Oliver brought his parents and family happiness and joy. The day we knew that he would become a part of our lives was one of the most important days in our lives. When Celeste took the pregnancy test, the result came back very quickly. After taking so many tests that came back negative in the past year, we questioned ourselves that two pink lines meant we were pregnant. After consulting the instructions and determining that indeed we had a baby on the way, we embraced each other in celebration. The following week we had scheduled an appointment with the doctor to discuss fertility issues. You can imagine how thrilled we were to share the news with our doctor that a baby was on the way.
It was difficult to contain the news that we were so excited to share with everyone, but we wanted to wait until we got past the high risk period of the first few weeks of pregnancy. When we had family over and discovered that our sister-in-law was expecting a baby a couple weeks before us, Celeste couldn't keep the secret. We had images of our two babies growing up together and being close friends. After that day, we shared the news with our immediate family, but decided to wait until later to tell everyone else.
At our next doctor appointment we were hoping that we would have the opportunity to hear our little one's heart beating. The doctor told us that it was really early and it may not be audible yet. When she placed the sonogram on Celeste's belly, his heartbeat was loud and strong. We felt blessed that our little baby was so healthy and started to look forward to the time that we would get a peek at him on the ultrasound.
Once the ultrasound was scheduled it seemed like the day would never come. It was scheduled on a Monday morning, and it was hard to get through the weekend as we anticipated seeing our baby. When the technician started we stared at the image of him moving in awe. You could see his little hands and feet even at 13 weeks old. During the ultrasound, he appeared to be sucking his thumb. Once we got home from work that day, we scanned in the pictures and shared them with all our family and friends.
In August, Celeste started to feel the baby move around. From them on he was always an active little guy in his mommy's tummy. In September, daddy finally felt him moving around, after a few weeks of frustrating times trying to catch his movement. It was a special moment that we will never forget as parents.
The next ultrasound that we had at 20 weeks, we accidentally found out that he was a boy. We had teetered back and forth between finding out the sex of our baby and we determined that we would wait until the end of the ultrasound to decide. The technician started at his feet and then went up to his little bottom. She did not say anything, but mom and dad were pretty sure they saw something. After another look later on, we decided to find out the sex of our baby, because we both thought that we knew. Daddy won a bet with mommy and she had to cook him dinner, because she lost.
We started dreaming of the times that we would have with our little boy and narrowing down the names for him. In the end we decided to have a list of names and pick once he was born. A few weeks before he was born, mom and dad decided to pick a name, and we chose Oliver. It means peace. When we decided upon this name, we had no idea how fitting it would be until he was born. After discovering that we had a son on the way, we notice people walking hand in hand with their sons and imagined what it would feel like to do that someday.
After the ultrasound, we decided that it was time to shop for baby furniture and register for all the things we would need once he arrived. We were overwhelmed with how much a baby requires! Everything we chose was carefully selected after we researched the safety, durability, practicality, and pricing. We went shopping for clothes and bought him a knitted monkey hat and booties. Along with that we got him a knitted stuffed monkey. Between that and the constant movement in his mom's tummy, Oliver was nicknamed our little monkey.
After registering, Celeste's sister threw a shower for her. We felt truly blessed by the generosity of our family and friends. We received books and by that time Brian had started reading stories to Oliver at night. His favorites were, "Goodnight Moon," "Little Gorilla," and “Five Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.” Daddy also sang him songs and read nursery rhymes to him. Night time was our special time that we spent with him.
During the days at work, Oliver was always active. Sometimes it was hard for his mom to concentrate when he was tumbling around so much. It felt great to have him remind her of his presence all the time. She never felt alone, and could not wait to hold him in her arms. Both of us began daydreaming of the day when he would be born and their lives would be changed forever. Everyone said to enjoy our sleep and quiet time, but we couldn’t wait for our lives to be turned upside down.
Family threw another shower for Celeste and we were once again blessed by our friends and family. The due date was getting closer. During the holidays, time went by very quickly. As we finished all the last minute things in preparation for Oliver, time continued to pass by rapidly. When we went in for the 36 week appointment, everything was ready. The doctor said that Celeste was progressing great for a first time mom. Oliver had moved down into position and her body was preparing for labor. We were so excited and thought he would be coming early.
By our 39 week appointment, time had slowed down and we thought that he would never arrive. The nurse practitioner was surprised to see us at the appointment. We were out of questions and there simply to check on the health of our baby and Celeste’s progress. We listened to his heart, and looking back we wish that we would have cherished that time more, because it was the last time we ever heard our baby’s heart beating. It was strong and steady as usual. There was no cause to think that anything was wrong.
Mom continued to go to work and by the weekend she was exhausted. Saturday she went to get a pedicure and relaxed when she got back. While watching a movie, she noticed Oliver had not been moving, but thought he may be sleeping. After it was over she started to get worried and asked for juice so she could lie down and count his movements. When there weren’t any she tried to be calm and assured herself it would be okay. Dad called the hospital and they said to come in for monitoring.
When we got there it took forever to check in. Once we finally got to the room and they got out the heart monitor, they placed it on Celeste’s stomach. There was nothing. She started to cry, because the doctor never had trouble finding his heartbeat, and she knew that it couldn’t be good. Brian was strong and told her not to get upset yet, they were going to doing an ultrasound. When the picture came on we could see him clearly and his little heart lay still. Brian and Celeste starting sobbing as the doctor turned to them and confirmed that there was no heartbeat and she said she was so sorry. All our hopes, all our dreams were shattered. This wasn’t supposed to happen. It didn’t seem real. We wanted to wake up from the nightmare we were living.
The next few hours seem like a blur. Celeste was induced into labor and at 3:57 our beautiful son was born. We were scared of what he would like when we saw him, as we did not know what to expect. While he was coming out, Brian saw him and dove into Celeste’s shoulder sobbing. It had become real once he saw him. When they brought him to us, we looked on as he appeared to be sleeping. There was nothing wrong with him, he just looked like a sleeping newborn baby. We hoped and prayed that he would just open his eyes and it would all be a mistake. He was so beautiful and he looked so peaceful. We held him in our arms as we always imagined we would. He was still as fragile and needed to be held like a living newborn.
It was a quiet time and the lights in the room were dimmed. Brian rocked him for a long time in the rocking chair. We opened up his onesie and held his little feet. He was skin was so soft, just like his blonde hair. It didn’t seem real and it didn’t seem fair. There was no apparent reason that he was born stillborn. We invited our family in to see him and hold him. They had been waiting to see us. We had come from Celeste’s parent’s house and did not have all the stuff we had packed.
Luckily our doula knew someone to ask to come and take pictures. It was hard to get our picture taken, but I am so grateful now for the generosity of the woman that offered to do it at no charge. These are the only pictures we have of our precious Oliver, and we look at them every day. Brian went home and took a shower, and Celeste’s mom stayed with her. When he returned, Celeste was alarmed, because Brian seemed frantic and upset. He was crying and asked if they had taken Oliver away yet. When they said no, he was relieved and then pulled two books out of his pocket to read to Oliver one last time. This made Celeste cry, but she was very glad that he had thought of it. Then she held Oliver in her arms as his father read him stories one last time.
We went through the motions to prepare to go home less than 24 hours after he was born. Before leaving the hospital we wrapped him in a blanket that we had brought for him, so he would have something to remember us by. Leaving our son lying on the hospital bed as we walked out was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do. We left a part of ourselves behind. Oliver brought us many wonderful memories, and losing him was the most painful experience we’ve ever endured. We will think of him and love him forever.
It was painful to receive the all test results, as they indicated no reason that Oliver died. Our precious son was perfectly healthy and there is no medical reason he should not be at home with us. This makes it difficult to accept that it happened. Every day we think about Oliver and wish that he was with us. We miss him so much, as he was a wonderful son. Someday we will meet with him and know him as we had wished.