It’s time to write a blog post that I never thought I would write and have been dreading to do. But Hubby and I feel we need to share with everyone what has happened in our lives. On February 19th, 2017 at 2:18pm, our beautiful baby boy, Asher Ray, was born into Heaven. We still have no answers as to what caused his heart to stop beating and we may never get any. We are living every parents greatest fear, the loss of a child, and it is absolutely devastating.
I felt so much movement that day. He was very busy and moved all day into the evening. I even felt him a few times before bed.
I woke up the next morning at 6:00am, to use the bathroom, and felt no movement. I always felt him stirring as soon as I got up in the morning. I tried not to overreact and drifted in and out for the next hour. By 8:00am, I was up and freaking out. Hubby told me to get up and see if moving around got him moving again. I showered and felt nothing, I always felt movement in the shower. I drank a juice, nothing. We called our neighbor, who is a Labor and Delivery nurse, and asked her to come over with her Doppler. She was unable to find anything but said her Doppler is not great and Asher may have just been positioned in a way that made the heartbeat difficult to find. We called the on-call doctor and were told to go to Triage at the hospital. Even on the way the hospital, I was panicked but never thought that our worst fears would be confirmed. I thought they would find his heartbeat right away or they would say it was slowing and I had to deliver immediately. I never expected to be told that our baby no longer had a heartbeat.
After we arrived at Triage, the nurse grabbed the fetal monitors and stuck them on my stomach. She moved around and nothing was registering. They called in the Ultrasound tech and machine. The nurse, ultrasound tech, and doctor all stood there looking at the screen. I heard nothing and just watched their faces. They shook their heads and our fears were confirmed. They had no idea what happened. He was head down and the cord was nowhere near his neck. All they could say is that sometimes these things happen. They gave us a minute and we just cried and cried. All I could think about was the fact that I had to give birth to a baby that no longer was alive and I would never hear him cry. I knew something wasn’t right that morning. I was so in tune to his movements because I was terrified of something exactly like this happening. I never actually thought it would though.
They came back in and explained our options. They wanted to induce me and advised that a c-section was not the best option. (I asked if they could just knock me out and deliver him so I didn’t have to go through the pain of labor. Obviously, this is not advised by the doctor.) They told us we could leave and come back or stay, it was up to us what we wanted to do. I could not imagine going home to think about it and then coming back later to give birth. So I opted to be admitted and induced that day. Making the phone calls to our families was just another devastating blow. I couldn’t finish the phone call to my Dad, Hubby had to take the phone and explain. Hubby couldn’t finish the call to his Mom, I had to take the phone and explain. Each phone call was so heartbreaking to make. We weren’t the only ones devastated by this loss.
They admitted me, let me eat lunch, and then started the induction process. The used a pill to start the process. The exact pill that is given to induce a miscarriage, but just a smaller dosage. They said they would check on me again in 4 hours. I started to respond to the pill and was getting regular contractions. A phlebotomist came to the room and took 19 vials of blood to check for various reasons as to why this could’ve happened; undiagnosed blood clotting disorder, infections, viruses, etc. They checked me before bed and advised they wouldn’t give me another dose of the pill since I was responding so well. They let me eat dinner and I tried to sleep but it was not happening. I opted to have a dose of Fentanyl at 1:30a to help with the contractions so I could sleep. It helped for about an hour but didn’t do much else.
The doctor came in at 6:00a to check my cervix. I was only 1cm dilated. We discussed our options and decided to break my water and to orally take a pill to increase my contractions. Four hours later, I was in pain. The contractions were coming with minimal breaks in between. The doctor checked and I was 4cm dilated at this point. I asked if it was too soon to get an epidural because I knew once I had that, I would be hooked up to an IV and bedridden. She advised it was a good time to get one. I was absolutely terrified of having an epidural but I was in so much pain emotionally, I was not going to put myself through unnecessary physical pain. The epidural was scary but the doctor was wonderful and the relief was immediate. My contractions continued to come regularly and I never felt them. They checked me again a few hours later and I was only 5 cm at this point. Our nurse suggested this giant ball thing that opens your pelvis. So they put that between my legs and I continued to lay there.
They removed the ball and they were going to let me try to rest before things really got going. I had rolled over to try and nap and felt a lot of pressure. I told our nurse and she said it’s time. The doctor came back in and I was 10 cm dilated. I pushed for a total of about 25-30 minutes. He was born at 2:18pm at 32 weeks. It was silent. We never got to hear him cry. I was hesitant to look at him just because I knew he wasn’t there. Our nurse looked at him and said “he is absolutely beautiful” and her words were my undoing. I just cried. Hubby got to cut the cord. The nurse took him, cleaned him up and wrapped him in a blanket. We continued to deal with all the other after birth things and when that was done, we held him.
He looked so peaceful, just like he was sleeping. He looked alive. We held him and we cried. That feeling of complete devastation is something no parent should ever have to feel.
We opted to have him bathed and changed into the outfit we had for him. He was wrapped in the blanket I crocheted for him and the hat I made was placed on his head. Our parents came to the hospital and were able to hold him. We got some more time with him after they left but his pallor was starting to change and neither of us wanted to remember him that way. Our nurse took him to another room to take some photos of him so we have them always. When she was finished, she brought him over again and we each said our final goodbyes to our son. We sent him away with the hat I made him and some other items that we had the other half too. We kept the blanket for ourselves so we always have something that he physically touched.
We then had to figure out what we wanted to do with his body. Did we want him to have a private burial, shared burial, or be cremated? All things no parent should ever have to think about, let alone several hours after giving birth and saying goodbye to their child. But the hospital needed to know who to release Asher to once we left. We decided against a shared burial (with other stillborns) and opted to have him cremated. Burying him would’ve involved us thinking of purchasing our own plots and finding a cemetery to do that. It would’ve been a rabbit hole that we just couldn’t fall down. We found a crematory and advised our nurse of the facility that would be picking up Asher.
We were visited by fetal medicine specialists and discussed the options for testing to see why this happened. I did not want him to have an autopsy. The thought of his little body being cut open was too much to bear. They advised they would do some genetic testing on me and test for some other clotting disorders. They took the placenta and a small piece of Asher’s thigh to send out for chromosomal testing.
We were released from the hospital at 2:00pm and immediately went over to the funeral home to sign paperwork to cremate and release Asher. They picked him up later that night and told me they would call me once his ashes were ready to be picked up.
Since we left the hospital, the week has gone by in a blur. It doesn’t seem real. I gave birth to a son over a week ago and yet I am home with no child. Instead, we have our son’s ashes in his crib upstairs. We have had so many people reach out to us and offer us words of sympathy, flowers, cards, meals, etc. We have had visitors almost every day and they have been a welcomed distraction. It’s wonderful to know we have so many thinking and praying for us, yet I hate that they have a reason to do that.
Hubby and I have yet to go back to doing anything we did before Asher was born. We haven’t gone back to our video games or binge watching TV shows. It feels like going back to doing things we did prior to losing Asher would be like not acknowledging what happened. We have been keeping ourselves busy by making cookies for our nurses, building a puzzle, running errands, and watching random mindless movies to distract us. We have had visitors almost every day and they have been a welcomed distraction. Yet, after they leave I feel horrible like I didn’t spend the time thinking about Asher. However, I know he would want us to stay busy because I cannot cry all day and still be able to move forward. My grief comes in waves. Sunday was horrible. Asher would’ve been a week old and instead the day marked one week since he passed. I cried all day, so much so that I gave myself a migraine, my first one in 6 months.
After he was born, the doctor mentioned that she thought the umbilical cord looked thicker than normal and that Asher had tiny little blisters on his skin. She was unsure if those were any indicators as to what went wrong but just mentioned that she noticed them. Today I had a follow up with my OB. She advised that all my lab work came back normal. The analysis on the placenta was normal. I asked about the blisters on his skin and she advised that the fetal medicine doctor stated that is normal when a baby passes in-utero. The baby’s skin starts to soften and deteriorate. As of right now, we have no answers as to why this happened. I had a complication free pregnancy and everything was progressing as it should’ve based on the ultrasounds and doctor’s appointments. So why did his heart suddenly stop?! The only test still pending is the chromosomal analysis and that will take a few weeks to get back.
Thank you to have everyone who has reached out to us. Your thoughts and prayers are very much appreciated. Thank you to our three wonderful nurses in the hospital. I cannot say enough nice things about the three nurses we had during our entire stay in the hospital. They treated me, Hubby, and Asher with so much kindness and understanding. It will never be forgotten and we will forever be indebted to them for the wonderful care they took of our son.
That is all for now. I have a lot more to share but this post was information overload. I will continue to write of our progress as we navigate through these waters of grief. I know there was a reason that God took our son, only time will tell what that reason was.