Many people that know us, and know what we've been through, know that September 26, 2009 was a special day to us. It was the day we saw an angels' face and the first glimpse of Heaven we'd see. September 26, 2009 was the day our little Benjamin Michael was born, but today, today was a different one year mark.
Today, September 23, 2010, is a one year mark for a day I'll never forget. A year ago today, I was laying on our couch relaxing after having to work the previous night at our local Sears store. Tuesdays were always my closing nights as a manager at Sears. I remember that night clearly. The boys that were working in the hardware department were helping set up all the new Christmas decorations we had just received. We were all sitting on the floor getting frustrated while trying to figure out how to put together the little fabric covered penguins that look so cute in your front yard (the ones that look good until the wind blows them to pieces)! We were also trying to figure out how to set up the Christmas trees to make the store look like the perfect winter wonderland. I remember sitting on the floor and having a hard time getting back up with my 7 month pregnant belly in the way. After a few hours of "Christmas decorating" it was time to start closing up the store. So as a manager, I made my rounds, made our closing calls, and started locking doors. We had our nightly closing meeting and sent everyone home for the night. The rest of the managers and myself finished closing up the store and headed home ourselves.
After getting home, I didn't go to bed right away. I was always wide awake after I got off work that late at night. Jason and I had been working on the nursery the previous weeks and I had received some crib bedding in the mail earlier. That night, I sat at my computer with a notebook in front of me. I had asked my grandma if she could sew us some curtains for the nursery, which she had agreed to. In my notebook, I started drawing up plans of how I wanted the curtains done.... and after about 9 pages of notebook paper I realized nothing was going to be perfect enough for that little nursery. It was about midnight before I headed up to bed-- even though little Benjamin was still wide awake and wiggling all over.
The next morning, September 23rd, I slept in. After tossing and turning in our bed for awhile, I decided to get up and come downstairs. I turned on the TV, had a bowl of cereal for breakfast and then decided to lay down and rest again. I laid there for a few more hours just watching the Today show and whatever else happened to be on TV. I finally decided it was time to get up and get ready for our 1:30p.m. scheduled doctor's appointment. I took my shower and got dressed for my appointment.
Jason called me to let me know he wasn't going to be able to make our doctors' appointment because he had to go out of town for a new job at work. I was fine with this, because most of our appointments consisted of the usual- getting weighed, urine samples, blood pressure check, and asking the doctor any questions we had-- all of which normally took about 10 minutes. So I headed in to the doctors office by myself that day.
I was called back for my appointment shortly after I had arrived at the office. I was weighed, left my sample, and got my blood pressure checked. It was about THEN that I realized that little Ben hadn't moved much all morning. I sent Jason a text letting him know I hadn't felt him move much all morning. Jason responded with a text that Ben was probably just sleepy. The doctor came in to the room shortly after and asked how things were going. I mentioned to him that Ben hadn't moved much all morning. He immediately had me get up on the exam table so he could check for a heartbeat. AND THEN...... after minutes of checking every possible spot on my 7 month pregnant belly- he was unable to find the heartbeat. I asked him if I could call Jason and let him know what was going on, but he suggested I wait until after I had an ultrasound done. So the doctor went to grab his portable ultrasound machine to see if he could see anything. After searching all over, the doctor could not find Ben's flickering heartbeat anywhere. He then warned me that he'd like me to have a better ultrasound done by the ultrasound technician.
SOOOO- we headed next door to the ultrasound room. I sat in the waiting room while the doctor explained to the tech what was going on. I sent a message to my sister stating that the baby may have died, but that we were unsure. I was then called back for my ultrasound..... SURPRISE SURPRISE, she was unable to find a heartbeat as well. She also stated she didn't see any signs of stress or any obvious reasons as to what might have happened. After she had confirmed that there was no heartbeat, the doctor walked me back to the exam room we had been in previously. As we sat down, he reached for some Kleenex's (for himself). He cried more than me, but I was in so much shock and disbelief it hadn't hit me yet. Wiping his tears, he further explained that I would have to be induced to deliver my stillborn child. He gave me the date and time of our induction and explained to me how things would go. He politely asked if I was going to be okay driving home and ended our appointment for the day-- for the rest of the pregnancy!
I left the office, still in disbelief, and gave Jason a call in the elevator on the way down to my car. I let him know what was going on and that I was headed home. He let me know he'd meet me at home. Once I got to my car, I called Sears to let them know that I wouldn't be to work for a few weeks. I went home, only to sit on the couch and wait for Jason to get home. After he got home, it all hit me like a ton of bricks. NO ONE ever tells you about this while you're pregnant-- Sadly, I'd never even heard of stillbirth before this happened to me. While pregnancy can be a joyous thing, it would've been nice to be informed of a little reality before this happened.
I called my mom and dad when I got home and told Jason he'd better call his family before the word got out. We spent the rest of the day on the phone informing everyone of what was going on and what the next step would be. We then started to prepare for what was to come. We had to go out and find an outfit for little Ben to wear in the hospital and we needed yet to find a keepsake item for his little feet/handprints. So after driving around everywhere looking for the perfect things, we went home. The days to come were going to be bittersweet and there was no way to prepare.
Today, September 23rd, 2010, was probably 'just' another day for most people-- but it was a lot more than 'just' another day for me. A year ago today was the day that would change our lives forever. This last year has been a struggle. You start to notice all the little things people take for granted. I had to change jobs, because everything at work reminded me of Ben (and some people didn't understand that). Currently being pregnant has also brought on it's challenges. The constant day to day worrying if the baby is moving enough or if he's moving too much and getting tangled up in his cord. The constant reminder from the general public at work that this is your second child (even though some days, it's easier to say it's our first just for the simple fact it's easier to explain to some people and not others that you have a dead child). This year has also posed many challenges between friends and family-- being able to see who's REALLY there for you when you need it.
So as most of you will be remembering our angel on September 26th; TODAY was a big one year mark for myself. And even though it's been a week from hell, you learn that everyone else's lives will move on even when yours seems to stand still.
P.S. -- I will post the rest of 'Ben's Story' on his birthday.