Friday, January 27, 2012

Trying To Heal

I'm a bit weary about doing this, but have decided it may be best to start putting some of my crazy emotions into words.
My husband is in the Navy and after 3 long months, he was able to come home for 10 days in May 2011, before being flown out to Bahrain. We drove from Boise, ID to Virginia Beach, VA within those 10 days and he left shortly after we had arrived.
On June 11, I found out that we were expecting our first child. I was incredibly shocked but couldn't have been more excited. I could barely believe my eyes as I stared at the pregnancy tests on the bathroom counter. What a journey we had ahead of us, and I couldn't wait to meet this sweet baby. One week later, on my birthday and the day before Father's Day, my husband called me to wish me a Happy Birthday and I was able to wish him his first Happy Father's Day. He was ecstatic! I was so ready for him to come home so we could begin this exciting journey through pregnancy together.
I was alone in Virginia until July 15 when he returned home and we were able to hear our babies heartbeat together for the first time. I looked to my husband with tears in my eyes, "You're going to be a daddy!" My pregnancy progressed rather normal, I didn't have any complications and my belly was getting large and in charge. We were ready to meet our baby boy, whom we had decided to name Kyler Nathan Gifford.
On the Friday before Halloween, I had realized that in the midst of my busy life, I hadn't felt my baby move all day. At 25 weeks pregnant, his movements had become rather strong and frequent so I began to worry. Terrified of getting an answer I did not want, (I realize now this was ignorant, but at the time it seemed right) I decided to wait until the doctors office was open on Monday before jumping to any horrific conclusions. I was holding on to whatever bit of hope I had left, praying my son would reassure me that he was fine. Throughout the weekend, I felt tiny "flutters" that were similar to the movements I had felt in the beginning, no where near as frequent or strong as the jabs I had become so used to...but any movement was enough for me. Monday came and I had a knot in my stomach that wouldn't go away, not until I knew for sure that my sweet baby was all right. The first call to the nurse was rather reassuring, letting me know that it is not unusual for movements to slow down at times, but that she would speak with my doctor and put my mind at ease. I began getting ready for work, still concerned but trusting that everything was fine. After 45 minutes or so, I received a call back from the nurse advising me to come in immediately and be seen by the doctor. I couldn't breathe. My eyes filled with tears as I told my husband we were about to get some heartbreaking news. Upon arriving at the doctors office, they hooked me up to a non-stress machine to make sure
my baby wasn't under any stress that would be causing the sudden cease of movement. After a few agonizing minutes of struggling to find a heartbeat, the nurse picked up a beat. It only lasted for a second or two but that was all I needed to hear. She looked at me and said "We've got his heartbeat, he's okay." She then left the room for a moment and I looked to my husband and sighed, "He's alive" I said and I saw the worried look disappear from his face. The nurse returned and asked us to follow her to the lab to get an ultrasound done, "just to be sure." I remember being so excited as we walked hastily toward the lab. I loved being able to see my baby.
The ultrasound screen showed a beautiful, but completely still baby and I could not hear his heartbeat as I normally could. The technician placed her hand on my leg and whispered, "I'm so sorry, Jessica. There is no heartbeat." I began to sob. How could this be happening to me? I wanted him so badly! Isn't that enough?
My voice was shaking and I was so angry. "They just had his heartbeat! The nurse told me he was fine!" I later learned that what we thought was his heartbeat was actually my own.
The ultrasound technician left the room, and I clung to my husband, screaming at my belly, "Please don't do this to me, baby. Please! Wake up!" I fell to the floor and cried for what felt like hours.
We then spoke to the doctor, who proceeded to tell us that he would call the nearest hospital and let them know that we were on our way.

I now had to deliver my son and know that he would not be coming home from the hospital with us. I had dreamed of my delivery day for months and couldn't wait for it to arrive. Now all I wanted to do was go back in time...

My induction began and 13 hours later at 5:24AM on November 1, 2011, my beautiful Kyler Nathan was silently born. He was the most perfect baby I had ever set my eyes on, and he looked so much like his daddy. We held him, kissed him, told him we loved him and then we had to say goodbye forever. I will never forget the unexplainable pain I felt as I watched them carry him out of the room, knowing that I would never see him again.
The next few days were a blur, I don't remember much of what happened after that but I do know that was the first time that my heart was broken. I didn't understand how my heart could hurt so bad, yet still beat. A few agonizing hours after he was born, we were told by a nurse that it was now time to decide what we were going to do with his body. As if the pain of losing my son wasn't bad enough, I now had to bury him, along with a lifetime of dreams I had set for my first child.
I looked to my husband, hoping for an answer. I wasn't ready to make this decision. 24 hours earlier, I was still pregnant and now I am preparing my perfect baby's funeral.
I asked the nurse what our options were and she coldy replied, "You can have a private burial or cremation, or we can dispose of the remains here in a group cremation."
I had never made a more difficult decision in my life.
We eventually decided to have him cremated. Boise was too far away to have him buried there and Virginia will never be our home and this way, he will always be with us.
A little over a week later, my husband and I flew 3,000 miles back home to be comforted by family and friends. We planned a small, but beautiful memorial service for our sweet boy. It was held on Sunday, November 13, 2011, one day after my baby shower was intended to be.
I never thought that something like this could happen to me, but it did. And as much as it hurts, we have been so blessed by this child. He was too perfect for Earth.
Kyler, we love you, we miss you and we can hardly wait to see you again.

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