Our story begins on March 28, 2013. That is the day we found out we were pregnant. Disbelief (we were told it was going to take at least a year for this moment, not two months), excitement, nervousness. It took a few days for it to sink in, another baby, Anthony would be a big brother! Were we going to have a girl this time, or another boy? Would this baby look like Thomas, or me? Whose nose would this baby have? Battle of the strong genes was starting. This little life, barely started, and we were dreaming and wondering already what this new life would bring to us.
We found out we were having a boy July 19. I had taken and kept the parking ticket pass as a keepsake, and I wrote down the date, and wrote, "It's a boy!" on the back. There he was, our sweet Harvey James Seagrove on the screen. We held hands as the tech told us about baby, how good he looked, how perfectly healthy and on track he was. Anthony was so excited he was having a brother.
Time seemed to move slow as the time went by, closer and closer to our due date. We had our baby shower, gradually making purchases for our little one, excitedly buying cute clothes for him, his going home outfit, and I also spent months knitting him his blanket. Slowly our house was getting ready for his arrival, just as my belly was getting rounder, we just wanted to meet this little guy who made my belly jump with his hiccups and who loved to kick his daddy when he got home from work. We would talk to him, Anthony would kiss my belly and say, "I love you Harvey.” We would play music for him, and he would start moving around, enjoying the sounds of one of his favorites, Johnny Cash. I remember the day we went and bought his crib and dresser, and how excited we were to finally get it built and set up right next to the bed. That week I spent a few days washing all his clothes, folding them, and organizing his dresser. I started packing our bag for the birth center, I also packed up his diaper bag, this sounds silly, but I checked those bags daily, going over the lists of things to bring, packing more diapers, then taking a few out, then putting them back. I couldn't wait to see his little bottom in those teeny tiny diapers. I was hoping he would be warm enough when we brought him home, so I packed a few more blankets just in case.
A few days before he was born, we got the car seat set up in the car. We wanted it just right, so we rolled up towels to make it level, and we also adjusted the straps for Harvey’s little new born body. Thomas and I laughed because there was hardly any room in the front passenger seat for anyone to sit, and we joked about how the heck was I going to fit in the car on the way to the birth center, being in labor and having contractions. Anthony, our 5 year old, was going to be joining us for the birth of his brother so we had to make sure his car seat was in there as well. We figured we would make it work, we always do.
I remember this day so clearly, I think it will always be this way for me, December 1, 2013. Thomas worked a mid shift, and I was so happy for that. From the moment I woke up I really wanted him home that day, to be with me. I was really tired that morning, but I did my normal routine, I even finished a sewing project for Harvey. That evening my sister arrived to stay with us for the week, she was also going to be there for his birth. By the time Thomas got home I was pretty sure my labor had started. I was laying on the bed relaxing when he got home. I remember feeling Harvey kick me once he heard Thomas' voice. I will always remember the feeling of that kick, the exact spot on my belly. I still touch that spot every now and again. Once I told Thomas that I was pretty sure our little son was gonna make his arrival, him and my sister were busy getting things together to head to the birth center, we called our midwife, and the excitement was surrounding us. I laid down to try and get some more rest before the marathon of active labor kicked in. The moment I asked Thomas for help me up so I could use the bathroom was a blurry downward spiral.
I was bleeding. Not just a little bit, but a lot. We called our midwife, who first had reassuring words for us, but then once she realized the severity of the bleeding told us to immediately call 911. I don't remember much after this, the blood loss was so great, I remember bits and pieces, Thomas asking me questions, and I couldn't get my mouth to move, I remember feeling my sisters hand in mine, then all the sudden I'm on the ground, with strange people surrounding me, I realized they were Medics. Hooking me up to oxygen, and asking me questions, that I could barely answer. I gave them the wrong age. I just kept asking, "Is my baby ok? what about my baby?", and Thomas next to me, reassuring me that Harvey would be fine, everything is okay. I got transferred to the hospital by ambulance, Thomas following us in his own car. When we arrived at the hospital Thomas had to find me, he couldn't go into the same entrance as the medics, which left me by myself, in a triage room with a nurse. I was a little more conscious at this point, and I was asking about Harvey, asking where Thomas was, why wasn't he with me?? When was he coming?? Can I call him?? The nurse was checking on Harvey with a doppler, I remember her facial expressions, or lack there of. She walked out of the room, then came back a few minutes later. She told me she couldn't find a heartbeat, I started to scream. I screamed for Harvey, I screamed for Thomas. A doctor came in, with an ultrasound machine, a few minutes into the screening he walks out without saying anything to me. Then I finally see Thomas, my strength, my rock, is finally back with me. I tell him what I know, which isn't much, and we anxiously wait for the ultrasound tech to come with a larger machine to check on Harvey. Those minutes seemed like hours as we waited. She finally came, and checked. I couldn't look at the screen, I was watching Thomas' face the whole time as he watched. Then the news. NO HEARTBEAT. I saw Thomas face, I felt the blood drain from my own, my heart wanted to stop. My heart was breaking. NO HEARTBEAT.
We were transferred to a delivery room, and we decided to let my body do what it needed and give birth to our son. Thomas was the one to make all the phone calls that were needed, but not wanted. We waited for our son to be born. I didn't want it to happen, time needed to stop. I wanted to keep him safe inside me, hoping, praying that these "doctors" made a mistake. Nine months of getting ready for this moment, and I wasn't ready. I wasn't wanting to give up my baby, this little life Thomas and I created, the joy, all the little moments of him, I wanted to keep him wrapped up inside me safe from the world. When I heard the words "it's time to push" I didn't want too. How could I? With each push was us coming closer to having to say goodbye to our son, our little boy, who never got to take a breathe of air. The room was filled with people, there supporting us, but how still and silent this room was. I was suffocated by it.
When I heard it was time for me to push, I didn't want to. I wasn't ready to give birth to Harvey, with each push meant I would have to say goodbye too soon. When I heard the doctor say that he saw his head I was looking at Thomas. I was so scared. What was I going to see? Would I want to hold him? Our son was born sleeping at 11:28am December 2, 2013. For 9 months I couldn't wait to hear what he would sound like, but I heard no cries of life, his body so still, but I fell even more in love with this precious baby I nurtured for 9 months. His small curls all over his head, his strong Seagrove nose, his insanely sweet newborn smell, his big hands on his little body, perfect in every way possible. We were able to hold him, feel him in our arms, talk to him. I told him I was sorry so many times. We wrapped him in the blanket I made for him, I couldn't get over how gorgeous he was. If anyone ever asks me about a superpower I will say, "Stopping time", because it needed to stop that day. When a child is born, most parents get to look into the eyes of this fresh new being, full of wonder at this bright new world, and all the hopes and dreams for this child have begun. This bright new world that we had dreamed of for 9 months died the moment Harveys little heart stopped. We didn't just lose our baby, our son, we lost a life time of moments with his death. We never got to look into his eyes as he recognized me as his mamma, or look towards Thomas as he hears his dads voice out of the womb. No first smiles, no laughter, first steps, first days of school, first loves, to see this little boy grow into a man.
When it was time to say goodbye to Harvey I wanted to scream, "give him back, I'm not done!!!!", I realized I would never be done. How could I survive this? My heart was broken, shattered. How could you put a whole lifetime of loving a child you would never know into a few short hours? I felt helpless, for the pain I saw on Thomas' face, for Anthony, for me. Our expectations for our life was gone. Ripped from us. Nothing can ever replace this empty place next to me that I have every day of my life.
When you are having a baby, planned or not, your life changes that moment you find out. From that moment you plan for this new life, you never plan for a death. You never think you have to sign a death certificate for your newborn, wondering what to do with his "remains.” You wonder how has anyone else survived this? You find them, too many parents of angels out there, and you sit, and hear their stories, find support thru tears, and realize that you can and you will. You find ways to honor your child, and realize the importance of this, to know that even thru death your child lives on in ways you never knew were possible.