Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A's Story - Part I

For the sake of honesty, by virtue of anonymity (see my first post for explanation), let’s call my husband “E” because he truly is Extraordinary and my precious son, “A” because he’s downright Awesome. 

Exactly on A’s due date, E and I went in for the check up. Everything looked good. We heard the baby’s heartbeat, he passed the non-stress test with flying colors. No joke, those were the midwife’s words “with flying colors.” The only thing to worry about was remaining patient for labor to start naturally. The midwifery group allows women to go to 42-weeks if all is well and my backaches and desire to meet my baby were wearing on me.

Four days later, I commented to E that I hadn’t felt the baby kick as much as usual. I drank a glass of orange juice with sugar stirred in and laid on my side. After 15 minutes of no movement, I called the midwife. At this point, my biggest fear was that our preparations and plans for a natural birth would be dashed and I’d have to have an emergency C-section. 

The midwife said that I should have another snack, perhaps peanut butter, then lie from one side to the other. She’d call back in an hour. I followed her instructions and still nothing. She called back and said the only way to know what was going on for sure, was to put me on the monitor. We planned to meet at the hospital in 10 minutes. I said, “We live two blocks away, and were going to walk over. Should we bring the hospital bag?” She replied, “It doesn’t hurt to bring the bag. But in most cases it’s just the baby being obstinate.”

Optimistically, we left the hospital bag at home and walked over in the drizzle. Immediately the nurses were rushing around – a bit unnerving but I was not worried. I firmly believed that if anything were wrong that modern science and the medical team of this revered hospital would be able to help my full term, completely developed baby.

The nurse put the monitor on my belly and nothing. She tried different spots and meanwhile was frantically calling someone with her free hand. At this point I am still not crying, not panicking. E is holding my hand; we are silent, holding our breath waiting for the familiar thuh-thump.

The midwife arrives and she is holding my other hand. A young stone-faced doctor rolls an ultrasound machine in and places the probe on my belly. You can see the baby’s head, spine and ribs…but no movement. He doesn’t say a thing, just keeps intently searching; his eyes on the screen.

An older rotund doctor, the young fellow’s boss, arrives and takes over. The screen was so still. I couldn’t look at it anymore. I watched the midwife’s face instead and from her expression, I knew.

No beating heart. No blood flow.

E collapsed on my chest sobbing; his wet rain jacket brushing against my cheek. I screamed and bawled. “Can’t you do something? Please do something!”

There was nothing they could do; he was already gone.

[Part II coming tomorrow]


  1. I know this far too well. This pain. This total blindsiding shock. This broken universe.

    I am so sorry that you lost your lovely boy A. I bet he was truly awesome.

  2. Oh love. I'm so sorry. I wish that somebody, anybody, could have done something. Your lovely awesome A, your dear extraordinary E and I'm sure that, if I had an initial I could dub you something equally appropriate, what a lovely family. I'm so terribly sorry that your A did not come home with you.

    And, given the circumstances of my own loss, an extremely preterm baby who could not be saved, it feels like ice water dripping down my spine. To read your description, full term, completely developed A. To lose your dear son so unexpectedly? Oh it is just heart breaking.

    1. Thank you Catherine. My heart breaks equally when I think of the courage it took for you to nestle that tiny baby girl close to you and offer what comfort you could as she fought so hard and took her final breaths. Thinking of all three of your children.