Eric and I found out we were expecting our fourth baby in December 2010. We were so excited! I couldn’t wait to tell the kids. When I was 5 weeks pregnant I was out walking with the kids when I felt a weird feeling in my lower stomach. A few hours later I started bleeding and I thought I was having a miscarriage. After a few hours the bleeding stopped but I had mild cramping for a few days. I went in to have an ultrasound and they told me the baby was fine but that I had a subchorionic hemorrhage. The nurse didn’t give me much hope. She told me to rest and take it as easy as I could. This happened on December 21st. Luckily Eric was home for 10 days after Christmas so I could rest as much as possible. I had really bad morning sickness this time, a lot worse than with my boys. I was really sick with Nicci and this was close to it. I remember laying on the couch a lot, watching movies and reading books. I tried so hard to rest even though it was hard. The weeks went by and around 12 weeks I saw my OB who told me that I could start living life like normal and exercise if I wanted to. At this time I had only told the immediate family that I was pregnant. I was planning on telling the rest of everyone I knew after the 20 week ultrasound. My morning sickness started to get better around 15 weeks. We were counting down the days before we would have our 20 week ultrasound.
In the beginning of the pregnancy I had doom and gloom feelings because of our scare at 5 weeks. I also felt like, “This is my fourth child and I have three healthy ones…maybe something will go wrong this time.” I was worried about everything…something just didn’t feel right. I remember the morning before the ultrasound I was talking to one of my friends and I was telling her how nervous I was for the ultrasound….I just wanted to see that the baby was healthy. Another thing that made me nervous with Oliver was how much later I started to feel the him move compared to my other ones. Things just felt wrong. I was so nervous on our way to the ultrasound. Eric and Jordan came with me. The technician started the ultrasound and I was so happy I was going to see our baby. In the beginning, she told us what she saw, but after a while she got very quiet. She kept looking at the heart at different angles over and over again. After a while I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I asked her, “Does that heart look normal?” She told me that she was not allowed to say anything but she was going to ask the radiologist to come in. At this point I knew something was very wrong. My heart just sunk. I looked over at Eric and said something like, “What’s going on?” I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I felt like my heart was going to stop. I felt so empty. This was supposed to be a fun thing, and now it felt like a nightmare. After a while they came back, with serious faces. They told me that there was very little amniotic fluid, and that they couldn’t see the kidneys or the bladder. They told me that they wanted me to get a level II ultrasound at the University of WA as soon as possible. I felt totally numb. Something was wrong with our precious baby. This was on Thursday March 31st.
We didn’t get an appointment until the following Monday. That weekend passed in a blur…I felt sick, weak and I cried a lot. I just wanted to go into my bedroom, close the door and never come out again. I cried on people’s shoulders and felt embarrassed by it…My heart just ached so badly. The following Monday we went to our appointment, had another ultrasound and then met with a doctor. She told us that our baby had a heart defect, no kidneys and there was no amniotic fluid, so the lungs could not develop or mature. This condition is called Potter’s Syndrome or bilateral renal agenesis. All these conditions are lethal… She also said that they had seen fluid in our baby’s lungs and that was a sign of heart failure. She told us this was a fluke and most likely this will never happen again and that I had done nothing to cause this. Sometimes things like this just happen. They could not tell if our baby was a boy or a girl due to the lack of fluid. The doctor was so sweet and talked to us for a long time. She told us what our options were. We could terminate the pregnancy or go on with the pregnancy, until Oliver passed away. They said it could happen in a day, a week or months. Nothing was certain… We decided to keep going and let Oliver stay with us as long as we got to have him with us. The doctor made sure we knew that he was not suffering in any way. I went in for heartbeat checks every two weeks and I had another ultrasound at 25 weeks. There they could see that the Oliver was still growing and the technician told me that she was 75% sure it was a boy. It was bittersweet to carry Oliver. I cried every day for the weeks I carried him. I missed him even before he was born. I tried to enjoy every little kick and movement. I tried to treasure the time I had with him. He was living his life inside of me. We tried to get ready to meet him. We contacted a nice lady from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and she took some beautiful maternity and family pictures for us a week before Oliver was born.
Oliver was born on June 14th, 2011 at 7.25 am. He was beautiful! He was 3 lbs 6 oz and 17 inches long. He was so precious and perfect. It was so nice to hold him in my arms. I never wanted to let go of him. We took lots of pictures. We washed him, hugged him and kissed him. We told him how much we loved him. Oliver lived for a blissful 72 minutes before he peacefully passed away in my arms. We spent the most beautiful, sorrowful, but yet peace filled couple of hours marveling at the beauty of our precious Oliver. We made hand and foot print molds, we took more pictures, and we dressed him in some beautiful white clothes. I knew his Spirit was there with us. Our other kids got to come and see and hold him. Some other friends and family also came to see him.
I dreaded for when it was time to hand Oliver over to the nurse. It was heart wrenching…he was my precious baby, he was alive just a couple of hours earlier…he was mine…I had been carrying him for 7 months…I had just given birth a couple of hours earlier and now I had to give him away. My heart was hurting and my mind was spinning…I felt numb… I loved him so much. I felt the bond between us. I looked at him one last time…I held his hand in mine…and tried to memorize everything about him, his smell, his soft skin and fuzzy hair. The nurse calmly asked me if I was ready to give Oliver to her…It was so hard….how could I ever be ready? But I finally handed him over; she put him in his bassinet, and wheeled him out of the room. I just broke down crying….It’s hard to try to describe with words how I felt. It was hard to leave the hospital empty handed…to be wheeled out to the car with just a memory box in my hands. No baby, no car seat. It felt unreal. Oliver’s memorial was on a beautiful sunny day. We got to see him one more time to say goodbye. I love him and I miss him. He has changed my whole life. He is teaching me things every day. We celebrate the miracle and beauty of his short life. I can’t wait for the day when we will be reunited again.