I close my eyes and feel the warmth of the sun on my back and on the side of my face. The California air is warm and the smell of the grass is thick and sweet. Tears glide in a steady stream down my cheeks and I taste the salt on my lips. Thin blades of grass tickle my palm and fingers as I gently stroke the area in front of me. My heart aches as I look at the spot where my sweet son, Hunter, is buried. I rest my head in my hands and sob as I am once again hit with the reality that my baby is gone.
When I found out I was pregnant with Hunter, my husband, Nate, and I were beyond thrilled. I had miscarried at 10 weeks almost exactly a year earlier and we had struggled with getting pregnant again. We were once again filled with the excitement of having an opportunity to bring a child into our family. I was nervous about suffering another miscarriage, but my worries were soon put to rest when we were told our baby looked perfect and the heartbeat was strong at our eight-week ultrasound. After our second ultrasound at thirteen weeks we decided to announce our exciting news. Friends and family celebrated with us and it was one of the happiest times of my life, even with all of the morning sickness. I will never forget the night when I felt him kick for the first time. I was sitting on the couch when I felt like someone was poking me from the inside. My hand flew to my stomach and I excitedly told Nate I could feel him kicking me. Little did I know that the next day would be one of the worst days of my life.
I woke up September 22nd at my usual time, but I felt groggy and achy. It felt like I had the flu so I called in sick to work. Nate set up the TV in our bedroom and kissed me before going to work. I had just gotten off the phone with my mom when I wet my pants. I was disgusted and irritated. I walked to the bathroom to clean myself up and I kept peeing. I was confused because I didn’t have to pee and it didn’t feel like I was peeing. It slowly dawned on me that this was not pee. I quickly tried to call my mom and Nate, but neither answered, so I called my older sister and broke down sobbing as I told her what happened and that I was pretty sure my water had just broken. She told me to call the doctor immediately while she tried to get ahold of our mom and Nate.
Within minutes I was on my way to the doctor’s office where I met up with Nate. They took us back immediately for an ultrasound and confirmed that my water had broken and that there was barely any amniotic fluid left. The nurse practitioner came in and gently told us our baby didn’t have a chance of surviving. His heart rate had already dropped and would continue to drop until it eventually stopped. We were scheduled to come back in the next day for delivery. My heart was broken. I covered my face and sobbed while asking why over and over again. Nate pulled me close as it began to really sink in. Our baby was dying. The baby we had prayed for every single night for the past year was dying inside of me, and there was absolutely nothing I could do. I felt so helpless. I was supposed to be the one to protect our baby, but instead my body had failed and I couldn’t do anything to save our beautiful baby. I hadn’t met my son, and yet I was willing to do anything, even give my life, to save him.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I stared at the ceiling, held my small bump and begged Heavenly Father to spare my baby. I prayed for a miracle and promised Him that I would do anything if He would save our child.
We arrived at the doctor’s office early the next morning and went in for another ultrasound. The room was still and tears streamed steadily down my face. After the technician completed the ultrasound, we were led into another room where the doctor met with us. I had prepared myself for bad news. I couldn’t believe it when my doctor came in and told us our baby was fighting and his heart rate was strong! He told us our baby’s chance of survival was slim to none, but that there was still a chance.
I was put on strict bed rest and monitored closely. My mom came and stayed with us for a week to take care of me and when she had to leave my mother-in-law came. During this time I began blogging to share our story with concerned friends and family. I had prayed for a miracle and Heavenly Father blessed us with one. Our little boy continued to fight. (We did not know his gender at the time, but we had a feeling he was a boy.) We had been told there would be very little movement because he was so cramped without the amniotic fluid surrounding him, but every once in a while I would feel him. I loved the moments when I felt him move. It was like he was saying, “Don’t worry mom, I’m still fighting.” In return I would think, “Keep fighting little one. Please, please keep fighting for your mommy. I can’t bear the thought of living without you. You are my baby and I love you so much.”
Two weeks after my water broke I went into labor. We rushed to the hospital and they told us our son was positioned for birth and I would deliver shortly. After being in labor for over twelve hours, my contractions stopped miraculously. Hunter’s heart rate picked up once again, and I was sent home the next day. The doctors shook their heads in disbelief at our situation. We were told our baby was rewriting the books. We continued with ultrasounds every few days and during one appointment Hunter stretched his little arm up and waved his hand. My heart was full of gratitude as our beautiful baby continued to fight. I thanked Heavenly Father for this extra time and I truly cherished each day I was able to carry my miracle baby. Each day was a gift and a miracle as Hunter continued to defy all odds. I was so proud of my strong little boy.
October 10th rolled around. It was five days until my 23rd birthday and was also the day one of my older sisters was coming to stay for a few days. Another friend also came to visit and I had run to the restroom because pregnant woman have to pee ALL the time. While I was in the restroom I saw the umbilical cord hanging out and began to panic. My chest tightened as I was consumed with fear and grief. This was it. I knew in my heart that it was over and I didn’t have much longer with my son. I quickly ran out of the bathroom and told my sister and friend that the baby was coming. They rushed me to the hospital and called Nate to let him know.
I was taken up to labor and delivery and the ultrasound revealed that Hunter had passed away. My heart broke, and I wanted to die so I could be with my sweet baby. They induced me and at 7:53 p.m. I gave birth to the most perfect little boy in the whole wide world. We named him Hunter Keith. When they placed him in my arms, I was overcome with a beautiful and perfect love that I had never felt before. He filled a hole in my heart I never knew existed. In that moment I knew what it meant to become a mother. Nate and I held him for hours. We took hundreds of photos and covered our little Hunter with kisses. I buried my face in the blankets he was wrapped in and whispered, “I love you” over and over again. I couldn’t get over how perfect he was. As Nate sat next to me and held our son, I was amazed at the resemblance. Hunter was a mini version of his handsome daddy, except for his toes. His long “finger toes” were all from me. My heart was so full I thought it might explode as I looked at my handsome boys. This was the best and worst day of my life.
Hunter was born at 18 weeks and 3 days so he was tiny. He was just over eight inches long, and he only weighed a quarter of a pound. The tip of my finger was the size of his whole hand. He had the cutest little feet and the most perfect button nose. I wanted to memorize everything about him because these memories had to last me a lifetime.
When it came time for us to leave I held onto Hunter and cried. How was I supposed to let him go? He was my baby. I didn’t want them to take him away. I wanted him forever. I wanted to watch him grow up. I wanted to see him smile and take his first steps. I wanted to watch him blow out birthday candles and ride a bike for the first time. I wanted to go to his sporting events and cheer louder then any other parent. I wanted to see him graduate high school and then college and eventually fall in love and get married and have kids of his own. All of the hopes and dreams I had were now gone and instead of planning a life, we began planning his funeral.
Words will never adequately express the pain I feel over losing Hunter. It has been five months since Hunter passed away and still my heart physically aches. At times it feels unbearable. It is a pain that will never go away until I am with him again. It hurts to breath, and often times I lay in bed and just wish I could be with my babies, even if it is only for a moment. A couple of weeks ago we lost another baby at five weeks which puts us at a total of three angel babies. There are times I want to yell and scream and break everything around me. I have moments where I feel angry with God. I ask Him, “What did we do that was so awful we have to go through this? Why is my body failing at the one thing a woman’s body is made for? Why do I have to live with the guilt of feeling like I am the reason our babies are dead?”
I do not pretend to know all of the reasons why Nate and I have had to go through these trials. I still have many questions, but through hundreds of prayers I have come to feel at peace. I will always wish that Hunter would have lived and that we could have raised him. Hunter’s life may have been short, but he did live. He now continues to live in my heart and I know without a doubt that he is watching over me. I feel his love and I know I will never have to live a day when he is not with me in spirit. My arms may be empty, but my heart is full.
Story Written by: Lauren Madsen
You can follow Lauren’s journey at http://laurenmadsen3511.blogspot.com
This story was seen first on Real Imprints.