Told by: Wendy
The story of H.A.L.O. began early on Saturday morning, October 29, 2011. We were expecting our little angel, Owen Wood. Labor began early that morning. I became anxious and went into my kitchen. While timing my contractions and waiting until it was time to call the doctor, I stood in my kitchen and decided to load some dishes in the dishwasher. All of a sudden, a horrible contraction not like the others, came and it did not relent. I lifted my shirt and could see my belly in a tight knot. There was no relief. I knew there was trouble. I am an RN with OB/GYN experience. I knew that this was a sign of a placental abruption. I began frantically trying to get Owen to move for Mommy. He would not move. I told my husband that it was time to go to the hospital and I called them. We woke our other two boys, Jeffrey, 13 and Jackson, 8. I did not tell my husband or my children what I knew in my heart to be true. I did not want to believe that Owen was gone. I wanted to hold on to hope. I just could not be the one to give them this heartbreaking news. Daddy and the boys were running around excitedly loading the bags into the car that I had packed two weeks earlier in anticipation of Owen’ s arrival. Within 15 minutes of the contraction that began our nightmare, the pain was excruciating. I became very ill. We dropped our kids around the corner at my sister’s house. Jeffrey looked up at his daddy as he went inside and said, “Daddy, Owen is coming today!” He was smiling big. My husband ran back and jumped in the car and drove quickly to the hospital. It seemed to take hours. In my mind I was praying that maybe there was some chance that I was 10 centimeters dilated and he was coming quickly. I had epidurals with both of my other boys. I knew in my heart that was not what was happening. I tried to have hope. We finally arrived and a nurse wheeled me up to the Labor and Delivery floor as my hubby parked the car. Later, I find out that he ran excitedly through the parking lot smiling ear to ear. He was so happy he would soon be holding his new little son. After I was dressed in the hospital gown and my husband arrived in the room, the nurse began to hook me up to the monitor that detects the baby’s heartbeat. I asked her to wait. I asked her to check me first. You see, I so dreaded that moment that I knew was coming. I knew there would be no heartbeat. I was hoping for a miracle. I wanted her to check me and say that I was fully dilated and he was coming! I felt so alone. All of this was going on in my head and I still had not told my husband that I knew something was wrong. He was standing at the foot of the bed so excited…So happy. She checked me and said the dreadful words, “You are only one centimeter”. For me, that was the worst thing she could say. For my husband, it seemed like a normal conversation. She then placed the heart monitor on my belly and all we heard was ……………………… Silence. She knew and I knew. She tried to be calm and search for it. I pushed her hand away and asked her to stop. I just could not bear the silence. My husband still had not caught on. The doctor came in with an ultrasound and began to look. Again, Nothing. I know this doctor very well. He is so gentle. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Wendy, I know you know what is happening here…………”. That was the worst moment in all my life! My heart was ripped out! And at that moment, I began to scream to my husband, “NAY, Nay, He’s gone!!! Owen is gone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”. He was in total shock! He threw his hands up in the air and then grabbed his face and went down to his knees. I will never, ever forget! At that point, things began to happen very rapidly, yet slowly. I felt like everyone around me was on a merry-go-round and I was watching, trying my best to get on. What had happened to my sweet little “O” was the placenta completely and prematurely detached from the uterine wall. In an instant he lost all of his life support. I was gravely ill, as I was hemorrhaging internally. I developed a condition called DIC. Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a serious disorder in which the proteins that control blood clotting become abnormally active. I had to have an emergency cesarean section and ended up in the ICU. My life was touch and go for a while, but I was spared. I will not take that for granted. Owen Wood arrived at 7:03 am. My maiden name is his middle name. He weighed 8 lbs. 1 oz. and was 21 inches long. He had a head full of dark wavy hair. He was absolutely perfect in every way! He was gorgeous! Our hearts sank as we had to tell our other boys that Owen had passed away. They arrived at the hospital with such joy and anticipation on their faces. They knew that they were going to meet their baby brother that day. They were crushed. I will never forget their little faces. Their expressions were windows into their broken hearts. They lost all their hopes, dreams, and plans the second those dreadful words left their daddy’s mouth. “Boys, we lost Owen.” They began to scream and cry and pace the floor. Jeffrey and Jackson were delighted to finally meet their precious little brother who they had waited so long to see. They held him and loved on him. Our family spent four days bonding with Owen, creating memories and recording them with photos and videos that we will have to cherish forever. This may seem like an extended amount of time to spend with our child, but this is all we will ever have in this life. Taking this time to allow each member of the family to bond with our baby and to create and record memories with him was of utmost importance. We are so thankful that we took the time to do that. It has most certainly facilitated in our healing process to have that time and those memories to cling to. I guess, if I really think about it, the story behind H.A.L.O. actually began many years ago. Most of my experience as an RN is in the area of postpartum. I have been the nurse caring for mamas and their babies in similar situations. I have always held a special place in my heart for these babies and their families. I have always been an advocate for ensuring that these mamas and families have the proper time and chance for bonding with their sweet babies. Since December 2009 I have been a stay at home mom. Ironically, on my last day of employment, I took care of a lady in a similar situation. Two years later, I became a lady on the other side of the hospital bed. Owen’ s life, although brief, has a mighty purpose. We believe all babies who slip away from us too soon have a grand purpose here on earth. His purpose lives on in his absence. My husband and I decided even before leaving the hospital that we would definitely be doing something to help others that would honor our precious Owen. He is our heart and he is the heart of H.A.L.O. We are Owen’s voice. He is a member of our family and will forever be a member of our family. We will include him in every way we can for as long as we live on this earth. When I was pregnant with that sweet boy, I dedicated his life to the Lord and asked Him to use Owen’ s life in mighty ways to glorify Him and His kingdom. I was thinking he might grow up to be a preacher. God had different plans, bigger plans! Our God did not take our little boy. Death for all of us is a result of the fallen and sinful world we live in. Because of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we will live eternally in glory with our Owen!
John 3:16 New International Version (NIV) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~Wendy Blakley