On November 13th 2015, I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy Isaiah. He was everything my husband had prayed for. He was our third baby boy and I forever was going to be a “boy mom” and enjoy the fun chaos that comes along with all boys!
All those dreams and desires came to a halt beginning in October of that year.
I had two regular pregnancies prior to conceiving Isaiah. Griffin is 6 and Levi is almost 4 and they were so excited to have another baby around. However, things began getting more and more difficult with Isaiah’s pregnancy. I knew a lot was wrong, but my doctor kept reassuring me things were fine and normal. I always knew in the back of my mind things were not normal and not ok. Around 17 weeks I told my husband, my stomach should be a lot bigger than it was for my third baby and I should be feeling a lot more movement. Again and again I was assured everything was normal and it would be fine.
We had been in and out of emergency rooms, still no one could tell me why I was having so much pain. The consistent answer was kidney stones. The ER staff would give me Tylenol and say, “you just need to go home and pass it.” On Halloween, we went to Boo at the Zoo and had a great time with family. I was in a lot of pain walking around, but pushed the feelings aside and kept telling myself, this is normal. The next day I couldn’t get off the couch. We had family in town and my husband was about to leave for his week of travel. I just wanted to spend time with everyone before they left.
A lot of the next few weeks are a bit of a blur, but I remember taking both boys with me to my doctor’s office as I experienced more pain and bleeding. The boys and I are sitting in that dark ultrasound room just waiting. The ultrasound tech, took a long time and was very quiet. It’s obvious when they are quiet, something is wrong. She quickly left the room and came back with the nurse practitioner. I suddenly realized that all those feelings I had been fearful of were becoming a reality. I tried as hard as I could to keep it together, but my eyes filled with tears as the doctor told me we would have to head to the hospital and see the specialist for further testing.
My sweet oldest son, Griffin, began to cry and hold on tightly to me. He was so scared and understood something was wrong, however at four-years-old he could not understand the depth of what was going on.
We saw the specialist the next day. Thankfully, my husband flew home to be with me for this appointment. The appointment lasted for hours and there was so much information to take in. My heart kept breaking in pieces with each new thing they discussed.
My placenta had a hole, this explained all the leaking fluid and bleeding was coming from. Having low fluid in pregnancy can be a big deal. Without it, lungs can’t develop, limbs can’t learn to grow and bend properly. The fluid was so low that there wasn’t much they can do to make it better. We would just have to wait. They explained that with such low fluid and lack of lung development, our desired outcome of a healthy, living baby may not be a reality. My heart shattered. Along with low fluid, they found a part of his brain wasn’t fully developed. The diagnosis was a long complicated name and the description was not the life we had hoped for our son. If Isaiah lived through the pregnancy and delivery, he would be born having seizures and most likely live a life in a bed with machines and tubes. We walked out of that appointment destroyed. We sat at the lobby of the elevator and just cried in one another’s arms. We began to mourn what life would have looked like and adjust to what our new normal may be.
Whatever would happen, we knew we would love this boy and his life was a gift.
I left on a trip with some of my best girlfriends in the world. They sat with me, cried and prayed over Isaiah’s life. To have friends like that is such a comfort and I am forever grateful for that time in such chaos of my life.
I came home from that trip and within a week I got progressively worse. I woke up one morning and the situation was declining quickly. On November 12th, at 21 weeks pregnant, my husband and I headed to the hospital not sure what would happen. Our specialist and OB met us and explained I was most likely entering labor. We were told to wait and see what happens. A lot of people came in and out of our room and a lot happened in those 24 hours. On November 13th, on my 29th birthday, I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy. When I say he looked like his dad, I mean he had his nose, his cheeks and shape of his eyes. How does a baby so small and tiny have such specific features?
Isaiah lived through the delivery and was perfect. We held him for hours. I kept him with me, praying and listening to worship music as I balled my eyes out knowing he would soon meet his maker. The only comfort came in knowing he would live a life eternally in no pain and his body would be made perfect.
A lot of sadness and grief has come since we lost Isaiah, but with the help of family, friends and Share we are able to keep his memory alive. This provides me the opportunity to let people know about him! Losing a child is so painful. The pain does not just go away no matter how far out I am from the day he left this earth. I am so thankful I have a hope that this life isn’t the end and we will be reunited again.
Even though I didn’t choose the day we would lose Isaiah, my heart has totally changed for those who do decide to follow that path. Either choice is incredibly difficult and painful. We all end up grieving.
DJ and Annie Horton share how losing their son, Isaiah, born prematurely at 21 weeks, has motivated them to spread awareness and support other families who have suffered the loss of a baby. As the Chapter Coordinator at Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support, Annie draws from her own experience to honor Isaiah each day through her work.
Annie joined Share in 2016 as Chapter Coordinator. Annie brings over 6 years of volunteering and coordination experience which she gained working with various chemical dependency and family counseling non-profit organizations in Indiana. She came to know of SHARE following a late pregnancy loss. Annie received a BA in Psychology from Purdue University.
Annie, Thank you for your story. We lost our son as well, and gave birth at 19 weeks in March of 2018. We went into the anatomy/gender scan and found there was no heartbeat. Calvin James is the name we picked and we have honored him to the best we know how and I admire your courage and faith. Losing a child has been far the biggest hurdle in our life and while I miss him everyday, I find joy and hope that he is with the greatest Father we know. What a moment it will be to see our sons again. Thank you again!