We Lost Our Baby Sam

I never imagined in a million years that I would be writing this on my actual due date. We can’t stop crying and our minds can’t stop trying to find some sense in what just happened. Our little boy passed away, two days before he was born.

sam footprints clay baby birth stillbirth died passed away loss grieving mourning keepsake hospital with firstname first name in loving memory angel

I had just started my 39th week; the week I was supposed to give birth. It was last Sunday and I didn’t feel him move, which was unusual. I tried not to worry, as I had heard that babies tend to move less right before labor starts. And since I was about to give birth anyway, it made sense. But then in the evening, Gert and I were both getting worried. I had tried every trick in the book; eat and drink something sugary then lay down half an hour on my left side, try to massage the belly and get him to move, take a bath, etc. But nothing, no sign of life.

We decided to go to the ER to have it checked out. Although at that point – while a bit worried – we were still confident it was no big deal and that they’d send us back home.

So we entered the room, the doctor asked a few questions and then proceeded with an ultrasound. He went quiet. They usually turn the screen to me so I can see too, but this one didn’t. He then said “I’ll go get my colleague, I’ll be right back”. I told Gert “He didn’t say anything …” Gert looked as worried as me. Then another doctor came and checked the screen. She paused and said “I’m afraid I don’t have good news”. Then all I remember was screaming “oh no” and bursting into tears.

She showed me the screen and we didn’t see anything flickering. His little heart had stopped.

Things escalated quickly from there. I was wheel chaired to a room, they drew a lot of blood and then carried me on a bed to the birthing quarters where I was induced. He was finally born the next day … and it was the heaviest silence ever.

The moment we thought we’d be happy when we’d see him for the first time, we cried of grief.

He was so beautiful and perfect. Tall and blond, with the cutest face. We still can’t understand how a perfect baby could die just like that, so close to seeing daylight.

The doctors shared some of the first results later on, and said that everything points to some sort of hemorrhage that caused Sam to lose too much blood and basically made his heart stop. Either a tear in the placenta, or somewhere else. It’s incomprehensible, because I had really taken it easy this whole month and he was doing perfect, even at the last checkup just a few days earlier. His heart rate was 140, everything was fine. I didn’t bump into anything, or fall, or hurt myself. The doctors said that these things don’t happen often, but sometimes they just do, just like that. But they were going to analyze everything they could and hopefully be able to draw clear conclusions from it all so that we can have all the answers to our questions. We’ll find out in 5 weeks.

Meanwhile, we’re now busy planning his funeral. It’s been quite traumatizing so far. The grandparents are all grief stricken. And we still can’t make sense of this tragedy.

He will probably be buried on Thursday. And then I guess we’ll have to find a way to carry on.

♥︎ Lisa

Week 38 – Almost there!

Hooray, I made it to week 38! I know they consider the baby to be full term as of week 37, but I feel a little better now knowing that he made it that extra week, at least. Next week should be the last one.

Here’s what I look like today:

Basically, like crap. My whole body was aching so bad I couldn’t be bothered to do my hair. I look exhausted because I haven’t slept properly in a while, my belly is so huge that I can’t fit into any decent clothes anymore and this is all I got for this weather right now. But you know, I’m 9 months pregnant, so I’m really not fussed about it at this point. Although I’m definitely planning to get back into a somewhat acceptable shape after giving birth. I’m cutting myself some slack while I’m still pregnant. Hell, I didn’t even take decent pictures this time. It’s from an odd angle and my feet are cut off; so that says a lot about my energy level at the moment!

Funny fact that I always forget to mention, this is where I feel little baby feet kicking:

On the upper right side of my belly.

I went to the hospital on Wednesday for a checkup and the doctor didn’t see any sign whatsoever that labor is on the way. I felt a bit bummed about that. I’m okay with it taking another week, but the estimated due date is getting close and I’m now worried we’ll go past it. This is mainly because my hips, back and legs have been killing me for two weeks now. I’ll survive dealing with this another week, but once the due date comes around, I’ll be ready for it to be over.

Gert and I were both taken by surprise when the doctor asked if we’d like to induce labor. We both just sort of looked at each other with this blank face, like, “uhmm what” lol I told the doctor it’s okay for now, despite the pain and being unable to walk properly, but that maybe we’ll discuss it again if we go past our due date. I’m still surprised this was brought up before week 40. I suppose she sees a lot of women who are hurting so bad that they can’t take it anymore. Maybe I’ll be begging too in a week from now! She did tell us that whatever happens, they won’t let it go past 10 days. Five would sound better to me though :-p

With each day that passes, we’re wondering more and more whether we’ll have a September baby or an October baby.

For whatever random reason, Thursday evening was absolutely horrible for me. I suddenly felt soooo exhausted, like all my energy was leaving my body. I was cold, I had a hard time breathing, I felt insanely uncomfortable, practically couldn’t walk at all and just didn’t know what position to sit or lay down. Just AWFUL. Then Sam started moving like never before, and it almost felt like he was about to turn around completely. It actually hurt! He kept moving and kicking hard for a good 15 minutes, and then finally calmed down. I’m thinking he may be running out of room and was trying to find a more comfortable position or something. He scared me the same way the night before, when I suddenly saw his bum moving in the wrong direction. I thought for sure he was about to go head up and legs down! The perspective of a C-section delivery flashed before my eyes and I panicked hard. I tried to push his butt back up where it used to be LOL! He quickly gave up and went back into his good old position. His antics from Thursday must have tired him, because he was much calmer the next day. Thank God. I mean, he’s so big now, any movement feels unpleasant. I just hope he’s feeling okay in there.

Gert absolutely wanted to go shopping for baptism gifts, which around here traditionally include dragees (= small sugar coated chocolates that look like pebbles). I thought it was way too early for that. But then he did have a point when he asked me if I’m sure I’d feel like taking care of such details once the baby’s born. And as I felt a little better yesterday, we headed to the store and picked out everything. I’ll probably put it all together either this weekend or early next week. The only thing we’ll have to write on them after Sam arrives is his birth date and baptism day. I’m not going to reveal them yet, but I’ll make a separate post about it after he’s been baptized.

We also found a totally useless but absolutely adorable decoration piece for his room while shopping:

4€ didn’t break the bank :-p
In other news, the birdhouses are drying! Praise the Lord! The largest one still has some wet trims, but everything else is fine now. So I’m hopeful we can put it all up while I’m still pregnant.

Anyway, that’s about it for now. Isn’t it exciting how we have no idea whether there will be a “week 39” post? ;-)

♥︎ Lisa

Last details before Sam arrives

Exactly 10 more days to go, if the estimated due date is correct. This past week has been particularly hard on my body. There were a few times when I thought for sure it was starting, but then, nope. It did put me into gear to finish packing the last few details for our trip to the hospital. I also finally settled on what to wear during delivery. The hospital list mentioned “a large old comfortable tshirt”, so that’s what I had originally packed. But then I found that thing so ugly. I just couldn’t bring myself to spend the most humiliating, I mean, “wonderful” experience of my life looking like that. So then this old dress suddenly came to mind:

We bought it on vacation in Greece many years ago. It was dirt cheap and I never bothered to wear it again. But it is quite cute when on. It will be absolutely perfect for the occasion. It’s light, airy, comfortable, it’s the perfect length, and at least I will retain a bit of my dignity. Not to mention the fact that it’s a very dark shade of blue, so I won’t look all blood stained when holding our dirty newborn. There will be nothing glamorous about that moment, so I’m trying my best to keep a minimal level of decency.

Here are the finished bags:

From top to bottom:

-1- beauty case

-2- trolley to take into the delivery room

-3- big suitcase for the actual hospital stay

The hospital originally provided one global list, but it was a mishmash of everything we’ll need from the moment we arrive at the delivery room, to the moment we leave the hospital. And there’s no way this was all going to fit into one bag. So, I *think* I’ve got it figured out and hopefully I won’t be missing anything.

All the details are below. Maybe it will be useful to have on hand if I ever get pregnant again. So I’m definitely keeping a copy of it.

There is nothing to add at the last minute. I bought all the daily necessities such as tooth brush, tooth paste, you name it, in double so I won’t have to grab it from the bathroom before I leave. I figured I will use it anyway when I get back home, so no need to be skimpy.

I also prepared a medium box that contains some extra clothes for me, just in case. It will be easier to tell Gert to take this and that out of the box, or heck, perhaps even bring the whole box to me, rather than having him look through my entire wardrobe lol I’ve also labeled all the baby care items that I stacked on the shelf in the nursery, so that if I need anything, it will be easy for Gert to just grab it and go.

I think it will be quite exhausting for him as he plans to keep working during my hospital stay. He’ll be driving back & forth a lot, so I’ve organized the house as much as I can so he won’t have too much stress during that crazy week. And I’m staying on top of laundry like a champ; making sure that the laundry basket is practically empty at all times. Once the baby comes, the last thing I want to worry about is having to catch up on a pile of dirty clothes, or for Gert to run out of clean clothes when he’s the one who has to go to work each day. I also thought of adding extra bread in the freezer for him, so he won’t have to run to the store for last minute lunch. And I’ve prepared a set of clean bed sheets he can use, in case my water breaks at night and we have to leave right then.

Here’s the shelf filled with all the baby care items I’ll need as soon as we come home:

nursery decoration interior baby room bedroom gender neutral yellow green red lamp changing table shelf ikea wooden furniture ideas inspiration cozy

I put together the mobile my mom bought last week:
cute nursery baby bed mobile crib teddy bears stuffed animals pastel colors gender neutral butterflies music light

It’s super cute! They’re basically little bears dressed up as butterflies. I will take better pictures later, but this will have to do for now.

The painting on the crib that’s leaning against the wall is meant to be put up right there. And then I’ll add the little bird houses I mentioned a while ago on the left side. I finally took the time to paint them:

diy craft handmade painted birdhouses bird houses nursery baby room decoration interior ideas inspiration gender neutral cute adorable

I mixed the colors myself so they would match the painting to perfection. I don’t think it’s super obvious in this picture, but it will be lovely once they’re all hanging next to each other. This little project turned into a fiasco though. Apparently you’re not supposed to use oil paint on wood … which I just now learned the hard way. I painted these 8 days ago and they’re still wet. My plan was to paint them last Tuesday and put them up on the wall the next day. I really wanted to get this done before the baby arrives, but at this rate, it will be another 3 weeks before they’re completely dry :-/ I mean, they WILL dry eventually, right?

electronic baby thermometer fever forehead or ear easy to use
Anyway, here’s the latest product we bought as part of our “urgent” wish list before we head to the hospital. It’s a digital thermometer that looks like something right out of the future. You basically put it against the baby’s forehead for a second and it instantly tells you the result. This kind of stuff has probably been around for years, but what do I know?

It’s one of those things I figured we should have on hand from day one. And truth be told, it’s so cool and practical that I think we’ll end up using it for the whole family, not just the baby. It cost about 50€; which isn’t super cheap, but still okay. I really want to high-five myself for how cheaply we’ve managed to prepare this baby’s arrival so far. When we mail the birth announcements, I’ll make sure to add a thank you note to everyone who has given us their awesome hand-me-downs.

Speaking of the birth announcement: We have designed it entirely ourselves, and I’m happy to say that it is finished! Well, except for the actual date and birth details, but you know what I mean. Gert came up with some ideas, I came up with some more, and it all turned out pretty nice. We ordered a test print last week which we got in the mail yesterday, and I was very pleased with the result. There are a couple of minor details I will change for the final print, but at least we know it will look like we had imagined, and that there won’t be any bad surprises. I will dedicate an entire separate post to this topic after they’ve been mailed!

As for today, I have an appointment at the hospital in the afternoon. Next week *should be* our last appointment, unless Sam decides to stick around longer than planned. In which case I think they’ll want to see me every day, or every other day, I’m not sure.

I can feel my body is really reaching its limits now. My hips feel so loose it hurts, my sciatic nerve is still partially stuck, giving shooting pains from my back through my entire leg, all the way down to my foot. I practically can’t walk anymore and no position is painless, whether I’m sitting, standing, or laying down. Right now I’m glad I’ve managed to finish everything on my to-do list before the pain got so bad. So I can now afford to take it easy and keep up with minimal house chores. I did have to cancel a few visits with friends as well as a day trip organized by our town, but oh well. We’ll reschedule those later with Sam :-)

♥︎ Lisa

Week 37 – Full Term!

I am officially considered full term as of this week. Yay! The doctors estimate his arrival around September 27th, so we could still have 2 more weeks to go. But he could basically come any day now. I hope we don’t go past the 27th though; which is apparently not uncommon for firstborns, especially little boys. I have no idea why, or if there’s even any truth to it. That’s just what I keep hearing.

So this is me, looking huge:

I couldn’t be bothered with inside pictures this time, nor bare belly ones. The weather is nice, I felt like updating my blog right now, so I asked Gert to quickly snap a photo in our yard and be done with it. Knowing my luck, I bet it’s going to rain like crazy on D-day. So it’s nice to have at least one sunny memory :-p

We were invited to a friend’s house last weekend and received a bunch of second hand stuff for free. Among which an AWESOME car seat for newborn in brand new condition. The guy has two children, but it’s like it has never been used. Jules loved it right away …

We had received a different one previously from someone else, but it was a bit raggedy and I didn’t feel confident using it to transport the baby home from the hospital. So this one came right in the nick of time. It’s exactly what I had in mind. I’m super thankful for it!

In other news, I have finally packed my hospital bags. I followed the hospital’s instruction sheet, so there’s one small trolley for the delivery room and one larger suitcase for the actual hospital stay after birth. And then I added an extra beauty case, because it didn’t fit into anything. Maybe I’ll make a separate post about it. I have some updates about the baby’s room I’d like to share as well, but no time right now.

As for me, I think I look better than how I actually feel:

This picture was taken exactly 6 days ago, when I was suffering a terrible cold and that my sciatic nerve got stuck, leaving me practically unable to walk. I’ve been wobbling around for a week now. It’s terrible. I’m guessing the baby is outgrowing his space and is pushing against some nerves. The pain shoots from my lower back all the way through my right leg, down to my foot. It really sucks. And add to that the fact that I caught a cold that has me coughing like crazy 200 times a day … it’s needless to say that things could be better right now. I have apparently managed to contaminate both my mom and Gert’s dad :-s I can only hope we’ll all heal fast before this baby arrives!

This week also marks the beginning of my very first Braxton Hicks contractions. They’re like some sort of rehearsal contractions; not the real deal. My belly gets hard as a rock but not really painful. The doctor said that once it gets painful and reaches all the way through my back, then we’ll most likely be talking about real labor. So for now it looks like I’m still cool. They’re right about it not being painful, but I’m not sure I’d call it pleasant either. It’s really quite uncomfortable and seems to mainly happen at night for some reason. So when I turn around in bed, it feels like I’m carrying a giant rock. I swear it makes my belly feel heavier than usual. Poor Sam seems to go completely quiet during those times. He also HATES when I try to make my back bones pop to release the tension. It’s when I basically tense up my muscles and move a certain way so that my hip and back bones crack. I can literally hear it and it relieves the pain for a bit, but I guess Sam hears it even more from the inside and it really seems to startle him. I can feel him shake like you’d expect from someone who gets scared about a sudden loud noise. I can’t help but feel bad for him and even caught myself talking and consoling him last time it happened :-s At least he seems to be used to me coughing now, which also scared him before. Poor baby!

At this point I’m 99% ready for him to come. There are still a few minor things on my to-do list, but they’re just details, so it’s okay if they don’t get done in time. I’m so ready to meet our little guy :-)

♥︎ Lisa

Week 35 – Uncomfortable As Ever

Here I am today:

pregnancy auto self portrait home belly pictures front side profile idea week 35 third last trimester black and white juicy couture sweatpants maternity outfit flip flops

I don’t find it particularly attractive, but I realize it may be a once in a lifetime experience, so I still want to keep track of absolutely every detail! We do talk about more children every once in a while, but not in a super serious way just yet. We’ll see how it goes with this first one, and then we’ll take it from there. Also, a lot can happen. I mean, I’ve learned not to take pregnancy for granted. So, until we actually have baby #2 in our arms, I’ll just assume that this could be a unique experience.

I’m back to living in sweat pants as I’ve now outgrown my maternity pants a bit. I don’t mind the maternity ones for a few hours when we go out somewhere and I have to look somewhat put together. But as soon as I’m home, I ditch them for sweats. I’m pretty sure I’ll still be wearing sweats after I’ve given birth. And I’ve already decided I’ll wear my black ones when I come home from the hospital.

Speaking of which; I have yet to start packing my hospital bag. It’s getting embarrassing! I do have a proper “what to pack” list printed out now, so that’s a start! I should SERIOUSLY start packing at least the first few items this weekend. Seriously.

It looks like we have JUST enough newborn clothes to cover the hospital stay. I guess I’ll be washing clothes as soon as I come home, because we won’t exactly have a ton of extra waiting in Sam’s closet. *sigh* I still feel a bit bitter about the whole baby clothes fiasco, but oh well. We’ll manage.

The finishing touches of the nursery are also dragging their feet. Still none of the wall decoration has been put up, due to a plain lack of time. We keep trying to squeeze as much as we can into one day, but 24 hours are never enough. A few days ago, we did put up these shelves above the changing table:

nursery in progress white wooden ikea shelf gender neutral yellow paint walls owl stuffed animal toy cute baby room bedroom changing table

nursery in progress white wooden ikea shelf gender neutral yellow paint walls owl stuffed animal toy cute baby room bedroom changing table

They were originally hanging in my bedroom, back at my old place before we got married and moved in together:

my old bedroom bachelorette pad house home vintage classic european wooden furniture mirror wardrobe bed and ikea shelf seat corner white samsung flatscreen tv painting europe french country cottage style interior decoration

It’s quite funny how absolutely none of the furniture in the nursery is new, yet it all sort of works and matches nicely. The picture above of my old bedroom also shows the painting I’m planning to put above the crib, as well as the seat that now stands next to the crib and will be used for feedings.

Anyway, this belly is getting quite uncomfortable. I absolutely can’t bend anymore, so putting on shoes and socks has become a bit of an issue. My fingers are constantly swollen, but they get the worst during the night and it’s really painful at times. I really have it all: shortness of breath, stomach acid, leg cramps, and my hips and back feel like they’re 80 years old. But I realize this is the very end, so I try not to make a big deal of it and I’m really just looking forward to getting my body back soon!

Sam is doing very well. I can feel him move almost constantly now. And it makes it a lot more real that there is indeed a little person in there. I’ve already learned to recognize some of his reactions, and how to soothe him when he seems to be restless. It’s so weird to me how such things are even possible before birth.

Anyway, this was a long update, but I haven’t exactly posted a lot this past month. So this should make up for it! My next appointment is this coming Wednesday. So I’ll try to write a new update around then.

♥︎ Lisa