May 12th started like any other Thursday. I was up at 5:30 getting ready for work. I was 35 weeks 1 day pregnant, getting anxious to meet my son. Our last baby. I get to work and start my work day like any other. I had only noticed very faint, flutter like movements that morning. I convinced myself that the baby was sleeping and he’s running out of room for the bigger movements I had been feeling. 11:30 rolls around, lunch time. I knew lunch time always made my son move a lot. I eat my lunch, no movement. I drink some Pepsi thinking surely that would make him move a little. Still nothing. I begin to have a bad feeling in my gut that something is wrong. My son is never this still during lunch. I call my OB office to speak to a nurse. I inform my supervisor what’s going on so I can leave. My coworkers ask if I’m ok. I burst into tears, telling them I haven’t felt my son move. They all try reassuring me, telling me what I had already tried to convince myself of. “He’s sleeping. He’s running out of room in there.”
I make the 10 minute drive from work to the hospital, trying to convince myself the entire time that I’m being paranoid. My son had to have been moving when I was busy up on my feet and just napped while I ate today. I make my way to the labor and delivery department. A nurse asks how she can help me. I burst into tears once again, “I haven’t felt my baby move.” I am immediately taken into the triage area where I can sit down. The nurse asks who my doctor is as she gets the heart monitor ready. Beside me I hear the steady, fast heart rate of another baby being monitored. The nurse puts the monitor to my belly, silence. She moves the monitor to the other side, still silence. My own heart beings pounding in my ears, getting faster with each passing second of silence from the monitor. The nurse asks when my last appointment was and what position baby was in last. She thinks maybe he flipped. She moves the monitor up on my belly. More silence. She never meets my gaze. The nurse then states we will move into a room with a bed, “sometimes it’s easier to get the heartbeat lying flat.” Along the way another nurse was grabbed. They both try a hand held doppler over various spots on my belly. The second nurse asks who my OB is. I tell her. I hear her tell another nurse,”page Dr. Short immediately.” The nurses then ask my name and how many weeks along I am. A few minutes later my OB comes into the room along with an ultrasound tech with a portable machine. Staff are coming and going from my room in a rushed manner, but me, I’m frozen in time, left with fear and dread. The tech places the wand on my belly. I look at the screen long enough to see my son’s heart, still. I look away and cry.
My worst fear has just been confirmed. I hear my doctor say they are looking for secondary signs of life. I hear the tech say, “there’s fluid in the chest and the head has already moulded.” My OB tells me she is very sorry, but my son is gone. And the way the ultrasound looks, he has been gone for 72 hours. 72 hours? “I felt flutters this morning and yesterday.” I tell my doctor. In that moment I silently willed my son to move so I could prove everyone wrong. The nurses ask if they can call anyone for me. I decide to call my husband myself. My doctor tells me I can get labor induced today or go home, get things ready, and come back the next morning. She told me to let her know what my husband and I decided. I call my husband who I’ve had 3 missed calls from at this point. I tell my husband he needs to come to the hospital now.
Those 50 minutes waiting for him to get there felt like hours. I laid in that hospital bed and just cried. How could I say goodbye to my son who I never got to meet alive? Why was this happening to me, to us? I had already miscarried my first pregnancy, wasn’t that enough pain for one couple to endure? How would I explain this to my kids? A 4 year old and a 2 year old don’t understand death is permanent. They were so excited for a baby brother. We were 5 weeks away from my due date. This had to be a nightmare I just couldn’t wake up from.