Today I felt fine on waking and ate breakfast and started to do some things I needed to get done. I went to look for a paper I needed and was confronted with Luke’s memory box from the hospital on the desk. I had to open it. I looked at his little hand and food prints, touched the lock of his hair (and felt mad that it looks like they taped it on there wet and the color doesn’t show true), and picked up the onesie they had dressed him in. I pressed the onesie to my body and wished for his body to be in it. I noticed for the first time that there are little brownish splotches on it in places that I think are dried blood. This broke my heart. Was my little baby bleeding on his clothes while we held him? I know he was stillborn and although he was beautiful and perfect, he had some bruising and a couple of blister-like things. But I hate the thought of his little body bleeding. This sent me into a tailspin of tears, which I can only handle by going to God. But I wanted to know why, God?! Why did you choose this for us? The sentence “I didn’t choose you, I chose him” came into my head, then “He’s special”. Still I cried my broken heart out and asked God questions and expressed my anger and hurt at what He has allowed in our lives. And then I had a moment of hope in thinking of the Bible verse that says that God can move mountains if you have enough faith when you pray for it. I earnestly prayed for God to just turn back time 3 weeks, to before my last two doctor’s appointments, to before we were told there was no heartbeat, and just let me have a do-over and get to keep him. I long so much for this to be possible. Please God, just send him back to us. Please just let me wake up and have time turned back and have Luke back in my belly kicking and soon to be born. Please just let this not be really happening. I don’t want to be these people with the sad stigma now on them. I just want to be with my baby. I even tried saying take me instead. Then at least Josh and my parents could have Luke. The only thing that gave me comfort was to picture doing the things I wanted to be doing with Luke. Holding him against my chest and smelling his hair, breastfeeding him on the Boppy pillow, carrying him in the little backpack carrier in the grocery store, putting him in the back of the car in his car seat. I could see it all as if it had happened. But it didn’t.
Josh and I drove to Crown King today, which we had been talking about doing for a long time. We thought it’d be a good distraction and get us out of the house. The drive was scary—dirt road on cliff switchbacks with no guardrail for the last third of the drive. Not fun and nothing much to see when we got there. We saw 2 young couples with 2 baby carriers with little feet sticking out eating at the first restaurant. One of the babies was covered with an ugly tan towel, which made me think I deserved a baby more than them because my baby would be covered with a cute blanket. Silly thoughts and mean thoughts I have. I was fine on the way there, but felt sad on the way back and told Josh I wished we were too busy at home with our newborn to drive to Crown King. He said “me too”.
This was a rough day and felt heavy with sadness all morning. Needed to get up and move around, but couldn’t seem to do it until after lunchtime. Went to garden with my mom, but didn’t enjoy it. After that, I finally talked to our neighbor Connie, who was so excited about our baby. She walked up silent with her arms out and I just cried as soon as we hugged. I asked if her someone had already told her and she said yes and cried with me. She told me I could cuss and be mad. She invited me over for wine and we sat on her front porch rocker and talked while her grandson slept in the car. She put a big frozen strawberry in my wine and made me laugh and listened.
Felt pretty okay most of the day today and was able to handle some things I needed to do. What made me sad today was seeing a mom in Trader Joe’s with a baby in a front backpack carrier. I longed to have my Luke there with me in a carrier too and felt so empty without him there. I longed so badly for that weight of a little body sleeping in front of me while I shopped. I had 2 of those backpacks, plus a Moby sling, ready to use for Luke. They are just sitting there with no baby to use them.
My husband Josh and I lost our baby, Luke.
I went to the doctor on Thursday and everything was good. Luke had a strong heartbeat. On Sunday, Mother’s Day, Luke was kicking and active all day. We went to church and had family dinner with my parents and sister at my parents’ new house and my family enjoyed feeling my belly and talking about him coming soon. On Monday morning, one week before the due date, we went to our 39-week doctor’s appointment to talk about the upcoming delivery and possibly inducing birth. I took Josh and my mom with me to the appointment because I wanted their help and support in that conversation and in making decisions in the timing of that. At the appointment, the doctor could not find the heartbeat with the Doppler or the ultrasound equipment. The doctor sent us directly to the hospital, where they admitted us and put us in a room. They did another ultrasound, confirming Luke no longer had a heartbeat. Hospital staff began saying “I’m sorry for your loss” before I even understood that there really was a loss. I was in shock for awhile at first. They began trying to induce labor. After 2 days of trying to induce labor with little progress, the doctor said we needed to do a C-section late Tuesday evening.
Luke Hudson was born on 5/14/13 at 11:00 p.m. at 6 pounds15 ounces and 21 ½ inches long. When we were all back in our hospital room, they brought him in for us to see him, hold him and say goodbye. He was beautiful and perfect and his skin felt incredibly soft like any baby’s. He had lots of light brown hair with some curl to it, Josh’s chin with the little cleft in it, my nose. and long, skinny feet like we both have. My mom, my sister and I held him and kissed him and said goodbye. Josh and my dad looked at him, but did not choose to hold him. Josh did pinch his cheeks as that was something he had been looking forward to doing. They gave us as long as we wanted with him before they took him away. During Tuesday night around 4 a.m., a company called Now I lay Me Down to Sleep came and took professional pictures of him that will be sent to us for us to look at if and when we feel ready to do that.
We stayed in the hospital through Thursday, healing from the C-section and dealing with the physical parts of having a baby. We had visits at the hospital from our pastor and his wife, a hospital chaplain, a social worker, and a former bible study leader of mine and a nurse who both had lost babies at full-term who talked to us about their own experiences with their similar losses that were helpful. Because Luke was full-term, we had to choose a funeral home to handle his physical body and the hospital staff helped us with that. We are having him cremated. When we left the hospital on Thursday, they gave us a box with his foot and handprints, a lock of is hair and some other items like the white flower they had on the door of our hospital room to warn people coming in what the situation was.
They are doing an autopsy, but may or may not be able to tell us what happened. The only thing the doctor could see wrong at the birth was that there was a blood clot in the umbilical cord. They don’t know if that caused his death or happened afterwards.
We are obviously heartbroken. This baby was so wanted, loved, and waited for. We had a nursery prepared for him full of wonderful things and were so ready for this new purpose in our lives. The last year has been devoted to preparing for him, dreaming about him and being excited for his arrival and the changes it would bring. We feel very empty and unbearably sad. It is hard not wonder what I could have done differently or feel guilt. However, I believe that God allowed this. He let this happen for some reason and I could not have changed it no matter what I did, although I do go in and out of “what ifs” and “If I had only…”. It is hard not to know why this happened or to be angry at how unfair it is. It doesn’t make sense. I am holding on to my favorite verse Romans 8:28 that says “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.” I cannot fathom at this point how this could be worked for good, but I have to trust that somehow it will be someday. I also believe that God does not give us more than we can handle, so even though it feels like a bottomless pit of loss and sorrow, I know I will survive and God is there for me always. Josh and my family are too.
I am so thankful for my wonderful husband who is holding me, caring for me, crying with me, worrying about me and telling me that I deserve a chubby-cheeked baby more than anyone else in the world and that we will have one.
I am also thankful for my special family who sat in the hospital with us all day the whole week and are continuing to care for us. I am thankful that my parents have moved close to us and are nearby to help and support us. They are feeling a big loss too. They were so excited for this long-awaited first grandbaby. It is hard for me to see Josh and my dad crying repeatedly as that it is not something I have seen. My sister always has the right words that I need to hear.
It is going to take time. It is going to be a hard path with ups and downs and there will be very dark days. It is going to be a hurt for the rest of our lives, but somehow we are going to be okay. I know without a doubt that Luke is heaven being loved by God and our loved ones who are there. He did not have to suffer and he is enjoying eternity with our Father. But I can’t help wishing we’d gotten to keep him in our arms for awhile first.
Please keep us in your prayers.