Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mother of Kenny
Stillborn on May 1, 2010
Easton, MD

At 35, when my husband Ken was 44, I finally got pregnant for the first time through fertility treatment. We had had three failed IUI's, and without much hope for success, we attempted a fourth IUI cycle, not because we or our doctor thought it would work, but because insurance had already approved it, and we couldn't attempt our first IVF cycle until I lost some weight. Much to our thrilled surprise, it did work! My due date was August 12, 2010.

My pregnancy was completely normal and healthy. I didn't have a single complication or worrisome symptom. At every ultrasound, Baby was right on target for growth, and at 20 weeks we learned we were having the boy we had so hoped for, and that Ken had predicted from the beginning. We were over the moon.

Because of the difficulties we had had getting pregnant, I had sort of expected a miscarriage in the first trimester; I just felt like that would be par for the course for us. But it didn't happen. We sailed into the second trimester, and naively believed we were home free! We spread the word to co-workers, neighbors, church friends, and of course family. We collected used nursery furniture and tons of baby hand-me-downs from friends, we registered, we narrowed down a list of names, we had plans. I met with my Headmaster and planned to miss the beginning of the next school year on maternity leave.

And right when everything was going so well, when I was looking forward to decorating a nursery, when we were trying on different names for size, when my mother-in-law had just finished crocheting a beautiful blanket for our son, and the day after invitations went out for what was to be the first of two baby showers, our lives changed forever. In the middle of a beautiful spring afternoon, while sitting in bed reading with the windows open, my water suddenly and inexplicably broke. I stood up, terrified and confused. I was only 25 weeks. It was way too soon.

Within minutes I discovered that my son's cord had prolapsed, and I went into panic mode. I was home alone. Ken was at work, over an hour from home. I called 911, and in the ambulance, the paramedic called Ken to tell him I was on my way to the hospital. At the hospital, prepared to perform an emergency c-section, they took me into the Labor & Delivery OR and turned on the ultrasound machine. There would be no surgery. My baby was dead. The pressure on his cord had blocked bloodflow.

In shock and despair I was admitted to the hospital, with plans to be induced, but I asked to wait for Ken before this was started. As it turned out, it would take him 2-1/2 hours to arrive because of traffic. When he arrived, I was given an epidural, induced, and spent a night of fitful sleeping, in labor, but not feeling a thing.

Kenny, named after his dad, was born the next morning, Saturday, May 1, 2010, at 6:24am. He was beautiful and perfect, and even big for his age. He was 1lb, 13oz, and 15 inches long. He looked like his daddy, but he had my nose. We spent seven hours with our beautiful, precious boy, heartbroken and unable to understand why this would happen to us after everything we had been through to get pregnant in the first place. I cherish every moment I spent with him, but they will never be enough. I treasure every photo we have of him, but there will never be any more. I remember every kiss I placed on his cold body. We will never get to hear him laugh, to see him take his first steps, to teach him his ABC's. He will never be a student at the school where I teach, and he will never watch a Steelers game with his dad. Our hearts ache for all the things Kenny will never get to do.

We were baffled by the official cause of Kenny's death. To our surprise, it is not considered incompetent cervix. It's simply attributed to preterm premature rupture of membranes (pPROM), but I don't understand how his cord was able to prolapse if I weren't at least a little bit dilated.

I am submitting this to Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope eleven weeks after Kenny's death. My due date is fast approaching. I miss him terribly and my dominant emotion these days is anger about the situation in general, and jealousy of women who get to have healthy babies. But every day this grief is the tiniest bit easier to carry. I am blessed with supportive and loving family, friends, and co-workers, and the babyloss sisters I have met online and whose blogs I follow have been my lifeline. To anyone who is new to this life-changing, gut-wrenching journey of grief, I send you the warmest of hugs, and my promise that you are not alone.

Julie blogs at My Sweet Kenny
You can contact her at


bir said...

Julie, I'm so sorry for your loss of Kenny, and for all that you've been through. Just to let you know that I'm thinking of you tonight, and with your EDD coming up. Wishing your days to be gentle..

Cynthia said...

The day you wrote this was the day our Nara was born. She died on the 20th. I, too, had pPROM. Mine happened at 17 weeks with no labor, either. I went on strict bedrest for 8+ weeks. Her chord prolapsed at 25 weeks + 2 days with no signs of labor. She and Kenny were about the same size. She was an ounce bigger. I'm so sorry for your loss of Sweet Kenny.

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