On June 13, 2014, at my ultrasound Appointment my world came crashing down around me.
I was 32 weeks pregnant with a boy I’d named Jaxson James Holman. I was engaged to be married to his father on 6/21/2014 which was also the date of my baby shower. I’d had a pretty normal pregnancy. Aside from horrible morning sickness throughout the day and swelling it was pretty normal. I had noticed prior in the week that he had slowed down in moving. Jaxson was very active!
I had an appointment that Friday so I said I would just mention it to my doctor. The doctor had gone through the routine of asking me how I felt and just routine questions. My husband had walked in as we were rounding the corner to the ultrasound room. We got to room and they tried listening for the heartbeat… nothing… she tried several spots and asked where he normally was and I showed her…still nothing.
She then offered comforting words, “saying she was new and that maybe she just wasn’t doing it right,” so she called in a nurse who assisted her with an ultrasound. She rolled over my belly several times and I saw no movement yet she was still offering encouraging words.
At this moment, I knew that I had lost my precious baby boy.
At this point the large room became very small to me – it was filled with nurses fighting back tears and comforting my husband as she confirmed our worst fears, there was no movement. My husband and I wiped away our tears and began calling the family to meet us at the hospital. When we arrived, we were checked into Labor and Delivery and a doctor came in and did another ultrasound where he could not detect a heartbeat. At this time, our families had arrived and were allowed in the small room with us.
The doctor advised he would have to get a second opinion before confirming. With tears in both doctors eyes they confirmed to us that Jaxson had in fact passed. How could this be? We were just in the prior week and he had kicked the fetal heartbeat monitor off. The doctors explained they were unsure at this moment what had happened. I asked them what do we do next? He advised that my labor would have to be induced, he said I didn’t have to do it that night I could come back. I decided that I wanted to do it then. Over the next couple of minutes while the nurses worked on getting our room ready.
It finally hit me that Jaxson was gone. My heart began to ache literally.
I watched as my husband tried to comfort me. But I was inconsolable at this point. My mother and in-laws were there comforting us as well. I had a close cousin who came in and prayed for me and It gave me so much comfort. I was able to deal with all the many decisions we would have to make. Who would we call for burial? What would we dress him in? Can we dress him? I was finally wheeled into a room that I noticed was at the very end of the hallway – it was not one of the suites that I had looked at previously. It was huge. With beautiful hardwood floors and lots and lots of room. I later found out this was a special room for mothers in my situation.
When we made it to our room, it was filled with Aunts and family and friends who wanted to share in this joyous occasion despite the circumstances. I have 2 sisters, one who is stationed in Japan in the AirForce, and one in Dallas. They both began making arrangements to get here. My sister from Dallas, of course, would be there that night. It was some time before they put in the Pitocin. During this time, my husband and I began to think about funeral arrangements. I asked my mother to go home and get one of many outfits I had purchased as the nurse advised we could dress him. At this point, my childhood pastor had made it and he offered a prayer for my family and our Angel baby. I called the funeral home I had used the year before for my dad and they agreed to come pick up my baby once I was ready. A couple of hours later I was given the Pitocin and pain medicine to make me comfortable.
I remember looking around the room at all the family and friends that were there in support of us and being so thankful.
My labor did not progress through the night, in fact by that morning they were suggesting inserting more Pitocin. I woke up several times throughout the night. One particular time I awoke to a beautiful bracelet on my arm with his name. The nurse told me that Jaxson would have a matching bracelet as well. I had my epidural placed in as I was starting to feel contractions.
“I remember looking around the room at all the family and friends that were there in support of us and being so thankful.”
The next morning June 14, 2014, at 8:27 a.m. Jaxson James Holman was born.
There were no efforts to resuscitate him. He was whisked away by doctors and nurses to be dressed so that my husband and family could have time with him. It felt like hours waiting. But they had dressed him and wrapped him a blanket and placed in a bassinet. They wheeled him in and my husband and I held him. He was so tiny in that outfit — he weighed 3 pounds and was 17 1/2 inches long. He had on a matching hat and we removed the hat to see his beautiful, full, head of hair. I looked at his toes and fingers. I undressed him as I wanted all the memories I could get.
There was a photographer available to capture pictures as well. This was a perfect moment in spite of. Families came and held him and loved on him and we held him some more. We just were not ready to let go of our precious Angel.
I released from the hospital the following Sunday, Father’s Day. I left the hospital with no baby, just a blue satin box with a teddy bear inside and the outfit they had dressed him in. I was heartbroken. My mother and sister handled funeral arrangements for me. His funeral was the following Thursday, June 18 – I was crushed once again. We had a beautiful graveside service with a balloon release.
My husband and I were married June 24, 2014, a beautiful ceremony overlooking the Arkansas River. Over the next few weeks, I was determined to return to work as soon as possible. I needed something to do — I could not just sit at home.
I returned to work with a desire in my heart to help others in my situation. At my five-week postpartum appointment, we were told that I had a blood clot in the placenta. I had somewhat received closure. I began researching projects and remembrance ideas. There were not many here and the ones that were very hard to get in contact with.
I decided my husband and I would start Tulips and Butterflies — In Memory of Jaxson James Holman. We found out awareness month for infant loss is in October and we decided we had to do something special. We thought back to what we went through and what we could do. I decided to make gowns, blankets, and cloth diapers so that parents would have one less thing to worry about while grieving. I knew how much it bothered me to see how big those clothes were on him.
I knew this would be our mission.
Photo credit: adapted from Mitya Ku | Flickr