Back in 1998, we found out we were pregnant with our fourth child. Our boys were 3, 2 and 11 months. We were overjoyed. Around 9 or 10 weeks, I went in and was able to see the heartbeat. I still have the ultrasound pictures. It is one of the most amazing things in the world-- to see the heartbeat of a little baby in the womb. I love being pregnant and I love babies.
A month or so after the ultrasound, I began spotting. I called he doctor and was told to rest and come in first thing in the morning. My husband and I prayed and asked family members to pray. I remember siting in bed praying the rosary and begging God to make everything turn out okay. My husband blessed me and the baby with St. Joseph's oil. Looking back, it was such a beautiful, prayerful time. Something that may sound strange to say, but it was. We embraced God and later embraced the cross. It was a really long night. By the morning, I was pretty sure things were not going to be okay. I was having heavier bleeding and lots of cramping. I continued to pray for a miracle.
The doctor did an ultrasound and we were all silent. You could see the baby's arms, legs, head...... and there was no movement. No heartbeat. The doctor told me that I needed to have a D & E and my first reaction was, "No, you cannot tear my baby apart!" I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think. He told us they had to do a higher frequency ultrasound to be sure there was no heartbeat. When I told him I wasn't sure I wanted to have the D&E, he yelled at me, "Fine you can just hemorrhage and die, then." He walked out.
My husband and I were in shock. Surely they could do something so that we could protect our baby from being torn limb to limb? We made calls to a few family members and headed down to have the second ultrasound done. We had the same results. Even in the quiet, still room, no heartbeat was found. We sat in a waiting area and the doctor appeared. He apologized for having yelled. He decided that they could induce labor so that Thomas could be "born" without being torn apart. They would then perform the D&E. Once that was set, we had to do all of the paperwork and life became complicated. They were not going to allow us to have his body because he wasn't yet 20 weeks. Our priest refused to come out to the hospital and we battled alone. One poignant moment, one I will never forget, was after a conversation with the social worker who continued to call the baby "tissue" "Product of conception". I'd politely continued to refer to "the baby". Finally, as she got up to leave and she said once again, "tissue". I stood there in the lobby and screamed, "It is a BABY! Why can't you call it a BABY!?"
We won the battle and they had the pathologist come out to speak to us about the baby's body. We had brought Holy Water along with us to the hospital. Just in case our worst fears were confirmed. The pathologist came to meet us and she agreed to give the baby a conditional baptism. We wanted everything to be conditionally baptized. Afterward, she came to my husband and me to tell us how much our faith had touched her.
The labor was absolutely one of the worst things I have ever endured in my life. They started the Pitocin and the labor pains were evil. I suppose it seemed worse because there would not be a live baby after the pains subsided. After the labor, they put me under for the D&E. I awoke with a Protestant minister in my face wanting to pray. He then asked if I wanted to see the baby. I said okay, and to this day, I have nightmares.
Several days later, I was distraught when my milk came in and I had no baby to nurse. It took me a long time to recover emotionally. Not that one ever recovers from such a thing, but God does give us the grace we need to go on living. A baby never born made an mark on my heart and changed my life forever.