Losing Elliot

On February 15th of this year I thought my dreams were coming true. My boyfriend and I had been talking about trying to conceive our first child together and in the middle of the hated two week wait I decided to test early. Imagine my surprise when, 9 days post ovulation I have a big fat positive staring me in the face. I called my boyfriend into the bathroom and showed him the test. He rejoiced with me, though in a much calmer, manlier way, and then said to use the digital test I had on hand the next morning just to be sure. I agreed and woke up at 6 in the morning the next day so I could test before he went to work. Seeing the word “Pregnant” on the stick I was holding made it all the more real. I rushed out of the bathroom, shoving the test under my boyfriend’s nose, my mind racing with images of cribs and strollers, freshly painted nurseries and my daughter and stepson holding their brand new sibling. I couldn’t even fathom something going wrong.

Fast forward to May 30th 2012. It was a kidless morning, both of our children being with their other parents that day. My boyfriend and I were sleeping in the living room because our attic bedroom felt like a sauna. I woke up at 5:30 to use the bathroom and laid down on the couch only to feel a pop deep inside my belly and then liquid gushing down my legs. I said, “This is not good!” while running back to the bathroom. I sat down and waited for the water to stop. I tried to remember how to tell the difference between amniotic fluid and urine and remembered that What to Expect When You’re Expecting recommends doing the “sniff test”, smelling to see if the liquid smells like ammonia or if it’s a sweeter smell. Ammonia being urine, the sweeter smell being amniotic fluid. I knew in the back of my mind that I had literally just emptied my bladder so the likelihood of that much urine coming out of me was not at all likely, but I had to check. I was so out of sorts that I couldn’t even figure out what I smelled. I went back to the living room and laid back down, praying that I had somehow just peed myself and that my water had not broken. As soon as I lay back down I felt another gush of fluid. My heart broke. I called the on call doctor who told me to come to the hospital to be checked. I was rushed by ambulance to the hospital all the while having contractions that I refused to even acknowledge.

When we arrived at the hospital I was taken to triage on the labor and delivery floor. By then it was 7:15 am and I lay there, feeling harder contractions. I had submitted a urine sample when I arrived and the nurses tried to find the heartbeat with the huge fetal monitors but they could not find it. She said that because the monitor was so big there was a chance that it just didn’t pick up the heartbeat. I knew she was saying that just to comfort me, but I held on to that belief. The nurses walked out of the room with talk of bringing in an ultrasound machine so we could see my baby and find the heartbeat but the machine was never brought in.

Instead at around 7:30 the dr came in and did an exam and told me that I had miscarried. He then walked out of the room and not even ten minutes later a huge contraction hit and I delivered my sweet baby boy at 18 weeks gestation. He was 3 ounces and 7 inches long. I waited until my boyfriend got to the hospital to officially name him. We decided to name him Elliot Michael.

All I could think of while I was in the hospital was finding out what happened. Why we lost him when I had had a completely normal pregnancy up until that day. We were told that our precious son’s brain did not form and that his skull had collapsed. He had very low set ears and multiple congenital issues. The doctor told me that my placenta had stopped growing, that something was killing the placenta and therefore killing my poor boy, and we had no idea. By the size of him the dr told me he probably died at 16 weeks and my body “naturally aborted” him the day we lost him. I could have sworn I could feel him move in the week before I lost him so I don’t know if I can truly believe that he had been dead for two weeks before he was delivered. She did say that his small size could have been due to the placental problems and that maybe I did in fact feel him move, though she may have been saying that for comfort.

I don’t know where to turn these days. I see my baby everywhere, in everything and it hurts beyond all belief. We are waiting for the genital results to come back but the dr told me to not get my hopes up. More often than not these things happen with no explanation. She told me to not even plan for a rainbow until we get the tests back and then to speak to her when the time comes so she can examine me and make sure everything checks out. I long for a baby but I don’t want to replace my Elliot, so I am torn. It’s so hard to go from having such a full life, with so much to plan for and dream about, to feeling so empty. We have other children but even that is not a comfort at the moment. I stay strong for them but it feels like I am falling back into life before Elliot, like he never even existed, like I never carried him at all. I feel like I need a change, to honor him. To show him that he is not forgotten, that life will not just return to normal without him. I think of my sweet boy daily, and I miss him more than words could ever describe.

Comments are moderated before appearing. Please note: your comment here may show up on your Facebook Feed.


Joni Thomas. Girlfriend. Mommy to two running and one soaring. Waiting to try for our rainbow.

  1. I’m so sorry for the loss of Elliot and all the dreams you had for him and your family.

    My water broke when I was 18 weeks pregnant with my daughter, I carried her for 5 more days before giving birth to her at home where she died in my arms.

    I still think about her every single second of the day.

    If you ever need someone to talk too, feel free to email me!

  2. Hello Joni,
    I was moved by your experience and felt inclined to respond. When you described your loss I felt very connected to your experience. I recall the moment I went to the restroom to find the first signs of fluid that turned out to be bleeding from the placenta. I also recall the days before I delivered my son. This was my first baby so I did not know that what I was feeling were contractions. I discovered at 12 weeks that there was an enlarged fibroid along my uterus. It was interfering with the growth of our baby. I delivered at 22weeks. It has been a year since my son was born and I too feel like the world doesn’t know he existed. Life has gone on and everyone in it moves on, yet the loss is so unbelievably heavy in my heart. The grieving has been overwhelming. It is high and low throughout the year. I can go weeks feeling like I’m coping, but then I can go weeks feeling deep loss and sorrow. It is very hard to put into words or to feel like anyone understands what it is like to live with this loss and on going heart ache. Thank you for sharing your experience with me.

    I am still trying to unravel how I can make sense of this experience and honor my sons life. It feels so tragic. I am sad when I recall the birth of my son. My husband cut the umbilical chord and placed him on my chest. Our little baby was lying lifeless on my chest. I was so involved with the post labor feelings that I felt numbness around holding him. Then the Chaplin and social worker arrived and began asking me about funeral/cremation arrangements. I was faced with making such a difficult decision in such a vulnerable state.

    There is a book that has been very helpful in my healing process. A friend of mine shared it with me when she lost her son. The book is called Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby by Deborah L.Davis.

    Thanks again for opening your heart and sharing your experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

About Unspoken Grief

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.

©Unspoken Grief 2017; Devan McGuinness


Unspoken Grief exists to provide peer-to-peer support and resources. The information on this site is intended only for advocacy and educational purposes. It's not intended to give medical advice, to diagnose or to offer treatment for any medical or psychological conditions. Please consult your own health care provider for your own specific situation and needs.