Photo Credit: Malaine Leah Butler
On May 18, 2021, my baby’s heart stopped beating. To be honest, for a moment it felt like my heart stopped beating too.
The day started like any other day in my pregnancy with my sweet son Noah Alexander. I woke up, had breakfast, and started my work day.
At 1:00 p.m. that day, I had a scheduled midwife appointment for my birthing plan. I was 37 weeks pregnant. My doula and I arrived a little early to the appointment, so we chatted in the waiting room. We laughed about how labour would go and what Noah would be like. My midwife came out into the waiting room to get us, greeting us both with a smile and a hug.
After an hour of chatting about my birthing plan, my midwife asked me to hop on the table to check the heartbeat of my baby. After a few minutes it was clear she could not find it. Calmly she invited in another midwife who also could not find the baby’s heartbeat. They then brought me into a special room with a monitor to do a bedside scan.
In a moment, I knew Noah had died. Their faces told the story before they even uttered a word. Instead of confirming Noah had died they said, "Let's get you to the hospital to see what exactly is going on.”
En route to the hospital I whispered to Noah while fighting back my tears, “Noah my love, kick for mummy, kick for mummy.” As the short ride, which felt like eternity, neared the end I knew the truth—Noah was dead.
My husband, Ryan, met me at the hospital. As he entered the room my whole body was shaking. I laid down as they prepped me for yet another scan. Then they said the dreaded words…
“I am so sorry, we cannot find a heartbeat.”
My husband screamed in agony. He shouted. “Find the heartbeat! This is my son. He is 37 weeks. This cannot be happening!”
The midwife calmly said, “I am so sorry sir, he has passed away.”
We headed to another “more professional” scan in another wing of the hospital to officially confirm Noah’s death. The woman said, “yes I can confirm your son has died.”
I looked at my husband and burst into tears. In that exact moment 4:06 p.m. on May 18, 2021, he died forever, never to return.
Crossing the threshold of the doorway back into the maternity ward, I emerged another woman. A different woman. One who would never be privy to life without child loss. One that would never be blind to tragedy that can occur. From that day forward everything was seen before Noah’s death and after his death.
Two days later, I was back at the same hospital to be induced and give birth to my forever third son, Noah. The dream of my at-home water birth was gone. The dream of completing my family of all boys was gone. And instead emerged new dreams, new desires, and a new normal of living.
Noah’s birth was quite honestly the most sacred birth of all my boys. It was magical. Yes there was pain, sorrow, grief, and sadness. BUT there was also beauty, divinity, and true love present. After five hours of a natural labor with minimal pain relief, Noah was born vaginally with ease. Noah was born at 10:53 p.m. on May 20, 2021.
Instead of loud cries, he was silent. The room was silent.
My midwife whispered softly to me, “He’s here Malaine, Noah is here.”
She wrapped him in a cloth and laid him on my chest. I didn’t cry. I said over and over again, “Noah I just love you so much. So much Noah. I love you so so much.”
My husband gently rubbed my arm and put his hand on Noah. He exclaimed, “Our son is perfect, he looks just like his brothers.”
Noah was born with the umbilical cord wrapped tightly around his neck several times. The compression stopped the flow of all nourishment he needed. Later tests confirmed the conclusion that he died from the cord accident.
Since his heart stopped beating my life has changed. It is now a before Noah and after Noah. I live in the moment with my boys Jack and Liam. I love up on them more than ever before. And I hold onto hope for my rainbow babies to come.
Thank you Malaine Leah Butler / @malaine_leah_butler IG and @dear_noah_alexander for sharing your story. Shared with permission.
Coping with the grief of pregnancy loss can feel impossible and isolating. Surviving the Unimaginable is a guide to surviving loss, told through the voices of loss parents with the help of a clinical psychologist.
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