That particular morning, the baby was slow moving. I didn't think too much about it and went on shopping anyways. While in the first store, my 2 year old touched my belly and said "NO"...that was very strange to me. We went about our business and headed home.
I noticed on the way home that the baby wasn't moving. This concerned me a little, but I went ahead and tried to eat something and drink water. My 2 year old went down for a nap. The baby still wasn't moving, so I called the doctor and they told me to head on into the office. At this point, I had to find someone to come stay with Jackson while he was napping. After about 45 minutes, my youngest brother came to stay at our house and I met my mom for her to drive me. My husband was in meetings and I couldn't get in touch with him, so I left him a message telling him where I was going.
My mom and I got to the office and they immediately took me back to check on the baby. The nurse put the baby monitor on my belly and there was no noise. She immediately took it off and went to get the doctor. (My regular doctor was out of town) The doctor came in, turned on the ultra sound machine and went to work.
At that moment, I heard the words that every mother fears the most: "I'm sorry, I don't have good news". I was totally heart broken. I knew what that meant, my baby had died before I even got to meet him or her. My mom was in the room with me and came over to hold me. I think 2 seconds later, my husband walked in the room to find out the bad news.
To make a long story a tad shorter, we went home to pack bags, get Jackson situated and head to the hospital to deliver the precious baby. Two of our pastors beat us to our house and were waiting on us to pray with us and help in any way that they could. They were wonderful! Then, once we got into a room and I got situated, more friends and family were gathering in the waiting room ready to lend their support.
Early the next morning, March 8th, Ryan Thomas Lewis was stillborn. He was beautiful and perfect, 7 lbs and 6 oz and was 21 1/4 inches long. He died because of a cord accident.
Yes, this story is very sad, but God had a plan and I can look back and see some of that plan. Oh how I wish Ryan were here, but I have 2 other precious children who may not be here otherwise. McKinsey Ryan was born exactly one year later on Ryan's due date. Jonathan Carter came into this world 2 years after McKinsey.
Our family is complete and we look forward to the day that we get to meet Ryan in heaven.
I kept a journal for the next year after Ryan's death. Looking back on it, I am so glad that I did. You see, a very dear friend of mine lost her first daughter at 40 weeks. She too, was stillborn. My husband and I walked that path with them and learned a lot from them. They were at our side immediately when we found out about Ryan. She suggested that I keep a journal and "look" for God's blessings, even when I don't want to. Well, I did that and am so glad that I did.
Here is something that I wrote on April 20, 2003: We held you in our arms for a short time, but we hold you in our hearts forever. For nine months we anticipated your arrival and your newborn cry. For the rest of our lives, we will anticipate your laughter in heaven. We miss you so very much, but we have joy in knowing that we will see you again one day!
As you rest in the arms of Jesus, so do we.
I tell you my story to ask for your help. While I was in the hospital, the nurses took precious photos of Ryan with items that were donated to give to grieving parents. We left the hospital with photos of him, a blanket that was made for him, stuffed animal, baby ring and lots of other items to help us remember him.
After going through my experience, I learned that the perinatal loss department runs out of donations for parents. They keep whatever they can on hand. That weekend, they ran out of memory boxes. I took my baby's things home in a ziploc bag. They nurses were so sorry that they had to send them home that way, but didn't have a choice. My wish is that every parent gets to take home a blanket that was made for their baby to keep forever.