"I am so sorry. There is no heartbeat.”
My husband and I were expecting the arrival of our second baby on October 12, 2019. We were so excited that our prayers had been answered and that our oldest daughter was going to be a big sister. The timing seemed perfect. My daughter and her little sibling were going to be about two years and a month apart. We decided to wait and find out our baby’s gender until birth just as we did with our first.
We spent my entire pregnancy preparing our daughter to be a big sister. We bought her big sister books, and shirts, and took her to every single one of my doctor appointments. She stood by my side for all 38 of my weekly bump pictures. Life seemed so great, I would have described it as a perfect life. Thankfully my baby and I were healthy and everything was going great with my pregnancy. My family threw us a surprise baby shower two weeks before my due date. I washed all the clothes and had everything ready to go.
We were ready to bring our baby home.
At 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant, I noticed I hadn’t felt my baby move in a few hours. I drank ice-cold water and had ice cream hoping that would wake baby up. Even after that, there were no kicks or movements. I decided to go get checked out just for my peace of mind. I had started contractions so my husband thought I would be going into labor soon. He was excited and rushed to go get the car seat. I had a feeling that something wasn’t right so I insisted on us going to the hospital and him coming back for the car seat later.
When we got to the hospital my life felt like a nightmare. The nurse could not find my baby’s heartbeat with the doppler. She asked me not to panic because babies move and reposition themselves all the time. At that point, I knew something wasn’t right. I asked my nurse to call in my husband. He walked in as I was getting transferred to a different room with the ultrasound machine. I looked at him, told him what was going on and then I lost it.
As the triage doctor and nurses were doing my ultrasound, I began to pray. I was hoping for good news. The doctor walked over to my bedside, and before he said anything I began to cry.
His facial expression had said it all. He looked at me and said, “I am so sorry, there is no heartbeat”. Nothing in my life had ever hurt as much as those words.
I was devastated, confused, and completely heartbroken. I was in shock. “What? Why? No this can’t be true. What did I do wrong? It must be a mistake?” These are a few of the million thoughts I had going through my mind. I thought “Maybe the machines are down, this can’t be true. I had just heard my baby’s heartbeat a few days before.”
I immediately surrendered to God and asked him to please perform a miracle and let my baby move again. I prayed for him to take over my thoughts and to please be by my side if my baby was really gone. I was afraid of what the next few hours were going to look like. I knew I needed God more than anyone or anything at the time.
I asked the nurses what was going to happen next. I thought maybe they would do a C-section and take my baby out. I felt so confused. Nothing could have ever prepared me for this. Having to sit and wait to get induced knowing that my baby was gone, felt like torture. I was induced and labor lasted almost eleven hours. While I was in labor, I was able to remain calm and focused. I give all credit to God for allowing me to find strength. I felt God’s presence that day, and I truly believe He was by my side the entire time. It was the worse day of my life, but somehow everything seemed perfectly planned and there was so much to be grateful for.
I had a wonderful nurse, who I believe was handpicked for me that day. She was such a blessing and is an example of someone who is living their purpose. My nurse, Maci, sat with me and comforted me throughout the entire time I was in labor. She listened to me talk and answered all my questions the best she could. I am forever grateful to have had such a wonderful nurse that day. Maci and my husband took turns comforting me during every contraction. I cannot imagine having gone through that night without them both.
The next morning, on October 2, 2019, I was ready to push. I knew I was going to have to face the reality that my baby was gone.
My husband held my hand and asked me whether I thought we were having a boy or a girl. He had been hoping for a girl all along and couldn’t wait to find out. At 5:45 am our baby was born. My husband said, “It’s a girl!” I looked over at my baby and felt the worst pain I have ever felt in my entire life. My baby girl did not move or cry, she was born still. Words cannot describe the feeling of seeing my lifeless baby girl. She was so beautiful and perfect in every way possible. She really looked like she was just sleeping and looked just like her big sister. We named her Addie Elena. We kissed and held our little Addie for a total of nine hours before having to kiss her goodbye.
As much as we wished she would be here with us, we find comfort knowing that our Addie is in the arms of Jesus. She never felt pain, or knew suffering and we look forward to the day we reunite with her.
Five months after losing Addie, we were blessed with another pregnancy. On November 4, 2020, I delivered our third baby girl. Our rainbow baby has brought so much joy back into our lives. Our parenthood looks nothing like what we would have ever imagined, but we are extremely grateful for all three of our girls. Addie will always be loved and remembered by our family. We find ways to honor her and include her in our lives. We started the project Hugs Through Addie’s Mugs in memory of our daughter. We gift mugs to bereaved mothers who experience a baby loss through miscarriage, stillbirth, or any type of infant loss. Our mission is to bring families comfort in knowing that they are not alone.
Click here to read more of our blogs for child loss, miscarriage, and stillbirth. This blog was written by Jackie, who lives in Menifee, California. Jackie and her husband Alex are high school sweethearts and have been married for 8 years. Together they have three daughters - Annie, Addie, and Allie. Proceeds from her Etsy store are used to cover mugs donated to hospitals as well as shipping expenses.