On July 9th, 2007, we found out that we were expecting a little miracle. With a history of a miscarriage the prior September I was very cautious and tried not to get too excited until we knew things were great.
I started bleeding several times in the first month or so and decided to quit working out with my personal trainer just to be cautious. We had several appointments in the beginning and I started losing hope. At my first ultrasound they said the sac was measuring small, so they had me come in for another ultrasound in a few weeks. When I went back for the second one, the sac grew but the baby didn’t. I was sure this was a doomed pregnancy. But with all the prayer and good thoughts from other people this little one proved they were staying.
In August I found out my little sister was expecting as well and later found out we were due one day apart.
In October we found out we were both expecting little boys. We had a name picked out for him already. He was already part of our family. It was exciting and we were more than up for the challenge that three boys would bring. The rest of the pregnancy proved to be uneventful. I threw up a few times but nothing major and I had horrible heartburn but that’s the extent of it.
At 27 weeks we did a 3D ultrasound and watched our little boy dance on the screen. He smiled, grabbed his cord, frowned. It was amazing and we could tell he already looked like our oldest. He was full of so much personality and spunk, and yet he had never had any experiences outside the womb.
Through Christmas and January we tore down walls and from the floor up built a room for our little man. We were so excited for his upcoming arrival.
On January 26th, 2008, my sister and mom threw a baby shower, lots of people came showering gifts for little Ethan.
Then on February 12th 2008 (I was 34 weeks 3 days)something didn't feel right so I called my husband, and told him Ethan hadn't been moving since the night before and I was worried and waiting on a phone call from the doctor, he told me everything would be okay and that he was probably just sleeping. I laid down and drank some orange juice and ate something sweet in hopes he would kick. After ten minutes I couldn't take it any more I wanted to go in. I was hoping if I caught it fast enough they would be able to fix whatever was wrong.
All the way to the hospital I held my swollen belly praying and wishing he would kick. But then at that same moment I was so scared if he kicked Id be imaging it and if he was gone Id be even more of a wreck.
I got a call back from the doctors telling me to come in even though they weren't open. So we headed in when I got there they hooked me up to the non stress test machine. She couldn't find his heartbeat and I lost it I started crying and freaking out. She kept telling me not to worry she can’t always find it. So she left the room and came back in with a Doppler, again no such luck at that point I was hysterical. They didn't have to really say anything I knew in my heart something was wrong.
She brought in the doctor who told me to follow her. They were going to get the ultrasound. So we followed her to the room and I laid down.
She started but the screen wasn't facing us and she didn't say a word until we heard "I’ll be back I need to get Dr. Jacobson.” I knew just then my worst fears had come true.He came in and applied the wand to my belly and with that I heard words I will never forget. "Im so sorry we don’t see any cardiac activity."
This was the room I had just been in just the week prior where I heard my sons heartbeat. How could this be happening to me? The anguish took over and Iv never fell into a darker place in my entire life. At that moment I wanted to be dead too. My head was all over the place and the emotion took over. I was screaming inside and nothing at that moment felt real. I felt like it was a bad dream and I couldn’t wake up.
So they sent me to the ultrasound tech who performed more images and said it looked like it had happened recently since the dates were all accurate. She said everything looked very normal from what she could tell. She hugged us and told me next time she would make sure this didn't happen. We got two pictures of Ethan at that time. And up until recently I was so happy we got those. But now I realize those are pictures of my dead son, they are so different from all the other ultrasound pictures I have.
Then off to have 15 or more tubes of blood drawn. We were told we would know in two weeks if those tests showed anything at all.
So then we were faced with when to be induced as if this all wasn't hard enough I had to deliver my dead child and endure all the emotional and physical pain as well. It just didn't seem right or fair. It was so hard to understand at the time.
Just moments before my mother had been taken in the hospital for a hysterectomy. I couldn't even talk to her. I called my grandmother who just screamed over the phone. All the pain I felt everyone around me was feeling to some sort of extent. I called my sister who was due the same time as me, and my friend. It’s all I had other than my husband who was in a huge state of shock as well. I didn't know what to say. I couldn't really even talk. I was crying so hard.
Walking out of the room into a room filled with pregnant women. All I wanted to do was scream. Scream for the emotions running wildly through my body.
We got to the hospital around 6pm on the 12th, shortly after they placed some kind of pill in my cervix to help me dilate more and help things along. Once that thing was placed, it didn't take long my contractions were every 2-5 minutes and lasted a few. I didn't want to get the epidural I think a part of me was in denial at that point and also scared as hell. I wanted to feel the pain because to this point I felt like I was in a bad dream.
I finally decided to get it because the pain was intense. I got it around 9pm. The epidural made me itch like crazy so I was given benedryl to help with it. I tried to dose off and on and somehow from complete exhaustion and drugs I managed to. I was so mad that we had to pay for a funeral. Who plans a funeral while sitting in a hospital bed waiting to give birth? Instead of getting handed a packet of new baby stuff and birth certificate information. I got handed a packet on grieving and funeral homes. I was pissed I had to call these places and say "my son died and I will be delivering him today I need prices and to know how to go about this,” "can you pick my son up from the hospital?".
Around 8:00 a.m. I woke up to a weird feeling. I pulled the sheets down and there was tons of blood, I freaked and we called the doctors in. They said it looked like my water broke and it was ok. So they did an exam and I was 7cm 100% -1 station, with a bulging bag of water so she broke it the rest of the way. I think after that she realized the amount of blood was not right. She told us it looked like my the placenta had become detached. Iv never even after two prior kids have seen so much blood in my life.
Everything after this moves really fast. That all happened at 8am. Somewhere between there and 830 I felt another weird feeling. So she came back in and told me that I was passing clots of my placenta. Then about 5-10 minutes later I felt him start to crown. They kept telling me to breathe through it and not push the doctor wasn't there. I tried to tell them he was coming regardless, so the nurse put her hand there to kinda keep him in.
The doctor got there and put on her gloves and I started freaking out crying that I couldn't and didn't want to do this. Ill take that back I was not just freaking out I was hysterical and screaming. I fully remember telling them I couldn't do it I didn't want to. One of the hardest things Iv had to go through I knew what the outcome would be and didn't want to have to endure it.
My grandmother put my mom on the phone and I couldn't even talk to her and through all of my tears and extreme pain I heard my mother’s tears and cries. She couldn't be there. She had not missed a birth yet. And the one time I needed her, beyond her will she couldn't be.
At 8:47am with one push little Ethan Charles Donaldson made his appearance as well as his exit out of this world. He was 5lbs 3oz and we didn't get a length which of course is one of my regrets. He had the most beautiful dark hair that none of our other boys had other than fuzz. He was so perfect there was nothing about him that wasn't. He had ten fingers and ten toes, the perfect little lips and round head. He should have lived. He was so little it was hard to believe.
We were lucky enough to have heard about Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. And a wonder man came and took the most beautiful pictures of my son. Memories we will forever have now. These verify to us and others that he existed. They are not morbid pictures in fact he looks like a perfectly sleeping baby. These pictures help me heal.
My grandmother and mother-in-law were able to be there and hold Ethan after the birth. Later family and friends stopped by to see him as well.