Monday, October 11, 2010

Mom to Ace
Born and Died July 18th, 2010

After 4 years of marriage, my husband and I decided that we wanted to try having a little one.  We were both 37 at the time and figured our time was running out.  Surprise, surprise - I actually got pregnant right out of the gates and we found out on January 10, 2010 that we would be having a baby!  We saw the baby for the first time on February 12th at the first ultrasound and the doctor gave us an estimated due date of September 23rd.  We were both still a little stunned - but cautiously excited.  We decided that we didn't want to tell anyone about the pregnancy until we were into the 2nd trimester just in case something happened.
All went well through the first and second trimesters - families were told and happiness abounded.  I was never sick, just some back pain every now and then - but other than that, a very easy pregnancy and I didn't miss a day of work.  I continued to travel for work and my husband and I even took a couple of trips.  We went out to Talladega to see a Nascar race (I love it for the wrecks) and met up there with his parents for a long weekend.  We also took a 10-day trip to Hawaii for a babymoon - it was our last hurrah before we became parents.  As a side: This is where we came up with the name Ace.  The trip to Hawaii was last minute, so when we bought tickets we weren't seated together.  My husband said, "Don't worry, with you being visably pregnant we've got an ace up our sleeve and I'm sure someone will switch so we can be together."  From then on we always called the baby Ace.
When we returned from Hawaii we decided to buckle down and start putting together the nursery.  Furniture was ordered, paint chips and color schemes were considered and we put the room together the weekend of July 4th.  (I wanted to make sure everything was in place in case the baby came early and the baby books mentioned that painting should be done early, if possible, to prevent the baby from breathing in the fumes.)  The following weekend we bought a mattress for the crib and a pair of Colorado Rockies booties - our first baby purchase (other than the furniture).
The following Friday (7/16) began as normal but around lunch time I noticed that I didn't feel the baby moving around after I ate.  I closed the door to my office, laid on my left side but didn't feel any movement.  After multiple attempts, I finally called the doctor and they said it's probably nothing, but go get checked out at the hospital.  At the hospital they sent me up to Labor & Delivery where the head nurse tried for a couple of minutes to find the heartbeat with no success.  She brought in a doctor, who did an ultrasound that confirmed the baby had no heartbeat. 
I will always remember seeing Ace's still heart on that ultrasound screen.  It felt like my entire world stopped moving and every detail became so sharp and is burned on my brain.  I recall reaching out for my husband's hand while I stared at the picture on the screen and holding on because I felt like I was going to shatter.  This wasn't supposed to happen.  All of the books said that once you're in the third trimester you are home could this happen? 
I was 30w5d, so I would have to deliver the baby.  We decided to induce right away and by 9 PM they had me in a delivery suite at the end of the hall.  I remember seeing the overtly sad faces of the nurses as they wheeled me to my room - I guess news travels fast.  The nurses and doctors were wonderful - they let me know what was happening every step of the way.  They put a purple ribbon on our door to let others in the hospital know what was happening, so there were no interruptions except for the head nurse and doctor.  They also armed us with lots of information on the grief process, resources, told us to think about if we wanted to hold the baby, name the baby, the various options for the disposition of the baby, etc.  There was a lot to think about - but I was in labor for 38 hours - so there was a lot of time to think.
I delivered our son on Sunday (7/18) at 11:21 AM.  He was 1 lb. 15 oz. and 16 inches long.  He had brown hair and was absolutely perfect.  We both held him and cried.  We marvelled at his little nose, cute little lips and cheeks.  Then we said good-bye and they took him away.
We left the hospital that night and returned home.  I put away all of the baby books that I had been in the process of reading and we both cried when we smelled the new paint in the nursery.  We cried a lot over the next few weeks and held on to each other because it felt like our lives depended on it.
I returned to work 2 weeks later and Ace was buried one week after that.  In the following weeks I got a clean bill of health from the doctor.  All of my tests were great and the autopsy results show that Ace was a very healthy, active baby.  Unfortunately, all of the activity led to a severely twisted umbilical cord (the doctor showed us after delivery - it looked like a kinked hose right where the cord connects to the baby's body).  The doctor said that "lightning struck" and there's no reason to think that a similar loss would occur.  I know it's meant to be somewhat comforting, but it hurts to know that Ace was perfectly healthy and he's still not with us.  My world has started turning again and while I'm still sad about Ace's loss, I try not to mourn what could have been, rather I try to celebrate the time that I had with him.
You can contact Jeri at


Anonymous said...

Jeri, I'm so sorry for your loss. It's good to read your story (you and I have exchanged a couple of emails!). I'm sending you big hugs.

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