July 21 is a day that I dread, because that is the day that I gave birth to my first son. It was the day that my son was born still, and the day that drastically changed my life.
I was 27 weeks pregnant, and going in for another ultrasound. The doctors ordered a special one because it looked like I had placenta previa, and they just wanted to check up on it. I remember the night before my appointment I felt scared, I had a sick feeling as if something wasn't right. I guess you could call it mother's instinct.
"I don't like what I'm seeing."
That is what the ultrasound technician told me as I was working up the courage to ask her to double check that it was a boy (our tech at 18 weeks wasn't too sure).
"I'm going to ask you to sit in the waiting room as I call the doctor's office."
I'm not sure how long I was sitting in there for, but it felt like hours. I had no cell phone, I couldn't call my husband (then fiance). I just had my thoughts. My thoughts, my fears, and my bargaining. I remember thinking to myself, "Well, maybe he only has one arm," or "Maybe he has dwarfism, that's fine." I was actually pleading in my head that that would be the case. I know it sounds off and a little strange, but I was a 20-year-old, soon-to-be mama, who just wanted her baby.
Driving to the doctor's office, I was talking to myself trying to calm myself down. Sitting in the doctor's office, I just remember concentrating on my breathing and telling myself not to break down in front of strangers.
Finally I was given privacy, and after waiting a half hour, the doctor on call came in. It took him fifteen minutes to finally come out and say it.
"Your baby is dead."
Three days later I was sent to a bigger hospital to give birth, and I was terrified. The thought alone was awful in itself when I had a reward at the end. Doing it for nothing was heartbreaking. After twenty-two hours of induced labour, I gave birth to a still baby boy. We named him Christian Mattias. There were so many tears—not just from me and my husband, but our nurse as well. Her name was Kelly. I will never forget her and I don't think she'll forget me either. I was her first "stillborn."
It took two days for me to work up the strength to hold him. I realized that the funeral home was going to get him and I panicked. We made arrangements and drove into Red Deer. I am so glad we did—it would have been the biggest regret of my life. Same with photos. I read that even if you don't want to, taking pictures for yourself is a good idea. I now have those photos in a private album in my home, they're very special to me.
This July will mark five years. In five years, I have only been seen as a "mom of one," or before Carter, "without child," and it's a hard subject. I'm still dealing with my son being stillborn, and I am a mother of two. I usually don't correct people because it just makes everyone feel awkward, but I think it's important to note.
I didn't write this to depress everyone, I wrote it because before I was sent to the hospital to give birth I read stories, it helped me cope. I still read people's stories—I cry with them and it helps me deal with my feelings. Every story I read left me something to remember, and I wanted to leave something for you to remember. A friend of mine, Laura, wrote me a quote when she sent me a condolences card and I carry that quote with me every day:
An Angel from the Book of Life
Wrote down my baby's birth,
And whispered as she closed the book
"Too Beautiful for Earth"