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My Whole Heart Is In An Urn

Updated: Apr 4, 2021

Photo by Sydney McElroy

I have always wanted to be a mom. I have always wanted to raise a baby with my husband. I was diagnosed with PCOS right before we got married so I knew it could be hard to get pregnant. After just under 2 years of trying, and countless negative pregnancy tests, I found a faint second line on a pregnancy test that I had taken early one morning in June. I will never forget that moment. My first trimester was tough, but I loved every moment of it. I truly did. I was so sick, exhausted, irritable—all the things. But I felt like I was just soaking it in because it’s something that I had wanted for so long. At about 15 weeks we opted for the CellFree DNA testing to screen for any genetic disorders and find out the gender of our baby. We learned that our baby boy tested positive for a chromosomal disorder. We chose to opt out of an amniocentesis because it didn’t matter to us whether it was confirmed or not— we loved him so much and it wouldn’t have made a difference. We kept this news to ourselves and our families, and continued on with the pregnancy, excited. That couldn’t be taken away from us. On October 3rd, the day after my 20 week ultrasound, I woke up at about 3 a.m. to go to the bathroom. My pants were soaked in blood and I had passed a baseball sized blood clot. There was blood in my bed, there was blood on the floor, and I stood frozen in our bedroom as my husband helped me get dressed to go to the hospital. I couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening. Our baby was perfect less than 24 hours ago. He danced around in my belly, kicked at all hours of the day, was healthy, and had a strong heartbeat. I was in shock. After being admitted, they couldn’t tell me what was happening—no one knew. He seemed happy and content in my belly, he was still kicking like crazy, and his heartbeat was strong. They decided to keep us to monitor my bleeding and to keep an eye on him. As each hour went by, I continued to bleed but the fear of losing him settled because I could still feel him moving around. About 18 hours after being admitted I noticed I was losing large amounts of fluid. It was confirmed that my water had broken and I was losing his amniotic fluid. He was just too early to make it and we were told we would be induced for labor in the morning. I physically felt my heart break that night. I have never in my life felt that kind of pain. The next morning we began the labor process. After my epidural I continued to labor as we signed paperwork and made decisions, like if we wanted him to be buried or cremated, what kind of urn we wanted his ashes to be placed in, and his name (we were still deciding between two). About 12 hours after induction, on October 4th, Beau Patrick McElroy was born. He was bruised and battered from labor, but he was perfect. We were told he didn’t make it so we had them cut his umbilical cord so he could lay on my chest. After they placed him in my arms, I moved his tiny hand to hold it and noticed his heart beating. His heart beat for about an hour after he was born and we spent the most important hour of my life holding our baby. I wanted him to know love and I think he did. Placing him in his bassinet and leaving the hospital room is the hardest thing I know I will ever do in my lifetime. My milk came in with no baby to feed, and boxes of baby clothes and ultrasounds on the fridge waited for us when we got home. My whole heart is now in a small urn that lives on our mantle. Beau will always be our baby. His sibling will know him, strangers will know him, and we will always be thankful that he made us parents.

Thank you @sydneyanne112 for sharing your story. Shared with permission.

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