This post is part of a series. (Read Part 1 HERE)
Please note that there are some very raw and heartbreaking photos at the end of the last post. There are many folks who’s hearts cannot handle looking when they are hurting so much themselves. We wanted you to be fully aware and make the best choice for your heart and grief process.
The new year started with smiles and laughs. Continued getting the house prepared for having this little child running around. If Brenden was going to be like his dad I knew I would have my hands full so I really wanted to prep as much as I could before he was here. Bill and I had nothing when it came to baby items. When I first became pregnant it was overwhelming how much we would have to get/do to be prepared to be parents. I registered for Brenden’s baby shower having no idea what would be in store. It was a lovely day, Bill and I went to breakfast and I had my toes done. We dressed up and arrived at Bethani’s for this amazing Mexico themed Baby Shower entwined in love. So many people came to show their love for Bill and I but mostly this “little muchacho”. He was made in Mexico, so there was a reason for this crazy theme. I loved every second of it, that this boy could bring so many people together. The outpouring of gifts was overwhelming in itself, this child was set. Brenden was loved on more than I have ever seen. Loaded up the Tahoe “My Baby Wagon” and headed home. I spent the next weekends getting his nursery finalized. The picture we picked out for above his crib couldn’t have said it better “Loved Beyond Measure”.
March 1st 2016, 36 1/2weeks pregnant, I woke up and something felt off. I wasn’t sure what it was but maybe just maybe we were going to have a baby today. Around 10am I started having contractions. They went from 10mins apart down to 7mins apart. I called my doctor due to having a doctors apt later that day and asked if I should still come in or if I should go straight to the hospital. She requested I come in early so they could assess how far along I was and we could go from there. Bill and I were ecstatic, we loaded up Brenden’s car seat and his going home bag, Bill and I packed our bag and headed to the doctor.
We arrived at the doctor beaming with excitement, Bill was just as excited to meet Brenden as I was. I even had a contraction as we pulled up, Bill helped me walk into the office. The receptionists were so kind, all as excited as we were that Brenden might arrive today. We were brought into the heart monitor room, I had sat there many times, I was very comfortable with what I knew they were about to do. They placed the pad on my belly, she continued to move it around, it puzzled me because again I had done this many times, normally they would have picked up this lovely thudding heartbeat, maybe she was just having difficulty. She then proceeded to ask me when I had felt Brenden last, “What do you mean when did I feel him last, I felt him all morning, I’m having contractions, what do you mean?” She then stated we would wait for an ultrasound room to be open because her monitor maybe wasn’t working properly. That was the longest 5mins, just waiting, not knowing. Bill and I sat in the ultrasound room, holding hands, the tech moved the wand over Brenden’s heart chamber and I saw no movement. I had just been there the Friday prior, his heart was beating perfectly and he was simulating breathing movements and all. There is a deafening silence that comes over you when you are told your child is no longer alive. The silence is almost a physical manifestation of your grief. I was numb as Bill begged them to “Check again! Look again! This can’t be happening!” Bill and I wept as we tried to process this devastatingly traumatic news. Once we were able to somewhat catch our breath, we made the calls necessary and proceeded to drive to the hospital where labor would be induced and I would have to give birth to my dead son.
That was a short drive from the doctor’s office to the hospital but it felt like we were in the car for an hour. We replayed the last 3 days in our heads; what happened in 3 days that this could happen? What are we going to do? How will we survive this? How do you tell people the most horrible news you have ever received in your life? Many things went through my head as we waited for my room to be prepared, as my sister and Bill’s family started to arrive. I wondered why this little boy, that I had fallen so in love with, had to be taken from me. That afternoon I was placed in my hospital bed, as I looked at my sister and asked her how I was going to do this. The next 36hours were harrowing. There was a mistake with my epidural, it wasn’t placed correctly the first time, therefore causing 12hours+ of pain filled labor, I had realized I was laying in my own medicine and I was drenched because the epidural had come out of me. How awful it was to have a 2nd epidural placed but thankfully it brought relief to the pain physically even if no relief could be brought mentally. No pain compared to the doctor breaking my water and the reality of this task overtaking me. I wept, I just couldn’t believe I really had to do this. We had gotten through the night and into the next day, March 2nd 2016, we continued with the pitocin drip as we waited for my body to play catch up. My body had difficulty dilating over 7cm, that evening the doctor had checked again I was back down to 4cm. This was not good news, I had been in labor over 30hours at that point.
Bill had spent the afternoon with his mother at the funeral home, finding Brenden’s plot and going over details needed to lay our son to rest. Bill throughout this journey has amazed me at every turn. Bill wanted Brenden as much as I did, he was so excited to have another boy, a boy he could teach how to work on cars and take out boating, fishing, camping, the list goes on. Bill was Brenden’s dad, and as his son lay dead inside of his heart broken fiancé who is not doing well through this labor, had to leave the hospital to set up arrangements for how he was going to honor his son. Bill is not my knight in shining armor, he is my marred protector, his armor has battle scars, he has been in the lowest trenches with me through this journey. Though my heart aches for Bill, I am thankful God gave us each other, we share the bond of being Brenden’s parents, that bond is unbreakable.
Thankfully Bill was back when we got the news of my body not cooperating. We were given some options on how to move forward but we were also advised that we needed to make this decision quickly. The doctor wanted to talk to me, I was told things were not looking good, that in order for me to make it through this we needed to go into an emergency c-section. Bill dressed for surgery, he was a champ as he watched my body convulse on the table, I was in shock, I was broken in every form imaginable.
March 2nd 2016, 8:41pm, they pulled this beautiful 8.3lbs 20in boy from my body, he was breathtaking. The best surprise was how much he looked like me. As I said before I was convinced he would be a mini-Bill, so the tears just flowed. A boy who conducts himself like his father with his mother’s good looks, we would have been done for.
The entire moment was overwhelmingly dissatisfying, there were no cries, there were no gasps of excitement, there were no hugs and laughter; just silence. Bill brought Brenden over to me as we wept over this handsome lifeless child.
He was perfect, we were able to spend the next 4hours with him. Holding him, loving on him, kissing him, crying over the dreams lost, wishing he would just open his eyes and everything would be okay. Though there was this peace that I could not understand, this peace that brought me to my knees, this peace that knew without a doubt because he was perfect he was with Jesus. The only song that came to mind the whole time Bethani and I held him was “Oceans”. I couldn’t bring myself to sing to him the kids songs I would normally, instead these words just kept going through my head:
“Your grace abounds in deepest waters. Your sovereign hand will be my guide. Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me. You’ve never failed and You won’t start now”
God surrounded my heart and my mind with His goodness. The goodness that He knows what is best, the goodness that He will make a beautiful thing out of this mess. The goodness that though I didn’t have Brenden as long as I would have wanted, I loved him well. I never took a moment for granted. Saying goodbye to Brenden that night was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. How do you say goodbye to your son, your son you never technically said hello to? I cried that whole night, it’s an emptiness I pray you will never have to endure. When you love deeply, you sorrow deeply – those words were never so real to me. At times it literally feels like there is a hole in my heart, 8.3lbs big with strawberry blonde hair. I loved this little boy more than I had loved anything in my life.
With casted footprints, a lock of hair and the outfit they took pictures of him in in hand, I left the hospital 2 days later. Due to the epidural issues, my body was left numb on the left side. They needed to confirm I could walk before they would allow me to go home. I felt such relief to know I could go home, to my own bed. Although that relief left quickly when the reality again hits, having empty arms and a full nursery with no baby. The wheelchair stroll through the hall to the front door where our car was waiting was devastating, to only have your son’s blanket in your hands.