Simon was my third boy. We prayed for him and were overjoyed when we found out that we were pregnant again. I had hoped that he would be the one that I could bring home as a newborn. My two previous pregnancies, while uneventful for 9 months, had difficulties during birth. Each of my boys spent more than 20 days in the NICU before coming home and I had hope that this one would be different.
Like both of my two previous pregnancies I rarely suffered from morning sickness and was feeling pretty good most days. My doctor appointments were going well and I had little to complain about. To be honest it never crossed my mind that something could go wrong this late in the game. I was one week away from being induced and I had just visited the doctor that Monday. I heard his sweet little heartbeat and was told he was right on track.
Tuesday morning of that week I woke up just like every other morning. I took a shower, got ready for work, helped the kids get ready for school and drove myself to the office. It’s funny the things that you remember because I vividly remember the last time Simon moved in my tummy that day. I was sitting at my desk typing away when I felt one of the biggest jumps in my tummy. It made me laugh because I thought he was saying “Good Morning Mom.” It wasn’t until lunch when I noticed that Simon hadn't been active in a while. After consulting family and talking with the nurse on the phone, we were advised to head into the hospital to have him checked out.
During our ride to the hospital it still never crossed my mind that something might be wrong. In my mind I guess I just figured we would go in and be told that everything was fine, that he was fine. It’s like when you have something that has been bothering you for a week but when you finally go to the doctor there are no symptoms and they tell you that you must have just overreacted.
Unfortunately this time, that was not the case. After we arrived the nurses took us immediately back and started to hook me up to the monitors, which to me seemed strange. Why would they admit me without even checking me out? Wouldn’t it make more sense to just rub some of that jelly on me and do a quick ultrasound then send me home? I guess they knew better.
It wasn’t until one of the nurses hesitated just slightly during the ultrasound that I began to realize what has happening, or rather, finally deciding to accept that something was wrong. She brought in another nurse and then finally the doctor, who made one final attempt to find Simon's heartbeat. Even then in the back of my mind I was hoping that the nurses were wrong, but they weren’t.
When you hear those words, “Sorry, I can’t find a heartbeat,” your world stops.
Unfortunately, the pain doesn’t stop at the simple fact that your beautiful baby boy was no longer alive. I still had to deliver him, which by 38 weeks is a full-grown baby. As anyone who has been through labor can attest, it is difficult enough even when you have the joy of a newborn baby awaiting you on the other side of the labor pains, but going through the process of delivery knowing that Simon was already deceased was crushing. Then to add salt to the wound, complications during the labor process caused me to have an emergency C-section where it was discovered that my uterus had ruptured and consequently had to be removed. Not only had we lost Simon, but we had now also lost the possibility of having any future biological children. I was devastated.
However, in the midst of all this suffering and tragedy, I was granted an unlikely bit of consolation. After surgery the nurse came in and asked if I would like to see Simon. When they brought him in my heart immediately melted. He was perfect. He looked as if he was just sleeping. God had given me joy in the midst of the suffering. There were no tears but a sweet smile as I held him close and kissed his forehead. Now looking back, I know that I am fortunate to have had that experience because I know many women who did not.
As we approach our one-year mark, I look back over the past year and realize how much good can come out of a tragedy. We are a military family which moves around every few years. About a year ago we had just moved to Bossier City, La., and had only been there for 4 months when Simon passed on March 1. Our church community at St. Jude’s as well as our military family at Barksdale AFB didn’t hesitate to fill in the gap where our immediate family living in different states were not available to fill.
The love that we received really helped us get through those first few months; however, what keeps me pushing forward are the families that I have met who have gone through what I have gone through. I never realized, or didn’t want to realize, how many people there are who have suffered and are suffering from a miscarriage or infant loss. We are part of a club that no one asked to be a part of, but since we are in this club we might as well support each other.
Angelica is the captain of the "We Love You Simon" team for Anna's Grace Quarter Marathon -- representing the 1 in 4 pregnancies that ends in loss. You can visit her team page or make a donation here: https://www.crowdrise.com/we-love-you-simon
About Anna’s Grace Foundation Anna’s Grace Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supporting families in the Greater Baton Rouge Area who experience miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. Each and every day one of our neighbors, friends, coworkers, or family members will experience the devastating loss of a baby, and Anna’s Grace is there to provide emotional and financial support so that families can focus on healing. The Anna’s Grace Quarter Marathon is on March 26, 2017. For more information or to register, visit http://www.annasgrace.org/registration.