When I first asked for mommies to share their birth stories, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. A small part of me didn't think I'd get a response at all. But the response was overwhelming and beautiful. I couldn't be more grateful and happy that so many mommies chose to share their stories of joy, tears, sadness, heartache and love. I hope this becomes a series of stories that help mommies across our community embrace the miracle that is birth and that we all feel empowered in knowing that every birth, no matter how or where it happens, is amazingly beautiful.
I have two sons. These are my birth stories. They are very different from one another, but each beautiful to me in their own ways.
My birth story for my first pregnancy begins on July 22, 2013 when I was 34 weeks pregnant; although my pregnancy was relatively smooth, and I had no major complications. After being sick to my stomach all day, I called my doctor. He advised me to go to the hospital to get checked out and get an IV as I was most likely dehydrated. My best friend picked me up. I went up to L&D and the first thing they did was check for my baby’s heartbeat. She waved the Doppler over my belly for a few seconds then asked where he normally is. I rubbed my left side. He was always so active there. She tried for a couple of minutes then said she was going to get another one. I panicked a bit, but didn’t think too much of it. I had had a checkup just 4 days prior and everything was fine. She came in with another nurse who tried also. Nothing. But nothing was said. They stepped out of the room and said they’d be right back. They took too long. I knew something was not right. After what seemed like an eternity, my OBGYN walked in. In that instant, I knew something was definitely not right. He tried with the Doppler and asked me when was the last time I felt my baby move. I told him I felt him wriggling around the night before. He tried for a few more seconds and said five words that forever changed my life. “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat”. He said they’d need to confirm with an ultrasound, but that he was sure my baby had passed away in utero. Everything went silent except for a ringing in my ears. I remember calling my mom and telling her to come to the hospital. My fiancé was working out of town and I asked my best friend to call him. How could I tell him our son had died? I thank her eternally for making that phone call. The sonographer came in and checked for what only seemed a few seconds. He started to walk away without saying anything and I asked him if he found a heartbeat. He just shook his head ‘no’. “I’m sorry”, he said. The next few hours are a blur. My mom got there, there was a lot of screaming and crying. They wheeled me from triage into a room and the first thing they did was hand me a stack of papers about what would happen to my baby’s body after I delivered him. Did I want an autopsy? What funeral home would be picking him up? Never in a million years would I imagine having to answer these questions. I was given medication to induce my labor, and the 36 longest hours of my life began. I delivered my son on Wednesday, July 24th at 7:27pm. There is no silence louder than the room where a stillborn baby has been delivered. The nurses cleaned him off and handed him to me. He was 4lbs 8oz and 19in long. He had big hands and feet and such manly, hairy eyebrows. He was perfect. But he was dead. I had spent the prior two days crying all day. The tears were endless. But when I finally held him in my arms, I didn’t cry. I was in such awe of him. He was beautiful. Half me, half his daddy. All perfect. I spent 2 hours with him. That’s it. The tiniest piece of forever is engrained in my mind. He will always be my first child. He made me a mom.
Two years later, I became pregnant with my second baby – another boy. That pregnancy was the most terrifying time of my life. I worried each and every day if this baby would also be taken from me. I had 2 amazing doctors (the same one as before and a high risk doctor) that worked with each other to ensure extra precautions would be taken, especially since there was no reason found for the death of my first baby. For the safety of me and my baby, I was scheduled for a C-section delivery at 37 weeks. On February 15th, 2016, my fiancé and I arrived for pre-op nervous, hopeful, and terrified. We still could not believe this was actually happening. At 9:39 am, our beautiful rainbow baby was born. His cry was the most amazing thing I had ever heard, and he definitely wasn’t the only one in the operating room who was crying. He weighed 7lbs 2 oz. and was 21 inches long. Because he was born a bit early and via c-section, he had to spend 8 days in the NICU for oxygen therapy and then for jaundice. I didn’t get to hold him until he was 3 days old. I will never, ever forget that moment. I don’t think it all really sunk in until they handed him to me. I had not held another baby in my arms since I held my first son. I felt like I was holding all of my new hopes and dreams, I was holding my future, and half of my heart, all in my arms. My heart is permanently broken, but this little boy has mended together the cracks.
Although the outcomes of both birth stories are very different, and even though one is tragic, both have molded me into the person I am today. My sons are my life. I am forever theirs, and they are forever mine.
Thank you, Cori, with all my heart, for being so utterly brave in sharing your story. I know there are many mommies who will benefit from this. It will give them the strength they need to continue their journey with their very own rainbow baby. Lots of hugs from me to you.