Wednesday, April 15, 2015

SEAN PATRICK SAAVEDRA: STILLBORN AND STILL LOVED

Sometimes life comes to a screeching halt when you least expect it.  My son, Sean Patrick Saavedra was born dead on April 15, 2009 after 38 weeks and 3 days of a perfect pregnancy.  

It had been a normal day.  I had gone to work, I went home and made dinner.  My husband and I had dinner together and after dinner we sat down to watch TV.  After a few minutes of relaxing, he turned to me and asked me "How's he doing?" (referring to the baby).   I replied that he was fine like I always did, but my heart sank immediately after.   I suddenly realized that I had not felt him move all day.  For the life of me I could not remember the last time I felt him move.  (I still can't.)  I drank some juice and laid down to see if he would move.  He wouldn't move.  I finally told my husband that I was scared because the baby wasn't moving.  We decided to call the doctor.  She told me to drink more juice and wait an hour to see if he moves.  He didn't move.  We called her again and she told us to come in to the Emergency Room so they could hear the heartbeat.  She said that the baby had probably run out of room to move around so much, but they just wanted to be safe.  We grabbed our hospital bag and got in the car.  It was the longest drive of my life.  I tried so hard to not cry and keep it together.  Once we were at the hospital, they took us to a room to listen to the heartbeat.  A nurse tried for about 15 minutes (it actually felt like an hour!) and was not able to find a heartbeat.  She then called a doctor to do an ultrasound to try and get a better look.  She did an ultrasound and within minutes we heard the words "There is no heartbeat.  I am sorry to say that your baby has passed."  My husband and I could not believe what we were hearing.  

The next moments were a blur.  It was like everything was happening so fast but also in slow motion.  It was surreal. We were taken to a delivery room and were told that they were going to induce me.  I asked to have a c-section because I did not want to go through labor.  They said they could not do that because there was more chance of getting an infection and it was not necessary.  The thought of delivering my baby who had already died terrified me!  How was I going to get through this?  Delivering a stillborn baby is an incredibly emotional experience.  I am so lucky to have had my husband, my parents, my mothers-in-law, my best friend, an amazing doctor and the most caring nurses with me.

After 16 hours of labor, I delivered my first son, Sean Patrick Saavedra.  There was silence.  No crying.  Nothing.  I didn't see him right away.  I couldn't.  I was in shock.  I was scared.  How was he going to look?  We did not know how long he had been dead since the last time we heard his heartbeat was 5 days before.  He was perfect!  He had dark hair (lots of it), a perfect little nose and mouth, and he looked like he was sleeping.  One of the nurses asked me if I had held him yet.  I let her know that I hadn't because I was scared.  She advised me to hold him, look at him, and spend time with him.  This was the best advice that she could have given me.  I would have regretted not holding him so much!  I have since heard many stories where doctors tell mothers not to hold their babies or even see them because it will make the experience more difficult and they regret it so much.  Holding him was bittersweet of course.  I finally had my baby boy in my arms, but he wasn't actually with me.  I have never cried so much.  I think I got to hold him three separate times.  The last time was the hardest.  This was the last time I was ever going to get to hold him.  After this, he was going to be taken to the funeral home.  The thought of my baby boy being delivered to a funeral home drove me insane.  I held him for so long and just kept thinking "How am I going to be able to call the nurse to take him?  I don't want her to take him.  He is mine.  I want to take him home with me where he belongs!"  My husband held him last.  He walked up and down the hall with him and talked to him.  He was the one to finally call the nurse and tell her that we were ready to give him back when we actually weren't. 

Leaving the hospital was extremely difficult.  They wheeled me out to the car and all I kept thinking was that I was leaving an empty handed.  My arms felt heavy.  If it hadn't been for the nurse with the smelly onion breath speaking so close to my face and annoying me, I would have cried the whole way.  It was horrible.  All I wanted to do was go home and sleep forever.  

Why would this happen to us?  What did we do to deserve this?  After delivering Sean, the doctors found blood clots in my placenta.  They did blood tests on me and found that I have a genetic blood clotting disorder.  It is not 100% certain, but the doctor believed that blood clots formed in my placenta and prevented oxygen from getting to my baby.  There was no way to have known this without running those blood tests and those tests aren't normally done on someone unless this happens to them.  In other words, there is nothing that I could have done to prevent Sean from dying.  That gave me a huge relief.  I blamed myself for everything.  I thought what if I had paid more attention to his movements?  What if I slept on my stomach and hurt him?  What if I slept on my back and stopped him from breathing?  It still kills me to think that he was in my stomach and was not able to breathe.  Was he in pain?  Did he suffer?  I will probably never know.  I was however able to take extra precautions in my next pregnancies to prevent blood clots and my daughter will also know to get tested to see if she has this genetic mutation as well if she ever decides to get pregnant.  

They say something like this can truly break a marriage.  I am happy to say that losing our first child didn't break us.  It made us stronger than ever.  My husband was there for me in everything I needed even though he was grieving as well.  He has been and still is my rock.  We now have a son and daughter that bring us so much happiness.  They are our rainbows.  The sunshine at the end of the storm.  They are our rainbows.  The sunshine at the end of the storm.There are stories where doctors tell mothers not to hold their babies or even see them because it will make the experience more difficult and they regret it so much.  Holding him was bittersweet of course.  I finally had my baby boy in my arms, but he wasn't actually with me.  I have never cried so much.  I think I got to hold him three separate times.  The last time was the hardest.  This was the last time I was ever going to get to hold him.  After this, he was going to be taken to the funeral home.  The thought of my baby boy being delivered to a funeral home drove me insane.  I held him for so long and just kept thinking "How am I going to be able to call the nurse to take him?  I don't want her to take him.  He is mine.  I want to take him home with me where he belongs!"  My husband held him last.  He walked up and down the hall with him and talked to him.  He was the one to finally call the nurse and tell her that we were ready to give him back when we actually weren't. 

6 years later the grieving has definitely gotten better, but there are days that it feels like a ton of bricks have landed on my chest and I just can't breathe.  It is still a one day at a time process and I think it will always be that way.  I will never forget Sean and I don't want anyone else too.  It is my job as his mother to make sure that no one ever forgets he existed.  As long as I'm living, my baby he will be. 

Happy 6th birthday Sean.  I miss you and I can't wait to hold you again.  

"Some people dream of angels, I have held one in my arms."





3 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday Sean!!! You are truly the strongest person I know. I love you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy Birthday Sean. You will forever live in our hearts. <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm grateful to have been there and had the opportunity to hold Sean Patrick, our beautiful baby boy. I will always remember his precious face, perfect little nose, lips and body--and I'll always love him! Excellent, heartfelt post, Yolanda. xo

    ReplyDelete