Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The day my son died

February 1, 2006 I went to the hospital 9 months pregnant, expecting to come home with my son Karson.  February 1, 2006 there is no heartbeat; there will be no baby to bring home.  He would be 6 today and it continues to tear me up inside.  I never know when the pain and tears will rush over me, but they come often.

Pictures are pages from the scrapbook I made after Karson died.

That day 6 years ago, I went to the hospital because I was having contractions, but I couldn't remember the last time I felt him kick.  The night before I remember around 5pm I had a stabbing pain, I think that's when he died.  When I wasn't feeling kicks that night I thought it was because I was going into labor.  Babies aren't as active when you are in labor, right?  I went to work the next day, still nothing, but I wasn't that worried.  2nd hour was my planning period so I called the doctor and told her I couldn't remember the last time he kicked, and I wanted to come in.  I get in.  I go straight to the room where the nurse cannot find a heartbeat.  She seemed very calm.  Sometimes we can't find the heartbeat, let me get the doctor to check.  I sit and wait.  I wasn't that scared.  Who looses a baby at 9 months?  When there have been no problems?  And, I was in great shape, followed all the "rules?"  All my appointments were normal/perfect?  The doctor comes in, no heartbeat.  No one really says anything.  We go to the ultrasound.  No heartbeat.  He looks perfect.  No signs of why there is no heartbeat.  Do you want to call your husband?  I had called Matt earlier, but no one could find him.  When I called him this time he was speeding to the hospital.  No heartbeat.  We went the "back" way to the hospital so that we didn't disturb the happy pregnant people in the waiting room.  We call our parents.  We call siblings.  Kellen was 2, we had to make arrangements for him.  Our parents came.  We delivered Karson to find that his cord was tied in a knot.  Like completely knotted until he couldn't breathe anymore.  Matt's uncle baptised him.  We held him.  We took pictures.  We shed tears.  We were in shock.

I "knew" to take pictures, hold him, love on him because for some strange reason I read the section in What to Expect When You're Expecting that covers infant loss.  I didn't read it with my first child and I didn't read it the first eight months of my second.  I believe God had me read that chapter because he wanted to guide me and prepare me for what was about to happen.

I did go to a support group and it did help, but it also didn't.  I wasn't alone.  Here were other mothers who had experienced something similar to me.  I wasn't alone.  But, there were also mothers who had something like this happen MULTIPLE times.  Not what I wanted to hear.  Karson was going to be our last, two kids, we were done.  For some reason after Karson died my husband and I both decided that we wanted to have two more.  And we did.  And, we were lucky; the other pregnancies, deliveries, and babies were "normal."  Even though the women in the support group had multiple misfortunes, I just kept telling myself that God would not do this to me again.  Maybe it was fairytale thinking, but it helped me keep some sanity during the pregnancies.  At the support group a lot of the mom's who were in my situation today said they wouldn't change anything.  Oh, how I love Kyler and Kash, but if I could go back I would.  I'd have two boys and who knows what would have come of my life.  I wouldn't have known Kyler or Kash because they wouldn't have even been a thought in my mind.

So, how do I feel today?  Sad.  Not just today, on Karson's birthday, but most days.  Especially holidays, or when I see babies, or when someone asks me how many kids I have, or when I meet a kid named Karson, or a kid with a birthday close to Karson's, or when I see pictures, or pregnant women, or sad commercials, or movies, or stories of kids, or a I hear a song,...get the picture?  There is always a part of me that feels sad.  A part that feels alone.  Who remembers today?  Me.  Matt.  Maybe a handful of people who know I expect them to remember so they have it on their calendar.  But, I am the only one who remembers.  Only a mother remembers.

February 1, 2006 I found therapy in making a web site and scrapbook for Karson.  Here is what I wrote then ...              
I think I was around 12 weeks pregnant when I felt you move for the first time.  Too early according to the books, was such an assuring feeling.  We already had the furniture in your room set-up and ready to go even before we got pregnant.  Around Thanksgiving Kellen and I attended a "big sibling" class.  He got a new book - The Big Snow- and Jackie the nurse said she was very impressed with how well he did, as he was 2.  Over Christmas break we painted stars on the wall, got out the clothes: really started getting the room ready for you.  At this point my pelvic bone was hurting and I had already started "waddling."  Teachers would just chuckle when they saw me walking down the hall.  Carol B at RAN would do the same.  They made me laugh too.  Your room was ready, we were ready.  Crissy wanted to have a shower for you, so we did in January.  She made her first cake and we got lots of cute outfits, a pack-n-play, and a beautiful blanket with your name on it.  All of my appointments were progressing as normal.  It was a relief each visit to hear your heartbeat and a relief to feel your movements.  On January 31 in the afternoon/evening I had some sharp pains in my belly and I realized I hadn't felt you move in awhile.  I didn't sleep a lot that night, mainly because I had to go to the bathroom every hour.  But, I didn't feel you move during the night either.  But, I was having contractions for the first time, so I thought I would get to see you soon.  It was Wednesday and we had "special" late start meetings.  I talked to a lot of teachers I normally don't see much of.  Still no movement, still some contractions.  First block, still no movement, still some contractions, but now I'm getting nervous.  I know babies don't move much during labor, but you had been SO active the entire pregnancy that I was getting concerned.  During 2nd block plan, I called the DRs office first thing and the nurse told me to come in and get a stress test.  As I'm going I'm thinking to myself that I'm just paranoid and this is stupid for going.  When Tina calls me in to get hooked up, she weighs me and we walk down the hallway and I tell her again that I wasn't feeling any movement and that I was probably going into labor and had gotten a bad thought into my head and needed to get rid of it.  She hooked me up to the contraction monitor, but couldn't find the heartbeat.  I put my hand on her shoulder and told her she was starting to freak me out.  She didn't look too worried and said she was going to get someone else.  A few tears, but I thought everything would be fine, you would be fine.  Then, Dr. Hartung came in and said - I'm not even going to ask how you're feeling because I know not well.  Then, I really started getting scared.  The nurse really couldn't find your heartbeat.  The Dr. tried - she found something fast and faint - there was hope!  But, after checking my pulse realized my heart was racing like yours should have been.  I said - Can I call my husband? She said we'll do an ultra-sound, sometimes the babies can get into a position where it's hard to hear the heartbeat.  I called your dad on his cell and got his voicemail.  I couldn't remember Souths phone number, so I had to call PH and Denise gave it to me.  I called South and he isn't in his room or the office.  I told Leslie that she needed to find him.  She said - we can't.  I said you need to.  She said - is it an emergency.  I said -yes.  I waited...and waited...minutes later she asks - do you want to keep waiting or do you want me to have him call you?  Me - call me.  Then, Dr. Hartung takes me to the ultrasound.  She gets the monitor on and no sound, nothing.  Again, I wasn't sure if she just had the sound turned off or what, but the black thing on the screen that I thought was your heart wasn't moving.  All of this happened in probably 30 seconds and during that time Matt called and I told him - there's no heartbeat.  She said normally this late in pregnancy it's the cord, but they can't see the cord on the ultrasound, so they don't know until I deliver.  She asked - do you think you want to go to the hospital and get induced or would you like to go home and absorb this, sometimes women will go home for a couple weeks before inducing.  I said - I'll see what my husband says, but I think I want to go right now.  She asked me if it was okay for Dr. Abney's nurse, Tina, to sit with me while I waited for Matt.  I nodded.  Tina cried with me and then Matt opened the door - tears, sobbing, anger - why?  Matt and I agreed we wanted to induce.  Tina took us the back way so we didn't have to walk through the waiting room.  We went to the hospital and decision time - epidural, funeral home, what tests, autopsy, why?  We started making calls.  Matt called PH, but couldn't talk so I told Denise - we lost the baby.  Oh, no!  I'm so sorry - she said.  I asked her to tell Cheryl and Cheryl could tell whoever and asked her to call South and tell them.  Matt called his dad and I called mine.  They gathered the troops and headed to Kansas City to be with us.

I was dilated 1 and 70% effaced.  They needed me to be 100% effaced before starting the petocin.  Although I was having contractions, they weren't regular.  They put a pill in my vagina to help me efface.  This was around 11 or 12am. We spent the day holding hands, talking, crying, hugging family.  All the grandparents-Janie, Dave, Jody, Susan, Aunt Erin, Uncle Doug and Aunt Sue all stayed with us.  Uncle Chris and Aunt Kathy stopped in and took care of Kellen.  At 6 they started petocin.  My evening nurse was Jackie from the sibling class.  We sent family home and then asked them to come back to see you.  Just before midnight you came.  Labor was relatively easy and quick.  I had natural labor just like I would have if everything had been alright.  When you came out Dr. Nichols layed you on my belly.  You were beautiful and perfect.  You looked a lot like your older brother - both of you just like your dad.  I had kept a little hope all day that there was a mistake, or would be a miracle and that you would come out fine - alive.  You, laying on my belly felt SO good, your weight comforted me, but you weren't breathing.  As you layed there smooshed faced and vernix, no blood, there was some happiness.  We got to see you and hold you, finally!  But, this would be the only time.  I wish I would have held you longer.  The family came in to hold you and say goodbye.  Doug baptized you and we took pictures.  I wish we would have taken more.  Then, we said good bye.  I wish I would have held you longer.  I went home the next day without you.

A moment in our arms - a lifetime in our hearts.

We had professional "belly" shots taken about a week before Karson died.  This will be the only time Kellen will get to "hold" his little brother.

The picture where my husband and I have our hands on my belly is the picture that is in Karson's "spot" on our family picture display.  It is one of my favorites.


  1. wow, brooke, this is so heartbreaking, but i know stories like this help so many and touch so many. thanks for sharing.

    1. In a weird way, simply talking about it makes you feel better. I think one of the hard things is that everyone else forgets, but you. And by saying it out loud or in writing you're getting to talk about something that you've had bundled up - it releases some tension.

  2. I am so very sorry for your loss. I think it is very strong of you to talk about this, and am sure you are reaching and helping lots of other people - I hope that it is helping you, too. Thank you for sharing. You have a beautiful family. Take care of each other. xo

    1. Thank you. Yes it does help me a lot and I know reading about others journeys, especially when it first happened, helped me a lot.

  3. I'm so very sorry. Found you through Shaunna's 25 things link-up. I also lost my second child, a boy, at 18 weeks. You never do get over it.

    1. I'm sorry for your loss. I look forward to reading your blog and getting to know more about you.

  4. Hi Brooke, I so wish I had seen this post on my first visit! Your words are beautiful and so lovingly expressed. I sometimes had nightmares of 'what if' about losing one of my kids to death. My heart goes out to you actually enduring the experience. God has strengthened you to be able to enjoy the children you have, but he doesn't expect you to forget dear Karson. There is a reason the Bible refers to death as the "enemy"!(1 Corinthians 15:26) You are so right, it's not something you get over; you just learn to keep breathing and functioning. I lost my mom on February 12, 2000. I even wrote a tribute post to her on my blog last month. I often read this scripture for comfort to remind me that God is one person I know understands and cares what I'm going through:,
    "He is healing the brokenhearted ones, And is binding up their painful spots."(Psalms 147:3)
    I hope it can bring you some comfort also in those moments when the empty pain seems unbearable.(((HUGS)))


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