Never did I EVER think this would happen to me. Honestly, I do not think I even knew what a “stillbirth” was…
We found out in February 2021, the day before Valentine’s Day to be exact, that we were expecting a baby due October 18th, 2021. This would be our first child and after trying to conceive for a year, and we were ecstatic. We had our first appointment at the end of March 2021. I had to go alone due to Covid. My husband, Jacob, sped to the doctor’s office from work to sit in the parking lot for the duration of my first appointment. At this appointment, everything was perfect…just as every single appointment that followed. Even the appointment on September 21st, 2021…the day before we found out we had lost our baby.
On September 22nd, our lives changed forever. Hattie was a mover! I would lay in bed at night, and she would be having her own little gymnastics routine. But, on that night, I had not felt her move for a while, which was not normal. After talking with friends who had been pregnant, I ate a popsicle, chugged ice-cold water, jumped up and down…nothing. When I told my husband, he insisted right away that we head to the hospital just to make sure.
When we got to the hospital, the nurses who checked us in were extremely sweet and optimistic. “Oh, this far along…she’s probably tucked in there somewhere just being difficult.” I changed into a gown, laid on the bed in the triage, and a nurse checked for heartbeat. It was taking her a while to find it… I could tell something was wrong. She told us that she was going to get us a room and call in the doctor to do an ultrasound. We switched rooms and the doctor came in. She did a thorough ultrasound, and then we heard those words… “I am so sorry…” I will never stop replaying that moment in my head.
I gave birth to a still Hattie Jean at 8:37 pm on September 23rd, 2021. At 36 weeks, she was born 21 inches long and 5lbs 14.9 oz. with the longest legs and biggest feet! The best, yet worst day of my life. I would give birth a million times over if it meant I got my sweet Hattie back. The hospital staff was amazing. We are forever grateful for every phlebotomist, nurse, and doctor and for those nurses and doctors who still check in on us. We are also humbled by the friends and family the hospital allowed in to visit and meet Hattie. We were able to spend the night with our baby. On the 24th, our 10-year dating anniversary, we said goodbye to our first child and left the hospital with a box and without our baby girl.
We had an extensive autopsy done. After weeks of wondering what went wrong, why we lost our baby, we received the results that told us nothing was wrong. Hattie was perfectly healthy and so was I. We have no answers as to why we lost our baby and that really hurts.
Since losing Hattie, we are forever changed. As a teacher, I took the remainder of the school year off. After many months, I am currently able to spend the days alone at home. For the first couple of months, I needed someone with me 24/7. My husband and I slept on an air mattress in the living room until we decided to move our bedroom to another room of the house. We have yet to open the door to the nursery, and there are tarps over many baby items in our extra garage. While we were recovering in the hospital and saying our goodbyes, our thoughtful friends and family went to our house to get rid of all the triggers and shut them in the nursery. We are also forever grateful for that.
Also, since losing Hattie, we have created a nonprofit organization, The Wildflower Legacy Foundation, to honor our girl. She will forever be my wildflower (also theme of nursery) …beautiful, bold, spontaneous, and special. We are still in the early stages, but are expecting big things to happen soon. See our What We Do page to learn more about the foundation.
If we are going to be a part of this awful (yet so loving) club, we have to do something. We must talk about our babies and make others more aware of how common pregnancy and infant loss awareness is. Hattie and the other babies gone too soon deserve to be honored and remembered. Stillbirths occur in 1 out of every 160 pregnancies. Miscarriages occur 1 out of every 4. Being a statistic is painful, but we must live our lives and talk about our babies.