Henry Matsuo Hele’oiakukalewalani Choy: born an angel April 24, 2017
April 22, 2017 seemed like any other day. Apart from my feet being extra swollen, I went to work as usual and felt Henry actively kicking and squirming around noon. I went about the rest of my day but when 5:00 came around, I realized something seemed off. Between 4 and 5pm was what I liked to call Henry’s “witching hour” because that was when he was most active. But I had barely felt anything. I convinced myself and Justin that we shouldn’t worry and maybe Henry was just resting or running out of room in my tummy. We went out to eat and hung out with Justin’s friends but by the end of the night, I still hadn’t felt any telltale kicks or punches.
When we got home, I tried laying on my back, a position I knew Henry would protest by kicking me as if to say, “Mom! You’re squishing me!” But there was nothing. I grabbed our bag and told Justin we should go to the hospital to get things checked out. Neither of us thought anything could be seriously wrong.
Once in a room, a nurse tried to find Henry’s heartbeat. Although we were having extra ultrasounds done because Henry was measuring small, there had never been any problem finding a heartbeat. It was always there, strong and steady. But now, everything was quiet except for the faint beating of my own heart, racing a mile a minute. Within a few minutes, four more people were in our hospital room with an ultrasound machine, moving the wand over my belly. After what seemed like an eternity of silence, the doctors told us they were sorry but Henry was gone. “You’re kidding me, right?” was all I could say. They turned the ultrasound screen to me and pointed to his heart; it was still.
Labor was induced the next day and our son was delivered on April 24, 2017 at 4:08am. Henry was cute as a button and weighed 3lbs 14oz. He had comically big feet and hands, but with long slender fingers and toes, like me. We like to think he would’ve grown into them and been taller than Justin. A professional photographer was able to capture some beautiful pictures soon after delivery. We were able to spend time with and hold Henry and even some of our family was able to meet him before we gave him up.
Our doctor said Henry was born with the cord around his neck although it wasn’t very tight. We are still awaiting official autopsy results although we have been warned there might not be a conclusive answer for his cause of death. It’s hard to imagine that something like this could happen to anyone let alone us. Justin and I have decided to donate monies from Henry’s memorial to this foundation in the hopes that it will help with more research and prevention of stillbirths. We encourage others to donate in Henry’s memory too.
To our little Sky-walker: We know you’re safe and happy up in Heaven. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t think of you and wonder who you would’ve become. There will always be a space in our hearts where you reside; you are so loved and so missed. Visit our dreams until we can see you again.
Mom and Dad