Father to an Angle and one on earth. This is my story of the biggest struggle of my life.
This article will contain a discussion of stillbirth and the emotions surrounding the night it happened. I will be sharing some pictures of him. Please read with caution. My goal is to use this story to help at least one person. I never want anyone to feel as though they have to go through this alone or not know what comes next. This is an account of the worst day of my life. Nothing will come close to the loss my wife and I suffered, but there is a silver lining. We made a promise to never give up on each other and to never quit. I am going to try and make this a personal conversation between me and you.
It couldn't happen to me
Since I got married in 2015 my biggest goal in life was to have a family. I have always wanted to be a dad, and have a little one running around the house. Camping, fishing, and hiking are all things I could not wait to share with my kids once I had them but for now, I’d have to wait. Kids are so much fun, they make you creative and think outside the box and they renew your happiness in simple things. I loved working with the kiddos in my church kid's area. My wife and I were on the same page and we began actively trying to have a baby. The effort put in was immense. We did research on the best ways to facilitate getting pregnant, We ate healthier, and took better care of ourselves to have the best chance possible. Finally one morning Sierra surprised me before work with a shirt that said "daddy shark do do do do do do." I could not have been any happier. The moment I had been waiting for finally came. We told friends and family, time for ultrasounds and baby clothes. Weeks passed and we thought about what we were going to name the little guy. After a hand full of doctor visits I got a call from my wife. Her voice was shaky, you could hear the tears. she told me I needed to come home immediately. My stomach dropped what could be wrong? Did she hurt herself, was the house on fire, did she get in a wreck? I packed up my tools and raced home as fast as I could. Working for my father-in-law had benefits like being able to leave a job site on short notice. I made it home and found her sitting on the couch, in tear a soaked shirt surrounded by used tissues. I asked her what happened and she told me that the doctor said there was no heartbeat anymore. 9 weeks gone in the blink of an eye. We embraced them in the living room and cried for a long time.
The worst thing imaginable had happened, a miscarriage and the life of my son Liam was taken from me in an instant. I got no say in it and couldn't defend him. There was no opportunity to protect him. This took months to stop affecting me and longer for Sierra to recover, after all, she was the one to carry him daily. This was pain on a level I had not felt in my young life. We agreed to keep trying to have a baby and that we would be more careful, ask more questions and take more precautions. I was deeply sad about the loss of Liam. Part of me felt a heavy burden of feeling like I was not father material, not yet at least.
Our pain was short-lived because, three months after losing Liam, Sierra once again told me we were gonna have a baby. This time she waited a few weeks to tell me we wanted to be as positive as we could that this one would stay around. I was cautiously happy, half because my heart was still in pain from our previous loss, half because I didn't know what to do differently this time. We had so many questions, we got ultrasounds 3 times a month and nothing was going to happen this time! Months passed and everything kept checking out and measuring right. Another little boy was ready to make his entrance into our world. Baby showers were thrown, and friends and family got us all sorts of things for the nursery. We began putting up decorations and organizing formula and diapers and clothes. Every night we would listen to his little heartbeat on the doppler and I would patiently wait to feel him kick. I was proud of myself for becoming attached again and I felt like the father in me was growing and becoming real. Sierra looks amazing as always and always kept me updated on everything that she felt and her doctor appointments. 34 weeks now, we were getting down to the wire and the stress started to build. The hope was that we had everything we needed. Was he going to like his room? Was he going to like me? We went to the hospital that was where we were going to deliver him to start birthing classes. We were cutting it close, she may go into labor before the end of the classes. more doctor appointments came and went and more ultrasounds. 36 weeks, Sierra started feeling off. She couldn't feel him move as much. I reassured her that he was getting big and maybe was running out of room to wiggle around. She brought up her concerns with the doctor and they also said that there was nothing to worry about. Having never gotten this far we believed them and this pacified our worries for a time but on the weekend of the 37th week, Sierra felt increasingly unsettled. She had hardly felt him move, the doppler had a hard time finding any heartbeat and so we went to the hospital. They had better equipment than we could get our hands on so we checked into Labor and Delivery and they moved us to a room. The world was shutting down because of covid and I was lucky enough to be allowed in the room with Sierra while she got hooked up to their machines. They began to move the doppler around and no luck. Maybe he was far down in the birth canal or could be that the machine was having technical issues. They got different tools to find his heartbeat and also our doctor came into the room. The mood got somber as we patiently waited to hear the thump, thump... thump, thump of his little heart but it never came. after what seemed like days our doctor looked up and said "I'm sorry but there is no heartbeat." This was the second time in a year she had told us this. My legs began to convulse as I did my best to stand beside the bed where Sierra was lying. Soon my whole body was shaking uncontrollably. The doctor slowly turned off the machine and gave her condolences. My heart, almost audibly, shattered inside my chest and I could feel the pieces rattling from my chest to my feet. Sierra and I held each other tight, tears pouring from our eyes without ceasing. She blamed herself and I blamed myself. The pain we shared that night with the loss of our second son Ezekiel was almost too much. They began the laboring process to birth Zeke. We both cried for hours.
As I am writing this my heart aches almost 2 years later. The pain is still here and it feels like I am still in that delivery room now, this is hard for me to share but like I said there is a silver lining to this story.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Noah