Thursday, October 14, 2010

Your story

Dear Jacob,

Today is the day that I started looking forward to at the beginning of February. Since May 31st, it has been the day that I have been dreading. Today is your due date.

Today I want to tell the story of your life on earth. This won’t cover everything, like all the tiny little details that were special to me. I remember a lot, but those details continuously come back to me and I’m sure there are still more to come.

I wanted you for so long Jacob, even before you were conceived. When I found out that I was pregnant I was so happy. Happier than I had ever been. I always wanted to be a Mom and I couldn’t believe that it was finally going to happen. I loved every moment that we had together. From the day I got the positive pregnancy test, to the day that I held you for the last time. I like to think that we still have moments together and I cherish those too. You are a part of me.

I had an ultrasound at the beginning of January to check my follicles and there were several in each ovary. As I looked at them, I thought that it would be so neat if one of those follicles became my baby….that I would have seen the egg that would make my baby before it was even fertilized and as it turns out, I likely did.

We went to Montreal the last weekend in January and I noticed a lump in my throat. I didn’t feel nauseous really, but I wondered if I could be pregnant because of that lump. Then I was sitting at my desk one day with a banana on it and it smelled terrible. I had to move the banana to my overhead cabinet and even then it was disgusting. Then I realized that I was producing a little bit of milk. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t wait to take a pregnancy test, but I didn’t want to take it too early because I might get a negative result even if I was pregnant. I waited until a day before I expected my period and I got a very faint positive. I was excited, but was scared to be too excited in case it was wrong. I attended a course that day and I wondered the whole day if I could really be pregnant. I saw a woman in the course who was about 7 months pregnant and I imagined how that could be me in just a few months. I remember walking to the hotel where the course was and the person in front of me started smoking. I held my breath and got in front of them so that I wouldn’t be breathing in the smoke, just in case.

I took another pregnancy test the next day and it was positive again and the lines were clearer this time. I was so, so happy.  I walked into bedroom that morning when your Dad was still in bed and said that I’m pregnant. Oh, the joy we felt. I went to the course again that day and sat there enjoying my little secret the whole time. I did three more pregnancy tests after that and they were all positive.

That night I called everyone to tell them that you were on your way. I called your Grandma first and your Aunty Laurie was there so I said to put me on speaker phone. I said I was pregnant and Laurie screamed. I loved her reaction. Your Grandma was really happy and I'm sure she started thinking about everything she would knit for you. Then I called your Aunty Jessie and told her. She was so excited. I just knew she would go out in the next few days and get something for you, like she did for Ben. She did and got some cute little socks from Old Navy. 

Then I called your Aunty  Lindsay. She asked how I was and I said “pregnant”! She told your Uncle Brian and we all were so happy. Your Grandpa was in Florida, so my Mom and Laurie called him and he called me and was really excited. Your dad called and told his Mom and sisters, who were all excited. We decided not to tell anyone else until I was 12 weeks.
On February 14th, I got the flu. I had been avoiding your grandparents and your aunts for a few weeks because they had all had it. I threw up that Sunday night and Monday all the time, but then it started to subside and I just had no energy. The Olympics had started so that at least entertained me most of the day. I called the MotherRisk hotline at Sick Kids to see if the flu could be hurting you, but they said that it wouldn’t as long as I wasn’t getting dehydrated and my fever didn’t go over 101 – I don’t think it did. They also said the standard 2-3 out of 100 babies does have a birth defect. Of course, I worried about that a little, but I didn’t really think that you would be one of those babies.

I started feeling better and went back to work, but within a few days the all-day nausea started and that lasted from week 6 until week 12. I felt sick all day long and could barely function at work. At night I would lie on the couch while your Dad made dinner and cleaned up afterwards. Being in the car was hard because I felt even sicker then. The only time I didn't feel sick was in the middle of the night when I woke up hungry. I would stand at the living room window or the den doors and look onto the street while eating and rubbing my belly. Then I would wake up in the morning and start feeling nauseous again and it got worse and worse as the day went on. I had my emergency throw-up bags everywhere I went and I used them a lot at night. I had them tucked in the side of the couch, in my nightside table, in my purse, at work and in every coat pocket. I’m still finding those bags now.  There were times when your Dad and I were eating dinner and I would have to run to the bathroom in the middle of it to throw up, barely making it in time. I threw up in the shower a few times. Once I ate a pickle and threw it up right away. The heartburn from that lasted for hours and I haven’t had a pickle since.  Then I discovered that if I sucked on a candy, I didn't feel as sick. My top choice was Werther’s because they seemed to have the fewest ingredients and the most natural ones. One day, your Dad and I were at Costco and I just craved some juice so I got apple juice and I felt so much better after my first sip. From that time on, I always had apple juice with me.

I have always felt cold. Even when I am in a warm house, my hands will be cold. You made me warm baby. I was so hot, that I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt to bed in the middle of winter and I would even kick off the covers sometimes. Your Dad was amazed. He would have long pants and long sleeves on, and I would have shorts and a t-shirt. We couldn’t cuddle in bed anymore because I was just so hot and making your Dad too hot. I could never wear my coat on the subway because I was so warm and I felt even more nauseous the warmer I felt. I always had to take my coat off before sitting down and I  couldn’t read on the way to or from work because I was just felt too sick. I couldn’t drink water because it made me nauseous and I worried that I wasn't taking in enough fluid.

I remember the first time that I started to feel better. Your Aunty Lindsay came over to watch a movie. She brought some snacks and a bag of Werther’s, which I thought was really sweet of her. I was still lying down on the couch all night because the nausea was worse if I sat up. A little while into the movie (we were watching Up), I just felt like I could sit up and I watched most of it sitting on the couch. It was a huge accomplishment for me.

As sick as I felt, I was so glad that you were with me. I would have done anything for you. I loved that my pregnancy symptoms were so strong because it was a constant reminder that you were inside of me, growing strong. I couldn’t wait to meet you. I couldn’t wait to feel you kick.

My belly grew slowly at first and I loved watching it grow. I could see a long bump on my lower abdomen developing and I was so excited that I was started to show. I still have that bump. Then my belly started getting bigger everyday. I would come to work and Sheila would say that I was bigger than yesterday and I loved it. I loved it when my regular clothes got too small. I loved using an elastic to do up the button on my pants. I loved having a belly that I wasn’t trying to suck in, but was proudly walking around with. I rested my hand on my belly all the time. I was, and I am, so in love with you.

April 3, 2010 - 12 weeks
May 9, 2010 - 17.5 weeks
May 18, 2010 - 18.5 weeks
May 24, 2010 - 19.5 weeks
May 29, 2010 - 20 weeks. I wore this top
3 days later when I held you for the last time.

I went for my first appointment with my OB on April 1, 2010 when I was 12 weeks pregnant and I was so excited. Your Dad took some pictures of me sitting on the examing bed that day. Little did I know that 3.5 months later, I’d be sitting on the same bed waiting for the results of your autopsy. She said that you were her first October baby. She tried to find your heartbeat with the Doppler, but told us that it was early and not to worry if she couldn’t find it. Well, she couldn’t find it. I didn’t worry because she had said not to, but I was disappointed.

I had an ultrasound scheduled for April 8th, but they called the night before and had to reschedule for the next day because the ultrasound tech was sick. It seemed like forever to wait another day to see you. But on April 9th I did and it was just amazing. You were moving all over the place….stretching your neck, stretching your legsmoving your hands up and down and I’m pretty sure I saw you open your mouth. You were in a good position and the tech was able to get some good pictures of you. I just stared at the screen in amazement that you were actually there in my belly…my little dream come true. After he finished, he said that he had a few minutes before his next patient and he let me look at you some more. I was completely happy in that moment.

I went back to work, staring at the 2 ultrasound pictures I got that day. I went to the lunch room and called your Dad to come there. I showed him the pictures and we hugged and marveled over you. Then we called Phil to come. She didn’t know I was pregnant so I just showed her the pictures and she was so happy, giving us each a huge hug.

The next Monday I told my boss, Peter, that I was pregnant. I was nervous about it because I had only been in the department for 8 months and I felt bad that they were going to have to find someone to replace me while I was on maternity leave. I closed the door to his office and the look on his face told me that he thought I was going to quit, so I quickly told him that I wasn’t quitting. Once I sat down, I told him that I was pregnant and he got the biggest smile on his face. He said how wonderful it is to have children and never to let anyone tell me otherwise. He showed me a picture of his 2 kids and said again how great it is. We had a nice talk and then I went to tell the rest of the department. Sheila, the person I called from the hospital when we found out that you had died, was really excited and came over a few times with tips on what she did to handle the nausea. Cate and I talked about a nickname for you and she decided that she would call you Sunny. The news quickly spread around the office and I received several emails and calls with people saying congratulations.

Every night when I got into bed, I would lie on my back for a minute or two and look at the bump that was getting bigger and bigger. I would place one of my hands on you and tell you how much I love you. I did the same thing every morning. You just loved to be on my left side. The bump was always just a little bit higher on the left. On Mother’s Day, I lay down on a bed at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and got your Grandma and your Aunts to come up and see my belly and how you were on the left.

I started feeling flutters shortly before 16 weeks. When I felt that first little butterfly flutter….well, I can’t even describe how happy it made me. Then I started feeling you kick more often. You usually kicked on my left side and it was usually around noon. I would sit at my desk all day just waiting for it. I would also feel you in the early evening. I couldn’t wait until the kicks were more regular and your Dad could feel them too.

I went for the 4 month appointment on May 3rd. I heard your heartbeat that day, for the first and last time. Dr. A found it right away and it was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. I could have sat there for ages listening to it. I left the appointment that day so happy. Your little heart was so strong and I was so proud of you.

On May 7th, Dr. A called and left a message at work, apologizing that she didn’t get a hold on me in person, but she had to catch a plane. She said that the IPS screening came back with an increased risk of a neural tube defect, a 1:287 chance. Your risk of down’s syndrome and other disorders were slim. She said that she felt that everything was fine, and she was really sorry to leave that information on voicemail. She wanted me to have the 20 week anatomy scan early because of this result and said to call back and speak the nurse, Jan. I called and left a message and Jan called me right back. She confirmed that the likelihood of a neural tube defect was small, but they wanted me to go and get the ultrasound on May 17th instead of May 26th and they had already made the appointment for me at the prenatal clinic at the hospital. All of this made me nervous, but I managed to convince myself not to worry too much. I had been taking folic acid for almost a year before I even got pregnant. I’m glad I went on May17th. If I had waited for the ultrasound until May 26th, you were likely already dead and I never would have seen you alive again after May 13th and I wouldn’t have that amazing profile picture.

Mother’s day was May 9th and we all went to church with Mom. I got a rose that day because I was pregnant and I felt special. After the service, we were in the coffee room and Rev. Mike came over and said hi and I told him I was pregnant. Some of those moments are surreal now. Less than a month later, he would be visiting me in the hospital and seeing your little body carried out of my room.

May 11th was my birthday. Your Dad took me to East Side Mario’s for dinner, one of my favorite restaurants. Everything was fine until I started having back pain on the way there, the same kind of pain I get when I get AF. We sat down and ordered and I went to the bathroom. To my horror, there was some brown blood. Oh, I was scared. But the back pain had stopped and I knew that sometimes women have a bit of bleeding during pregnancy. But then, as I was washing my hands, I felt more come out. I went in to check and it was bright red. Not a lot, but it was scary. I didn’t have any bright red blood after that. Deep down I knew that if there was something wrong, nothing could be done. I went back out and ate dinner with your Dad. I was scared the whole time and didn’t enjoy it much, but I felt bad telling him that we had to leave when he was so happy to bring me to my favorite restaurant.

As we talked to the car, I told him that I was bleeding. He said that Keisha’s Mom bled when she was pregnant and everything was fine. I guess I was in denial. I don’t know why I didn’t just run off to the hospital then. I certainly would now. But we went home and I tossed and turned all night. I was still having brown spotting and couldn’t stand it anymore, so we went to the hospital the next day. My pulse was really high, which worried the nurses and the doctor. I explained that I was just really anxious and they all said that they understood. We were only at the hospital for 2 hours, most of that time we were in a little room with a door. I was glad at the time, because I was away from all the people who were coughing. Now I wonder if they put us in that room in case the news was bad. The doctor came in and did an ultrasound with the ER ultrasound machine, which isn’t as high tech as the ones in the diagnostic imaging department. As soon as I saw him looking at his watch and looking at the screen, I had a huge sigh of relief. You were alive. I hadn’t realized until that point that you might actually have been dead inside of me, I had just been worried that I might be miscarrying. He turned the screen so that we could see you and you were moving all around and the doctor said that you were really active (and I was so proud). He did see a small sub-chorionic hemmorhage and he said that in the worse case, the tear between the placenta and the uterine wall will get bigger, it will detach and nothing can be done. He ordered a regular ultrasound and said to come back the next day for it.

On May 13th, I went to the hospital again, without your Dad this time. The ultrasound tech was nice, but I couldn’t see the screen while she did the exam. I noticed that she spent a lot of time in one place, and from past experience with having ultrasounds, I knew she must have found something. We talked a little and I asked her if she could see if you were a boy or a girl. She said she thought you were a boy and your life flashed before my eyes. My little boy. 

One of the first thoughts that came to my mind was that I wanted to be good friends with your wife and we would all see each other often. I got to watch you for about 2 minutes dancing around on the screen. She pointed out your body parts and showed me why she thought you were a boy (and it looked pretty clear to me). You were very active, of course…you always were. You were moving all around, flipping from your back to your side, opening and closing your mouth and moving your arms and legs around. One time, your legs were curled up against your belly and you straightened them out completely. She left me in the room while she went to see if the pictures were good enough. Your picture was left on the screen and I just stared and stared at you. She came back and said that everything was fine and I should go back to the ER and wait for the results.

I sat there, getting text messages from your Dad, and your Aunty Laurie and my friend Jen from work, all asking if everything was OK. I waited in the ER for at least 2 hours (they said it would be really quick since I was just waiting for test results). I talked to your Dad and asked if he wanted to know if you were a boy or a girl. He said yes, of course, and I said that you are a boy! We laughed and were just in awe of you. I finally went up and asked a question and they were surprised that I was still there. The computer said that I was in the Red zone, but my file was in the green zone. That finally got sorted out and I went to the green zone, and a doctor came in and saw me quickly. I had been worried that they had kept me waiting because it was bad news and they were putting off telling me. He said that all of your major organs looked fine, but there seemed to be some issue with your limbs and he gave an example of “something as simple as club feet or as complex as missing a few toes”, but they couldn’t tell exactly what it was because it was a little early (I was 18 weeks). Neither one bothered me much. I just worried about the pain you would have when you are born when your club foot was corrected. He asked if I had the IPS screening and when I said that I had and that it had come back as an increased risk for a neural tube defect, he said that these results support that. He said that I should be referred to a high risk OB and he could do it or my regular OB could do it when she got back from vacation. I really wish that I had asked him more questions. It looked like there was a whole page written from the ultrasound report, but he only mentioned the limb issue. I walked out of there a little shaky. The guy in the bed next to me stared at me as I left, having heard the whole thing of course.

I got outside the hospital and called your Dad right away. I started crying then because you would be born with some issues, but I knew we could overcome them. Part of me was scared that things were worse, but part of me just thought that we could deal with anything. Then I called Mom and told her, then I called Laurie and she said that she would love your little feet no matter what. I tried not to worry about the results until I had another ultrasound and we could get more answers, but it was always in the back of my mind.

The next ultrasound was on May 17th at the prenatal clinic. Your Dad came with me for this one. I got to watch the whole ultrasound this time. You moved around so much that it was hard for the tech (Angie) to get a good picture of you and to take the measurements she needed to take. Dr. M came in and read the scan and said that your spine was fine (my relief was enormous). They also saw a small pool between the placenta and the uterine wall, but weren’t concerned about it. They called your Dad in towards the end so that he could see you too. Your Dad was standing behind Angie and took a little video of the ultrasound, even though he wasn’t supposed to. It is the only video we have of you alive. At the time, I thought your Dad wasn’t really looking at the screen enough and I didn’t want him to miss seeing you, but I am so grateful for that video now.

He only got to look at you for 2-3 minutes before Angie said she had to move on to the next patient, but she wanted me to come back when Dr. M was out of surgery so that he could look again. They said that there was a problem with your left foot, which I was expecting them to say.  She also couldn’t get a good look at your left hand and said that you were clenching it and she couldn’t see all your digits. When we went back in and they looked at your hand again, you were hiding it under your head. Finding out that there might be something wrong with your hand made me really sad, but I was still so grateful that your spine and your brain looked fine. I asked if they thought there could be a chromosomal defect and they said there were no other indications of that. Dr. M said that I should go to Mount Sinai for a higher-level ultrasound and that he could make the referral or I could wait for Dr. A to get back to do it. I asked him to do it. The sooner I got in, the better. Angie also told him that I had already waited a week since finding out that there might be a problem from the IPS results…she seemed concerned that I would have to wait even longer, which was nice of her. We asked Angie before leaving the room if you were a boy or girl and she said a boy (we wanted to see if she said the same thing as the tech at the other hospital).

We walked out of the hospital and I could barely hold it together long enough to get outside before I started crying. Your Dad was great….hugging me and telling me it was OK and that we could deal with whatever the problem was. I just couldn’t stop crying and said how unfair it is that our innocent little baby has to have a problem and go through pain and surgery when he is born. I cried all the way to the car. Your Dad had his arm around me and I just cried and cried for your little hand and said how unfair it was to you. Little did I know what was to come. We got to the car and I called and told my Mom and Dad and Laurie and I just cried through all the calls, but kept telling them that the news wasn’t that bad.  Eventually I started to feel better. I mean, we didn’t even know for sure that there was something wrong with your hand. Your Dad was so strong the whole time, but did say that he was worried and that I was right and it wasn’t fair.

Once I got home, I emailed your Aunty Jessie and told her what happened and she replied and was reassuring, saying that it doesn’t matter, that she already loves you.

A few days later, I got a message that my appointment at Mt Sinai hospital was on June 7. I seemed like so far away. Dr. A was back from vacation, so I called her office and was transferred to her right away. I told her everything that had happened and said that I knew that club feet could be a sign of a chromosomal disorder, but Dr. A said that it is almost always bilateral and you only had one foot affected and that she has never seen a neural tube defect show in the limbs. She said that whatever the problem is, it can likely be fixed at the Hospital for Sick Children and she would support me through whatever comes.

On May 23rd, I wrote this in my journal “the baby wasn’t giving me a lot of kicks for a few days, just one or two, but I can feel a slight shifting movement sometimes and the the area I feel the shifting is hard. I felt a lot more kicks yesterday, which I just love.” Were you already dead when I wrote that? I had phantom kicks for weeks after you were born, so maybe it wasn't you kicking me at all on the 22nd. That shifting movement and the hardness in my belly started happening more and more, and my first few hours of labour felt exactly the same, just alot more often. Were they painless contractions all along?
On May 24th, we went to the Music Gardens where we did our wedding pictures (the picture above of me by the pole is from that day). Your Dad took a bunch of pictures of you and I. I loved how my belly felt that day. I was getting bigger and bigger. Then we walked down by the lake and your Dad took this video, which I have watched many times. I can't take my eyes off my belly.  

On May 31st, a Monday, I had my 5 month appointment with Dr. A. Your Dad offered to come to the appointment with me, but I told him not to take the day off for a routine appointment. He should take it off for the Mt. Sinai appointment. That morning, I got dressed, took a few pictures of myself since I wanted more pictures of my belly, and drove to Dr. A’s office.

Jan weighed me and said that I’d only gained a pound and how good that was. I was proud of myself for that. I sat in the waiting room, watching the other women and reading “Any Known Blood”. I read a reference to the characters baby boy who was still born and quickly read a few more pages so that it wouldn’t be the last thing I read before closing the book. I was eventually called into the examining room that I hadn’t been in before. The window a/c unit was on and I was getting really cold. I was just going to turn it off when Dr. A came in. I asked her about some DHA vitamins and she said she wouldn’t take them and I said that I didn’t even take Tylenol because if anything bad happened, I wanted to know that I did everything I possibly could. She said that Tylenol was fine, that they would give it to you if you were born early. She asked if I had felt any movement that day and I said I felt something not to long ago and explained the shifting/hardening feeling to her. I lay down on the table and she felt my belly and said that I was measuring more like 19 weeks, which I thought was odd because I knew that I was just a few days shy of 21 weeks. And then it happened. She tried to find your heartbeat for 3 long minutes but couldn’t. She kept moving the Doppler around, taking my pulse when she found something and was trying to determine if it was my heartbeat or yours. I knew it was mine, it was too slow to be you. Sometimes she would shut her eyes and eventually she turned off the air conditioner. I kept staring at her face, then staring at the ceiling, then staring at her again, willing her to find your heartbeat. If anyone asks me about the worst 5 seconds of my life, it was when she stopped looking and said “I can’t find it”. I knew. I didn’t want to believe it, but I knew. She said she can usually find the heartbreat right away at this stage and said how she found it right away at my last appointment a month ago. She said I needed an ultrasound right away.

She went to her office to call the hospital for an emergency ultrasound in the prenatal clinic and I started crying in the exam room. She came back and said they could see me right away. She was really nice, making sure I was OK to walk over there. She said I should call my husband….I just thought about how it would take your Dad at least an hour to get there, so I said that and said I’d call my Mom. I asked if I could leave my car in the parking lot and she said of course and that she wouldn’t want me driving anyway and that she would go and talk to someone if there were any problems. It was like I had suddenly gone into automatic pilot mode…asking about the car, putting one foot in front of the other.

I walked over to the hospital so fast. I called your Dad on the way over and starting crying again. I told him that everything was probably fine, that I had to have an ultrasound because she couldn’t find your heartbeat, but you could just be hiding. As much as I knew that you were gone, that you were too big to be hiding, I wasn’t ready to give up on you yet. Once I got to the hospital, I checked in and they sent me to the waiting room, which was right between the maternity floor and Labour & Delivery and near the breastfeeding clinic. They knew why I was there. Why did they send me to a place where I would see lots of babies and pregnant women? I had to wait about 20 minutes, which felt like hours. I couldn’t stay in the waiting room once a pregnant woman and another couple with a newborn came in there so I stood in the hall, crying the whole time. I watched a couple getting ready to leave the hospital, taking pictures with their baby, I saw a man come out of L&D and tell his waiting family that it was a boy, I saw parents going to the breastfeeding clinic. I talked to your Dad some more, and to my Dad. I wondered how everyone could be walking around acting normal when my baby was probably dead. Everyone looked at me as they walked by since I wasn't trying to hide my tears at all. I couldn't.

The ultrasound tech, the same one I had for the ultrasound on May 17th, apologized for the wait, but I had to wait another few minutes in the ultrasound room while she got paperwork done. I just needed confirmation and I wanted to know right away. She finally started and I could see there was no movement and your heart wasn't beating. My heart broke. You were all curled up. I kept staring at your heart, willing it to beat, I stared at your limbs, willing them to move.  Angie took some measurements and said she didn't see any movement or heartbeat and was sorry and was bringing the scan to a radiologist. While she was gone, I called your Dad and said that it wasn’t good and he said that he was on his way. I didn’t know until hours later that he didn’t know that you had died until he got to the hospital. I called my Dad and he said he was coming. I was taken to L&D and brought into a room and called my Mom’s cell phone. She answered right away, which was a bit of a miracle. After calling her, I sat on the bed facing the wall and started crying again. A few minutes later, a wonderful nurse named Patrice came in, sat on the bed beside me and gave me a big hug. It was just what I needed. She said that she had had losses too.

My Mom got there first, while my Dad went to get your Dad at the subway. Dr. A came over after a while and said that you had died about a week ago, that you measured fine at your 18 week ultrasound but now you were measuring at 17.5 weeks because your bones had started to overlap.  She explained the pills that they would insert to start labour and said that I could go home and think about it, but I said I didn’t want to go home, that I couldn’t knowing that you were dead. I didn’t want to start them until your Dad arrived at the hospital and I also asked for another ultrasound because I just had to see you again one more time, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have any regrets in the future. She came back about 2-3 hours later and did the ultrasound and it really helped to see you again and have the signs explained. She also said then that she has never not found a heartbeat at this stage in pregnancy and have it turn out fine (I was glad she didn't tell me that at the office before). She said that you dying was completely unexpected and she didn’t see it coming at all.

Patrice also came in with the radiology report and let us read it, which pointed out the signs and said there was "fetal demise". She explained any terms we didn't know. I thought it was really nice of her to show us that. She said someone showed her once and it really helped her.

They started inserting the pills every 4 hours, so I started them on May 31 at 3pm and had them until June 1 at 7am. At first it just caused contractions, but they weren't very painful until later in the night. I am so glad that your Dad, Grandma, Grandpa and Aunts were there. It made the day go faster and made it easier not to focus on the terrible thing that was happening. Rev Mike found out what was happening and came once on May 31st and twice on June 1st  and he had some words that really helped I wish I could remember them all, but he did say that you might not have been whole here, but you are whole in heaven and not in any pain. We decided that we would name you Jacob. It was between Evan and Jacob, but Jacob was just the right name for you.

Everyone but your Dad left around 8:30 on Monday night and the evening was long and sad. I kept crying. I was tired, but couldn't sleep. I was offered a relaxant to help, which did a little and I slept for an hour or so during the night. Your Dad told me the next day that he went in the bathroom at 2am and broke down in there so that I could sleep.

The cramping got worse and worse over the night, but at first I wasn't anxious to have it finished because I wanted to keep you with me and hated the thought that you wouldn't be in me anymore. Once the pain got horrendous, I wanted it to be over. I just wanted to hold you. I kept my hand on my belly almost constantly from the moment I lay down in the hospital bed until you were born. I couldn’t miss a moment. 

Right before you were born,  Dr. A discovered that you were breech and said that can sometimes cause complications, but it didn’t. You were born at 9am, after only 2 pushes. As soon as you came out, Dr. A said that you had bands, which right away made me think of amniotic band syndrome and you did have that, which ended up explaining the problem with your foot and your hand. She asked if I wanted to hold you and I said yes. The moment you were handed to me was amazing. You were wrapped in a little blue towel and just your face was showing. I still had to push out the placenta, so I was still lying on my back, but I was just trying to memorize your face. I couldn’t believe I was holding you. You were so light.

Both of your eyes were open when you came out, but with time, your right eye closed. Your left eye stayed open the whole time we had you and it was such a gift. I didn’t expect them to be open at all, but I feel like I got to know you even better because I got to see your eyes. Your right leg was muscular and your right foot was flexed, as if you had just kicked a soccer ball. You had muscular arms and big lips. I knew you would have big lips from your ultrasound picture. Your eyebrows were even starting to grow, but you didn’t have any hair on your head. We spent about 3.5 hours with you, just holding you, kissing you, rocking you, giving you 2 baths, loving you. I never wanted to let you go.

Your belly was so smooth. I kissed you a lot, I touched every part of you, but I wish I had spent more time holding your hands,  kissing your cheeks, touching your back and rocking you. I wish I had a video of me rocking you. It was so sad to see your Dad holding you, his little son, the baby that he wanted so badly…just as badly as I did. Your Grandma and Jessie arrived first and they held you and cried. I will be forever grateful that we had 2 cameras there. Ted and Jessie took lots of pictures. Laurie arrived and I handed you to her and she cried and cried and said that she loves you, that we all love you. It made me burst into tears again. Your Grandma had knit a beautiful blue and white blanket for you, but I was scared that the wool would stick to your delicate skin, so I never put you directly on it. I wish I had. Laurie brought in a Peter Rabbit receiving blanket, which we wrapped you in after a bath. She brought that one in because she thought you could have adventures with Peter Rabbit. I still have that blanket, I still sleep with it every night. There is a stain on the blanket from your body. I often hold it against my face when I’m feeling really badly.

The blanket your Grandma made for you

In your Peter Rabbit blanket

You were getting colder and colder as time when on. I could feel the coldness on my lips when I kissed you and on my fingers when I touched you. The whole time I held you, I said over and over again in my head how much I love you, want you and miss you, and that I would never forget you. Your Grandpa arrived and sat in the rocking chair with you for awhile.

I wanted to hold you every way that I could think of. I held you in the crook of my arm like I would have held you all the time if you had lived. A picture taken when I was doing that is one of my favorites. I wanted you hold you with your head on my shoulder, but you were just too small.

The time we had with you flew by. After 3.5 hours, we could see how your little body was deteriorating. Your Aunty Lindsay was flying in from New York to come and see you that night and I wanted you to look as good as possible for her. My nurse, Sylvia, said that we could put you in their fridge until we came back that night. We wrapped you in the Peter Rabbit blanket, put the little Teddy Bear with you, and they took you away. It was terrible, but I knew I would see you again.

I was discharged about an hour later and went home, showered, went online and joined a support group. I also got an email reminding me that the prenatal classes we had signed up for started that night. I emailed back and said that you died and we wouldn't be attending. I never received a reply. 

I couldn’t wait to get back to the hospital to see you again. Once Lindsay arrived, we went straight there and were taken into a room. They brought you back to me and you looked so different, but I just loved you more and more. The nurses had taken you out of the Peter Rabbit blanket and wrapped you in a little blue blanket on an incontinence pad, but they did it nicely and it looked like you were on a cloud. The teddy bear was in the box with you, as were the hospital bands we never got to wear and a card with your footprints. I was worried that your aunties and grandparents might want to remember you at your best, so Laurie went out and told them that you didn’t look as good as you did before. Everyone still wanted to see you though, which made me happy. I handed you to Aunty Lindsay and she cradled you in her arms.

Everyone wanted to hold you again, so we passed you around. You came back to me and I kept saying to you in my head that I love you, that I want you and how much I miss you. After a few minutes, Jessie asked if I wanted some time alone, which I did. Your Dad told you how much we love you and miss you and I said it too. Then he left me alone with you. Just you and I. I kissed you, told you how much I love you and miss you and want you and I apologized to you that I couldn’t save you. I cried and cried. It was my last moments with you and I just couldn’t believe it. Everyone came back about 5-10 minutes later. I wanted to hold you forever, but I was worried about your body deteriorating too much for the autopsy and I knew I would have to give you back eventually. Laurie asked if I wanted to bring you out or if I wanted the nurse to come and get you. I said I wanted the nurse to come, so she went to get her.

It was the hardest thing I have ever done…handing you away never to hold you again. My heart was breaking into even smaller pieces and I hated that I had to do it. I didn't think that my heart  could break anymore than it already had, but it did. The nurse asked if I was sure and I either nodded or choked out a yes. She asked if I wanted the Teddy Bear and I said that I did, after saying that they probably wouldn’t leave it with you. I’m so glad I have it.

Your Dad took these pictures a few days after you were born. Our friends brought over these flowers.
That is the Teddy Bear that the hospital gave us and that stayed with you for hours.
That card is the one that the nurses took your hand and footprints on.
Wrapped around the Teddy Bear is the hospital band that you should have worn.

I had been wondering about the Peter Rabbit blanket, but somebody, Laurie I think, asked about it and they said they have it, but that it is soiled. I didn’t care, I had to have it. The nurse stood there with you for awhile, just holding you in front of me. I couldn't take my eyes off you. I could barely stand it. I'm surprised I lived through that moment. Jessie later told me that she was screaming at the nurse in her head to either leave or give you back to me.

Now my life is about just trying to live without you physically here. I miss you every second of every day. I miss our present, I miss our future, and I miss the months of pregnancy that I didn’t have with you.

There are so many more details of your life here that I haven’t written about. The day to day moments of joy, the euphoria I felt every time I felt your little kick.

You brought us so much joy Jacob, so much. I will be forever grateful that you entered our lives. I will be forever grateful that I was chosen to carry you. I will always remember you and I will always make sure that others remember you too. Your brothers, sisters and cousins will grow up knowing that you were alive, that you are a part of our family. I’ve had you added to the family tree so that future generations will see your name and date of birth and death and wonder about that little baby.

You have taught me so much and you have made such a difference in the short time that you were here. I wouldn’t trade my time with you for anything. I only wish that I had more time with you.

As I walk around, I see things like flowers and squirrels and clouds and the sun and I think of you. I think of all of the things we would have done together. I think of all the fun we would have had, all of the meal times and story times and bath times and play times. When the whole family is together, you are missing. You will always be missing baby. I will never be complete again.

Your story hasn't ended, sweet boy. It will never end.

I love you,



Mrs.Spit said...


Andrea said...

Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing his whole story. I feel like I know Jacob better from it. I hope today is a gentle one. I know how hard the due date is. It was supposed to be filled with so many joyous things and now it is just empty. I hope you can surround yourself with the beautiful memories of Jacob today. Love and hugs to you and thinking of you and Jacob.

Drew's Parents said...

Your post to Jacob is so beautiful, Dana. Thank you for sharing the details of his precious life with us. I loved seeing the pictures and videos of you carrying him. You were so adorable. I could see the absolute contentment and happiness that you felt. I knew your post today was going to make me cry, and sure enough my eyes are all watery and I am taking deep breaths to hold back a full-out sob. My heart breaks for you, Ted, and Jacob. Jacob was and is an amazing little boy who has had such an impact on the world. I am just amazed by the countless women who have been helped from your posts on the boards and blogs. You have honored and remembered Jacob so beautifully. You have taken care of his memory as carefully and as lovingly as you did his body. You are such a strong woman, and I just know that Jacob is so proud that you are his mother. I am remembering Jacob with you today. I love you! <3 <3 <3

Julie said...

my due date was a hard day, but getting past it helped me. i am thinking of you and jacob today, and hope getting through this day can bring you some peace, too. <3

carlajoe said...

Dana, I just sat here reading Jacob's song, he is quite blessed to have you as a mother. Milestones are hard, we call stories of little ones their song. Because no matter how sad the "story" is as parents we sing our Angel's song, sometimes the same, sometimes different. But the music of his life lives through you. A beautiful account of his Jacobs life.

Angela said...

Thank you for sharing so much about Jacob's life today Dana. I've been thinking about you and Jacob. I know the due date is a hard one to get through. There is a candle burning today for my darling girl and your sweet boy. I'm in tears, thank you for sharing.

car said...

Thinking of you and Jacob.

Sheri said...

I'm in tears reading your story, as it brings back a lot of memories of Olivia. Thank you for sharing, and try to stay strong. I promise the hurt will get a little less intense every day, but you will never forget your little angel.

Shanna said...

I had to hold back the tears reading your story. Thank you for sharing Jacob's brief, yet extremely meaningful life with us. My second angel's due date is in ten days and I'm dreading it. The due date is such a difficult day...a reminder of what should have been. Be gentle on yourself as you remember Jacob. ((HUGS))

Jennifer said...

This is such a wonderful tribute for your baby boy, telling his story and sharing it with us. Jacob is truly missed and loved by you and your husband. I'm sorry he's not here with you. But his memory and his story will live on in you. Here's to remembering Jacob with you on his due date. It may fill you with sadness but I hope it will also fill you with love, so much love. (((hugs)))

Courtney said...

Oh Dana *tears* my heart just aches for you. Oh how I wish I could hug you! Thank you for sharing Jacob's story with all of us!

<3 you both!

Violet1122 said...

Dana - this is the most beautiful and most heartbreaking thing I have ever read. Thanks for sharing Jacob's story, all your pictures, movie clips... thanks for sharing the details and your inner thoughts.

Jacob is your son, and you are his mother, and nothing will ever EVER change that. Someday, you will spend most of your days being happy. But even then, I'm sure you will feel that there is someone missing.

Jacob is beautiful. What an impact he has had on your life, on your husband's life... and in a much smaller way, he has had an impact on all of us who read your blog.

Oh Dana, if there was only a way to make things right again. Hold on to those things that made you smile when you think about Jacob.

((Big Hugs))

Rhiannon said...

What a beautiful post, Dana. You were and are a wonderful mommy to your sweet Jacob. Thank you for sharing his life and death with us. He has had an impact on my life. Much love, my friend...xoxo

The Wellman's said...

I found your site through babycenter (due in June 2011) I cried reading your story....I'll be praying and thinking of you. I can't imagine what you have went through, I just wanted to tell you your strength, your blog has helped me with my grieving...i wonder if grieving will ever be over, but I know it will never fully be over......

molly said...

Thank you for writing this. I read the entire thing and I'm sobbing. My heart aches for you. You are a wonderful mama to Jacob. I wish you peace.