My baby’s 6 month birthday is next week, and I have never had the opportunity to buy him anything. I never bought him an outfit to come home from the hospital in, or a blanket that he will still love when he’s a toddler, or a baby outfit for his 6 month pictures.. But yesterday we purchased his headstone. My baby died inside of my body at 20 weeks old. A part of me died with him.
I am the mother of three boys, Jayden is 9, Joshua is 5 and Jacob is my angel in heaven. I struggled with secondary infertility for almost four years before finally being blessed with my third pregnancy. I found out about our little miracle October 2013. We were all so excited! We took our boys with us to our first doctor appointment and they were able to hear their little baby’s heartbeat and see him wiggling during the ultrasound. I had a healthy pregnancy, I felt nauseous daily but never threw up. I was concerned that I had a fever almost every night but dismissed it because someone was getting sick or just over getting sick. It was winter, so I figured there were just normal winter germs going around.
On January 21, 2014 we all went together again for my 20 week ultrasound, excited to finally know if we were having a boy or a girl. Within seconds of my baby’s image being up on the screen, the tech said “I don’t have good news, do you want your boys in here?” The sound of my screams and cries still haunt my boys as my husband ushered them out of the room. There was no heartbeat, my baby was dead. My world literally stopped in that moment. How could this be possible? How can I go back in time and change this? How am I ever going to breathe again?
We decided to be induced that day, and left the ultrasound still not knowing if our baby was a boy or a girl. Honestly, I didn’t want my baby to be dead inside of me any longer. I expected my labor to be quick and when we left our boys with my in-laws to go to the hospital, I kissed them and told them I would be home before bedtime. My labor took much longer than I expected and they had to give me double doses of the medication to induce labor. The hospital’s social worker came to talk to us about our options of what we can do with our baby’s body. That was the moment that it sunk in: my baby is truly gone. There’s no going back, there’s no fixing this. We started to plan for a burial before we ever held our baby.
I’m a religious person and I believe in life after death. I could feel my baby’s spirit near several times during labor. It was by feeling this spirit, that I knew we were having a boy. We didn’t have any boy names picked out, I was hoping for a girl and have a beautiful girl name, but I told my husband that we were having a boy and that his name would be Jacob Michael.
As my labor progressed, the pain became more intense. I didn’t want any medication, although I had epidurals with my previous children. I wanted to feel this pain. I wanted my physical pain to match my heart. I felt like the pain was all I had left of my baby. Because I was only 20 weeks along, I didn’t have to fully dilate. I can recall hearing the sound of a heartbeat from the other room, and a woman crying out in pain as she birthed her healthy, live baby. The pain my body was feeling didn’t come close to the aching in my heart.
Sometime after midnight my water broke. From there, everything progressed quickly. My sweet nurse stayed right by my side once my water broke. I was dilated to a four when I passed a huge blood clot. Soon after, I could feel my baby’s tiny body slip from my body and I cried out “my baby”. Jacob was born on Wednesday January 22, 2014 at 1:53am weighing a teeny 3 oz. He was here, but will never really be here. I didn't see him right away, I was so scared to, and I will always live with that regret. They confirmed that he was a boy. My doctor then had to deliver my placenta which wouldn't detach. That was the most horribly painful experience. Eventually they decided they needed to perform a D&C to remove my placenta and began prepping me for an epidural. I remember sitting on the edge of the bed, leaning into my husband while they prepared me for the epidural, and hearing a dad from the other room coaching his wife through labor. It was too much. I lost it. My baby was gone. My heart was broken. As I was laying on the bed during the D&C I kept thinking someone should be checking on my baby, and then I would remember that he didn’t need anything. But it was so hard to look over to the counter where he was, and know that he didn’t need me, he didn't need anything. My blood pressure dropped dangerously low and that kept me further from finally seeing my baby.
Finally, after a few hours after his birth, my baby was brought to me, already dressed in a little outfit donated by Share Parents. I was so scared to see him. I envisioned him to look like my other boys, only smaller but that wasn't the case. His skin was dark and his body was already changing from death. But all I was aware of was how cold he was. My baby shouldn't be cold. I tried to wrap him tighter in his blanket and hold him closer to me, I even breathed my warm breath on him. But he remained cold. My husband and I spent the morning with Jacob, holding him, talking to him, loving him. Around 8:00am we asked my in-laws to bring our boys to say hello and goodbye to their baby brother. We spent an hour together as a family of five. I knew it was time to let him go and I will never forget the looks and sounds of my boys crying as the nurse carried Jacob out of the room.
We buried Jacob two days later, on a cold January afternoon. Leaving his little casket to be put in the ground was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. For days I wanted to go back and dig him up and take him home with me. I find peace now in visiting his resting place, tending to his spot, and decorating it. To me, it is sacred ground.
I found out three weeks after I lost Jacob that the reason he passed away is from a virus called CMV. I had never heard of this virus before. It is called the silent killer because there are no symptoms. I believe the fevers that I had daily were a sign of this virus. But my doctor said there was nothing that could have been done. There was no way to treat the CMV virus.
It has now been almost 6 months. I don’t cry every day anymore, I sometimes even laugh now. But I know that I am not the same person I was before January 21. I will never be that same person. I am forever changed by the death of my unborn baby. We celebrated Jacob’s due date on June 13. That was a difficult day. My boys miss their baby brother and are starting to talk about him more now. I have met amazing moms and dads that have also suffered a loss and I am so grateful for their examples and friendship. It’s bittersweet because I know I would never have met them if my baby were still alive. I try to live each day in a way to honor Jacob. I want to keep his memory alive and a part of my family forever. I don’t know if we’ll have another baby or not, but I will always count Jacob as one of my sons. I know that one day I will have my Jacob again, I know that all is not truly lost, it’s just so hard to wait.