Friday, October 7, 2011


I felt it was time to start sharing my story. I feel like this will be a healing thing for me to do.

I woke up at 4:30am thinking my water had broke. It was not a gush so I was not sure that my water really broke. I waited two hours a half hours! Everyone was sleeping and it was so hard not to wake Marc up but I wanted to be sure. I was still leaking water at 7:30 and I could not wait any longer so I sent a text to my midwife, Ginger-who assured me that what I was describing was my water breaking. I had very mild contractions all morning with no pain. Ginger came to check at 11ish and I was 1cm, so my midwife left and said to call when I felt painful contractions.

I could not just sit around and wait so I wanted to go to a movie thinking that it would kill time. So we all went to see Cars 2 around 2:30. A little over half way through the movie I could tell the contractions were increasing in intensity and duration. Marc kept asking if we should leave but the movie was almost over so I waited.  On the drive home something changed and the contractions got much more painful and all I was thinking was I want to be home now! Someone called the midwife because as soon as we got home I was already feeling pressure. Ginger arrived about 5 or 6 I am told but at this point I had no concept of time. I was in a lot of pain but coping well with the birthing pool. I do not think I could have done it naturally without the water. It was amazing how much it lessened the pain.  Marc was amazing! He was so supportive. During our pain coping techniques birthing class I thought for sure that I was going to want him to rub my back and do the things she showed us but it turned out I did not want him to touch me or even breathe on me too much! However I needed him sitting behind me and I needed to hold both of his hands and squeeze them very hard during contractions. I was dilated to about 7 cm now and very quickly I wanted to push really bad but I wasn't dilated completely so with Marc and Ginger reminding me to breathe I fought the urge. Baby Marc's heart rate was strong the whole time.

Close to 7pm I was told I could push. Finally! It was painful but pushing felt so much better than trying not to push. I pushed for only 30-45 min. When baby Marc's head came out, Ginger felt the cord around the neck.. It was very tight. She told me to push hard because she needed to get him out quick because his heart rate was at 120 and she didn't want it to drop more. I pushed hard and he was delivered at about 7:30.  Ginger placed my sweet baby on my chest but he wouldn't take a breath...she suctioned his mouth, moved him around, gave him air by mouth, then quickly clamped the cord, and started CPR.  I was in shock at this point, the moment I had dreamed of was going so drastically wrong. I sat in the birthing pool holding Marc, praying our baby would be ok. My mom immediately called 911 and the medics arrived in like 4 minutes. They rushed baby Marc off and Marc and Ginger went with him. I had to stay to be checked by the midwife assistant and to sign a release saying I did not want to be taken to the hospital. If I would have gone with the ambulance they would have taken me to Harris not Cooks to be with my baby. The medics called to tell is the baby was doing better and was in NICU and this is what I was told on the way to the hospital.  But by the time I arrived maybe 45 min later the doctors had done many tests and told Marc and I that baby Marc was brain dead due to the loss of oxygen from the cord being wrapped around his neck. The doctor read all of Gingers notes, he assured us that there was no one to blame and this would have happened even if I would have given birth in the hospital.

Marc and I both were in shock. We could not even cry. I was thinking why can I not cry? I should be hysterical. I think now that it is coping mechanism for your brain, a way of allowing you to handle a massive blow like this without completely losing it.  It was such a numb feeling.

Marc and I had to make the decision to take our sweet baby Marcus Alan off of life support. They gave him pain medication to make sure that he was not hurting and we took turns holding our baby. I held him and sang to him. I told him everything I could think of telling him, how much I loved him and would miss him. I promised him that everything good I do in this life I will do for him. I counted his fingers and toes, caressed his beautiful little face. We talked about how much he looked like Marc, but that he had my nose. It was so surreal to be holding this perfectly formed little baby but to know that we would not get to take him home. He was so beautiful he just looked as if he was sleeping.

My sweet little baby, our sweet Marcus died peacefully in my arms at 11:45pm.  I am so grateful for the few hours we got to spend with our baby. We should have had a lifetime but since we don't I cherish the time I had my baby with me. The hours he was in my arms and the months he was inside my womb. I am thankful that I took the time to talk to him while he was inside of me. I am thankful that I made sure to cherish the hours I spent with Marc feeling him explore and kick.  I am so lucky that I hired my amazing birth photographer Keri, she had been at the house during his delivery and offered to come to the hospital and take more pictures. They have already brought me so much comfort. I love having a beautiful portrait of my son to hang on my wall and I love that I have a family picture to carry with me. We will hire her again to take pictures of his brothers and sisters.

Everything about my pregnancy was normal and uncomplicated. The birthing process was amazing, I had completely natural childbirth and I was only in labor 15 hours - it was only painful for about 4 or 5 of those. Everything was normal up until the very last moments. I made the decision to have baby Marc at home because that is what I believed was best for him and I do not believe that had I been at a hospital the outcome would have been different. My labor was progressing normally and very quickly and his heart rate was strong. There would have been no indication that something was wrong until we could see that the cord was around his neck. By then it would have been too late for a C-section at the hospital. The odds of a baby dying from a cord accident is one out of every thousand babies and there really is no way to predict it in an otherwise normal, uncomplicated pregnancy. You just never think that it will happen to you.

The past three weeks have been the hardest three weeks of my life. I have never felt such intense sadness.  At times my heart and chest literally feels as if it is being squeezed so hard that I have to actually remind myself to take a breath or it might actually stop beating. I think of all the things I should be doing right now. All the things I have been cheated out of. All the things my sweet baby has been cheated out of. It was so hard when my milk came in, a reminder that I have no baby to feed.  I tell myself that I need to let go of those things I have fantasized about doing with baby Marcus for the past 10 months. Nothing can change what has happened so what is the point of dwelling on these things. But sometimes I cannot help it. I should have a three week old right now. I should be giving him his first bath, I should be taking newborn pictures, I should be up at 8am after being up all night with a newborn instead of being up at 8am after being up all night writing about losing him.

But then I try to be positive.
This is a horrible thing that has happened to me, to Marc, and to our family. But I am still a very lucky woman. I am so lucky that I am healthy and Marc and I will be able to make baby Marc a big brother. I have an amazing man to walk with me through this.  I did not know that I could love him more than I already did but everyday his strength and courage proves me wrong and I do love him even more. He is my rock and I could not handle this without him.
I am lucky to have amazingly supportive family and friends who love us and baby Marc.

I know that the only way to bring honor to Marcus Jr's life is to live my life the best I can. To not take any moment for granted. I will be a better mother and wife because of him. Right now most of the time my heart is heavy and hurting but the past week I have had moments, very brief moments of lightheartedness, a moment where I feel hopeful, where I feel strong and able to get through this.  However these moments are so brief that I often feel frustrated once they are gone, I desperately want to hold on to them but they go so quickly.

Time will not heal this wound. There will always be an empty space in my life where Marcus should be. In 10 years when Marc and I have other children and we are taking a family photo I will grieve for my child who will not be able to be in that photo. Every year on July 5th I will think of how old Marcus should be and the things I should be able to do with him.
I can only hope that time will allow me to hold on to those moments of hopefulness and lightheartedness for much longer.


  1. Jena,
    I know it's been a while since we've talked but I just want you to know that I think of you and your family often & pray for you also. I have shared your story with others and i know that many people are praying for you. You are an inspiration to me! This post literally brought me and my gf to tears. You are so incredibly strong and you have such a great team supporting you and helping you get through this tough time. I've been keeping up with your posts from the moment you went into labor up until today. I feel such grief for you and your family, if there's anything I can do to help pass the days away let me know. You are always in my prayers!

  2. I had to read this post because "Broken but blessed" was what I put as my facebook status while I was in labour, knowing my child would be stillborn.
    2 and a half years later as I read this, tears stream down my cheeks for you and for me and for Sophia and for Marc.

  3. Thank you Caz, thank you for reading. I am sorry for you loss. Do you have a blog?

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm 21 weeks pregnant with my daughter, having trouble sleeping since she hasn't been kicking as much as usual today. I'm remembering losing her sister at 36 weeks to a cord incident, and grateful for the natural delivery that let me feel and be fully present with her in the last moments she was with me, without numbing myself against her loss and missing out on a single minute. Your post brought me to tears, and now my hopefully-baby-to-be is reassuring me with a little movement, finally.