A Mother's Story
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December 17, 2012 is a day I will never forget. How could I?
It is the day I brought my precious son into the light. To share my story with
you, I have to go further back in time to December 12, the day the world
My 38-week appointment was pushed back about a half hour
from 8:45 to 9:15 because of a change in the doctor's schedule. I was feeling
lucky to have my mom with me; she had arrived on the 8th to stay until late
January or February to help me while my husband was still away on assignment
with the Navy. We arrived at the office and did the usual chat with the doctor
as we prepared for my check-up. I remained worried about the nagging cough I
had developed which was especially problematic at night, and reported the
baby's movements were slowing down (the doctor attributed this to the
decreasing amount of room he had in the womb as his due date drew nearer). Warm
gel was applied to my swollen belly, the Doppler wandered across the
gel...silence. "Do you remember where we caught the heartbeat last
week?" asked the doctor. "Not exactly," I said, shakily.
I was sent into the waiting room until the ultrasound tech
could finish up with another patient. I was horrified. I knew. Somewhere deep
inside of me, I knew. And within 10 minutes, my deepest, darkest fears were
confirmed. After 38 weeks of a healthy pregnancy, my son did not have a heartbeat. My precious miracle...he was gone.
I remember very little after looking at the tear-stained face of the ultrasound
tech (who just one week ago had cheerfully chatted with me about how healthy my
baby looked) as she slowly shook her head no to the doctor. My mom stared at
the screen in silence as I lied there on the exam table staring at the ceiling
barely illuminated by the glow of the machines. A Red Cross call was made to my
husband's command. My mom and I left in silence. I walked like a zombie through
the waiting room filled with expectant women. Was this really happening? Could
it be true?
My husband called knowing something wasn't right; his
command was sending leaders to his room to speak with him. I shared our
Later that night, my father arrived. By the next morning, my
husband was strapped to a pallet in a cargo plane and on his 15 hour journey
home. He arrived Friday morning at 2 am.
Originally, I was scheduled to report to the hospital Friday
at 7 am, but we desperately wanted more time to talk, mourn, and plan. In order
to be attended by my own doctor, who would be out of town during the weekend,
our only option was Monday, December 17. I had to go to the hospital Friday
night for blood work to make sure waiting was a viable option for us. The
results were good; we agreed to wait the extra days. They were days filled with
grief. I moaned and wailed. My family held me. I vowed not to be angry, bitter,
or blame God.
Monday morning came. We (my husband, my parents, and I)
headed to the hospital. More blood work. Cytotec. Waiting. Quiet chatting.
Unbelievably, a sense of overwhelming calm and peace. From what I know now, we
were being lifted in prayer by many, many people; it made all the difference
between a doomsday and a beautiful, yet tragic day for all of us. Especially
The doctor suggested heavy pain meds to make it through the
delivery, yet somehow, I wanted to stick to my original birth plan which
included no epidural. Taking the physical pain away would not lessen the pain
in my heart. I used an "om" or humming breath to make it through
contractions, with the idea that a pleasant hum would release endorphins to lessen
the pain. When active labor began, the humming breath joined with a moaning
wail as I struggled to deliver my sweet angel into the world.
At 6:39 pm, Rowan Christopher arrived; 7 lbs. 5.8 oz. and 19
inches long. Button nose. Dark hair. Perfect little lips, hands, feet, fingers,
and toes. A gorgeous baby boy. I held him close. I kissed his forehead, his
nose, his lips, his hands. For hours we fawned over him, his sweetness, his
innocence. His daddy held him close and cried upon his soft cheeks. His nana
and papa held him; they were so proud, yet so heartbroken. The cause of our son's death was determined to be due to a double nuchal cord; his umbilical cord was tight to the point of full compression. We were told we won the "bad luck lottery."
Our precious miracle. Our sweet, sweet boy. We love you so,
so, so very much.
My dear friend said in a lovely email, "You will
mourn your beautiful child. You and C. brought him into your womb and his life
has been cut terribly short. You are a mother. You can do this. Even this. You
can labor and sweat and cry and moan and bear his small body into the light.
You can do this. And you will honor him all the days of your life."
She was right.
December 17, 2012 is a day I will never forget. How could I?
It is the day I brought my precious son into the light.
The idea to raise money for another chance at IVF came from my close friend, Leah. After a pep-talk from her I asked Chris, "Do you think we could get 20,000 people to give us $1?" He was a little thrown off. "Well...maybe? But we don't know 20,000 people." And he's right, we certainly don't! I said, "What if 4,000 people gave us $5, or 2,000 people gave us $10, or 1,000 people gave us $20?" He got a little look of interest (I could see the wheels a turnin') and said, "Hmmmm, we might know 1,000 people."
The fertility doctor is very optimistic about our chances to conceive through IVF again. I am extremely healthy and have an excellent ovarian reserve; the doctor has said I am not a typical 42 year old when it comes to my fertility. Because of my age, however, we have a limited time frame to achieve our dream of having a living child before pursuing other options. It would take us approximately 2-2.5 years to save the amount we need to continue our journey. Although we have good insurance, it does NOT cover fertility treatment or medications required. Our attempts (6 IUIs, 2 IVFs,1 FET, and 3 medicated "natural" cycles) have all been self-funded, and as you may or may not know, it is quite expensive. We do not have any major credit cards; in fact, we have ZERO credit card debt. I have a student loan debt on which I pay $100 per month. Because we chose to be buried one day next to our son, we pay $800 per month for our adjoining resting places (it is an interest-free payment). We own one car (over 10 years old), and we use standard cell phones (not smartphones). We are very frugal with our money and follow a strict budget.
We would like to make 2 pledges about the money we receive through this donation site: first, this money will ONLY be used for our fertility treatments and the medications required for them; second, ALL unused funds at the end of our journey (if we are successful or are told we can no longer continue) will be RE-DONATED to another couple with similar needs.
We thank you for taking the time to read our story and for considering our fund.
Tara and Christopher