then they quickly whisked him away so that he could be evaluated by the perinatalogist. None of that was really any surprise to me. At 20 weeks gestation, we learned that Dylan had a heart condition known as Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. Because of this existing condition, I was prepared for the fact that he would be taken away almost immediately. Meanwhile, I'm getting stitched up and rolled out to recovery. We had to wait about an hour in recovery for my blood pressure to stabilize (surprise-surprise) before they wheeled me back up to my room.

Justin ran back and forth between the recovery room and the waiting room, where a handful of our family and friends were eagerly awaiting the news. When we were finally back in the room, our guests all came in to visit and see how mommy was doing. Dylan was already in the NICU at this point. After about another hour, the perinatalogist came into the room to tell us her findings. Everyone left the room, and she informed Justin and I what they could tell from their initial screenings. She told us Dylan was VACTERYL and explained the condition to us. First, she told us Dylan had an extra vertebrae (V). A cardiologist came and confirmed the congenital heart condition, HRHS (C). Finally, and what ended up being the most serious of all his conditions, his renal (kidney) function was questionable (R). They still weren't sure if he had 2 kidneys and whether or not they were functioning. Further screenings would need to take place when Dylan got transferred to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Once our family and friends left the hospital, I spent the rest of the night in my room attempting to sleep off the pain. And Justin spent every chance he could excitedly walking over to the NICU to visit Dylan.

Still no word on the transfer to CHOA/Egleston. They were waiting for spots to open up before they would take him over there. And because, all in all, Dylan was stable, he kept getting pushed back for newborns who needed the transfer more urgently than he did. When I woke up that morning, I was bound and determined to go to the NICU to see my son. Justin couldn't have all the fun without me. It was a chore just to sit up, but I finally made it over there. Justin wheeled me through the hospital, and he seemed to know the route like the back of his hand from his numberous trips to see Dylan. He was so amazing to look at. I just sat in my wheelchair and stared at him in fascination. Justin and I had created this life, the most handsome boy in the whole wide world (he takes after his daddy).

By early evening on Friday, the transport was finally ready to take Dylan to CHOA/Egleston. Justin and I just happened to be in the NICU visiting him and anxiously watched as they packed our son up in a traveling incubator. At this point, my doctor had not released me from the hospital yet, so Justin rode with Dylan in the ambulance. Honestly, the thought had not yet crossed my mind that I should be alarmed for any reason. I knew he was going to be in good hands at Egleston. Justin sent me text updates the whole time he was there.

At Egleston, there was a whole team of people eagerly waiting to meet Dylan. Justin told me, "He's the most popular kid on the block already." It took hours for all the doctors to run their various tests. Justin went to spend some quiet time with Dylan, and when the doctors returned, they dropped the bombshell on him. After an in-depth ultrasound, they discovered that Dylan only had one kidney, and they were almost certain it was not functioning. They drew some blood and said they would run some tests on it. By the morning, they would be able to give us a definitive answer based on the creatinine levels. Justin stayed with Dylan for another hour. He was so torn between not wanting to leave his son and having me in the hospital with no idea of the extremity of the situation.

When he text me that he was on his way back, my gut had already told me that something was not quite right. As he relayed his day's ordeal with me, we both just cried. Friday night was the first time I'd really thought about the urgency of what Dylan was facing.

If the creatinine levels confirmed that his kidney was not funtioning, our options would be very limited. When Justin woke up on Saturday morning, all he could think about was getting back to Egleston to be with Dylan. He was in Dylan's room for 5 minutes before the perinatalogist and surgeon came down to explain the blood results. What they'd found was the worst-case scenario. Dylan's creatinine levels were 5x higher than a normal kidney would allow, indicating kidney failure. The creatinine level would eventually cause the rest of his vital organs to shut down.
The options were minimal. He was too young for a transplant because the anti-rejection drugs would be toxic. Internal or external dialysis was not feasible because of his heart condition. We were basically left with a very sick baby and no viable choices.

Justin rushed back to Northside to have me released, so that we could be together as a family. We had to track down my doctor as he was doing his rounds and explain the urgency of the situation to him. I just sat in the hospital room and waited, stared out the window and waited. Once the nurses knew what was going on, they were all very accommodating. They found a wheelchair and took me through the back hallways of the hospital. Justin pulled the car around, where the rest of the mothers were loading up their babies to take them home. I sat in my wheelchair, no baby, and with the full knowledge of the battle Dylan was facing at Egleston.
When we got to Egleston, I just took Dylan into my arms and cried. We were trying to be as rational as we possibly could with the situation, and Justin's first thought was to call our Priest so that he could come to the hospital and baptize Dylan. We had no idea at this point how much time he had, so our sense of urgency was high.

Our Priest got to the hospital a few hours later and performed the baptism for us. Again, I just held Dylan in my arms the whole time and cried.

After a few more hours, they told us they would move us into one of the step-down rooms in the NICU, where babies recover from surgery. That way, we could have our own private room and bathroom. A social worker came to visit us in the room and asked if we needed anything. She also suggested that we contact the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS) foundation, an organization of volunteer photographers that came out to hospitals and took pictures of terminally-ill or recently passed infants and their families for free. She even went ahead and coordinated some time for a photographer to come visit.

Sunday (Father's Day)
Our NILMDTS photographer took time away from spending Father's Day with his own family so that he could take pictures for us. He was an absolutely amazing person and photographer. He came into the room and just immediately started snapping shots with Dylan. Dylan was sleeping, until the flash they'd brought kept going off. He woke up, very reactive, and wanting to follow the flash everytime it went off, that shutterbug (just like mom and dad)! We were able to have his tubes removed for the pictures. The hospital also had a beautiful garden area, where we had the opportunity to take some really great outside shots.

The whole time we were at Egleston, we did not want any visitors. It was too hard to see family or friends at this point. By Sunday night, though, we sent a text out to our immediate family. We invited them to say their last goodbyes to Dylan, if they desired to do so. Justin and I escaped to the chapel to be alone and pray while they all visited.

Our time at the hospital was spent dealing with a real roller coaster of emotions. We rejoiced in the time we got to spend with Dylan. We were angry over what he was having to go through. We were scared of what was going to happen from here. We were sad that we would have to say goodbye soon. We took turns holding him the whole time, basically only putting him down when a nurse came in to check his vitals.

I wrote this on Monday, our last full day with Dylan:
Dylan is 5 days old today. Our little man is such a soldier. He's been so strong and undergone so much pain in his short lifetime. It's hard to see him suffer. Justin and I decided to start him on morphine last night. He was more fussy than usual, and even though we knew the pain medication would knock him out, we just wanted to take all his suffering away.

We spend our days and nights sleeping in shifts, forcing ourselves to eat when our bodies beg for the nourishment, and holding Dylan (our most precious time of all). We talk to him, sing to him, read, everything we can to let him know Mommy and Daddy are around. Even the silent moments with him in our arms is dear.

Now, the hardest part is knowing exactly what's going to happen, but having no clue in the world what to expect or what it will be like. We had a momentary scare this morning when the alarm sounded that his breathing was slowed and his heart rate had decelerated. I remember Justin saying, "That's what it's going to be like", but there is still no preparing for it.

We got him more morphine, and he's been sleeping soundly since. Never before in my life did I experience such a roller coaster of emotions. There's that overwhelming and instantaneous joy that I felt on Wednesday, when Dylan finally decided to grace this world and then there's that ultimate devastation from knowing that his days with us would be so limited. Never before could I know what the meaning of "being on borrowed time" really meant until now.

And in between the joy and devastation, there's a whole spectrum of other emotions that mostly just leave us drained and numb to the world until we force ourselves to sleep it off for a few hours. As a Mother, I just want to harbor both Dylan's and Justin's pain and worries from them. I want to take Dylan in my arms and lull him away from all this. It breaks my heart to know that this is the only life he'll ever know.

I hold such anger towards God for putting us through this. There are moments when I'm all cried out though, and I just have to smile at Dylan and feel blessed to have had him at all. I have to think to myself that God is calling our little angelic son Home.

I worry also that, after everything is said and done, Justin and I will have a difficult time trying to find any sort of happiness or beauty in life. After this whole ordeal, how can our hearts ever heal and not feel cold and callus towards the rest of the world? How long before we're able to face our family and friends?

How long before I'll want to hear about another person's baby without holding any sort of jealousy or resentment towards them?

I guess only time will tell with all of these things. Maybe Justin and I were put through all of this because we're the only ones truly stong and brave enough to survive such a tragic loss. God would not burden us with more than we can handle, right?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008
We were getting minimal sleep in the hospital. Justin wanted one of us to be awake when the time came, so we took turns holding Dylan. His heart and breathing function had already failed several times throughout the night, but it was as if his body just kept jumpstarting. Our eyes were glued to the monitor, thinking that would give us a definitive answer on when he'd pass. But at this point, our bodies were exhausted. We both needed sleep and food.

Justin wheeled the pull-out chair that we'd been sleeping in closer to Dylan's monitors. The three of us stuffed ourselves into the chair and fell asleep as a family. I had Dylan on my chest, and we just dozed off. I'm not sure how much time passed before a nurse came in to check on us. I woke up as she was leaving the room. I looked over at the monitor, and Dylan's breathing had slowed. I didn't want to wake Justin up because I thought it could've been another one of the dips in his vitals that we'd endured all night. But it felt different this time. I watched the breathing monitor flatline for a good three minutes before I woke Justin up and told him.

It will always be significant to me that he passed away on my chest, where he could hear my heartbeat, the sound he'd gotten so used to for 9 months. Even now, though I can't hold him physically, he remains close to my heart. It goes without saying that I miss my son dearly, but some days are better than others. Dylan took a little piece of me with him and left my heart incomplete, but I am so very blessed and honored to be his mom.

Mom to Caleb Anthony
Born too early on April 12th, 2010
Omaha, NE

I've always wanted to be a mother. When I was little, I used to get in trouble for "mothering" my little sisters and brother too much. Other kids wanted to be astronauts, or police officers, or firemen...I wanted to be a mom.

When I met my husband, he didn't want kids. After several years of dating, he came around to the side that he okay with kids. We got married in October 2008. He became more and more comfortable with the idea of a baby, and I managed to convince him to start trying in the spring of 2010. A little after that, we discovered that we were getting the chance to go to Italy in October 2009, and somehow we decided to start trying while on our trip. I still remember the time when I turned to him in bed, and said, " wouldn't want to work on it in Italy, would you?" His response of "Sure" made my jaw drop. I said, "Um, you know what I mean by working on it, right? You know what I'm talking about?" He laughed and said "Yes, I know." SQUEAL! We were off!

We didn't get pregnant in Italy, but I found out I was pregnant on December 29, 2009. I told Chris by putting a picture of the positive test inside a video game case. We were both beyond excited.

My excitement soon took a downward turn when at 6 weeks, I experienced a stabbing pain in my side. Since I hadn't had my first doctor appointment yet, the midwife we were seeing advised us to go to the ER just to be sure. The doctor there examined me and saw some blood around the cervix, and told me I was probably miscarrying. I was devastated. They did an ultrasound, and after a few minutes I saw the flickering of our little jelly bean's heartbeat.

It was fairly uneventful after that. I continued to have bleeding off and on, but the baby's heartbeat continued to be strong and our NT scan was perfect. Everything was looking great. We told our families on Valentine's Day, and they were ecstatic and so excited.

We scheduled the BIG ultrasound for April 20.

On April 5, I went to the bathroom and felt something like a balloon pop, and a gush of red water came out. I was terrified. Chris convinced me to look for the heartbeat with our home doppler, and I was able to find it. That reassured me a bit, so I waited until the morning to call the midwive's office. They got me in right away, did the ferning test, and told me that it wasn't my water breaking and to just take it easy. But the continued bleeding was worrying the doctor. She moved my ultrasound up from the 20th to the 9th.

I wouldn't make it that far. In the early hours of April 7th, when I was 18w5d pregnant, I woke up in the middle of the night to water gushing. I found the heartbeat with the doppler again, but I couldn't contain my fears this time, so we went to the ER. Once there, I passed a huge blood clot (larger than a golf ball) and kept bleeding. They did an ultrasound. I was able to see the screen during it, and I knew my baby was in trouble. There was no black surrounding him (though we didn't know it was a him yet). The doctor told us that I had zero fluid left and that I should be induced. I texted my family and best friends that we were losing the baby. I couldn't stop crying. Eventually a second doctor - an MFM - came and talked to us. She was more optimistic but still presented the grim facts: only 1-2% of babies in this situation make it. She ran over our options with us, and we decided to wait it out. If I could make it to 24 weeks without delivering, the baby would have a chance. I would be admitted to the hospital with the goal of making it 48 hours, and then I would be discharged and on strict bedrest at home until I reached 24 weeks or delivered. At 24 weeks, I'd be readmitted to the hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy.

I was in the hospital for 72 hours. I had a constant IV drip of antibiotics and saline. I had an additional ultrasound, which showed my fluids at a 1.5 (normal is 8+). I was ecstatic - up from last time! When I'd passed 48 hours without delivering, they started to be a bit more optimistic and began prepping me for the hopefully long road ahead. The NICU team came and talked to us about what we could expect with a 24-weeker just in case we made it. The nurses were all confident that I'd be back once I reached that milestone.

Once home, I spent all my time researching supplements and foods to help keep infection at bay - my biggest adversary. I taped up mantras all over the wall, like "My baby will grow healthy and strong" and "My amniotic sac will reseal and replenish." Chris was absolutely amazing. He was by my side 24/7 and stocked the house with everything I'd need. He moved his beloved recliner from his computer room to the living room so I could use it. Friends and family visited, and all were greeted with hand sanitizer. I washed my hands constantly, I drank tons of water, I barely moved. I was confident that no infection would come near.

Sunday I'd been feeling kind of crampy but blamed it on gas. I was barely able to eat, and went to lie down. After a little while, I realized that the pains seemed to be coming in waves, regularly. It was a low pain, at my bikini line, so I still wasn't convinced it was contractions. My uterus, to the touch, still felt soft and relaxed. I listened to my new Hypnobabies track called "Baby Stay In," and that seemed to help a bit, but didn't stop it. Chris was worried, and as they started to get more painful, we timed them. I knew the second I looked at the timer and they were 3 minutes apart and lasting about 30 seconds each that this was it. I called the nurse's line at the L&D unit and left a message, but before they'd even called back, I'd made the decision that we needed to go in.

As we were driving there, the nurse called back and told us we were doing the right thing. We entered through the ER, and I was immediately put in a wheelchair and taken up to L&D. The contractions were coming harder and longer. The nurse checked the baby's heartbeat, and it was still there, pounding away strongly. Chris called my mom to come up to the hospital.

The doctor checked me out and said I was a fingertip dilated. I passed another large blood clot as I was being examined. He gave us some grim statistics and possibilities if the vaginal birth didn't go well, from needing a D&C to an emergency C-section with a vertical incision (which would mean that I would always have to have C-sections from then on) to blood transfusions. Chris was terrified at that point. They gave me Cytotec to dilate my cervix further and said they'd check me again in four hours. At this point I was expecting this to take a long time. It was about 11pm.

Our anesthesiologist came in to do the epidural. I'd originally wanted a natural, relaxed birth, but I couldn't wrap my head around going through the pain of labor and childbirth without that prize at the end. He had me sit up and lean over, and as he started to insert the catheter, I started throwing up. It took forever, through more contractions and more vomiting, before the epidural was finally in place. I waited for it to take effect, and it did...on one side. My left leg was a bit tingly, but my right leg felt exactly the same. They tried increasing the dosage but it was the same result: I could feel on the right. He had me lay on my right side to try to use gravity to get the epidural going, and adjusted the catheter a few times. FINALLY it started to take effect on both sides...but they'd had to use so much of it that my legs were completely dead. I couldn't move them at all or feel anything from toes to waist. I threw up again. I'd also started to shiver uncontrollably, and that lasted for hours.

I went a few minutes without being able to feel any contractions, but very shortly, I started feeling them again lightly. Almost immediately after that, I felt something slip between my legs. It felt virtually identical to the passing of blood clots that I had previously experienced. I called the nurse to let her know that I'd passed a clot or something. In back of my head it occurred to me that it might be the baby, but I didn't really think it would be. When the nurse got there, though, she lifted the sheet and confirmed, "It's the baby." It was 1:55am on Monday, April 12. I was 19w3d pregnant.

At that point, I started sobbing and buried my head in Chris's shoulder and said over and over, "I can't do this. I don't want to do this." He held me and told me I could, that I had to, that I WAS. I felt the rest of the baby slip out and called out to the nurse that he was all the way out (she'd been calling the doctor, letting him know that I had half-delivered). And then I felt him move against me. I remember crying out, "I can feel it move!!" The nurse gently said yes, he was alive. The doctor arrived and asked me to lift my leg but I couldn't due to the epidural, so my mom came over and helped hold my left leg up. They completed the delivery, and the nurse announced that it was a boy.

Through tears I asked my mom how he looked, and she said he was tiny but perfect. As the doctor wrapped up the placenta and took it away, the nurse brought the baby over. She put a tiny little hat on him and handed him to me. I was surprised I could actually feel his weight; I'd been expecting him to be feather light. He was alive. I felt him moving slightly. His eyes were still fused shut and he had an adorable profile with a little ski jump nose. His hands were perfect; his fingers sooooo long and slender. He had the most insanely tiny fingernails.

My mom held him for a moment while they helped me move into a more comfortable position and cooed at him. I will always love the memory of her holding him in her hands, rocking him side to side, whispering to him that we loved him and that he was so sweet.

Chris wasn't able to hold him...he just couldn't do it. I don't blame him. But I will forever mourn the fact that we didn't get to examine a perfect newborn together, our first child, counting fingers and toes, deciding who he looked more like, trying out his name to see if it fit.

At some point I asked the nurse to check to see if he'd passed away, and she'd confirmed that he had. We said our goodbyes so that the nurse could get him weighed and cleaned up and take hand and footprints. We waited for the hospital chaplain to arrive to do a blessing.

The anesthesiologist came back to see how I was doing. He walked in, bright and cheery, and exclaimed "Congratulations!" Before I had time to register it, he realized what he'd said and literally ran out of the room. He came back a few moments later, repeated his congratulations in a more muted tone, and checked on me. He let me know he'd be in to remove the catheter shortly. When he came back, he looked around and said, "Where's your baby??," clearly having forgotten again who we were and what our situation was, despite the "dead baby" secret sign on the door (a green leaf). He again realized what he'd said and mumbled something to cover. It was horrible.

Finally, the chaplain arrived. They brought Caleb back out, in a "real" baby blanket, and handed him to me. He was still warm. The chaplain led us in a blessing/naming ceremony. We said our final goodbyes after the ceremony, and shortly after that my mom left. She'd been there all night, and it was now almost five in the morning.

About 12 hours later, we left the hospital without our baby.

We have no idea why any of this happened. The doctor suspects placental abruption, but the pathology came back with no sign of that. His autopsy was also perfect. I had the RPL panel run, and everything came back normal, as did an HSG. We're getting ready to start trying to conceive again, and I'm absolutely terrified. I hate trying to classify my loss. He was born alive, so was it really a miscarriage? It wasn't a still birth because of that. But he couldn't survive, so was it really infant loss? I never know what to say happened to me.

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