Mom to Joshua Michael
Born and Died November 16th, 2010
My name is Kassandra Travis and I am 27 years old. My husband, Michael and I were married secretly in February 2010 and shortly afterwards found out we were expecting in December 2010. A Christmas Day baby at that!
I was a single mommy to my handsome little man 4 year old Kaleb prior to meeting Michael. We feel in love fast and decided that the hassle of wedding planning wasn’t for us. Michael welcomed Kaleb into his life, as if he was his from the start. I knew after seeing their bond grew from the start, I wanted to add to the family. Little did I know it would be shortly afterwards.
In mid April 2010, I started noticing that my smelling abilities were becoming those of hunting dogs. I could smell the smallest amount of anything to the greatest details. Michael would tease me about it and I always shrugged it off until the thought of it, hit me in the middle of the night. My senses did the exact same thing when I was pregnant with Kaleb. I took a pregnancy test the next day, on my lunch hour and it instantly turned positive. There was no having to wait for 3 minutes to determine it. I had so many emotions running through my head. From here we go again to trying to figure out how exactly to share it with Mike. Considering none of our friends or families knew we had got married several months prior, they were in for two surprises.
I contemplated telling Michael in some cute silly way you always read about but, my excitement got the best of me. We were both a big ball of emotions and thrilled to say the least. The kicker was now informing the family. The phone calls were made announcing that we had got married several months prior and after we received all positive warm wishes, we added the new addition announcement to the mix.
We found out I was due the December 26th and shared with Kaleb the pregnancy news from the start. He was thoroughly excited and starting sharing name ideas with us. We were both quite surprised when our 4 year old throw out the name Faith for a little girl. Michael and I agreed on the name Joshua almost instantly. I knew after naming Kaleb after the Biblical Caleb, for what he stood for, I always wanted a Joshua if we had another boy. (Joshua and Caleb were best friends). We decided on Lillian Faith and Joshua for sure. We weren’t settled on a middle name for the little guy and couldn’t wait to found out if we would be welcoming a son or daughter. For the time being we listened to Kaleb refer to his new sibling as Lilly Josh. Everyone was convinced it was a girl and I just always felt it was a little boy. Sure enough, I was right. Joshua would be joining us around Christmas time.
The pregnancy was quite easy; my morning sickness went away at the 12 week mark on the dot. I had no issues with weight, diabetes or high blood pressure. I was watched closely to make sure I didn’t go into the start of preeclampsia like my prior pregnancy. Joshua’s room was put together and names were given to my best friends to prepare for a shower.
Something didn’t seem right to me. I had been pregnant before. I had gone through the common discomfort of pregnancy. Joshua never was as active to me as Kaleb was. I also shrugged it off after reassurance from many medical officials telling me every pregnancy is different. “You’re probably carrying him different or quite a bit higher”, they’d always say.
At 31 weeks of my pregnancy I started waking up around 2am every day with horrible lower back discomfort, so severe that I couldn’t even stand up straight. The pressure/pain was so intense that I’d just dry heave for the next few hours. My upper stomach was rock hard and was sore to the touch. Hot showers wouldn’t make it any better and no matter how many glasses of water I’d down (thinking perhaps I was just dehydrated) the pain wouldn’t stop. I called the OB dept at the hospital I was going to deliver at and spoke to the nurse. She told me it was best to come in. We were admitted for observation and after a couple hours of monitoring both stats for Joshua and me, along with my pain subsiding, we were released with positive reassurance and told to watch for normal preterm labor signs.
The next few nights were bearable, still in a lot of pain but, I figured after speaking up about my pain to not only my OB/GYN but several OB Nurses and an ER doctor, maybe I was just being one of those overly dramatic pregnant woman and nothing was truly wrong.
The night of NOV 15 2010/32 weeks 3 days pregnant, we had a horrible storm that knocked out our power to the house. For some reason I was extremely scared and quite upset when my husband was called to attend to Army duties with the power outrage. I usually have no fear of the dark but, on this occasion I did. It wasn’t until the next day would I realize the important of that unforgettable storm.
With my fears and my husband not going to be home until who knows when, I packed a bag for Kaleb and I and decided to head to my parent’s house 45 minutes away. They had power and lived in the same town where I was due to deliver. I arrived at their house safe and sound. Little did I know that Joshua would be ushered into Heaven within the next 12 hours.
November 16th I woke up with the same pain I had for the last two weeks and called in sick to work. Kaleb was playing around my parent’s home and I went back to sleep with a heating pad on my back for the rest of the morning. I woke up around 1130am, feeling surprisingly great. Called my boss and let her know the status of my latest doctor’s visit and that I’d probably return to work as normal the following day. Within minutes of hanging up the phone my life was forever changed.
It was at that moment that I realized the importance of that storm. My fears of the dark the previous night weren’t fears at all but, God telling me to get closer to the hospital. His knowledge of every coming detail and hurtful event, down to the pants I packed in the dark the previous night was now in play.
The pain I had been experiencing the last several weeks was a growing blood clot that was growing between my uterine room and Joshua’s placenta. I passed the blood clot standing in my parent’s kitchen; it instantly disconnected Joshua from his life support. I wasn’t sure what exactly was happening, but knew since I had khaki pants on, it wasn’t my water breaking. I always hated those pants beforehand, but they helped save my life that morning.
My grandparents rushed me to the hospital, thinking that Joshua would be delivered. I knew differently but didn’t say anything. I felt calm and in a dream. I watched everyone else around me react in a hurry (some in a panic) and yet I remained calm and still applied my manners. I called Mike and for the first time ever, he picked up the phone on the first ring. He started the 45 minute drive to the hospital, not knowing what had just transpired over the last 15 minutes.
The blank sound in the delivery room I will never forgot. It was dramatically different from the previous week when we listened to Joshua’s heartbeat on full blast. The monitors were turned down low and I instantly knew why. I would never see Joshua smile or hear him cry or tattletale when Kaleb through his big brother weight around. I didn’t need an ultrasound tech or a doctor telling me differently. No one ever did, their eyes said it all. Mike arrived and I preferred the news came from me. I saw the sadness in his eyes and he kept reassuring me that they would find a heartbeat.
I still was bleeding internally and the doctor decided that it was time for the c-section (after I started feeling dizzy and turning white etc.) I didn’t know how everything was handled when an almost fulltime baby passes but I knew I wanted to see him. I wanted Joshua given to our family. I didn’t want him placed in some cold hospital basement alone. I was put under for the c-section and will always remember coming too. I couldn’t see clearly yet but, I could make out my husband’s orange shirt and see he was cradling something, it was our Joshua Michael.
The next hours/days were a blur. I was drugged up on magnesium and not myself. The nursing staff was great. A photographer came and helped capture some of our lasting moments with Joshua. I have heard it said many times before, especially when my grandparent’s buried my mother in her mid 20’s, that parents should never have to bury their children. Never thought I would have to apply that to my life. We wanted a funeral to honor Joshua, not a shrine. I went into survivor mode and believe it didn’t hit me until that night of his funeral with what exactly happened. Joshua was laid to rest next to my mother’s grave.
I am jealous that she gets to see him in his heavenly form and share daily conversations with him. He’s impact will forever be engraved on our hearts. Every day gets easier. The emptiness heals but the hole will never be filled completely. Kaleb still refers to himself as the big brother and no matter how many years pass that is something that no one can ever take away. They are truly best friends.
You can contact Kassandra at firstname.lastname@example.org