It was a Monday.
The weather was surprisingly nice being in April, but I felt off. Being thirty-eight weeks pregnant takes a toll on a person, yet this was a different feeling. I couldn’t quite tell what was wrong, but my body was telling me I needed to lay down. So Poe and I laid on the couch while Anthony left. I remember Poe laying super close to my belly and me talking to Jensen. A little part of me was wondering why he wasn’t moving as much as he normally did in the mornings. I kept pushing it out of my mind since I’d be going to the doctor at one.
On the ride to our appointment, I remember saying I thought something was wrong.
‘What would we do if he was still?’
Honestly, I thought it was just me worrying. Now when I look back, I think I knew. Anthony told me not to worry, Jensen is just fine.
He still hadn’t moved when we were in the waiting room. I was talking to him and remember walking into the bathroom three times while waiting. Finally we were taken back to the room, it felt like another appointment. She had me lay down on the table and put the jelly on my belly. I distinctly remember making a joke that there wasn’t much room left in there. She nervously chuckled and told me she’d be back.
I was worried at that moment, but everything was going to be alright. He was moving and passed his ultrasound less than five days ago. My comforting thoughts calmed the worrisome ones until my doctor came in.
It didn’t take him anytime at all to see that Jensen’s heart had stopped beating.
‘I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat. Do you understand what I’m saying?’
The world has come crashing down around me. I understood exactly what he was saying, but I didn’t know what happened next. He was talking, but I couldn’t hear any sound coming out. Just that we needed to go to the hospital to double-check and they would let me know what to do there.
When we walked out of that room, I felt Jensen’s weight just hanging there. I felt numb and in shock. As soon as I sat in the car, I cried and just kept saying the doctor was wrong. That they would tell me this was all a joke when we got there. After gaining somewhat of a composure, I called my mom. I needed her there with me. I don’t know what ran through her mind when I told her Jensen was gone. He doesn’t have a heartbeat. But she was there at the hospital way sooner than she typically drives.
At the hospital, they ushered me into a room I never been in before. They had the portable ultrasound in my room, three times, just to make sure. Each time I had my hopes up that his heart would start back up again. That I would see my boy’s heart flickering as it normally did.
It didn’t feel real.
When my mom got in there and they explained everything to her, I knew by her face that this wasn’t some sort of elaborate prank. The heaviness of the day crashed down on me. My blood pressure, which had been perfect before finding out, skyrocketed. I could only see huge black dots and my arms were numb. Everyone was quiet and giving me options at the same time. This isn’t what I had read in the baby books and it’s definitely not a situation they warned me about in baby class.
I don’t remember breathing, seeing, or feeling anything until they told me I needed to go back to the delivery room. Before I blacked out, the decision was made that I would be induced that night to deliver him when he came. I begged for a c-section. I was adamant on not seeing Jensen. I couldn’t believe that death had stolen the one person who meant more than anything to me. My mind couldn’t wrap itself around seeing him born lifeless. Yet, I still had to walk to my room.
At that time I needed to be alone, so I walked ahead with my nurse. I can remember taking a deep breath then. The next time I walked those halls, I wouldn’t be taking Jensen home with me. He’d be left there and it hurt.
She told me she was going to ask uncomfortable questions, but they had to be answered. I just kept nodding my head. It had to be done. I can remember her asking me about where his funeral was going to be, who could pick up his body, what his name on the death certificate would be, who I wanted in the room, if and when I wanted an epidural, and the most important at that time, if she could write his name on the white board. It was information overload all at once. I literally was going through the motions and my parents had to answer most of her questions.
I’ll never forget the room I gave birth to my son in. The bed was on the left side and the couch in the back left corner pulled out to a full bed. A bathroom was located in the back right and along that wall had the TV and whiteboard where she wrote Jensen’s name. To the right of the bed the hospital brought in snacks for the family. I thought it was ridiculous at that time. They ate and read the pamphlets about losing a grandchild. When I got my bag, I remember telling them to get it away from me.
Deep down inside me, I still thought there was hope. I thought somehow through labor and birth he would jolt back. That death didn’t creep inside me and take my son.
They decided to induce me at eleven at night. The doctor and nurse told me I would probably have him the next evening or longer. I was scared and I thought I had time. Not that you can ever prepare for a silent birth. Everyone kept telling me to try to sleep. That I would need my energy for the next day. They dimmed the lights and played Game of Thrones for me.
I’m not sure exactly what time it was, but my parents had gone home to take care of their dogs. Anthony had been sleeping and I was awaken by strong contractions. My whole stomach felt like it was violently vibrating and clenching all at one. So I went to the bathroom to scream, cry, and try to keep breathing. I called my mom to tell her she needed to get back to the hospital. For some reason, I felt like he was going to come a lot sooner than twenty-four hours. The nurses must have heard me or Anthony went and got them. They frantically knocked on the bathroom door and I told them I was in pain.
When I was checked in to my room I was only one centimeter dilated. Only a few hours after I was induced, I was fully dilated and contracting every one to two minutes.
Somehow my mom and dad got to the hospital just in time. It felt like as soon as they came in, Jensen was right there. The nurses kept telling me and my mom that it couldn’t be time yet. It hasn’t been that long at all for her first birth. But I felt him, he was right there and I kept telling my mom. After she yelled at them to check, I was right.
‘He has a head full of blond hair.’
Within a few hard pushes, he was born. My hopes that he would somehow come back to life were gone. I can remember them calling out his time of birth, 4:25. Then nervously I asked if he had ten fingers and toes.
I wanted nothing more to wake up from that nightmare. The nurses kept telling me how good I did. That I should be proud of myself for the ‘easy’ birth I had. But my son… he was gone and was never coming back.
Nothing in the world could ever make that right again.
Tomorrow, at 4:25am, Jensen turns one.
I’m planning on sharing something extremely personal with you all. Although I’m still questioning myself with it, I know you all will be here to support Jensen and I’s journey. Thank you all for reading my story once again. It is so healing to be able to share.