Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mommy to Liam Joseph
Born still on September 18th, 2010
Lancaster, PA

I have always wanted to be a mom. When we got married in 2006 my husband and I decided to wait until 2010 to have kids. We wanted our relationship to be strong before we added a child to the family. Since I started a new job late in 2009, we decided to wait a few more months so I would have full benefits when the baby was born.

I remember having a conversation with my college advisor, who also happened to be dean of the honors program I was enrolled in, where I admitted that I didn’t have career ambitions. I just wanted to have a family. He was sort of appalled. I had a job for a while that was fulfilling, but deeply stressful and overly demanding on my time.  When I got my new job, it seemed like the perfect time to have a baby. I have fantastic benefits and understanding co-workers. We were planning to start trying in April 2010. In March, my husband’s sister announced she was pregnant. We had no idea if I would get pregnant easily, so we didn’t mention our plans to try for a baby soon.

I got pregnant in May, and everything was normal and easy. Very little morning sickness, a little fatigue, but I felt great. The only thing that seemed weird was that I never felt any movement. My parents were thrilled, since this would be their first grandchild. My husband’s parents were also thrilled, and everyone thought it would be nice that the cousins would be close in age. My sister-in-law’s pregnancy was a little rocky to start, but things evened out for her eventually.

When I had my first ultrasound at 19 weeks, they told me I had an anterior placenta, so I wouldn’t feel movement until 24-28 weeks. No big deal. The baby was moving around like crazy at the ultrasound, and measuring at around the 50th percentile, and we were happy. My mom and my best friend were planning a November shower, my husband was working on the nursery, and I was knitting away on a baby blanket for my sister in law, hoping to finish quickly so I could start on one for my own child.

The night before I went to the hospital, I now realize that I had a fever. I was tired and fell asleep on the couch under a blanket. When I got up to go to bed, I was a little sweaty.  I was shaking as I got into my pajamas, but I thought I was just cold. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I had heartburn. I made my husband get up and get my Tums, but I woke up a while later feeling feverish and sick to my stomach. I got out of bed and took my temperature, which was 102. I thought maybe my thermometer was broken, but after I threw up I knew something was wrong. I woke up my husband, we called the doctor, and they said to go directly to triage at the local hospital maternity center, and to pack a bag, since a fever that high warranted an overnight stay.

It never occurred to me that there was anything wrong with the baby. I called my parents on the way to the hospital, but when my mom asked if they should come I said no. I was that sure that it was no big deal. When we got to the hospital, they couldn’t find a heartbeat with the doppler. I knew something was wrong at that point, because the heartbeat had been so strong before, but I was still in denial. They did an ultrasound, but the doctor had to read the ultrasound so the tech didn’t show us an image and didn’t say anything. She sent in a doctor to tell me that our baby had died, and my life changed forever.

I would have to deliver a baby who wasn’t going to cry or breathe. I didn’t even know if my baby was a boy or a girl. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything so horrible before. I couldn’t believe that my baby was gone, and on top of that I was going to have to give birth. The shock set in. I found out my parents were already there. My mom came in and we told her, although I can’t remember at all what I said. I was moved to a regular room and they started to induce labor. That afternoon my son was born still after 21 weeks and 4 days of pregnancy, weighing 1 lb. 1 ounce. He looked perfect.

We have since found out that he didn’t have any physical defects. We still don’t know for certain why we lost him. We do know that I have a clotting disorder that might have been a part of the problem. I hope against hope that I will have children someday, but I will never be the person I was before. I will never, ever forget my first child, my beautiful son, my dear Liam.

You can contact Michelle at


celeste said...

Michelle, I am so sorry for your loss. I also got pregnant around May of 2010, after years of discussion. In September, my son was stillborn at 22 weeks gestation, after I suffered a PROM that led to his passing. I can completely relate to holding a small, perfect bundle and being permanently changed. I hope that you do go on to have children in the future, brothers and sisters for precious Liam, and you get excellent medical care to help you carry confidently to term. A hundred subsequent pregnancies will never replace dear Liam, but as his family, perhaps they can be more people to love and honor his memory with you.

Thank you for sharing your story. You and your family will be in my thoughts.

pave-woman said...

Michelle, I will tell you that a successful pregnancy with a clotting disorder is possible. Before my diagnosis with Factor V Leiden, I had 2 stillborns (22 weeks and 26 weeks). Once pregnant again, I had 3x day injections of heparin. (2nd time switched to 2x day Lovenox). Both my sons were induced early for fear of potential problems. They are now 10 & 6. It can be done. Don't lose hope and remember one thing, you are your own health advocate!

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