Sunday, April 29, 2012

Isaiah's Story: Part One

Sunday, April 1, 2012 was a busy day.  We were at church early and spent all morning there - attending Sunday School, enjoying fellowship with friends, praising God in song, taking in the Word.  It was also an exciting day because my parents were concluding a campaign season that day, and whatever happened with that, we knew they would now be available to come watch the big kids when the baby was born.  With all of the pre-term labor I had starting at 27 weeks, I was so glad to have made it to 36+ weeks and was READY to have our baby.  Contractions were an exhausting, almost daily occurrence, so I was eager not to be nervous about them anymore.  Instead we could now be free to embrace the impending arrival of our new addition.

After lunch and naps we played outside while Daddy cleaned out the van and with the "help" of the kids, moved the big kids' seats to the back and installed the infant seat in the middle.  Caleb asked, "Is our baby coming home today?"  We chuckled and told him probably not, but it could be any day - or maybe a few weeks yet.

It was a gorgeous day (and we wanted to be active every day from here on out to get labor moving), so we pulled out the wagon and took a family walk to the park.  We chatted about life as we walked, and I mentioned to Matt that I had contractions coming and going, but nothing regular.  I guessed they were just Braxton Hicks contractions brought on from the activity.  Though I was hoping to get labor moving, I figured that Mom and Dad probably needed a day or two to recover before coming to the cities, and we were also hoping to avoid April 2nd since it was our niece's first birthday.  I decided just to be patient (not that we have much choice in the progression of these types of things).

We got home and had supper, put the kids to bed, and sat down to relax.  Matt decided to go outside and work on his bike since he was hoping to start biking to work again soon.  I checked my e-mail and Facebook, did a few tasks, and then dozed off on the couch.  I woke up around 11:30pm and Matt had already gone to bed.  That was strange, because he almost always woke me up to come to bed if I fell asleep on the couch.  As I sat up to get ready for bed, I realized that I hadn't really felt the baby move much this evening - and I noticed that the baby was very heavy on my one side.  As babies get bigger, it is pretty normal to feel that heaviness after lying on one side for a long time, but this heaviness was very significant.

I brushed my teeth and went to bed, and as I prepared to fall asleep, I decided to do a kick count.  A kick count is done to calculate the number of baby movements in a certain time period (usually 20-60 minutes).  It is especially done when expectant mothers are worried about a decrease in the movements of the baby.  So I remained awake for about 20 minutes and didn't feel anything.  As I dozed off I figured the baby was probably sleeping.

At 2:30am I woke up and again felt uneasy about the lack of movement.  I got up and drank a large glass of ice cold water in hopes of waking the baby up to try another kick count.  As I was lying on the couch for 20-30 minutes, I didn't start worrying until about 15 or 20 minutes into it.  I waited about 10 more minutes and realized I needed to call the doctor.  I contemplated waking Matt, but I knew I was doing what he'd want me to by calling in, and wanted him to be able to sleep.  I think now that subconsciously I was beginning to realize something was wrong.  

I called and left a message with the service that gets in touch with the on-call doctors from our group, and within a few minutes the on-call doctor called me back.  Those minutes in between calls were excruciating.  I desperately tried to poke at the baby to wake him/her up.  I rapidly tried to think through my day to the last time I felt the baby.  We had been so active and busy that day, and I was more concerned with how many contractions I'd had - not how many movements I'd felt.  I knew I had felt the baby on Saturday night when Matt and I were watching TV together, but that was all I could confirm.

When I heard the doctor’s voice on the phone, I broke down before I could even get a word out.  When I could finally speak, I told her that I hadn't been feeling the baby and that I'd tried a kick count at 11:30pm and 2:30am.  In a shocked voice she said, "you mean you haven't felt your baby for 3 hours?"  My heart dropped.  If she thought that three hours was too long, I realized something was probably very wrong.  It was more likely that it had been longer than that, and I told her so.  It was at this moment that I knew that whatever was going on here was already done...that our baby was either OK or not OK…nothing in between.  The doctor told me to get to the hospital as soon as I could.

I ran in and woke Matt and told him I had to get to the hospital.  He asked what happened, and as I started to break down, I told him I hadn't been feeling the baby.  He said, "you mean you haven't felt the baby all day?"  I sobbed and just kept saying, "I don't know.  I can't remember."  In this moment in time I felt like a failure as a mother.  Who ignores the movements of their baby?  Of course I realize now that this is irrational thinking.  All pregnant mommies have to take movement in stride because it can vary so much, but in that fragment of time, I felt like a failure.

One of the ways that pregnant moms can keep themselves from going crazy with worry during a pregnancy is to look on the bright side and assume that things are OK.  Otherwise one could go to the clinic every other day with a symptom that they think could be interfering with their pregnancy.  So I threw my clothes on and collected myself (as I am not usually one to cry about everything), and going with that mindset I told Matt that everything was probably OK.  Then my face immediately crumpled when I continued and said, "but what if it's not?"  We embraced - not knowing how to prepare for the worst case scenario.

Because of the urgency to get there, we decided that I'd go alone to the hospital and Matt would stay with the kids in case the doctor just wanted to check me and I'd come home.  We didn't want to call our friend who was on-call in case of labor if it was just a quick time of monitoring.  I got in the car, drove the two miles to North Memorial Hospital, and went as quickly as I could to the Labor and Delivery desk.  They were expecting me.

To be continued... 

Link to Isaiah's Story - Part Two 


  1. Oh Becky!! Thank you for sharing this part of the story; I am eager to read more as you are ready to share. I can relate to your fears and your strategies for dealing with them. You are so strong and such a beautiful mother!!

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I long to simply hug you through this computer! Sending big *HUGS* for you my dear. PS: I marked Isaiah's 1-year on my calendar for next year. I'm not forgetting :)

  3. My heart is breaking for you all over again. Thank you for sharing this and I echo your Auntie Bee, I look forward to reading as you are ready to share. You are a mothers mother and I value that so much!

  4. Thank you for sharing your story, Becky.
    Love you.

  5. Oh, Becky, I am so sorry. I just came across your blog from Melody's. My heart breaks for you. <3

    1. Thank you, Erin. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss you have endured, as well - I didn't know. :( Checking out your blog...

  6. Thank you for continuing to share your story Becky! Hard as it is to read about these trials - and I can't even imagine the difficulty in coming up with words to write - there is also a sweetness in getting to know even just a little about your Isaiah who we won't get to see this side of heaven.

  7. Becky, you are so brave to share with us. Thank you.
    God bless you as you recall these days....praying for you.

  8. Sweet Becky,

    I so feel this with you...and relate in so many many ways...I constantly kick myself feeling like I messed up by not getting in to the hospital sooner. But I didn't. And she is gone...and your little man is gone...and God is still with us through all this garbage.

    Praying for you. are a GREAT writer! I'm so glad that you're writing your story.

    Can't wait to hug you again,