Told by: Halo
in January 2002–can it really be so long ago?–we decided to start our family. we had been married almost 7 years. we owned a house. my husband had a good job and prospects were good that he’d be able to get a permanent staff position. the time was right!
the original plan was to have one child. i wanted to give birth and nurse one child. any others, i was ok with adopting. oh, how young we were when we made this plan. we even had one name for each gender picked out. we were set, right? that’s all we’d need.
April 2002 pee’d on a stick. got two lines. alright. baby under construction. started spoting a few days later. tried to “relax and rest” hoping that would change the outcome. no such luck. miscarried within a week of the positive test. was a bit down but nothing terrible. i guess it was because i didn’t even really have time to get attached. i had called everyone and their dog to tell them, but really we were BARELY pregnant. so then we started trying again.
August 2002 pee’d on a stick. got two lines again but only after some spotting. got a little worried by the spotting. but got online and did some research. found out spotting on implantation is actually a good thing. didn’t have that last time. so, alright. baby under construction again. had an average, i guess, pregnancy. had some BP issues (always seemed to be borderline high). no gest diabetes. had GBS, but wasn’t particularly worried about it. very common thing. gained quite a bit of weight. swelled quite a bit, too. baby was moving. all was good.
chose a pair of midwives in santa fe. planning a homebirth. don’t like the western med version of prenatal care or childbirth.
went for our 20 week ultrasound at more like 18 or 20 weeks. found out who the baby was. a boy. Jesper Thomas DeWitt. Jepser was my husband’s choice, scandinavian name. Thomas was my choice, for my uncle and my best friend–love you bunches, tom! DeWitt as a middle name because i wanted that family connection. i like my maiden name, my child should have it, too. he would share his father’s initials JTG with a little addition.
getting towards the end of the pregnancy. baby should be coming soon. 34 weeks he’s still breech. hmmm. have to work on that. did everything. flashlight, music, talking, cold packs, “ironing board”. tried it all. nothing was working. 35 weeks. got to get serious about it. laid in the 45° angle position until my butt fell asleep. that finally did the trick. i woke up at 5 am uncomfortable. after poking around the belly, i think he’s flipped over. at our prenatal class that morning, i asked them to feel. they say, yes, feels like it. we’ll order an ultrasound to make sure. ultrasound at about 36 weeks confirms he’s finally head down. also confirmed that he was, indeed, a boy. and that he had some very big hands and feet. gonna be a bruiser.
Jesper was always quiet. if i was moving i couldn’t tell if he was. he never rolled around. he always had his back to my left. couldn’t ever really feel legs, feet, knees, arms, fists, or the like. just his head. had hiccups constantly. other than that a very quiet kid.
had normal prenatal appts from then on out. due date was good friday, April 18th. it came (along with my parents) and went. waiting, waiting, waiting. doing yard work. doing house work. walking. doing anything we could to start labor. common kiddo, mama’s really not comfortable anymore, come out. now at 41 weeks. had a prenatal appt at home. checked his heartrate. 142 bpm. perfect. checked again for my parents, same. mentioned that he hadn’t been moving much since the day before (weds). “don’t worry. everything is ok. he’s getting ready for labor. saving energy.” told to get some herbs to help start labor. drive to santa fe, come back with herbs. yucky stuff. taking herbs. have some contrx but nothing major. and not very consistent.
waiting, waiting, waiting. sunday rolls around. i called my midwife. “herbs aren’t working, labor isn’t starting.” don’t worry labor will start when it starts. can’t force it. “and i haven’t felt him really move since wednesday.” that’s a problem. we want to do a non-stress test. how soon can you be here? “we can probably be there about 1 pm.” no sooner? “not really.”
now, i already knew something wasn’t right. the day after my last prenatal appt (that would be friday), i could feel Jesper’s knee. i couldn’t ever feel his limbs. i pushed it. he didn’t push back. he didn’t readjust. he didn’t move on his own. that was my first clue that something was wrong. but everyone kept saying “he’s just getting ready for labor, don’t worry. he’s fine.” by sunday, i really had a pretty good idea he was gone. and getting to santa fe faster wouldn’t have changed a damn thing. i think i even said “if something is wrong, it is already wrong and getting there faster won’t change that.”
so off to santa fe we go. meet my midwives at their office. tried to find his heartbeat. couldn’t find it. Sonja’s hand was shaking so bad. i knew that she knew. but she said “the machine is really old and doesn’t always work right. we’ll go to the hospital to make sure everything is ok.” i’m crying because i know what they are going to find. my dad keeps telling me it will be ok. that he’s fine.
up we go to OB triage. emergency ultrasound. tech won’t look at anyone or say anything. she leaves and the doctor comes in. Jesper is gone. there is no heartbeat. my mom and i were the only ones in the curtain who couldn’t see the ultrasound screen. my mom is the only one who cried out. because i already knew. everyone else knew when they did the ultrasound.
Jesper was born at 11:27 pm on April 28, 2003. he weighed 8 lbs 7.4 oz and was 19.5 inches long. he did, indeed, have big hands and feet. he had quite a bit of light brown hair. he had my lips. beyond that features were hard to name because we weren’t seeing him as he would have looked alive. but he was beautiful just the same. he was perfect.
Jesper’s photo is a part of stillbirthday. You can click here to see him.