When my boyfriend and I found out the precious baby I was carrying was not going to survive, we were stunned. Stunned. We had also been stunned when we discovered we were going to have a baby, but we quickly grew used to the idea and began making all of the exciting plans that all expectant parents make. We talked about names, picked out baby furniture, and I started buying maternity clothes. I had a sonogram at 12 weeks because I was experiencing some bleeding, but everything looked great. We could see our little baby swimming around waving to us; safe and sound and happy in my womb.
Two weeks later, at my regular OB appointment, my doctor couldn't find my baby's heartbeat, so he sent me down the hall to have another sonogram. I was relieved to see my tiny little baby and that beautiful blinking heartbeat. I thought I was out of the woods, until the technician said she would be right back – she needed to have my doctor come in and take a look. Even though her words were soothing, I knew in my heart that something must be wrong. Those few minutes that she was gone dragged on for an eternity, while I lay there on the table with my shirt off, goo on my belly and fear in my heart.
I was right. Something was wrong with my baby. My doctor held my hand as he gave me the news that there was no amniotic fluid around my baby. I didn't understand the implications. With tears in his eyes, he told me to get dressed and we would talk in his office. As I got dressed and waited outside his door, watching other happy pregnant moms being led to exam rooms, I didn't understand just how bad things were. I had no idea that no amniotic fluid was basically a death sentence for my baby.
I broke into tears as my doctor explained that the reason my baby had no amniotic fluid was because there were no kidneys, and that a baby couldn't survive with no kidneys. I asked if my baby would be able to have a kidney transplant. He said, no, that because there were no kidneys, and no amniotic fluid, that my baby's lungs would not develop. He encouraged me to terminate my pregnancy, but I refused. As I left his office that day, my mind was spinning in a million different directions. All I kept thinking was that my boyfriend didn't even know that our unborn baby was going to die! I thought about how an hour before, I was a blissfully happy pregnant mom sitting in my doctor's waiting room reading a magazine with a bright-eyed, beautiful baby on the front cover – a baby wearing a light blue sweater that matched his eyes.
My boyfriend agreed with me that we were not going to terminate our pregnancy. I got on the internet and looked up everything I could about our baby's condition, and we joyfully and sadly awaited our son's birth. (Yes, we found out several weeks later that we were going to have a little baby boy.) We decided to name him Thomas after his dad and grandfather. I anxiously awaited the day I would be able to hold my Thomas in my arms and gaze into beautiful eyes that I imagined would be golden brown like his father's. Unfortunately, that wasn't meant to be, and we found our son had died when I was 30 weeks pregnant. I was induced and 25 hours later, he quietly and without fanfare, slipped from my womb and into his permanent place in our hearts.
It has been almost two years since I last saw, held and kissed my son. I have since given birth to a healthy daughter, and while I cherish every minute of every day with her, I will never forget my sweet Thomas. I will never regret my decision to cradle him in my body even though I knew he was going to die. Those weeks I carried Thomas following his diagnosis were the saddest and happiest days of my life. Yes, I knew Thomas was going to die, but I also knew that I was going to do whatever I had to do to make him know that he was so loved by his Mom. I ran through the sprinkler, I took him to the zoo and the park and my favorite restaurants. We went to the beach and I rubbed my belly and talked to him while I listened to the waves crash upon the shore. I gathered shells that I placed in a special jar. I ate Happy Meals at McDonalds. Everything I did, I did for Thomas. I comfort myself with knowing that all he knew in his whole short life was love; nothing but pure love.
I miss him terribly. When my daughter was born, I nuzzled her close and thought about all I had missed out on with her brother. I think of him often, but I do not regret one second of the time I spent carrying him and loving him. He has changed me in ways I cannot describe.