About a month after losing Lilly, I was given orders to transfer to Washington. I was happy to get away from Pensacola, but I was so sad to be leaving Bryan behind. I would be on the opposite coast, almost 3000 miles away from Bryan, my family, and everyone I knew and loved. 3000 miles away from all the people I needed during such a dark time in my life.
In November, Bryan was finally able to join me in Washington. My life finally started to feel "normal" again. And I was no longer alone. Dealing with a death is hard. It's even harder when you're dealing with it from opposite sides of the country.
In January, I noticed my period was late. I knew, without even taking a test, that I was pregnant. I just had that feeling. Bryan and I went together to pick up a test, and sure enough, it was positive.
In my mind, I relived that terrible morning in the bathroom floor again. I was terrified of being pregnant. I was terrified of losing another baby.
I confirmed the pregnancy with Medical.
Then I had to tell my boss. I was terrified of his response because I was so new in the shop. In Pensacola, the news was badly received by one instructor who told me that "he had expected better things" from me. Luckily, this guy wasn't such an asshole, and he was actually very happy for me. I still couldn't get excited.
I saw the doctor at 8 weeks this time. (The medical staff here was so much better, by the way.) I told my friends and family as soon as I had an ultrasound picture to share. I didn't care how early it was. My thinking was the earlier people know, the earlier they can start praying for a healthy baby.
The ultrasound gave us an estimated due date of September 9. Two days after my dad's birthday. My parents are the only ones in the family without grand kids. He would be getting one for his birthday. What a great present, right? This finally got me more excited.
The morning sickness was horrible, but not as bad as with Lilly. I felt useless at work, and I guess I was, to a point, but it was supposed to be worth it.
My mom started making baby quilts. We got a crib. I bought a few onesies and some maternity clothes. I even joined a baby book club. The more I saw my belly gradually growing, the happier I was getting.
When we passed the 11 week mark, I felt a lot of relief. That had seemed like the ultimate goal, to get past that scary mark. After 11 weeks, it would be so much easier waiting for the next goal, September.
I would talk to my belly while getting ready for work in the mornings. I would talk and sing to it in the truck going to and from work. I would read stories to it at night. Bryan would always give my belly kisses every night before bed. Every bit of our life involved that growing belly.
Because I could no longer do my job in the shop, my squadron put in a request for pregnancy orders. I would be staying on the same base, but moving to a shop more suited for my needs and the safety of my baby.
The first Friday in April, I started spotting and cramping. It progressively got worse as the weekend went on. On Sunday, I couldn't take it anymore so I had Bryan take me to the ER. I had to make sure my baby was ok and put my fears to rest. An ultrasound confirmed the baby was still alive and well. There was bleeding in my uterus, but the doctor couldn't tell what it was from. He said it would be fine and to follow up with my OB.
On Tuesday afternoon, April 5, the OB again confirmed the baby was fine with another ultrasound. I knew in my heart that something was still very wrong. He told me that he didn't see any signs of bleeding, even though I cleaned blood off my thighs after my exam. He told me that the cramping was just from my uterus stretching and expanding to accommodate the baby. He insisted that they weren't contractions, like I had explained them as feeling like.
Four hours later, the cramping had worsened. I couldn't stand up. I couldn't sit down. I couldn't lay in any position to get comfortable or ease the pain. I felt a sudden urge to pee. As I sat down, I could feel a different kind of pressure down there, and I told Bryan to call an ambulance because something was definitely not right. No sooner than I had said it, I felt a strong push, and I looked down just in time to catch my baby in my hands.
At 18 weeks and 2 days, I delivered my son into my hands while sitting on a toilet. After being told that it was "just a growing uterus". It was that same nightmare all over again.
He was still alive, still in an intact sack of amniotic fluid. He kicked and pushed against the walls of the sack. He lived for about 10 minutes, just like his sister. He stopped moving just as the medics were rushing into my bathroom.
He was perfect. And beautiful. And once again, I was completely shattered.
The nurse in the ER checked my vitals and then left us to have some alone time with our son. It was heartbreaking. I didn't know what to do, so I just laid there, staring at the baby laying on my chest.
The doctor told us we had to make a decision about what to do with his body. I was horrified. How do you make a decision like that when you are still in shock of having delivered a baby? Still in shock of your baby dying in your hands?
We eventually made the decision to send him for genetic testing. I didn't like the idea of strangers poking and cutting my baby, but I needed to know why this kept happening. I needed to know why he was no longer alive in my belly.
I followed up with the OB the next day. He seemed a bit shocked, but acted as though I'd simply come in with a kidney infection or a broken leg. He didn't even remember me being in pain the day before. He seemed annoyed that we were asking for genetic testing. The nurse we had spoken to that morning had told us that although we sent him for testing, we could still have him back for a funeral. When we asked for clarification on how everything would work, the doctor had the nerve to tell us that we didn't "have to bother with a funeral if we didn't want to. A fetus is, after all, technically just medical waste."
I was still in shock over the baby that was no longer in my belly because of that man, and he was telling me that my son was medical waste. I still want to choke that man.
We made arrangements for a cremation with a local funeral home. To our surprise, the funeral home offered their services for free, which was a huge blessing in its own. It's hard to prepare for burying baby when you are barely prepared for having the baby. Cremation would make it easier to have him buried at home, in TN, so that he would be close to our family.
I wanted to go home and be with my family. But I wasn't ready for it. Going home felt like facing my failure. Going home meant saying goodbye to my baby all over again.
Bryan and I had a hard time with naming our baby. Bryan and his best friend Jake had come up with a few ideas to name the baby after them. They combined their names to create "Brake". I fought that name for so many weeks. When the baby died, we wanted him to have a name. Bryan had already been calling him Brake. It seemed to help him cope, so I opened up to it and it grew on me. His middle name is Patton, after his grandpa that he unfortunately never got to meet.