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She Was Born Still, But Was Still So Beautiful

Updated: Apr 4, 2021

I was a few days late for my period so decided I would take a test.

While taking a shower, I kind of forgot about it, but then glanced over and saw two lines—I was in disbelief.

With my first pregnancy, my husband and I tried for 18 months and I eventually had to take progesterone to get pregnant with my son, Colton. How could I have gotten so lucky with this sweet surprise? I was so excited, and while my 13-month-old was napping, I was trying to wrap my head around having two kids under two.

How would I handle double the diapers and double the crying? Would I be as sick as I was with my first? We had been in quarantine for a couple months and the gloom our world seemed to be clouded with lifted at the discovery of this pregnancy.

I was so sick but I was sick with my first too so I figured this would be the same—I was prepared. I had to go to the hospital twice for fluids, but the baby was doing great, and we found out we were having a girl.

At around 14 weeks, I started to feel her move and she would kick hard. But by 16 weeks I started getting a weird feeling. I still felt movement, but not like it was before. When I tried to talk about it I was told, “you were like this with Colton. Everything is fine.”

I started to think “Why am I so lucky?... things like this don’t come easy... something bad is going to happen.” I was starting to feel better, though still tired. But not that nauseous!

At 19 weeks and 5 days I was feeling off. I was so tired and a little irritable, which was probably because I was chasing around a toddler and trying to keep him entertained while social distancing.

Twenty weeks came and we had our anatomy scan. My husband and I were so excited to see our sweet baby girl. It would be my husband’s first time because he wasn’t allowed at any of the other appointments. Thank God he was at this one!

I can still feel myself on that table and feel the paper crinkle under me. I can hear the ultrasound technicians voice when she said, “Oh honey, there’s no heartbeat”. I still feel the electric surge through my body when I replay this in my head. I can hear the sound (A scream? A gasp?) I made when I shot up and grabbed for my husband. It was a sound I have never heard myself make before. But it was the sound of pure shock and disbelief. Absolute earth-shattering heart break. An all-encompassing feeling of grief I’ll never forget.

My baby girl was no longer alive. My baby girl died. There were so many tears. I couldn’t get scheduled for the procedure until the following Monday and it was only Thursday. I still had to carry her for three more days. I could still feel her move in the amniotic sac. It would make us think, maybe they were wrong. Maybe she’s still alive. We prayed they had made a mistake.

I went into labor early Monday. They rushed me into labor and delivery. It was like a scene from a movie. Nurses running while pushing the bed. Me, screaming and crying. The pain was excruciating, I was in labor with my dead baby. All I wanted to do was push, but I had to wait.

Image by Ali Ruehl

Finally, it was time. With one push Payton Joan was here. She was still, but she was here and she was so, so beautiful. We got to spend about 20 hours with her before we had to say goodbye. After that I had to go home without my baby.

This was not what I had pictured when I first learned I was having a girl. I pictured pink onesies and fluffy blankets, and being worn out in the best, most gratifying way. I’ll never understand why Payton was taken from us so soon, but I pray this pain I am carrying with me can someday ease. We now have an angel watching over us.

Image by Ali Ruehl

Payton Joan. Born still on September 14, 2020.

2.7 oz 7inches long

Due date: February 2, 2021

Payton Joan: Mommy, Daddy, and Colton love you so much. We pray that one day you can pick out our rainbow baby and send it our way.

Thank you Ali Ruehl for sharing your story. Shared with permission.

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