In June 2012 I was pregnant with my second child. My due date was exactly 2 years after my daughters due date, but this time we were having a boy. My husband and I were so excited. We had a boy name picked out for 2 years, Paul Robert. This was it! He was going to complete our family. We had his room decorated it with a really cute nautical theme. We were ready for this little boy! Since our due date was 6/18 we knew there was a chance that he could be born on a day that he would have to share his day. My husband and I’s wedding anniversary is 6/7, our daughter’s birthday is 6/11 and my husband’s fathers birthday is 6/13. So when those days arrived I hoped that our sweet little Paul wouldn’t be born on a day where he would have to share it with someone else. When 6/13 passed and he did not come, we were even more excited that he would not have to share his day.
6/15 I went in for my 39 week checkup. All seemed well and it took about 30 seconds for the doctor to find Paul’s heartbeat. The doctors said that it was normal to have a slower heart rate towards the end of a pregnancy because the baby was resting and getting ready for their arrival. I was also taking Benadryl to help with my extreme case of head to toe poison ivy which could slow the baby’s heart rate.
6/16 4:30 am… I’m in labor! Yay! My contractions are 4-5 minutes apart. I wake up my husband, shower, feel little Paul kicking and moving, blow dry my hair, pack up my 2 year old and head to the hospital.
6/16 6:30 am.. We are in triage. My contractions are 2 minutes apart. Our whole family is starting to gather in the lobby.
6/16 7:00 am.. The nurse has me do the usual, weight, undress, pee in a cup, and get my blood pressure. Now it’s time to hook me up to the NST (nonstress test) to monitor Paul’s heartbeat. The nurse has a hard time getting the heartbeat. She leaves and comes back with a doctor and an ultrasound machine.
6/16 7:15am.. The doctor comes in, gets the ultrasound machine going on my belly…. Then says “I cannot find a heartbeat. Do you know what that means?” I will never forget those words. Yes I know what that means. I work with doctors that deliver babies. So let’s get him out! I felt him move just a few hours ago! The doctor says that there is nothing that we can do but deliver our sweet Paul.
6/16 8:00am.. I’m wheeled to a special room for birthing our baby. A room that every staff member knows is for babies that are not alive anymore.
I am heartbroken. Sobbing. I hope that all of this is a bad dream. No I do not my mom or anyone else in the room with me but my husband. I feel alone. My contractions are hard and 2 minutes apart. No I don’t want medication or an epidural. I want this to feel real.
6/16 9:00 am.. Even though my contractions are 2 minutes apart I’m not dilating. I’m told that since my baby is not alive he can’t help with the labor. Pitocin is started. I pray that this is all a misunderstanding and that Paul will come out crying.
6/16 9:30 am.. I ask my husband to leave the room. I want him to tell our family what is happening. The doctor takes our family into a special waiting room where the doctor and my husband tell them what has happened. I’m thinking that it’s all my fault that Paul’s not alive. I did this. Why did I take so much time to get ready? While in the room alone with just my nurse, she confides in me that she has a similar story. A baby that did not take a breath. We cry together.
6/16 10:30 am.. Still no baby. My contractions are extremely strong and coming every minute. While I’m having panic/anxiety attacks, I tell them that I want a C section. My blood pressure is out of control. I’m told by my nurse that I will already be scared on the inside and that I won’t want an outer scar to remind me that we didn’t get to take Paul home with us.
6/16 11:45 am.. I can’t stop crying. I’m pushing but I’m not progressing. Then my nurse tells me “Don’t you want to see your baby’s face?” YES! I’ve been waiting nine months for this moment.
6/16 12:14 pm.. Paul is born into a quiet room except for my wailing. His cord is wrapped around his neck 3 times and tied in a knot. I didn’t think I would want to hold him… But I couldn’t turn him away… He’s my baby. He looks just like his sister and feels like a real baby. He’s soft and warm and his eyes are closed. I will never see his eyes open.
Shortly after Paul is born our priest comes in to the room. He tells us that we have a beautiful baby. He is beautiful! I can’t stop crying. All I can keep thinking about is that this has to be a bad dream! He’s going to surprise us all and take a breath and opened his eyes. Then our family joins us in the room. All of us are crying together as Paul is baptized. Surely not the way I had imagined his baptism. Father D shares his love and tells us he must leave because he has other things schedule. He tells us to contact him to schedule arrangements. Arrangements! Again something I had not thought about. No one wants to plan a funeral for their child.
Our family takes turns holding Paul. He is so perfect. My grandmother tells me about the four babies that she had lost. She has never spoken about this with me before. It makes me even sadder. We ask our family members to leave. We want to be alone with our son.
6/16 3:30 PM.. We are asked if we would like have pictures taken of Paul. Pictures! Who would want pictures of their dead baby. I cringe just thinking those words, but our amazing nurse convinces us that we need to have them taken even if we never look at them. Once this moment is over we can’t go back. With her urgings we have someone contact Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.
6/16 5:00 PM.. We are asked if we want to bath and dress Paul. We don’t know. We are so distraught. We don’t know what to do so we left the nurse do it for us. I want to nurse him and I can feel my milk coming in… It hurts knowing I will never have that connection with him.
6/16 7:00 PM.. We make the decision to have our baby Paul cremated and laid to rest at our church. That’s what we had planned for ourselves. We had no idea we would have to bury a child and make arrangements.
6/16 8:00 PM.. The photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep comes. The photographer took Paul into another room and proceeded to take pictures. She asked us if we wanted pictures taken with him. No! Thinking it was morbid and now it’s a decision that I regret every day!
6/16 10:00 PM.. We start begging the staff to let us go home. We can hear other families in the hallways rejoicing about their new babies. I don’t want to stop holding our son but I can’t stand being in the hospital any longer. We can hear the lullaby that the hospital plays when a baby is born and know it will never play for our Paul.
6/16 11:00 PM.. We’re told that we could go home. We packed all of our stuff up, the empty car seat, the unworn baby clothes and the blanket with the guitars on it that I bought specifically for Paul. My husband lets me be the last one in the room with Paul. I hold him against my chest and kiss him one last time. I cry as the nurse unwraps Paul and gives me his blankets that the hospital had provided for us. I ask that they wrap him back up so he doesn’t lay there with nothing on him. It is the saddest moment of my life as I walk away from my baby knowing that he will not be coming home ever.
6/17 Tons of friends and family members keep sending us messages and calling us to congratulate us and see how things are going. Facebook messages are pouring in and while sobbing softly I have to write a message on Facebook telling my friends and family that my son had died
6/23 We have a small funeral service at our church. Paul’s plot was donated to us by our church and we purchased a plot next to his. I never thought that I would have to think about things like this so early on in my life. I’m going through the motions of taking care of my daughter but I don’t feel like there is any life left in me.
6/24 Then the hard part starts. It sets in. I can’t keep the door to the cute little nautical nursery closed. I have to tell my two-year-old daughter that there’s no longer a baby in my belly and explain to her that Paul is gone. She kisses my belly and says she wants to see the baby. I cried harder at that moment then I had ever cried for Paul. My daughter mentions Paul many times a day and it hurts so bad but she doesn’t know any better. She is only 2 years old. Most people around me don’t know how to act when I tell them the news. Seeing people that don’t know that I’ve lost my son and having to tell them that he didn’t make it is excruciating. The tears that form out of nowhere. Being scared I’ll never be the same. Hating going anywhere because I don’t want to talk about it or see the pity in people’s eyes when they see me.
On June 16th I became a different person. Not worse not better just different. Paul’s tiny toes tiptoed into our hearts and left impressions there forever. He will never be forgotten and will always be a part of our family. I finally started talking about Paul and about our story a couple months after his death. Talking to people about my sweet baby Paul and my faith I have found some peace. But every day I think about Paul and how he left us too soon.
Opening up to others helped me along the journey of being a loss mom. When Christina and I started Livingston Area Missing our Babies my hope was to be there for other parents that need to reach out and talk to somebody. Or just needed to listen to someone else’s story to know that they’re not alone.