Mom to Everett Eric
Stillborn on August 11, 2010It was just over a year ago, December 30, 2009 to be exact that we found out we were expecting our second child. After many months of unsuccessful fertility treatments, I have poly cystic ovarian syndrome, my husband and I were ecstatic to say the least. My dad had just been diagnosed with colon cancer (about two days before Christmas) and the anticipation of a new baby was hope to hold on to for the upcoming New Year. (My dad has since beaten the cancer and has been given a clean bill of health). We were cautiously optimistic until I got out of my first trimester. That day soon came and went and at 18 weeks, quite to our surprise, we learned we were having a baby boy. All pre-natal tests showed no issues and a healthy baby. That’s all we could ever ask for. We decided on his name, Everett Eric. Everett is a name we both really liked and it means strong as a boar and Eric is after my dad. Over the next several months we got to know and love Everett. Our daughter grew with excitement at the thought of a new baby brother to play with and liked feeling my growing belly, as he would move inside the womb. She couldn’t wait to be a big sister.
At times Everett would be active and other times he was very quiet inside there. I imagined him all curled up and cozy. He wasn’t quite the “spaz” that our first was in the womb and I thought maybe this would be our “laid back” child and Everett would take after my husbands personality!
The issues really started around 31 weeks when I started my non-stress tests. I felt something wasn’t right and came in a little early to start them because of decreased movement. My very first test came back unsatisfactory so I was sent to triage for longer heart monitoring. A baby’s heartbeat in the womb is supposed to be variable up to 15 beats above the baby’s baseline heart rate. Everett’s did not do this and would decelerate as well at times, even when he was active. I was sent home from the hospital after several hours of monitoring and a biophysical profile (an ultrasound type of test to show how baby is tolerating pregnancy). I ended up being in and out of the hospital a total of 8 more times those next few weeks with Everett having the same heart rate issues and sometimes, longer heart rate decelerations. A nurse at the high-risk office told us we had the most looked at baby in Indianapolis. This didn’t give any more comfort though. I also spent a three-day stint on the high-risk unit for around-the-clock monitoring and given steroid injections over two days to help develop Everett’s lungs in preparation for an early delivery. But I was always sent home.
Things continued to go downhill, Everett would have longer heart decelerations and the monitoring always seemed to be about the same, rarely were my non stress tests passing. I told my doctors I felt I needed to be delivered, I was terrified something was horribly wrong. While sitting in my OB's office and they were trying to decide where to send me next one of my OB's came out to speak with me and told me she was sending me back over to the high risk doctor. I told started to cry as I had just met with her two days prior and she refused to deliver me at that point stating our son's lungs weren't developed, without really knowing (I was past 35 weeks at this point and had been given a full dose of steroids). I told my OB that I was terrified I was going to have a stillborn and just couldn't handle the thought of that happening. She sent me back over to the high risk OB anyways and we were told I would have to wait for an amnio Tuesday August 10th to check on Everett’s lung development. I had the test with my husband patiently by my side. We were called later that afternoon and told that Everett’s lung studies were the best they had ever seen. They were completely developed and I would be admitted, to everyone’s relief, for delivery at 5:30pm.
I didn’t even feel nervous at this point. We couldn’t wait to finally hold Everett in our arms. All of my anxiety would surely go away and finally be eased once he was here, safe and sound! When the monitors were placed on my belly the nurse could not find a heart beat. She placed the Doppler on my belly all over the place, working and trying to find something, a little glimmer of hope. My heart sank into my stomach. I felt like I couldn't breathe and started to panic. Everyone was trying to stay positive and I just knew that something was so wrong. Three ultrasounds later done by my OB showed that our little boy had died. The hurt and devastation running through our bodies was beyond my wildest nightmare. After trying to digest what happened and why it might have happened I went through 10.5 hours of labor and finally delivered our Everett. This beautiful little boy that everyone couldn’t wait to meet was finally here. He was born August 11, 2010 sleeping to the angels at 6:12am, so perfect. Weighing in at 8 lbs, 1 oz and 22in long Everett had a full head of beautiful red/auburn hair, his dad’s nose and cleft chin and my cheeks and eyes. As I delivered Everett it was discovered that his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice and had two true knots tied into it. Our little boy had been trying for so long to tell everyone that something was wrong and no one would listen.
I didn't think it would possible to get past that time or the next few weeks that followed Everett's death. The pain, the heartache, the devastation was so awful. I know I stated several times during the funeral, "I can't do this". But somehow I found the strength to not only do it, but continue to survive and heal. I have found an amazing support network of other moms who have lost their babies too and have leaned on the strength of others to help me get through my darkest moments. It's still early in my healing process but I work hard at it every day to heal a little bit more.
Stephanie blogs at: http://run4everett.blogspot.com/