Liam’s story

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.

xoxo

UPDATE:
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.

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Comments

  1. Ashley, I can’t even imagine what you have been going through over this past month. I have thought about you guys every single day and have cried for you. My heart hurts that such a beautiful family has to go through such a difficult time. But in my heart I know that you will help so many other families get through these difficult moments. I wish words could actually provide solice. Sending all of my love and healing.

  2. Ashley, this post brought tears to my eyes. I just cannot imagine what you guys went and are going through. You are very brave for sharing this! I know that you both have great families to support you through everything! You are a loving mommy to a sweet angel!

  3. Oh my Darling Granddaughter, my heart aches for you and Jeff, but for you to share your story to help someone else makes my heart so full of love for you. I didn’t know it as possible to love you even more than I did before, but I find my heart is bursting with love!!

  4. Ash, I can only imagine the pain you and your husband are going through. I will keep you both in my prayers for strength and restoration. Love you ash!💙

  5. Oh Ashley, my heart hurts for you. I can’t even imagine what you guys went and are going through. I hope that this post can help not only you guys heal but other families too! I am sending so much love your way!

  6. Ashley, my heart goes out to you and your family. December 2015 I was 38 weeks 2 days pregnant when. We found out of precious little Adalyn had no heartbeat when just 24hrs prior she did. When the nurse and doctor told us they could not find it,I was completely lost, not sure what was to come and wondering what I did wrong or what did they miss. Our perfect little girl was brought into this world after being induced in 10hrs, they were the worst 10 hrs of my life, know that there was nothing good coming out of all this pain and the pain was not going to stop. But those next 20hrs with our daughter we’re the best and for those hours there were times I completely forgot what we had just been through. I didn’t know know stillborn was something that could happen because all you hear about is miscarriage but it happens more then we know just everyone hides from it, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Thank you for sharing your experience with the world

  7. I know you don’t know me, but I have thought about you almost everyday since your Aunt Juli posted. I have cried and been mad for what happened. I don’t want to say the wrong thing so I will leave you with my most heartfelt sympathy and this…”I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be <3 God bless you and your family from the bottom of my heart.

  8. You are so brave for sharing your story Ash. Prayers to you, Jeff and your extended family. You are an amazing mom!

  9. Ashley I wish there were away to take away the pain you and Jeff are going through. You are a brave beautiful soul and I know in my heart your story will help so many others. Know that it is okay to laugh and find joy in all that is beautiful every chance you get for the heartache and pain you feel will lessen with time. For one day Liam’s siblings will feel you love them as feircely as you love your sweet angel. Sending hugs, sunshine, and prayers your way.

  10. Ashley I wish there were away to take away the pain you and Jeff are going through. You are a brave beautiful soul and I know in my heart your story will help so many others. Know that it is okay to laugh and find joy in all that is beautiful every chance you get for the heartache and pain you feel will lessen with time. For one day Liam’s siblings will feel you love them as feircely as you love your sweet angel. Sending hugs, sunshine, and prayers your way.

  11. Very beautifully written. So thoughtful of you to share such a heart wrenching private experience in hopes of helping others. You truly are a beautiful person, inside and out! God bless your little angel. 💕

  12. I am at a loss for words. My heart breaks for you and your family. Than you for being so strong and sharing this story. Bless you and your family. I wish you all the best. Time heals all wounds. Liam will always be around especially in your heart.

  13. I lost my 1st son at 5.5 months, due to a car accident. He lived one hour. I was in surgery and never saw him. I then lost a daughter at 4.5 months, internal damage from previous accident. I could get pregnant but not carry the baby. A nurse told me to write a letter to each baby and the burn it with a white candle. I finally felt some relief/release after I did that. I mourn alone each year, still after 34 years and it is something only a mother will understand.
    I have 3 sons now, all have had major health issues. Everyday I wonder what God has in mind for them. They have beaten the odds major time, cancer, spina bifida, IH2o on the brain, heart trouble, autistic…its a never ending battle.
    A wise friend once told me at my lowest point, there is a reason for everything. We don’t understand it, don’t want to accept it, we hate it. Its the “why”? “What did I do wrong”? Take a day at time. Enjoy life today and the small things, a butterfly, a toad hopping, a flower blooming…each day is a gift and life will get easier with time. You will melt down, and you are allowed to. I was told, “get over it”. I did get over it: with our friendship and marriage. A spouse should support you emotionally no matter what. Life does move on and in your heart your child will live on.
    Its ok to cry. Every time I start to dwell, I plant a flower, a shrub. When someone, human or pet, dies I plant a tree. I have now had 13 miscarriages, lost 2 kids and have 3 boys, one son I carried his twin that died at 4 months. I have a yard that is wonderful. A place I can walk through and talk to everyone. They might have left me in body but their spirit grows on and I find peace within. It takes time and you have a loving family, that is huge!
    You are never alone! There are many of us feeling the same pain. If you ever need to vent, (something a spouse, family or friends will never understand until it happens to them), thru this you have made friends that have been through the same gut wrenching experience and we know how you feel….vent away! It is ok to be mad, pissed off, scared and worried.
    You are very strong to have created this and that is a huge step in recovery. I wish I had been as strong as you! Bless you!

  14. Ashley I think of you often and hope you are getting thru this hard time. I am sorry I had to meet you on that painful day the way we did. Know I pray for you often and that I ask your dad about you.

  15. This is truly an inspiring story. You have encouraged women in general to stay faithful, trusting in Him during tragic loss—-even when they can’t make sense of it all. This is unbelievably difficult to do, but you are doing it—and at the very tender age of 27! How are you so wise beyond your years??? I honestly believe because of your faithfulness, you are going to be blessed abundantly. Thank you for sharing.

  16. My prayers are with you. One thing for sure is, you are right, someone will find this blog and find comfort in it. While I am reading this 4 years after I lost my baby Brooke, I found another woman in 2013 who had written about her experience with her stillbirth. Little does she know she gave me comfort, hope and comradery when I was so lost. She doesn’t know, but she helped me through one of the toughest experiences in my life. Your blog will surely do the same for someone else. It’s nice when something beautiful comes from something so difficult. Your work here, in sharing, is part of that beauty. My heart is with you fellow mama!
    Sending love ❤️

  17. Beautifully written and thank you for sharing. I lost twins at 21 weeks. They were my first two babes. Sending love, strength, and prayers your way. ❤

  18. Ash, you are the strongest person and best Mom I know. I have no doubt that your rawness, vulnerability and honesty will resonate with countless other mom’s who have suffered through the same tragedy. You are so brave, you are so loved. Thank you for sharing this with the world. You and Jeff are in my thoughts, prayers and heart always – and so is little Liam. I love you ❤

  19. Ashley you are already stronger from it. You had the courage to write this and share your story. I lost my daughter at 6 months gestation. I had to vaginally deliver her. And go through all the painful emotions you lived through. Our rainbow baby is 3 now, and he knows that he had a sister that died in mommies tummy before he was born. Thank you for sharing your story.

  20. My first child was stillborn at 25 weeks he was born on jan 6 2010 at 710 at only 1lb 10oz. I held him n all the same things want through my head i held him for awhile then the hardest i cried is v when they took him away nowing im never going to c him again his name was lucas sean.i miss him everyday n cry fit him still. But now i have my rainbow baby jacob a year later he waz born at 27 weeks n i was scared i was going to lose him also but he is now 6yrs old n his b the greatest boy. Its hard u never want to bury ur child my thoughts r w u

  21. Prayers for you and your family. I experienced a very similar loss with my son, Mitchell on May 23,2016. Your story called back to me the feeling of waiting to hear his heartbeat and realizing he was gone. I’m glad you’ve had the courage to share and I want you to know you are not alone as well. Peace and blessings.

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