Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Remembering Christopher

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day. I have sadly had three miscarriages (1998, 2002, 2006) and one stillbirth (March 28, 2008). So I have four little ones to remember on this day. But the one that I am remembering the most today is Christopher.

I found out I was pregnant in December of 2007. It had been two years since I had had my last miscarriage, and three years since Super was born. I had recently turned 41. I wasn't expecting to get pregnant. At first, based on my symptoms, I thought that it might be an ectopic pregnancy, but an early ultrasound determined that it was a normal pregnancy. I was diagnosed with placenta previa at 10 weeks, and was put on bedrest. Every day, I was just sure that I was going to lose the baby. The miscarriage in 2006 was at 13 weeks, and so I knew I wouldn't relax until I past that date. I had a dr. appointment at 12 weeks, and they did an ultrasound and said everything looked great, but that they wanted to do some bloodwork too. I had had this blood test when I was pregnant with Super, and it came back fine, so I wasn't really worried that the bloodwork would show any problems.

A week later, the OB's office called back and said that my numbers indicated that there might be a problem, and they referred me to a specialist. I went the following day. I was 13 weeks along. The specialist did another ultrasound and said that everything looked great, but it was really too early to tell if there were any problems by ultrasound. He said that the blood test indicated a 1 in 10 chance that our baby had Trisomy 18. I have a friend who lost a son to Trisomy 18 recently, so I knew that if it was true, it would be devastating. He recommended doing an amniocentisis because it was the only way to know for sure, but he left the decision up to us. We decided to do the amnio, but we couldn't do it until I was 16 weeks along, and that was 3 weeks away. We told our families about the strong possibility that our baby had Trisomy 18, and spent the next three weeks trying to prepare ourselves for it.

After three weeks of torture, I finally made it to 16 weeks. We went in to the specialist, and asked for an ultrasound before the amnio. The specialist said that if he had to make a diagnosis by ultrasound alone, that he would say that the baby was a normal, healthy BOY, but if we wanted the reassurance that everything was o.k., we would need to do the amnio. It was such a hard decision. We finally decided that it would be better to know for sure instead of wondering for the next 24 weeks and then finding out that he wasn't o.k. at the birth. The amnio went fine. The dr. said that it would be a few days before they got the preliminary results back. More waiting.

7 days later, I got the best call in the world. Our son was perfectly normal. I heard his heartbeat that day too. I was going to have this baby and it was going to healthy and happy and I was going to have the fourth child that I had always wanted. I could hardly believe it. My parents had come into town a few days earlier, and so we went out to eat that night, and finally told Flower, Jelly Bean, and Super that I was pregnant and that they were going to have a little brother! We sat around the table at the restaurant and talked about names, although we didn't come to any final decisions that night. I had a couple favorites and my husband had a couple of favorites. There was plenty of time to fight over the name :) I was just thrilled that the next half of the pregnancy was going to be uneventful.

A couple of days later, I went and had a pedicure and sat in one of those masssage chairs. The next morning, I woke up and felt strange. I hadn't felt the baby move yesterday, and I didn't feel him moving that morning. I tried telling myself that I was only 17 1/2 weeks and you don't feel movement that regularly, but I knew that something was wrong. I called my husband and told him that we needed to go to the dr. I called the dr's office and he agreed to see us right away.

I started crying before the dr. even came in the ultrasound room because I knew what we were going to see. And sadly, I was right. The dr. did the ultrasound and our little son's heartbeat had stopped, probably the day before.

We had only known that everything was going to be o.k. for four days. Four days. It was so unfair.

The dr. couldn't tell certain what the problem was, but it wasn't from doing the amnio, or sitting in a massage chair, or anything like that. It most likely was a problem with blood flow to the placenta.

I gave birth to our stillborn son on March 28th, 2008 at 5:09 am. His name is Christopher. I miss him so much.


On Saturday, October 11th, our local hospital held a memory walk for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day. Flower, Jelly Bean, Super and I walked with signs on our backs that said "Walking In Memory of Christopher." There were, sadly, many other families walking with us. We walked about a mile, and then all of the people released a balloon. It was so moving to see all those balloons flying upwards. We watched them until we couldn't see them anymore, and then we walked back to the hospital and they had a service in the garden. People could read poems and share memories. Flower read the following poem:

Little ears,
Tiny toes,
Oh, I forgot, his sweet little
I never met him,
I will never forget him.
little baby

I'm still sad about losing Christopher. I think that the thing that I'm most sad about now though is not just losing him, but losing the chance to be a mom to a little baby, and watching a new life begin, and seeing Super be a big brother, and the girls holding him and being my little helpers, and just getting to watch another child of ours grow up. I'm sad that I didn't get to know him. I'm sad that the only way that I can visit him is at the cemetery.

But I will always be his mom, and I will always remember him. I love you Christopher.


AFarCryFromNormal said...

I am so sorry that I didn't even know about the walk. I would have walked in memory of Christopher and your other children as well as my 2 angels! That was the sweetest poem ever! I cried when I read it! I am sad too that you couldn't be a mommy to Christopher now but you still are his mommy and always will be!!!! Although we never met he has already had a impact on my life and I am sure that he watches over you and your family all the time! (((HUGS))

The Lee's said...

I know there aren't words that really make a difference...but know that you're in my thoughts, as is your dear son, Christopher.

Ellen said...

Christopher is in my heart this evening, as are you and your other beautiful children. In his short life he offered you so much strength, beauty and wisdom. He was loved mightily. I am so sorry for your loss. ((((((((hugs)))))))))