Baby Boy Marshall

July 1, 2021
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Stillbirth Matters
Baby Boy Marshall
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My husband and I lost our baby boy the day he was born. We wrote this a week after we lost our baby boy.

We have felt some relief from reading the stories of others and wanted to share ours, hoping others can identify with it too. We didn’t name our baby, he’s just our baby boy, or “Baby Marshall”. See below:

We were nervous the entire pregnancy. Coming off a miscarriage in December, we were hesitant to let ourselves get too excited. We knew what it felt like to get our hopes up and think about a new future, only for it to be taken away from us. At the end of the first trimester, we took a deep breath, we were into the “safe” zone, or at least that’s what we had been told.

Every time we allowed ourselves to be excited, it felt like something would go wrong. The entire pregnancy was marred with complications, enough where we were always scared of losing the baby. The biggest red flag being I had been bleeding since week 17, but we went in for a couple urgent ultrasounds where the doctors assured us the baby was fine and we could see his heartbeat. A sigh of relief every time we got to see and hear his little heartbeat.

In the weeks leading up to June 4th, we had grown close with our baby boy. My husband, Tyler, would lay his head on my stomach after meals, and he would listen intently for sounds and movements. He would put his hands on my belly feeling movements as our boy swam around in my belly. We would clamor with joy when we would feel him. I started holding my belly, knowing our precious boy was in there.

June 4th, 2021. As Tyler says, the longest and quickest day of our lives. Quick, because it was a blur, it felt like decisions were made too quickly for the lasting impact they would have on our lives. Long, because the pain and emotions we felt that day couldn’t possibly have been created in just a single day. I feel so naïve to have felt so optimistic about our pregnancy, even leading up to our 20-week ultrasound appointment—when I had been experiencing what I thought to be digestive issues throughout the night, later learning they were contractions. When the doctor came in and explained the situation and offered up our options, it was like my brain refused to believe our new reality. Our baby had run out of amniotic fluid, was 11 days undersized, and was partially delivered because he had kicked through my cervix. Even as she explained we would have to deliver him today, I was still thinking Tyler and I would be leaving with our baby boy from the hospital. Tears started to roll down my face as part of my brain must have understood the severity of the situation. The other part of me was still in disbelief and denial. As I finally started to grasp that our baby boy wouldn’t make it, my senses finally came back and I felt Tyler squeezing my left hand. When they left us alone in the room, and we collapsed crying on each other, it felt like my muscles had given up on me. I could no longer lift my head up.

The entirety of the day was a blur. I can remember specific events in the day, but even now my memories are jumbled. However, the moment the doctor told us I was dilated and ready to deliver, I cannot forget. An onslaught of emotions rushed over me. Mostly scared and sad. My numb legs were placed in stirrups. You could sense the urgency in the room. We were both terrified – not knowing what was going to happen next. Tyler was on my right side, holding my hand. My eyes were secured shut. It was almost like I couldn’t face our fate and the inevitability that our son was being born, but would also pass today. I was surprised to hear after only a few minutes that he had been delivered. He slipped into this world, without a cry, but we heard whispers that he had a heartbeat. The nurses immediately wrapped him up and asked if we wanted him brought over. I was shaking and crying, overwhelmed by our new reality. I wasn’t ready to meet him. Just a few minutes later, they asked again, the nurses said his heart was still beating. As they brought him over, my emotions came over me again. I pointed to Tyler. He held our baby boy first. Safe in his dad’s arms, I could breathe again. Tyler spent a few moments holding our baby boy, then signaled to me it was okay. Nervous, I opened my arms to welcome my baby boy. He was delicate, handsome—his mouth would open and close. I needed him, even more than he needed me. He was precious, and gentle. As we spent more time with him, we couldn’t help touching his face and kissing him. I was once scared to see him, and now couldn’t bear parting with him. As we said our goodbyes, words gushed out of me – trying to tell our little guy everything I could think of. I wanted him to hear us – I wanted him to know how much we loved him – how sorry we were to be meeting under these circumstances. He took his last breaths in our arms.

Grief. How do you process something you never even imagined for yourself? We take things day by day. Some days I think maybe I can adjust to the new normal, other days the weight is too heavy and doing daily activities is too much. I feel glazed over most days, a numb feeling… where the world keeps spinning around me, but I haven’t been able to move. When we are around friends and family and they talk about something other than our baby boy, I can barely hear them. It feels fake to pretend to care about the latest Covid rules or plans for the future. My plans for the future have been stripped from us.

Some days, talking to anyone but Tyler is too much. He is the only one that really understands what happened that day, and all the lead-up to it. He took every step with me – and heard all the sights and sounds of the day. We both imagined a future with our baby boy. Taking him to the park, watching him pick up his first golf clubs, feeding him on our island counter, watching him play with the neighborhood kids, all of the firsts we’ll never have with him. All of that dissipated when we held our baby boy and watched him take his last breaths.

In random parts of the day, triggered by nothing but silence, I’ll remember what it was like to hold him in my arms. So small, so handsome, so perfect. The natural instinct to want to protect him from everything. The immediate love I felt for our baby that had been growing in me for over 20 weeks. How could I feel so attached to something we only met so briefly? He couldn’t open his eyes, but if he had, he would have seen both Tyler and me – hovering over him, desperate for him to know our love. We hope he could feel it.

It feels like we are exposed in a way that I never thought others would have to see. I’m used to hiding my weaknesses. But something like this can’t be hidden. It’s too big a part of us. His story will always be our story. I question everything now. I question myself. I question God. I question why things happen. I question, why us? The one thing I don’t question is Tyler and our relationship. We are forever bonded in a way we never wanted to be. Our stories intertwined forever. He’s been my rock, supporting the weight of both our needs. The only way to get through this is directly through the storm. There are no shortcuts for us. We feel pain, stronger and sharper than we’ve ever felt anything before. But we hope it provides clarity for our lives moving forward.

June 4th, 2021. Our baby boy made us parents that day. Our son was perfect in our eyes, in every single way. We felt a love deeper than anything I could have ever imagined. 

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