For Sixteen Minutes

Sixteen

On September 3rd, 2014 my life changed forever.

That was the day I learned I would never bring my son home. I was 23 weeks 3 days gestation in my pregnancy and had developed some very minor symptoms (mild abdominal pain that I had several times before — I was quite thin so my ligaments had been stretching out).

As a precaution, I went to be assessed by an OBGYN and to my horror, I was 4 cm dilated, no contractions and was told I had an incompetent cervix. They described it to me as your cervix just gives out, letting infection in and was told it’s usually a death sentence for your first child. There was nothing they could do, my son was considered “pre-viable.”

As a registered nurse, I understood all of lingo and stats, but nothing was going to prepare me for this. He was born 10 hours later, alive. The love I felt was instantaneous. He was alive for 16 minutes. He was 1 pound 1 oz, 12 inches long, perfectly formed little boy with soft skin, with his mom’s nose and his dad’s feet and hands.

I watched his lungs fill with air and he was able to grasp my finger, he could move his legs and smack his lips. The life slowly left his body, breath by breath I could see him getting more tired. My fiance was holding him, and I kissed his forehead and told him it was okay to go and that we loved him very much.

Then he took his last breath.

His name was Vincent Xavier. I dressed him, bathed him, took him for a walk around the vary hospital I worked at, rocked him. I took hundreds of pictures. I’ll remember my child forever and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 — Jessica

Photo credit: adapted from bixentro | Flickr

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Unspoken Grief is a non-profit website dedicated to creating awareness and resources for anyone touched directly or indirectly by miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death.

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