I suppose our story would make more sense if I started at the very beginning. Our impatience is an important part.
2008, I was at a crossroads. Continue dating a person everyone
(including myself) knew I shouldn't be with, or be alone in what seemed
to be a couples-only world. A night of crying and drinking with my best
friend cemented it for me... But I have never been a solo kind of
person. So, I vowed that day that I would find my future husband in the
next man I met. So, I signed up for eHarmony, met Mike, went on a date
and started talking about marriage--all within about a month of my
vow. 11 months later, we were engaged. 11 months after that, married.
And just 5 days after our one year anniversary, our daughter was
it should come as no surprise that a couple of crazy kids like us would
be all gung-ho about having another child right away. It made perfect
sense--my sister-in-law was pregnant, so we could get through together.
I was already staying at home with my daughter--I could get back to
work sooner if our kids started school around the same time. So, twelve
weeks after I gave birth to my daughter, I got pregnant.
Mike is an equal opportunist, but every baseball-loving,
shotgun-toting, carpenter-by-trade wants a boy to teach "boy things."
Luckily, in January we discovered my husband would have an heir. We had
decided before we even started trying what the name would be. John
Carpenter Vorys II, named for Mike's grandfather. Of course, he was a
carpenter. So are both our dads. And my brother. And Mike. So, it
was perfectly appropriate, even if everyone thought it was strange.
priest had asked us to set up a party for Mardi Gras in the church
basement. We're party-planners for generations back, so that's what we
did. My sister-in-law and I handled it since my mom was out of town.
She was 27 weeks pregnant. I was one day shy of 24. We worked quickly
to get out before dinner was served
and instead snuck out to have dinner with our family and friends.
During dinner I was freezing and kept asking people if I had a fever.
Of course, in my true strange fashion, I'm always freezing when I'm
pregnant, so everyone easily brushed it off.
chattering my way through dinner, we went back to the church to clean
up after the party. We were practically running to get everything
loaded up while partygoers were still willing to help. As I hurried
back in from my car to grab more, I tripped in the dark. A friend,
Mandy, spotted me as I stumbled four steps before finally falling flat
on my pregnant belly onto the blacktop. Mandy panicked and helped me
up, but I didn't seem hurt and we laughed about it after a few minutes.
The way I stumbled, I was very low to the ground before I fell.
course, my sister-in-law/best friend, Nicole, panicked. She demanded I
go tell Mike immediately, so we headed back to her house and let him
know. Since I only seemed concerned about freezing to death, he wasn't
worried. But I was freezing to death. When we hopped in the car
for our hour-drive home, we cranked the heat to 90 degrees and I
snuggled in a blanket.
we finally got home, Mike put our
daughter to bed while I piled on warm clothes and hopped in bed
shivering. He checked my temperature--103. (Pick up sleeping
baby...jump in car in my jammies...heat back on 90.) We rushed to the
room and they sent me straight up to labor and delivery triage. The
nurses there stripped me down, covered me in heated blankets and hooked
me to the fetal heart rate monitor. I've never been so nervous in my
life, but there's not a lot of room for panic when you still have to
deal with an exhausted infant.
waited forever for a nurse to come in. Jessica was a kind person and
tried to help me calm down. However, it's hard to calm down when she
continually tells me she can never get those machines to work
properly. (Why do hospitals never have the best OBGYN equipment?) So
she found my heartbeat. Not Carpenter's. Nurse #2* said my heart rate was high from my
fever and it was
almost exactly the same as my son. That's why they couldn't hear it
well, but it was there. She sent for the ultrasound machine. When it
arrived, it was accompanied by a doctor. She tried to ease my stress
and tell me I would be fine. Then she turned on the machine. I could
barely see it from my angle, but I knew what I was looking at. I'd done
this baby thing before. But she didn't say anything. Another doctor
said nothing. I knew. I knew from the
very beginning. I could plainly see what was on the ultrasound. I
said, "He's not moving." No one spoke. I repeated myself. Then I
yelled. "Why is no one answering me?" The doctor just took my hand and
said, "I'm sorry."
and I both freaked out. Someone must have taken our daughter out of
the room. I just kept screaming, "I'm sorry," and he said, "It's not
your fault." I knew this rationally, but what else was I supposed to
say? We started frantically calling everyone, starting with Nicole and
my brother. They jumped in the car to come watch our daughter for us. I
tried to call my parents who were out west for the week. I called my
dad's cell. I called my mom's. I called the hotel and accidentally got
disconnected. I called again and ripped the guy's head off.
Apparently Nicole called my cousin who called her dad who called my mom,
and that's how they found out. I have no idea what I said to anyone.
What can you say?
They took me back to a delivery room, explaining all the way that even though it would be an induction,
this would be a completely pain-free process. ...okay?... It wasn't until we got
into the room (which was exactly like the one we delivered my daughter
in) that I understood. I was going to have to deliver a dead baby. I
panicked. I screamed. I told them all NO. But there was no other
told them I live in fear of needles, so they brought in their best IV
girl. Perhaps she was drunk...or her title was completely undeserved.
I've never had so much pain from an IV. To distract myself, I began
asking the gaggle of nurses around me what their best baby-name stories
were. Apparently there's a child out there somewhere named Meconium.
Mike sat on the couch talking to the doctor. I was so glad that he
wasn't getting lost in the shuffle.
My family came. They camped out in my room for what seemed like
days, trying to help make this process easier by treating it just like
every other delivery in our family. We cried. We laughed. We took
pictures. I told my sister it was just like normal, except instead of
saying hello we were saying goodbye. I was in a
special part of the delivery floor. Reserved
for the sad mothers. I'll never forget listening to the mother next to
me sobbing. I'm sure she couldn't understand all the kids running
around my room and the loud chatter. I hope we didn't make her story
favorite nurse, Jen, was with us all day. She was in charge of
explaining the whole process to me. Of course I understood the delivery
and recovery. She was there to help me with our plans for our son.
She showed me little gowns and hats and explained that if I wanted, the
delivery nurse would take photos of him. I thought this was strange,
but she assured me it's what I would want. Jen gave me a whole box of
items. Then she helped me call funeral homes. If you've never had to
buy an urn for a baby, they are obscenely expensive. I actually loved
the planning process. It was the one part of this nightmare I had some
My parents arrived at about 7pm on Saturday. We
talked for a while before the doctor came to check my cervix. While
Mike and my parents stood in the hallway, the doctor (the same one who
delivered my daughter) examined me. He leaned back to the nurse,
Hayley, and said, "Let's get Dad in here." She grabbed Mike and he sat
down beside me. I couldn't feel anything, but I know Mike was
watching. Within a minute of Mike sitting down, my water broke. I
panicked, demanding I wasn't ready, but seconds later Carpenter was
born. No crying. No sound. Just silence. And then Mike's sobs broke through. I just sat there, holding him, not sure what to do.
asked Hayley to clean him up before I saw him. I was scared to death.
But she washed him a little and wrapped him in a blankie, then gave us a
moment alone. I don't know how long we held him, pulling back the
blanket to peek at his cute little body. Hayley came back in with a
camera and dressed Carpenter in the little gown and hat. She posed him
with his teddy bear and the rosary my parents bought him. I was
exhausted, but just before I fell asleep I told Mike to get pictures of
I woke up, he was still in the bassinet, right next to my bed. They
wanted to move us to a recovery room, so I got up and ready. We rolled
down the hall to a part of the hospital I'd never seen. We were put in
the gynecological surgery recovery, along with hysterectomies and the
like. They put a sign on our door--a single ginko leaf with a
teardrop--that signaled to people that we were in mourning. Thank
goodness for that.
family came in again which was a welcome change from my short naps
interrupted by hysterics. I couldn't sleep. I just went from panicking
to staring lovingly at our son. We were allowed to keep him with us as
long as we wanted, so we had
him baptized in the hospital. It was a gorgeous ceremony and my niece
sat on my lap as I cried. She was only 4, but she kept wanting to see
him. Even now she mentions him almost daily.
we were left alone, just me, Mike, my brother and Carpenter, and we sat
around talking. My brother has such a kind heart and a soft spot for
kids. He's such a tough guy, though. Such a comfort to have with us.
The funeral home director came in. She talked to all of us about how
she would take care of our little boy and she helped us trust her. We
didn't realize until she was done talking that this was it. She was
taking our son away and we would never see him again. The panic set in
again, but we pulled it together to say one last goodbye. She left him
tucked in his bassinet and wheeled him out of our room.
was the last time I saw my son in person. Every day I see his
pictures. Every day we talk about him. My family talks about him. My
niece tells me she knows what he's doing in heaven, which is mostly
hide-and-seek with my grandmother. And I try my best to find new ways
to keep memories of his short life around me all the time. Because 24
weeks wasn't enough. 24 weeks is not the end of the story. It was the
beginning, and now I'm going to make the rest. Welcome to Carpenter's
*It was brought to my attention who Nurse #2 is in my story. After writing this originally, I have never again thought ill of this woman, and realize that I must clarify that she was never negative to me in any way. She was trying to help me through a horrible situation she understood. I guess the false hope just seemed to crush me further when I heard the bad news soon after. I am sorry, Nurse #2. You are really only remembered as a person who tried to show me kindness and hope. Thank you. xox