Thursday, January 8, 2009

Aiden's Story

November 8, 2005 started like any other day. I woke up and cleaned the house because a nurse was coming from the Kent County Health Department to talk to me about being pregnant. It was a thing I signed up for through WIC. I figured I'd never had a baby before so what could it hurt.

The nurse was named Nikki and she was pretty young. I didn't ask her if she had kids, but from the way she talked I don't think she did. She asked me how I had been feeling and I said fine, except a couple weeks earlier I had woken up with some really bad cramps. I had told my Dr. about it (I just happened to have an appt that day) and he said it was probably from spicy food. So Nikki said he was probably right, and it also could have been Braxton-Hix contractions. She said those felt like really bad menstrual cramps, but they don't move all over your body. REAL contractions are supposed to move from your front to your back and go around like that...fake ones just stay in one spot.

I had to work that day but I ended up leaving early. I was 26 weeks along and I just didn't feel good. So I went home. About 10pm that night, I started feeling crampy again. The cramp always stayed in the same spot, so I thought it was Braxton-Hix just like Nikki had said. I spent the next hours in pain, walking back and forth through the house. I never called my Dr because he had made me feel stupid at my appointment a couple weeks earlier and I didn't want to "bug" him. I just didn't think anything was really wrong. Not calling the Dr. is probably my one and only true regret in life, because it might have meant keeping my baby boy.

At about 5am I was still awake, by this time I was completely naked on our bathroom floor just writing in pain. I got on the toilet, reached down...and felt something coming out. I walked into our bedroom and yelled "CALL 911 I THINK THE BABY IS COMING!" My husband had been asleep this entire time so he handed me the phone. I yelled "I CAN'T FUCKING CALL THEM I'M HAVING THE BABY!!!" and he finally snapped awake. I layed down on the bed and he jumped up to turn the light on. He says that when he did that, he saw the baby's head coming out of me. I was having our son on our bed in our home fourteen weeks too early.

He got 911 on the phone and they had to tell him what to do to deliver our baby. It seemed like 2 seconds later the ambulance was there and they were doing stuff...I really don't know. I was out of it. I guess they cut the cord because the baby was whisked away into an ambulance and on his way to the hospital. Daddy went with him. They waited a little while to see if the placenta was going to come out but it didn't, so I got into a different ambulance and followed my boys.

When I got to the hospital I was still in a lot of pain and throwing up a lot. The placenta wasn't coming out on it's own. My Dr. got there and had to pull it out. Gross. He didn't talk to me about why I went into labor or anything like that. In fact, that was the last time I ever saw that Dr. in my life.

I got to see my son for the first time that morning in an isolette. He looked tiny but perfect. He had tubes in his mouth and his eyes were closed so I never really got to see what his face looked like. I have a picture of his daddy when he was an infant, and when I compare them they look like the same baby, so I have an idea, but I never got to truly see his whole beautiful little face.

The doctors told us he was doing as best as a baby could be for the conditions he was born in. From what they said we thought that it was going to be a couple months in the hospital, but eventually we'd be able to take our boy home. We were not thinking that we would lose him at all.

The next five days are a blur of being in the hospital. Our apartment was only 5 minutes from the hospital, so we were there pretty much all the time. The only time I took away from him was to eat or talk on the phone with my family. It was really hard to get ahold of any of them because my older brother was getting married in Mexico. So my mom & all my brothers were there at some resort, and of course cell phones don't work there, and they didn't have email access.

November 15 Scott and I left the hospital around midnight. We went home and started to watch a movie. At 2am the Dr called us and said Aiden wasn't doing good and he was on a new breathing machine. He said we didn't have to come in but we should be prepared. Then at 4am he called and said we did need to come in. We rushed to the hospital. The NICU was of course way far away from the parking garage, and I can remember running thru the hallways of that freaking maze-like hospital to get there as fast as we could.

I don't really remember details about that day. We had Aiden baptized at like 7am. I went to the hospital chapel and filled out a prayer request, something I've never done in my life.

But by the afternoon, the dr's were telling us that we needed to figure out what we wanted to do. They will never flat out tell you that your baby is dying. I had to say "OK, so are you saying my baby is going to DIE???" and the guy just had this uncomfortable look on his face. It started out being "We just have to wait until he's big enough to come home", then it was "He might have issues with retardation", then it was "he might not ever open his eyes or speak" to "if he does survive, it won't be any type of real life, machines will keep him alive".

So Daddy and I had to tell them we wanted to take the machines off. Of course I really didn't want to do that, but it was we had to do. The only time we got to really hold our baby was as he was dying. I let Daddy hold him as he took his final breaths of life because Daddy was the first person to hold him as he was born. I got to hold him the first 26 weeks of his life and I am thankful for that.

Planning your baby's funeral is the worst thing ever. We used a funeral home that Scott's family always uses, and a florist I knew from seeing their work at nice restaurants in Grand Rapids. We picked out white flowers that looked nice but wouldn't be too gaudy.

Our son Aiden was laid to rest in the snowy ground on November 18, 2005. He is next to his Great Uncle Gary and one of the family pets. I live in Phoenix, Arizona now (this is where I'm from) and I really hate to think of him being out there in the cold. I know he's not really there, though, he's with me all the time.

I still miss my son every single day, and I wonder if it will ever hurt any less. They say time heals all wounds, and that might be true, but you never know how much time.


  1. Thank you for sharing your story. It is always a good reminder to cherish all of the time we have with our little ones, no matter how little that time is. I wish I could say something that would make you hurt less. Tell you that you will be together again someday. But it sounds like you know that he is with you.

  2. I am so sorry for the loss of your baby boy. Thank you for having the courage to share. I am amazed at the strength it must have taken to live through that and to write it as I was barely strong enough to read it.

    Take care!

  3. I am so sorry for your loss. I went through a very similar experience in 1998 when I was only a sophomore in college. My baby girl Alana was born when I was 25 weeks along and she weighed only 1.5 pounds. The two days before I felt awful and experience cramps but never had any clue I was in labor. When I delivered her she took a few breaths and passed away. The doctors/nurses didnt even try to do anyting to save her, I guess because they felt she was too early to make it. It has taken me a very long time to get to a place that I dont cry every time I think about her. Time does heal, but you will never forget or be the same person again. If you ever want a friend to talk to let me know.

  4. My heart is gaping open with sorrow and admiration for your strength. Thank you for sharing your story. Though one woman's loss is never the same as another's, they cannot even be compared, it makes things ever so slightly easier to know that we're not alone, even in grief. so thank you. God bless your family.

  5. Jenn, I never knew the full story of how you lost your sweet baby boy. I am so glad you shared it, my friend.

  6. I'm in tears- I am so sorry for your loss. I thank you for sharing your story with all of us.

  7. Oh Jenn, as close as we are I have never heard your full story. My heart aches for you. We;ve talked about before and your sweet Aiden is with you every moment. I love you hun and wish I could take all your pain away.