Mom to Lewis Jack Warner
December 29th, 2010
I married my high school sweetheart, Jon, nearly eight years ago. After years of playing with nieces and nephews and talking incessantly about what our children would be like, we decided it was time to expand our family. On September 27th of last year we saw two pink lines. We jumped up and down. We kissed. We danced. We nicknamed our little one Ziggy. We immediately shared the news with family. We only made it a few more weeks before we told the world. My due date was set for June 7th, one day before my birthday. My pregnancy was great. Other than being tired and having some headaches, I felt wonderful. My baby bump grew fast, and I loved it. I couldn’t wait to look down and not be able to see my toes. I was blessed to be able to feel butterfly kicks really early too. I never imagined that those kicks wouldn’t get stronger.
This is my journal entry from January 1st. This is the story of the birth and death of my first child who came into this world too early at just 17 weeks and 1 day.
It’s been three days since our beautiful baby boy, Lewis Jack, was born. It’s been three days since we held him in our arms for almost three hours while his heartbeat grew weaker and weaker until it could beat no more. It’s been three days since we said goodbye.
On December 27th I started bleeding. It wasn’t much, but I also had some cramping in my abdomen. So the next morning I called the office and was reassured that it was probably nothing. They recommended rest and lots of fluids. By the afternoon I was feeling much better, especially since I had felt a couple very distinct kicks from Ziggy. We went to a Pacers game and by the time we got home I was feeling worse. There was a bit more bleeding and cramping. I went to bed thinking that I must just need more rest. I tossed and turned all night as the cramping was beginning to get painful. At 5:00am I awoke to a gush of clear fluid. Although I knew that it was amniotic fluid, I wasn’t aware at the time that it meant the end.
We arrived at the hospital shortly after and were taken right away to the labor and delivery department. A couple tests confirmed what we already knew. Then they delivered the unbearable news that nothing could be done to save the baby. Ziggy was too small and not developed enough yet to survive either life in the womb with no fluid or in the outside world. They took us to a room and began preparing us for what was to come. I would be given medicine to induce labor. It may take several doses over the course of 24 hours. It may not work at all and alternative measures would have to be taken. The placenta may not come out easily, which may result in surgery. The baby may be born alive since there was still a heartbeat. I began to worry that we were doing the wrong thing. Maybe there was hope. Maybe we should wait for a miracle. But an ultrasound showed us that Ziggy had little to no fluid left and was already positioned perfectly to come out and meet the world. We knew then that we were doing the right thing, as wrong as it felt.
While I waited for the medicine we called our families. They all began the journey to the hospital to be with us. I wasn’t sure I could face any of them, but by the end of the day I was so thankful they had come.
My incredible nurse gave me the first round of medicine at noon. By 2:00pm I was having regular contractions that gradually gained intensity. She had warned me that although Ziggy was small, my labor would be the same as it would be at full-term. Although I was in a lot of pain, I put off taking any pain medicine because I didn’t want to be asleep or groggy when it was time to have Ziggy. I told my nurse I would wait to make a decision about pain medicine until 4:00pm when she was planning to check my progress to determine whether I needed another dose of the induction medicine.
But by 3:00pm I was vomiting and the pain was pretty extreme. The nurse checked me early and said it was time. She paged the doctor but let me go ahead and push while the doctor was on the way. She was so gentle and told me exactly what I needed to do. Jon stood beside me and watched as the baby was born. He announced that it was a boy and we cried both happy and sad tears.
Lewis Jack was born alive at 3:20pm on December 29th. They wrapped him and placed him on my chest. He was unbelievably tiny but perfect in every other way. As I stretched out his hand to count his fingers, he wrapped them around my finger. That is quite possibly the most amazing moment of my entire life. Jon held Lewis close as I was able to fairly easily deliver the placenta. I am so grateful that it happened so quickly so that I could turn my attention back to Jon and Lewy.
We held him for a little while by ourselves and marveled at his beauty and cried over the inevitable. We knew he would be with us for only a short while. We invited our families in to share the moments we had left with him. I never knew I had so many tears. The sadness, but also the love, that everyone showed for our Lewis was overwhelming.
Eventually we were just a family of three. We cuddled and rocked and spoke softly of our love to Lewis. He laid in our arms looking peaceful, angelic, until about 6:20pm when we turned his lifeless body over to the nurses. His official time of death was recorded as 6:00pm.
The nurses bathed, measured, and photographed Lewis. He weighed 4.5 ounces and was 7 inches long. They brought him back to us, and he was snuggled under a blanket with a tiny teddy bear. He looked like he was taking a nap. Other family members who hadn’t seen him earlier got to see him that way. We later received an album full of photographs and a box of mementos including his teddy and a hat he was wearing. We left the hospital the next afternoon with only those few treasured items to help us remember Lewis. Though it’s been comforting to look at them and hold them, they don’t fill the void. I don’t think anything will ever replace the empty feeling inside.
My darling Lewy,
Our joys will be greater
Our love will be deeper
Our lives will be fuller
Because we shared your moment.
I will love you always.