Finn, Grief, Infant Loss, Stillbirth

Two years after we initially started trying, we wondered if we would ever be able to have a second child. In June 2015, we went on vacation to the Smoky mountains and visited Dollywood. After riding a triple inversion roller coaster, I felt very off, which was unusual for me because I usually handle roller coasters very well. The next day I took a test and was thrilled to see two lines — I was finally pregnant with our second child! My pregnancy progressed smoothly and uneventfully, and our 18-week sonogram revealed a healthy baby who danced his little legs around and showed off for us. We learned our baby was a boy. Over the next few months, we painted his room and re-assembled the crib. As his due date of February 27th drew closer, I unpacked the baby gear and folded the newborn clothes neatly in his closet, including a couple of “Little Brother” sleepers I had picked out just for him. I packed a hospital bag with a newborn-sized coming home outfit. I unpacked and washed the infant car seat and ordered diapers online. We were so ready and excited to meet our baby!

On the morning of January 23rd, I didn’t wake up until it was almost time to leave for my hair appointment. I was exhausted as I had been fighting a cold and sinus infection all week. It didn’t seem like my baby had been very active that morning, but then again I hadn’t been awake very long and thought I might have just missed his activity. He was usually most active at night around bedtime. I had an anterior placenta, so it was often difficult to notice his movements unless I was paying attention. I didn’t feel him as distinctly as I had with my first child, Jaxton.

After my hair appointment, I still wasn’t feeling much, so I went home determined to monitor his movements. At home I glided the home doppler over my belly. Immediately, the sound of his strong heartbeat met my ears and I relaxed a bit. Maybe he was just having a slow day or in a different position than usual. Lying on my side in bed, I attempted to count his movements. I tried shaking my belly to get a reaction. I was getting barely anything. I decided to go eat and drink some sugary juice to see if that would perk him up. As I ate, I noticed his feet were poking out in their usual spot at the top of my belly. We often played a game in which he would poke out his feet and I would push back in on them and he would react by pushing back or moving them. On that night, his feet seemed to be pressing out with more force and they remained that way despite me pushing on them.

At that point, I was getting really worried. I checked the doppler again and his heart still sounded strong. I sat in a chair with my 3 year old son Jaxton on my lap while he was watching YouTube videos. In retrospect he should have been in bed, but I was too worried about the situation at hand to go through our bedtime routine. Usually when Jaxton would sit on my lap and lean against my belly, the baby would squirm or kick in response. My husband Phillip and I always joked it was sibling rivalry starting early. That night, there were no kicks or squirms. I thought I felt a shifting inside of me. I grabbed my doppler, hurriedly rubbed coconut oil on my belly to help it glide, and listened again. Nothing but the sounds of my own body met my ears. At that moment, I truly understood the meaning of deafening silence. My heart raced as I searched and searched, hoping and praying that he was just hiding or that my doppler wasn’t working correctly. I frantically told Phillip we needed to go to the hospital right away. We grabbed our coats, bundled up our son, and rushed out the door. I didn’t say a word the whole way there; I just prayed to God to please let my baby be ok.

At the hospital, they checked me in, asking how far along I was. 35 weeks. After taking my vitals, they told me to have a seat in the waiting room while they paged the OB floor. My son had to use the bathroom, and I remember walking into the bathroom and immediately seeing a penny on tails. My stomach churned with fear and dread. I was wheeled up to the OB floor, changed into a gown, and tried unsuccessfully to remain calm as they strapped a heart monitor to my belly. The nurses adjusted it and readjusted the monitor, but heard nothing. There was a brief glimmer of hope when the nurse said she thought she heard our baby, only to have it crashing down seconds later as she checked and realized she was hearing my racing pulse. She said she had to call a technician to come to the room with a machine so they could take a closer look. I knew things were looking grim at that point. Continue Reading

Finn, Grief, Infant Loss, Stillbirth

2016… In ways I am ready to say good riddance to this year of the worst that has ever happened in my life. Its pain has been like no other. In other ways, I want to cling tightly to the year that brought me one of the best happenings of my life, my second child. This is the year I got to hold my baby, touch him, and kiss him. No other year of my life will ever contain those unique experiences again. In the true nature of time on earth, all lives will eventually come to an end, and so will months and years. I never want to forget the good or the bad. It is true that both shape who we are, and remembering the sorrow heightens the joy in contrast. I can’t carry my son physically into this new year, but I will carry memories of him and grief over him into each and every new year, and that’s ok. Grief is love, and grief is unending because love is unending. He will always be my child and part of me. He will influence my decisions and perspective in every day of every year that comes and brings me closer to being with him again. Tonight I am lucky enough to get to bring in the new year with my amazing hubby Phillip, my lovable little boy Jaxton, and our dear friends. This year certainly has not been void of all happiness, but I do hope and pray for a new year without the traumas of this year, for my little family and everyone else. I know that regardless of what lies ahead, God is with us in every circumstance and it is in Him I put my hope. Wishing you all a new year full of God’s peace and blessings.

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Finn, Grief

I was at the doctor’s office this morning for a post miscarriage HCG check. As I was walking toward the room where we heard Finn’s heartbeat for the first time, “Tears in Heaven” started playing on the radio… there are definitely tears in this Mama’s eyes right now.  I miss our baby boy so much.

Finn, Infant Loss, Stillbirth

Today I’ve been looking through my Christmas memories of Jaxton. Jaxton was a newborn for his first Christmas, so this time of year always brings back memories of what it felt like to have a little baby to take care of, and I miss that. While I don’t think they look incredibly alike, sometimes when I look at Jaxton now or look at his younger pictures, I see glimpses of his brother Finn. Those glimpses are great gifts as I can only ever imagine what Finn would have looked like alive and growing, with his eyes open and expressions on his face. This isn’t my best Photoshop job ever, but I wanted to see my babies side by side.

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Today our sweet baby would be 11 months old.

Last Christmas, I was 31 weeks pregnant and we thought we were only a couple months away from holding you. I felt you squirm as I held your newborn cousin against my belly. Last Christmas, you wanted chips and guacamole, peanut butter and jelly on toast, and dark chocolate to eat. You decided to do pilates at bedtime, because you were always a night owl like your big brother. Last Christmas, I stuck a shiny green bow on my belly and said I had to wait a little longer to see the gift inside.

Exactly one month after Christmas Eve, we saw you for the first time. We never heard you cry, or saw your eyes search for ours. Still, we loved you with that same love any parent has who gazes upon their child for the first time, a love that is stronger than death and separation combined. We held your body here on Earth as Jesus held you in heaven. Exactly one month after Christmas, we held you and kissed you for the last time, and watched them take you away.

Today we celebrate Christ’s birth. We worship the Lord as His servant David did, because while you will not return to us, we will go to you. We also celebrate that you existed and lived months before you were born, even if you never took a breath. We celebrate that you will always be our second baby boy, our son. We will always love you and remember you, even if we don’t get to be with you again until the next life. So Merry Christmas baby, you are celebrating with Jesus Himself!

Pregnant with Finn