Paula’s Story

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October 3rd of 2014 was when I found out that I was pregnant, upon the incessant urging of my colleague and friend to do a test-at work. It was too funny, I had to take a few minutes that morning to run to a nearby pharmacy and bought a home testing pregnancy kit. Sure enough, it was positive. I told a few close friends at work, and we were all very happy. A few misty eyes, but it was a happy moment. Once I told my other half, it was history.

We all wanted a boy. My other half, myself and our daughter wanted a boy. God granted our wish when we did the 20-week sonogram for the gender verification. We were very delighted. Weeks passed, everything was perfect. Our baby boy was very healthy and very active. We had two baby showers, one at work and one with family and friends. It was all such great times.

Now we were so very close to having our little boy – I was going to do a scheduled C-section since my first born had complications. Our son was scheduled to be delivered on Memorial Day this year, May 25, 2015.

On my 2nd to last prenatal appointment before the big day, everything was completely okay. I had concerns in my last 4-5 appointments due to increasingly recurring and lasting contractions, and some leakage every so often, but they said everything was okay and I didn’t have to worry. The thing is, for some reason, around my 7th month of pregnancy until toward the end, I became really paranoid about stillbirth. Nobody in my family that I know had one, no friend I am close to had one, so it wasn’t like it was something that I was worried about before having the paranoia. I told my other half that I wanted to purchase a fetal heart monitor so I can make sure our baby is okay everyday, but everyone told me that as long as I can feel the baby, it’s all good. So I brushed it off thinking I may just be overreacting and trusted what everyone said.

May 20 was my last day at work before I went for my maternity leave and also my last prenatal appointment before our son’s birth. That morning of the 20th, I got up, started getting ready for work, and went to work. Usually, on my drive to work, he would be kicking already, but he wasn’t. So I got to the office, started pushing on my belly a bit to get him to move, but he still wasn’t moving. I said, “okay, maybe he’s just really tired and he’s still sleeping. I’ll give him some more time.” Come noon, I still haven’t felt any movement at all, I was panicked at this time, and I was telling everyone of my concerns, and they all said, “he’s just ready to go” or “he’s just so cramped in there, he doesn’t want to move” and that everything is okay. I relaxed and thought maybe I am just stressing too much.

3:00 p.m. came and I left for my doctor’s appointment. I got there and waited to be seen by the doctor. Soon enough the doctor emerged from behind the door and did the usual routine. I told him that I haven’t felt movement since the early hours of the morning and none at all, all day. So he got the fetal heart monitor and started to check for his heartbeat. Usually as soon as the device pressed against my belly we would hear his heartbeat but this time was completely different. It was nothing but silence. He kept moving it around my belly, searching for the heartbeat, but again, nothing. He went outside and asked the nurse for another Doppler since he thought the battery may be low on that initial one.

So the new Doppler is being used, and again, he pressed it against my belly. NOTHING. It was the most deafening silence. I asked “what’s going on?” although, in my heart, I kind of knew that it was something very, very bad and it was something that I have been dreading for the past couple of months. My doctor told me, “you have to go to the hospital to get a sonogram to double check. Just check in and tell them you will be meeting with Dr. Adams.” With that, I left the clinic and started heading to my car.

As soon as I stepped off the elevator, I started to dial my other half’s phone number. As soon as he picked up, I couldn’t say a word for a couple of seconds and tears just started streaming down my eyes. I said “Did you get our daughter yet? You guys need to meet me at the hospital now. There’s no heartbeat. There’s no heartbeat.” He was very confused, and asked me what I meant and all I could say was there was no heartbeat. The line kept cutting off so I just hung up and texted him to meet me at the hospital. I got in my car, and drove off to the hospital that was 5 minutes away. I could not stop crying, I held on to my rosary and was praying out loud, hoping for my son to be okay and that maybe the doctor was wrong and that this wasn’t really happening. I said “Lord, please let my son be okay, please let him be okay, I don’t know what I’d do if I lost him.”

I got to the hospital and had to try and regain my composure as I stepped out of my car and walked towards the hospital lobby and check in area. The desk person helped me out with checking in and told me everything was going to be okay. In my head, I knew she was just trying to make me feel better.

I sat in the waiting area and waited for the nurse to come and get me and take me to the labor and delivery suite. Once she came, she had this wheelchair and told me to hop on. I didn’t want to but she insisted. So we went up to the top floor and she took me to the suite. On our way there, I saw the looks on the nurses’ faces and I already knew that they knew what my situation was. I was met by another nurse once we got to the suite that I was going to be in, she told me to change into the hospital gown and lay on the bed and wait for the doctor.

After a little bit, the nurse would pop in and out to do some things, like check my blood pressure and all that, then some time passed by and my daughter and other half came in. He was asking me what is going on and I said, there was no heartbeat in the clinic, they sent me here to double check. It seemed like forever waiting for that ultrasound machine. Then it finally came after having met the doctor. The technician did the ultrasound and I was staring at the monitor, it was labeled “CHEST” on the screen, and I asked the technician, “where is his heart?” She looked at me and the doctor from across the room and then back to me as she slowly shook her head. I turned my head to the doctor and she did the same thing. This big lump I had in my throat now felt like it was getting bigger and bigger and my chest felt so heavy and I couldn’t breathe. I started to wail and said “no” as I cried. I remember overhearing my other half as he heard me crying, “what’s going on?” and I heard his cries follow shortly after. It was the nightmare I never wanted to happen. Our son has passed 5 days before he was supposed to be delivered.

The doctor and everyone else left the room for us three to be alone for a while. My daughter was crying but she didn’t fully understand the scope or gravity of the situation. She knew her brother was dead, but that’s about it. In a sense, she was lucky not to understand yet. My other half held me so tight as we both cried. Then all three of us were in a tight embrace, I don’t know for how long. When the doctor and nurses came back in, we had somewhat stopped crying already as we discussed what we were going to do to deliver our baby.

Since I was going for a C-section, I told them I would still like to keep it as such. So they all left and started prepping everything including myself. My other half had begun notifying close family members like his mom and dad and I messaged a handful of mine via messenger since I had no immediate family member or close relative that lived nearby.

His mother and father came and they were crying and very heartbroken over what happened. It was a very somber night as I was being prepped for delivery. Around 9:00 p.m. I got wheeled into the operating room and they started the procedure. Our son, Lochlan Elijah, was born that night, May 20 at 9:26 p.m weighing 9.14 pounds and was 22 inches. He looked exactly like me but had his father’s frame. He was absolutely perfect.

I held him for as long as I could once I was able to get a couple hours of sleep. We had pictures taken and we spent as much time as we could with him. But I knew I had to let him go. It was 2 p.m. the following day when we let him leave. It was so hard to know that I couldn’t hold my baby anymore.

I didn’t even get to see his eyes, nor hear his cry. I couldn’t go through the pain when they started talking about funeral arrangements. I said that it is never right when parents talk about the funeral arrangements for their child. That it wasn’t how it was supposed to be.

On May 22, late in the afternoon, I requested to be discharged and we went home. It was very hard coming home without our son. My arms felt so, so empty but my heart felt more so – it was beyond words.

It has now been 2 months since he passed away but the pain is so fresh still like it was yesterday. I still ask “Why? Why us? Why our son?” I will never know but I do hang on to the Lord and know that my son is loved and happy in heaven. And that beautiful quote, “too beautiful for earth,” I sincerely believe in it. He was spared from all the heartache and ugly things from this world because he didn’t deserve it. He was too beautiful.

Every now and then, it still hurts me a lot to see little kids running around knowing that my son should have been that eventually. I think the pain will always be there, but it gets easier by the day. Hold on to the ones you love, and never turn anyone who cares for you away. They will help keep your sanity. With every day, I accept it a step at a time. I love him so much and will always miss him, but I look forward to the day when I get to hold him again up in heaven.

In sweet loving memory of Lochlan Elijah – our beautiful boy.

-Paula
New Windsor, NY
Published 8/22/15


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