I have been feeling like I should start writing about this since we lost our sweet Lucy, but until now I had not felt ready. To be honest, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever written about. Frankly, I’ve been just pure scared. Despite my extroverted tendencies, I am actually an introverted feeler. My feelings feel much safer locked securely inside my chest. The part of my life that I am about to begin to share with you, is something that has made me feel more fragile and vulnerable than I have ever felt. My beautiful, rambunctious girl kicked in my belly for 38 weeks and when she opened her eyes for the first time, she was in the arms of Jesus. This is our story.
I remember the day that I found out I was pregnant. It was the day of the KLOVE fan awards in June, 2013. I got to dress up in a pretty dress and sit just a few rows back from the Ryman stage with my husband, Shaun. It was such a great day because I knew that under the emerald dress I adored, my second child was growing inside of me; a child that I was already completely and totally in love with.
I was just dying to find out if baby number two was a boy or a girl. (All of you who wait to find out just blow my mind!) I begged my, much more patient than I, husband to agree to an early ultrasound at 16 weeks and he obliged. At the time, our son Oliver was not quite two years old.
Oliver had been insisting that this baby was a baby sister, and he was right. When we were told we were having a girl, Oliver clapped and we were filled with joy. This family of three was now a family of four. Her name would be Lucy.
Our 20 week ultrasound looked great. Lucy was healthy and happy. Each check up along the way was normal. There were lots of kicks and strong heartbeats. We were on our way and things looked great. And let me tell you, this little girl was a wiggly one. She was much more wiggly than her brother. Her energy made me smile and I was looking forward to holding my sweet baby in my arms. Here we are at 26 weeks.
At 36 weeks my mom, sister, and friend Alison threw a small ‘milk and cookies’ party to celebrate and prepare for Lucy. A small group of my good friends gathered at my parent’s house and it was an all out girly scene. : )
My belly was getting bigger and the time for her arrival was drawing near. I was anxious and excited to meet her. I was nervous too. Can we really handle two? How will Oliver handle having a baby sister? Can I endure the newborn fog while caring for a toddler? I started nesting at this point. (So much later than with the first babe!) I had Oliver 11 days past his due date and it took a lot of coaxing to get him out, so I was expecting to most likely go into labor late with Lucy as well.
At 37 weeks 4 days I started having some Braxton Hicks contractions, it was a Friday. This was different than my previous pregnancy where I didn’t feel one contraction until I was induced. I figured that my body must just be getting it this time, and it’s not uncommon to have these painless contractions for a long time before real labor ensues. I had been seeing a chiropractor to hopefully, (fingers crossed) have good alignment and a swift labor. These little contractions went on very irregularly for the next three days. On Saturday my photographer sister, Kate, came to our house to take some maternity shots.
I went to work Monday. I was 38 weeks pregnant. I was still feeling the small irregular contractions, but not worried or feeling like the time for the real deal was drawing near. When I got home from work we were sitting at the dining room table eating dinner. My contractions started to be a bit painful but still short and irregular. I was tracking my contractions but thought labor was probably still far off. After all, these contractions were nothing compared to my pitocin-induced contractions that I had when I was in labor with Oliver.
I tried to lay down and go to sleep that night but I couldn’t sleep through the contractions like I could the past few nights. I was starting to think this could be early labor. I continued to tracked my contractions through the night, nodding off in between them since they were still ten plus minutes apart.
Early in the morning my contractions were getting more painful. I had to get out of bed and walk around to cope with the pain. However, the contractions were not getting longer or closer together. I let Shaun sleep, knowing that I would need him to be rested for when I was in active labor. By 4:45am I was getting irritable from tiredness and the pain of the contractions. This had to be early labor.
This is the part of the story that gets really tough. Some things are just meant to be private, and for me this is one of them. I want to be transparent with you, I really do. I want you to have a glimpse into my world in the hope that it can help you or someone you know. However, I will summarize this next part, because this is so personal and so raw; it always will be. I am trying to be brave in all of this, but some things just need to remain ours.
My body went into active labor and then transition very fast. Our girl was alive in early labor, we don’t know exactly when we lost her. She was born quickly, and she was stillborn. The doctors worked on her for a long time but she couldn’t be revived. The situation was a complete shock to us; an unexpected, full-term stillbirth. My pregnancy was completely normal, no red flags. We already had a healthy child. How could this be? This did not feel right; but death never feels right.