Photo Credit: Chelsea Sowa
A letter to our son—forever our best Christmas gift.
It took us 4 years and 8 months to get pregnant with you. Before you, I got pregnant naturally with your sister. But she didn’t survive very long in my belly and we were so heartbroken that we lost her.
One year later your daddy and I did a treatment called in vitro fertilization to help us get pregnant again. That’s how I got pregnant with you. You were what they call a rainbow baby and we were so beyond excited, but of course still a little scared.
At 16 weeks, I had a subchorionic hemorrhage which was significantly large. We were told that things could go either really good or really bad.
Things worked out and you were growing like a little weed. There were no ongoing complications and the hemorrhage went away around 27 weeks. Because of that I got to see you on the ultrasound every 2-3 weeks, and then once a week towards the end.
On December 15, at my 38-week scan you had a perfect heart rate, as usual. Other than a little bit of extra amniotic fluid there was no sign of any threatening issues.
Because you were a pretty big boy already, I was scheduled to be induced on December 22.
We were so excited to show you off at Christmas. But little did we know our world was about to be turned upside down.
In the late hours of December 16, I didn’t feel you kicking me, so I grabbed my doppler. I instantly felt nauseous, the only heartbeat I was hearing was my own.
On the morning of December 17, your dad and I started our 2-hour drive to the nearest hospital. It was freezing cold but the sun was shining. We sat in silence almost the whole time. We were 30 minutes away and your dad pointed out a tiny rainbow in the sky—you were our rainbow baby.
We finally arrived at the hospital. We went up to the maternal care unit and they took us in right away. The nurse put the monitor on me but couldn’t find anything. The doctor came in and started the bed side ultrasound. We were looking at the screen. I couldn’t see anything but I still had an inch of hope that you were okay.
Finally she pointed to the screen, and spoke in a softest tone “so . . . this is where the heart is.” She paused and then continued with the traumatizing words “there’s no heartbeat.”
Your dad and I broke down in disbelief.
I looked at the doctor and through my tears said “how?”
At the time all she could say was "I’m so sorry Chelsea."
In the blink of an eye the future with you was erased.
They gave us some time. We gathered our thoughts as much as we could and broke the news to our parents and siblings. That evening I was induced.
The morning of December 18, I wasn’t feeling much progress.
After 24 hours I could feel more happening, but nothing major, so we were able to rest that night as much as we could.
At 6 a.m. on December 19, the doctor came in to break my water.
By 8 a.m. my contractions were getting a lot stronger, and by 10 a.m. they were full force.
Just before noon, I knew I was getting close to having to push. I was 9cm dilated, and the doctors and nurses began preparing.
At 12:02 p.m. I started to push, and at 12:27 p.m. you were born.
You were 7lbs, 14.6oz, and 21 inches of pure perfection.
When I held you, I looked at you and waited for you to cry but you didn’t. All I could think of was how can my baby be this perfect and not have a chance at life?
We spent only 26 hours of being the family we waited five-and-a-half years to be, but it was the best 26 hours of our lives. We took that time to enjoy as much as we could because I knew going home was going to be the hardest.
It’s been almost 3 months and we still have no answers as to why this happened. So I guess you really were just too beautiful for earth.
Even though our Christmas wasn’t what we expected it to be, you made us feel a love we’ve never felt before. Your name means gift because you were our little miracle and will forever our best Christmas gift.
We love you so much Theodore Joseph.
Thank you Chelsea Sowa for sharing your story. Shared with permission.
Pregnancy and infant loss can leave grieving parents feeling isolated and unsure how to navigate the heartbreaking circumstance of living without their precious baby. Unexpecting delicately helps grieving parents navigate the complexities and heartache of life after loss.
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