We lost our first child, Theodore Marco, on April 11, 2017, two days before his due date. I had an easy, complication-free pregnancy. I woke up that night with intense contractions, so we rushed to the hospital. I expected our lives to change forever that night- it was supposed to be the start of my husband and I beginning our family. While my life certainly changed that night, it was far different than what we ever imagined. We were told that there was no heartbeat.
I had rarely heard of stillbirths before. You read about getting to 12 weeks and that you can now announce your pregnancy to family and friends. You read about getting to 24 weeks and that your baby is now viable. You read about getting to 28 weeks and that the chance of survival is very high even if your baby is born now. At no time do you read that you can hit 39 weeks and 5 days and just have your baby’s heart stop beating.
As much as I would love to still be in my bubble of naivety, that is no longer the case. We lost a piece of ourselves that night. There will be a piece of our heart missing forever. Some days I may smile, laugh, and even enjoy life again, but there will always be an ache in my heart that can never be healed.
I think it’s important to bring awareness to the reality of perinatal loss and help the hospitals and caregivers be prepared in such an instance so other loss parents can have some of the opportunities with their baby that we did not have. Although Theodore was born without a beating heart, I wish we had been given the opportunity to have professional photos taken of him, like any other newborn. Families deserve every opportunity to make memories with their babies, especially in these devastating circumstances.