I have thought about the decision to share our birth story a lot. In the past 6 months, I have shared more personal info than I ever would have imagined. I have also read a lot of women's thoughts and feelings about infant loss and infertility and find comfort in them. So while the ending of my story isn't what I wanted, and talking about it brings back heartbreak and sadness, I feel like Baby David deserves to have the story of his life told. Writing this has been a great way for me to work through some of the feelings I have around his birth and death. I hope my story can help someone else who may be struggling with a loss like this. On March 10 at 10:30, I went to a routine check up, at 27 weeks pregnant. It was my diabetes drink test, so I told Dave to stay home. When I got there, I drank the liquid and met with the nurse. When Dr. Quinn came in to listen for the heartbeat, she was having trouble finding it. She assured me that sometimes the baby is so active, it's difficult to hear. She had the nurse go get the bigger ultrasound machine, which made me start to panic a bit, but I was assured everything was fine. After a long moment of silence as Dr Quinn stared at the screen, I knew. And then she said those damn words, "I'm really sorry, there is no heartbeat."
The rest is a blur. I immediately called Dave. I didn't know what to do. All I could think to say is, "I don't understand." Why?
Everything was in slow motion, it didn't feel like my life. I was ushered down to radiology so they could confirm the infant demise via ultrasound. It was terrible. We had an ultrasound, this time with a not so pleasant outcome.
After the ultrasound, I was given the choice to go home and have some time, or go straight to the birth center to be induced. I chose to head to the 3rd floor. We walked past the nursery with all the fresh new babies snuggled in their swaddles, knowing our baby would never join them.
After being induced, we waited, and waited and waited.
In this time, we were bombarded with questions. Do you want to see your baby? Hold him/her? Do you want someone to come take pictures? What funeral home do you want to use?
These questions were not ones I had EVER thought about, and my initial reaction was, "Get me out of here." I didn't want any pictures. I didn't want to spend any more time in that hospital room than I had to.
We waited all evening and into the night and eventually decided we wanted to have to pictures taken and we definitely wanted to see our baby and spend time with him/her.
The night was a long one. Contractions were painful and I had no clue what to expect. I had pain meds in my IV, they gave me a morphine shot in the leg and neither helped. So I opted for an epidural (now that I know I won't be doing that again...)
The anesthesiologist came in and attempted twice to get me some pain relief. It helped, but I got a spinal headache from the second attempt.
I gave birth to my first baby at 5:29 in the morning on March 11. It was a boy. He didn't cry. He didn't move. He was gone.
We spent 3 hours holding him, staring at him, crying over him, and loving him.
He was perfect. We named him David Holtan Hopper.
Before we said our goodbyes, the photographer took pictures.
And then it was time, we handed him off to the nurse, never to see his little button nose again.
We had an autopsy and genetic testing done. Everything came out fine. The pathologist suspects it was a "umbilical cord accident" as there was a section in the umbilical cord that was thinner, and may have been pinched or twisted, cutting off his blood supply.
We will never truly know if that's what happened, but it keeps me hopeful that we will be able to have more children and that they will be healthy.
Since March, we have changed. We're better. We've learned that life is short. There are no guarantees.
I've learned what it really means to be brave. And strong.
I've learned people don't know what to say or do. But I can help them with that.
I've learned that things in life aren't always comfortable to talk about, but if you do, you may just help someone out with their struggles or pains.
I've learned that life doesn't always go according to plan. And its really not your choice. You have to deal with what's handed to you. How you deal is your choice.
Most of all, I've learned how to be a mom to a baby who's life was taken too soon. Not everyone learns this in life. I'm lucky to have had the chance to carry, give birth, and spend time with David Holtan.
What a beautiful little life he was.