Contributed by Spencer
It was a perfect pregnancy. Well, about as perfect as it could be from a dad’s point of view. Other than the first two trimesters working away from town, and then getting a new job locally in the last trimester, things went reasonably smooth.
We were 37 weeks, and Parker was already so big, every week we saw our midwives we pleaded to be induced. Shannon was in so much pain and kept saying that he needed out, but nothing. 38 weeks and the same story; Shannon pleading that she wanted to be induced – but the midwives were short staffed and our primary one was leaving for vacation in a week so we needed to wait. 39 weeks: We were left with students who could not make a call for induction, and had to be placed under a new temporary midwife – who was not there through our entire pregnancy. 40 weeks and he needed to come out. We went for a 40 week ultrasound to determine what our options were and if everything was still going ok inside. Parker was huge, but having a large baby didn’t tick any boxes to be induced vs. waiting for natural labour to start. Shannon did have high blood pressure though, but again, we were told that it was not a concern.
The high blood pressure continued into the next day 40+1, and we were told to go to the hospital to get it checked. The midwife at the hospital said that the blood pressure was high, but too low to be seen inside and gave us a referral to get bloodwork done. We went and got bloodwork and they said that everything was normal.
Parkers heart beat was tough to find throughout the entire pregnancy, and they always had to get multiple people to find it with a Doppler, so when Shannon started early laboring the next morning at 40+2, we thought things were finally going to plan. Finally. Everything was going as smooth as it could go – for me at least. Back rubbing, lukewarm shower, and whatever else I did; it was all a blur. She had been in early labour for about 6 hours at that point and the temporary midwife and student came to check in on us and see how she was doing. They could not find Parkers heart beat on the tiny portable Doppler they had.
They said we should go to the hospital to get it checked on the portable ultrasound they have and then we could come home and finish early labour in our own space until ready to birth. I packed all the hospital bags in the car just in case. The next hour was the single biggest swing in emotional and mental health in my life. Things went from so elated that we were finally at the end of one journey and ready to start the next with our boy in our arms to soul crushing pain. We got to the hospital and got checked in, the midwives were there and waited with us in the holding room we were taken in to. The doctor came in and got the ultrasound prepped and started looking. She saw Parker, and was looking for a concerning amount of time. She looked at us with a pain in her eyes and said the words that will ring in my ear forever “This is where his heartbeat should be. I’m sorry.” We screamed in agony as they left the room.
The midwives came in and tried to comfort us, but mostly it was an endless stream of teams and screaming crying. Eventually the doctor came in and we didn’t know what to think or say. All we could mutter was “What happens now?” At this point we were transferred out of midwives care and into the hospitals official care with doctors and nurses.
We were told that it needed to be confirmed by an official ultrasound tech and would need to wait for that. During that wait, we would need to decide how we wanted to get Parker out; birth him naturally or have a C-section. How are you supposed to decide that when you know there will be no live baby at the end? Shannon opted to try to birth naturally but with an epidural and induction – stating that we have gone through so much emotional pain and trauma that would hopefully help the physical pain of it. So we waited for hours to get it officially confirmed and went back up to the suite that they had prepped. Shannon still need to go through labour so I tried my best to help support, but in reality I was broken. The epidural failed, but she pushed through and did such an amazing job. When it was time to push I was beside her trying to be involved where I could, but at that point there were doctors and nurses everywhere.
I saw Parker when he was born, he was laid on Shannon’s chest, but because there was so much blood loss and needing to take blood samples, he was taken away pretty quickly. Due to the epidural not working and being on all the drugs the hospital gave her, Shannon was pretty out of it at that point. I had to move away from her and to the side, while they worked to stitch her up and take the samples they needed. Eventually they brought him back in the bassinet and we were able to see him and hold him. He was cold. I took him to the window and wanted to show him the world. The physical recovery was going to be hard for Shannon. And we were eventually discharged from the hospital, but not before getting to spend one last hour with him. Walking out of the maternity ward without a baby and crying was surreal. We got in the car and I was bawling the whole time, still. Looking back, it was not the safest thing to do – but I knew we needed to get home away from the hospital. I remember Shannon asking me if I was ok, and I just said that my only job right now was to get us home safe. Turning into our block we saw someone pushing a stroller, It was an immediate reminder of what we had lost not a day ago.
March 14th being a day we will never forget.