So here it goes:
The story of Finding Out You Were Born to Heaven
Right around 36 weeks towards the middle of January I started becoming concerned because Alexander wasn't moving as much. I asked every pregnant woman and previously pregnant woman I could find if it was normal. Some said their babies moved a lot the whole pregnancy. Most said it was normal because the baby had less room. I mentioned it to the Dr. at our appointment and she said it was normal for the baby to slow down. If I was concerned to stop and do a kick count. Alexander's heart was nice and strong that day, everything was normal and looked good. I would come back in 2 weeks and then again 1 week after that. I actually made a appointment for my due date. I was hoping Alexander would make his appearance before then. I couldn't wait to meet him.
Off and on for the next 2 weeks or so I would have anxiety about his movements but I shrugged it off as hormonal irrational fears. Alexander hiccuped constantly. I was still teaching and I would see my belly jump with each hiccup. I would gently pat my belly and feel a thumpy kick back. I did several kick counts during those two weeks, not knowing the importance of doing them regularly every day. He didn't move nearly as much as he did when I first did kick counts earlier in pregnancy. I remember crying during Church Sunday Morning on Feb 6th praying that Alexander would be all right. I felt completely irrational doing that at the time.
I had planned to work up until Feb 9th a week before my due date. I didn't want to take too much time off before because I knew I would go stir crazy at home, and everything was ready for him. Progress report grades were due on the 9th so I thought it was the perfect time. I'd turn in grades, finish writing 7 weeks of lesson plans and leave my classes in the hands of a stranger.
On Tuesday Feb 8th 2011 my husband picked me up from school and we went to my Dr.'s appointment. I was 38 weeks and 6 days. As always the nurse came to get me and weighed me and took my blood pressure. I then met my husband in the exam room. My dr. came in and asked how I was doing. I was good, tired but good. I was going to go to work for one more day and then it was hanging out at home until I went into labor.
She got the doppler out to check Alexander's heart beat. But she didn't find it. I knew there was something wrong. She always found it right away. It was so strong it was easy to find even when he was tiny. She said that sometimes the babies move and make it difficult to find. She would go get the ultrasound machine and come back. I was so worried at this point. My husband was holding my hand, looking worried alternating between telling me it would be okay and asking Alexander to help us out. The Dr. came back with the ultrasound and said that the fluid was low and she was having trouble finding a heart beat. She was going to go get the grey-haired expert (a more experienced dr.). I was asked multiple times if my water had broken because the fluid was so low. I said over and over, when I was asked again I didn't know. I didn't think so but maybe it broke in the shower or something. This was my first pregnancy, its supposed to be obvious when your water breaks. Isn't it? I was also asked when the last time I felt movement was. I wasn't sure. I thought I had just felt a weak movement in the exam room, but that's all I had felt recently, weak movements.
The expert didn't see anything either. My dr. said she would send us down to radiology to the big ultrasound machine to make sure. When we were done in radiology we were supposed to go back up and talk to her. Someone would meet us there. I sat and cried, trying to hold back, to grasp for hope. She said she was sorry and gave me a hug. We went down and checked in at the radiology desk, but the woman behind the counter didn't know what was going on. She gave me a bottle of water to drink and told us to wait. I don't know how long we waited but it seemed like too long. My husband went and talked to the lady and she took us back to sit on a bench outside the ultrasound room. Someone would be with us in a minute, the machine was in use. The room we saw Alexander move in, the room we found out he was a boy in. The whole time my husband was talking to me, trying to tell me it would be okay. We were both holding on to that tiny bit of hope that was left.
The ultrasound tech finally came and found us. She apologized it took so long that we weren't where she expected to find us. She took us back into the hospital part of the building. It was more of a curtained off part of the hall set up for ultrasound. She put the thing on my tummy and looked around for a while, longer than she probably should have. Finally those words "I'm sorry." I finally let go and wailed. That heart wrenching cry that's between a sob and a scream. That cry you see in movies when a mother's child is killed and you think they are over acting, but it makes you tear up anyway. My husband just held me for a while and we cried together. Our baby was dead. We wouldn't get to take him home. I wouldn't get to see him smile or change a dirty diaper or complain about sleepless nights. I wouldn't get to breastfeed him or teach him about art when he was older.
We did go back upstairs to talk to the dr. To find out what happens next. I think I even asked if we had him right then could they bring him back. After talking with the dr. we decided to induce the following evening. I wanted time to process things and rest up for labor. How could I go through labor knowing that my baby would never cry?
We drove home to wait.
Alexander Michael Armes was born into heaven before he was born on earth.
"I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." 2 Samuel 12:23