2 weeks ago I went in to the doctor because I knew something was wrong, and discovered that my baby boy who was at 31 weeks gestation, was dead.
The doctors showed us the ultrasound and where his heart was and that it was no longer beating.
And I thought my heart would stop too.
It felt so impossible to believe, less than 24 hours before I had heard a doppler of the baby's heart, beating just fine. He was healthy, normal, perfect. And then he was gone.
I had no idea that there was a risk he could be stillborn. I thought a baby would be safe unless something happened to him or her. I was so afraid of falling in the shower, or getting in an accident in the car. I had no idea that in an instant he could just be gone.
It took me 24 hours to induce the labor, and on Mother's day I delivered him, at 12:05 pm.
I had no idea what he would be like. The nurses told me we could take as much time with him as we needed, and asked if we wanted to hold him. I knew we would need to hold him so we could have some closure, but I didn't know that I would want to. I didn't know that he would be a perfect baby, who just looked like he was sleeping.
We got to spend a full 24 hours with him at the hospital. We read him a story and sang songs to him. We told him we love him and that we will always love him.
I got to watch my husband hold his beautiful son for the first and last time, and watch my mother hold her grandson in her arms, just in time to say goodbye.
I thought it would be the worst day of my life, having to deliver a baby who was already gone, but it wasn't.
It was not the beautiful and joyful day that it should have been, but there was beauty and joy and sorrow all together. It was certainly the most profound day of my life. The day I became a mother.
The day I got to see that my baby bear had his daddy's nose and eyes, and my chin and long legs. Feet with normal arches, not high like me or flat like his daddy, but the perfect average. He was perfect.
The last 2 weeks have been like being in a weird dream. We have received an incredible outpouring of love and support from our friends and family and strangers. I keep waking up expecting to be kicked. Every bite of food that I eat makes me sad because I won't feel him wiggling around as the sugars go through my system. Every place we go makes me hurt, because I can no longer imagine how fun it will be to bring my baby next time.
Notes about this blog:
This blog may be disjointed for a while, but I hope it does some good. If you are someone who knows us, who would have known Oliver then I am sorry. I am sorry you won't get to know the magical little life that I knew. If you are here on this site because you have lost a baby of your own then I am sorry in a different way. I feel your pain.
I plan to post about my journey, as well as my incredible husband David's journey because it might help someone going through this to know they are not alone. I also plan to post about my decision to encourage the breast milk that inevitably comes in after delivering any baby.
Mothers of stillborn babies are typically told how to discourage the milk and stop the supply because for many it is just a constant painful reminder of the baby they no longer have. I felt like the milk belongs to Oliver, and that pumping it and donating it to babies in the NICU was a way for him to connect with the world. Since he will never make friends with a stranger, or go on a date, or get married and have a baby of his own, this was a way he could touch some lives, and bring some good into the world.