Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. – Matthew 5:8
Liam was born on August 22 at 3:41am. Our sweet boy entered this world at 9lbs 13oz and 21 inches long. Liam was born stillborn and as you may realize, no one really talks about babies that are stillborn. We hear about miscarriages or babies that pass away soon after birth, but not about stillborns. I will admit, there was and still is a hesitation writing this blog post. It goes back to why I started this blog in the first place, which is to help people. So, maybe this is just for me. Maybe this will help someone else, that stumbles upon this post, feel as if they aren’t alone.
I was 39 weeks and 4 days, into my healthy pregnancy, when I walked into my weekly doctor appointment on August 21. I sat in the same room I did for all of my other appointments, as they hooked me to the monitors for the baby’s heartbeat and to track my intense contractions. I sat there as the nurse searched for that familiar sound of the heartbeat. I whispered asking if it was normal that we couldn’t find it. She went out and grabbed the doctor who informed me to head to the hospital to be monitored with their stronger monitors. I didn’t think anything of it since I was at the hospital, the day before, working through my contractions. After not progressing quickly enough, they sent me home to labor at home. So heading to the hospital this time, made me think the baby was finally ready to arrive.
At the hospital, the nurses on the labor and deliver floor did multiple things to try and find the heartbeat. Shortly after an ultrasound was performed, my husband and I waited for the doctor and nurse to come give us an update on Liam. As they walked into the room, they didn’t need to tell me there was no heartbeat, because I saw it on their faces. I just sat there, in pure shock, as they shared with us the news that our son had passed away. Our sweet boy had a heartbeat one day and the next it was gone. I took pride in how strong his heartbeat was. Every doctor’s appointment we would listen to it. As other mothers know, the sound of the heartbeat becomes second nature.
I was so confused and distracted by the fact my son was still in my stomach to actually hear what she was saying. How could it be possible there was no heartbeat when we were just being monitored in the hospital one day prior. I heard that monitored heartbeat for four hours straight. And now that sound was missing. At this point, I was in labor for over 42 hours. The first thing I asked was what happens next. Am I now supposed to birth this child? How does that even work? How is that even fair?
Liam entered this world via c-section many hours later on August 22nd. The umbilical corn was wrapped around his neck once and his feet a couple times. This can happen sometimes, they said. There isn’t anything you can do to prevent it. That is the hardest part of it all. They tell you, you are full term at 39 weeks. To me, that was the safe zone. I didn’t think this could happen, let alone happen to us after having such a normal, healthy pregnancy.
Our sweet boy was perfect. I know all parents think their child is perfect, but ours was. Once we got to our room, we had time alone with him. I’m holding my child trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I won’t be able to feed him, hear him cry, or laugh. I won’t take him to his first day of kindergarten and cry with the other mothers as they watch their child meet his/her future best friend. I won’t ever dance with him at his wedding. It’s not fair. It’s not fair that I spent the day after birthing my son unfollowing mommy pages on Facebook and unsubscribing from emails that are blowing up my phone congratulating me on my baby’s arrival. You forget the apps and all of the email subscriptions you signed up for when pregnant, until they are a constant reminder that your baby isn’t going to hit those milestones.
The next couple of days in the hospital were tough. In between the constant poking of someone doing blood work and the soothing sound of medication going into my IV, social services came in to discuss our grief and to discuss the fact we had to plan funeral services for Liam. We are sitting with this woman, a day after Liam’s arrival, to discuss whether or not we are going to cremate or bury him. I thanked her for her time as she walks out the door. Tears began to fall from my eyes. How was I supposed to plan a funeral? I am 27 years old, holding my day old son, narrowing down funeral homes to call. It was as heart-wrenching as you could imagine. I will never forget when I called the funeral home, and the director asked me Liam’s birth date and death date. I didn’t know what to tell her, as they were the same.
During my recovery, my body started going into “Mom Mode”. Three days after the arrival of Liam, my milk came in. I cried at that thought of not being able to nurse my son. I cried because it was so physically painful. I cried at the thought I had to stop my milk production. The hospital bag I packed, three weeks prior, was full of breastfeeding-friendly tanks and bras. I didn’t pack sports bras or tight clothing needed to stop production. The mesh underwear and giant diaper pads became my best friend. I can feel the other mothers reading this post, shaking their heads, because they know what I am talking about. I didn’t know you still bleed when you have a c-section. I cried in the shower as I felt hopeless and discouraged. No one told me about this. I took the breastfeeding and labor classes. I read the books and online articles, but no one told me about this.
Now that we are back home, I sit in his nursery and rock in the chair I should be holding him in. I’m actually sad I don’t wake up throughout the night to feed him. I’m sad to not hear his screaming cry. I never will hear that cry or laugh. I look at my husband and see Liam. He looks exactly like him. From Liam’s cute nose, to the two dimples in his chin. I find myself getting lost in staring at those dimples on my husband’s chin, thinking how our child was a mini me of him, and I wasn’t even mad he didn’t resemble me at all.
My son made my life meaningful. I was put on this earth to be a mom. I am a mom. I will raise Liam’s siblings one day. There is a constant struggle of why us, how could this happen, and knowing God is pulling us through. I cried the first time I put on tighter clothes staring at my stomach that was there a week ago. I laughed at a silly Youtube video, realizing it was the first time I genuinely laughed in weeks. I know it will continue to be hard, but I can only hope that God will continue to pull us through this dark time. At the end of the day, I only have my faith. I am thankful this brought my husband and I even closer, instead of tearing us apart. I am thankful for the family and friends who are our support.
If you have gone through a miscarriage or stillborn, please know you are not alone. I hope that one person that stumbles upon this post may feel hope. Because when I was up in the middle of the night, in the hospital reading other blogs, that was when I found hope. I felt, for the first time, that my story was not the only one out there. That other women have gone through this. I never wanted this to be apart of my story in life. I would never wish this agonizing hurt upon anyone. But it happened, and I hope one day to say that I am stronger because of it.
We have raised over $12,000, to buy and donate four CuddleCots, to hospitals that do not have one. These cots allow the babies to stay cool and stay with the parents as the mother recovers from delivery. We were allowed four days with our son because of these cots. To donate to our CuddleCot fundraiser, click here.