Updated: Oct 17, 2018
It’s the numbness I felt first. It set like concrete, hard, and permanent, as the doctor told me she couldn’t find the heartbeat. Then the tears came. They flowed down my cheeks and pooled in my ears as I laid on the cushioned table with my shirt pulled up over my six month pregnant belly. My one and a half year old son was whining for me to hold him when the doctor asked me if I had someone I could call.
A mere two days earlier, I finally had a moment to sit on the couch next to my husband after a busy week of summer BBQ’s, friends birthdays, and fourth of July fireworks. I looked down at my belly and told my husband I hadn’t felt the baby move in a while. I shrugged it off due to our busy schedule, but the next day I couldn’t help but pay more attention. My womb was oddly silent. The morning of my 24 week appointment, I was extremely nervous and fearful. I checked in for my appointment and soon found myself in an unimaginable circumstance. My son, Jasper Ryan Feriend, had passed away in my womb.
I called my husband; he left work immediately to join me at the doctor’s office. My practitioner ordered a confirmation ultrasound and sent my family over to the family birthing center at the hospital. We watched as the ultrasound tech took pictures of our beautiful son and recorded the sound of death. The doctor on duty informed us we could choose to go home for a couple days or we could choose to stay, but either way, they would induce me into labor. We chose to stay and we began the process of induction.
After 12 hours of labor, our son, Jasper, was stillborn on July 12th 2018 at 1:00am. He weighed 1lb 13oz, and measured 29cm long. He was perfect, handsome, peaceful, and looked just like his daddy.
We held him for hours. I sang to my baby and kissed his head and feet what felt like a million times. And then we said goodbye. The next time we saw our baby was when we picked him up from the funeral home in a small round container which held his ashes.
I’ll never forget leaving the hospital with an empty tummy and a box.
I have never wished to turn back time. I have always felt like every stage of my life continued to get better and more grand than the last. Until now. I still wish I could go back in time to when I felt my son’s kicks, and he was alive and well in my tummy. But wishes aren’t real. And prayers aren’t promises.
My husband and I are Christians and we prayed for a miracle. Up until the minute our son was born, we still hoped they would take him to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and somehow Jasper would live. But Jasper's fate was already sealed.
We then went home. When we walked in the door, everything was just as we had left it. Dishes were still in the sink and toys littered the floor. Our home was unchanged, but we were different. It felt like walking into a fair fun house where the floor and ceiling are slanted in opposite directions. Odd and yet strangely familiar. Like you belong, but desperately want to get out.
My body did what every woman’s body does after birth. It bled. And my milk came in for a baby I would never feed. My heart ached. I could barely breathe. I was angry with God for not saving my child and abandoning my family in our time of need. And He was silent.
If you have lost a baby, my heart cries with you. I know there isn’t much out there on the internet about stillbirth besides clinical definitions. I am writing this blog because I doubt I am the first woman to ever Google or Pinterest stillbirth in order to encounter hope but instead find little help and less consolation. So here is my story. I promise to be honest and raw. I warn you, I will not filter what needs to be said because either I need to write it or you need to hear it. Maybe a mixture of both. Losing our children is tragic, muddy, and horrible. We have lost a piece of our hearts. The heart of my own heart. Walk this journey with me, and somehow, just maybe, we may encounter some peace together.