A Unique Opportunity – Offering Advice to Doctors

June 25, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

Scott and I were asked to tell Katelyn’s story this morning to a group of about 50 doctors at Northwestern Hospital.  They wanted to learn more about our experience with losing Katelyn and how the medical community could better handle cases when an infant dies. 

In my heart I know God was there with us, because although we have told our story countless times, the content was a bit different this time.  We had to vocalize the most painful parts we endured with the doctors, the initial grief, the ‘event’ itself and then tell them what could have been done differently.    

Remembering back to 10 ½ months ago when we first learned Katelyn’s heart stopped brought tears to my eyes.  I felt like I was taken back to that ultrasound room where I received a head nod when I asked if she was dead.    God gave me the grace and composure to continue on with our story and the advice we had for the doctors.

Our advice to the doctors was first and foremost “Listen to your patients.”  When a mother calls her doctor because she instinctively knows something is not right with her baby, listen to her and insist that she come in to the office as soon as she can.   Some of the other advice we gave them was:

    • When a patient comes into the office after calling to tell you that she has not felt her baby move for a long time, don’t make her sit in the waiting room.  In our case, I had to sit in the waiting room for 35 minutes before they would see me. 
    • We know how these families feel and we also know that a connection like this was something we needed and wanted after Katelyn died.
    • Never refer to the baby as “it” or “IUFD” (Intrauterine Fetal Death or In Utero Fetal Demise) in any conversations with the family or on any paperwork given to them.  To this date, the doctor will not put Katelyn Grace’s name on her medical records.  Even though she was born without life, she was Still Born.
    • Do the thinking for the patient – take a mold of the footprints, make an ID bracelet for the baby with his/her name on it, etc.
    • When the patient asks for something, try to accommodate them.  Losing a child is not only unbearable, but unknown territory for the parents
    • Remember that the baby might be a statistic to society, but he/she is a big part of someone’s family
    • Offer the option for a NILMDTS (Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep) photographer to come in and take pictures.  This was offered to us and we can’t imagine going a day without looking at her pictures.  She was truly beautiful.

    Do I blame the doctor we had for Katelyn’s death?  I must admit, I actually did at first.  I think it is a natural thing when a child dies with no medical explanation.  Do I blame myself?  I admit I do that sometimes too.  But then I remember that we live in a fallen world and only God has control over life and death.  I know in my heart that the pain of losing Katelyn Grace will never go away while Scott and I are here on this earth, but there is comfort in knowing that she is with Jesus and we will see her again someday.  In the meantime, we can rest in the knowledge that she is without pain, without tears, without fear or loneliness.  She was made perfect in the image of God and remains right there with him. 

    She was Stillborn, but she was Still Born.


    Jayden Allen - Jehovah has Heard

    June 23, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

    I feel blessed when I meet other women who have lost their babies and are a wonderful testimony of how God can get us through our losses and guide us through.  After you read Cindy’s story below, I hope you are as encouraged as I was (even through my tears) at the awesome power of our Lord Jesus.   We continue to pray for Cindy, her husband Glenn, and their beautiful little girl Emma.   This is the story of baby Jayden Allen, born in Heaven on Febriuary 10, 2009. He was stillborn, but he was Still Born.


    …Our story begins in July 2008.  My husband and I were so busy preparing for our daughter’s first birthday, that I didn’t notice I was late.  On August 2nd, I had a dentist appointment.  Something inside of me told me to take a pregnancy test … “just to be sure”.  Sure enough, it was positive!  I was pregnant!  The pregnancy was a complete surprise, but once the shock wore off and the news settled in, we became so excited.  We knew this baby must have been a gift from God because we were not trying to conceive at all!  So I set up my first prenatal visit and began our journey through my second pregnancy. 


    In my first pregnancy, I was so nervous every time I went to the doctor’s office.  For some reason, this pregnancy, I was much less nervous.   I did experience some morning sickness and fatigue, but it was not as bad as my first pregnancy.  Once we passed the first trimester, I breathed a sigh of relief.  We were having a baby!  My due date was March 22nd, just one week after my birthday (which I also shared with my mom!) The possibility of three generations being born on the same date was exciting to me. What a blessing it would be!  Each night, we would pray together as a family.  We prayed for the safety and health of our daughter, and we prayed for our unborn child - that God would help the baby grow and develop perfectly.  We prayed that God would watch over our children and protect them… we prayed for a healthy baby. 


    October rolled around, and we went for our 18 week anatomy scan.  The ultrasound tech recognized us from our previous pregnancy (it hadn’t been that long before!) and was excited to see us back.  She took all her measurements - and said everything looked good.  Then she asked if we wanted to know the sex of our child.  Yes!  So she moved the probe back over to the side of my tummy, and pointed to the screen and said “there is your little boy!”.  My eyes filled with tears and I cried with joy.  Our family was complete!  We had a beautiful girl, and now we would have a beautiful boy!  God has truly blessed us!   We left the doctor’s appointments with smiles on our faces that were from ear to ear.  We couldn’t believe it… we were going to have a little boy!


    We began to think of names.  We had several from our first pregnancy, but none seemed right for our little boy.  Then one day as I was coming home from music class with our daughter, a name popped into my head.  Jayden.  I loved it! But would my husband?  That night when he got home, I asked him “What do you think about Jayden?”.  He liked it but wanted to know what it meant.  So we went online and looked up it’s meaning.  It means “Jehovah has heard”.  Perfect!  God had heard our desire to have a son and was answering our prayers.  We felt for sure that He had dropped the name in my heart for a reason.  So from that day forward, we referred to our little boy by his God given name “Jayden Allen”. 


    January 6th, my father went in for a routine procedure.  I had just begun my third trimester, and because I was considered high risk, I had an ultrasound scheduled each month during the last trimester.  So I dropped my father off, and rushed to my ultrasound appointment.  I saw Jayden and heard his heart beat and everything looked good. He was growing beautifully!  The doctor joked that he was going to be a much bigger baby than my first!  But boys were supposed to be bigger and huskier!  What I didn’t know was that this would be the last time that I would see my baby alive.  My father ended up having an allergic reaction to a medication he was given during the procedure which caused him to bleed extensively internally.  He nearly lost his life.  I was so scared that my son would never meet his grandpa and wanted my daughter to have memories with him as well. For a week, it was touch and go.  We didn’t know if he would make it.  I was terribly stressed and worried. Well, after 20 days in the hospital, my father did in fact come home.  We were so relieved, but the stress had taken its toll on my body.  I told my husband that I felt worse than I had my entire pregnancy with our daughter.  In one month, I went from having a relatively pain free, fairly healthy pregnancy to feeling pains in places I didn’t know existed.


    The last week of January, my daughter contracted a virus and was throwing up for three days.  It was awful to watch her so sick.  A few days passed, and she was on the mend - but not before sharing the virus with me.  I woke up on Friday morning, January 31st throwing up.  It was terrible, being eight plus months pregnant, and throwing up!  I contacted my OBGYN, and she told me that if I couldn’t hold fluid down by the evening, I would have to go to the emergency room and have IV fluids.  Well, that evening, I was able to hold some fluids down so we were saved from a trip to the ER.  Looking back now, I wish I would have gone - perhaps they would have seen something to tell us that Jayden was having trouble. 


    The following week, I had the first of my weekly non stress tests.  It was Thursday, February 5th.  They strapped the monitors to my belly, which typically prompted a kick or two from Jayden - but not this time.  I thought it was odd, but also had heard that as they get bigger, they don’t move as much.  The test was reactive, my OB was satisfied and off I went.  My brother was getting married that Saturday, and I had so much to do! 


    The weekend was filled with activities, and out of town guests.  I was busy and did not have time to check kick counts.  It wasn’t until the following Monday that I realized I had not felt Jayden move in a while.  I thought he was always active in the evening and after my meal.  So I waited.  We had dinner that night, and I laid on my left side.  Nothing.  I rubbed my tummy and talked to him.  I became nervous, but tried to reassure myself that he didn’t have much room to move.  But I had always felt him kick in the middle of the night.  That night I waited up.  I rubbed my tummy, drank juice. Nothing.  I grew concerned, and at 2am, I woke up my husband.  He told me to call the doctor right away.  I was so scared, so I began pushing my belly harder to wake him up.  I thought I felt him move, so I told my husband I would call first thing in the morning. 


    The next day, I called as soon as the office opened.  They scheduled me a late morning appointment to come in and make sure all was ok.  I sat nervously throughout the morning but tried to keep myself busy with my daughter.  So I dropped her off at my father’s and drove to the OB.  They brought me in to the room and tried to find the heartbeat with the monitor.  The tech was having trouble, so she said she was going to have the doctor check.  She told me not to worry, the baby was hiding.  But deep down inside, I knew something wasn’t right.  They brought me down to the ultrasound room and my doctor came in.  There was no small talk.  She said “let’s see what’s going on with this baby”.  The minute she put the probe to my belly, I knew something wasn’t right.  There was no red blood flow, no beating heart.  Just the image of a very still baby.  I asked her if everything was ok.  She looked at me, and with very sad eyes she said “No, I’m so sorry.  There is no heart beat”.  With those words, my world shattered, my dreams were crushed. I was numb, and in shock, and scared, and sad all at once.  How could this be?  What happened?  What did I do wrong?  Will my husband blame me?  How could he not?  How could I tell him that our precious little boy, our gift from God, the answers to our prayers … was gone?  My doctor suggested that I call Glenn, but I couldn’t.  I asked her to call him and just have him come.  She did.  The next 45 minutes were the longest moments of my life.  When he walked in the room, I could tell he had been crying.  He hugged me, and held me and we cried together.  I must have said “I’m so sorry” a thousand times that day.  I felt like I was to blame.  Jayden relied on me for life, and I failed him.  How could my husband forgive me. 


    The doctor came back in, and began to discuss our options.  Since I had a previous cesarean with my daughter, I had decided early on that we would do another section rather than chance a problem during delivery.  I felt like a walking tomb.  I wanted to deliver that day.  She accommodated my request, and arranged for the delivery that evening.  We left the office empty, left with only phone calls to make to notify our family of our loss.


    One by one, we called them.  We cried, they cried.  How could this have happened?  We drove to my father’s house to pick up our daughter.  He was feeding her when we walked in.  We were so broken.  We told him Jayden was gone.  He was shocked.  Everyone was.  We sat around his house that afternoon.  My sister asked my permission to arrange a Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photographer to come to the hospital.  I told her that was fine, but I didn’t know at that point if I would be able to hold him or see him.  I was so devastated.  She understood, and said she would take care of the details for me. 


    We left my father’s house and headed to the hospital.  We felt so empty as we walked into the Labor and Delivery floor.  There was no excitement this time.  Only pain. The nurses were already aware that we were coming, and brought us quickly to a room they had prepared for us at the back of labor and delivery.  The following hour and a half is a blur as nurses and staff came in to prepare me for the cesarean.  I asked to be heavily medicated during the procedure.  I didn’t want to be awake as they took my dead baby from me.  The next I remember, I was coming to, and the anesthesiologist told me they were just about finished.  They wheeled me back to the L&D room where my husband was waiting.  I could tell that he had been crying.  He told me that he held Jayden and that he was beautiful.  The doctor came in and encouraged me to see Jayden. She told me that it would be healing.  After a few moments, I was ready.   The doctor wheeled him into the room in the plastic bucket that all newborns call their crib for their hospital stays.  He was beautiful.  They were right, he was perfect.  He was my son.  My husband and I spent the next two hours with him.  We cried, and held him.  We looked at his toes, his fingers, his nose, his ears, his hair… examining every detail of our boy.  The photographer came in and took a few pictures… pictures that are my cherished treasures now.  I look at them daily, and think of the boy that I will get to know in heaven.  We know that we will have eternity with him, and at that time, God will restore all the years that we missed with him on earth.  We know that if we just trust the Lord, and hold onto His promises, we will see Jayden again.  That brings us some comfort. 


    And so it was, on February 10th, 2009, our son Jayden Allen was born into the hands of Jesus.  He was 5 lbs, 2 ozs, and was 19 inches long.  We have been on our grief journey for just over four months now.  I have forgiven myself for feeling like I failed our son.  I know that I did everything that I knew I could to take care of myself during my pregnancy.  My husband has never once blamed me.  He has been so supportive, and I love him more than ever for it. I still struggle with anger sometimes.  Angry that there are people who disregard their children, mistreat them, abuse or even abandon them - but they were given healthy children.  Angry that my husband and I wanted our son from the moment we found out that we were pregnant.  We planned for him and loved him with all our hearts, and we don’t have him here with us.  But our anger is not directed at God, rather its directed at this fallen world that we live in.  Here, there is sickness, pain, disappointment, hurt.  But we hold onto the assurance that one day, in heaven, there will be no more pain, no more sorrow, no more tears.  The bible says that he’ll wipe away the tears from our eyes.  I know he will restore my heart, and heal the deep pain that has penetrated it when we lost Jayden. 


    Since Jayden passed, we have met some wonderful people who walk the same road that we do.  People we would have never met if it hadn’t been for our son, or their loss of their sweet baby.  We still miss Jayden terribly, and some days it feels as though my heart has been ripped out of my chest all over again.  We wish we knew why he had to go so soon, but are trusting in God that His ways are beyond our comprehension.  Our goal now is to make his life matter.  Bring change to someone else’s life as a result of Jayden.  Our prayer is that other parents who are experiencing the same pain as us, will also come to experience the same hope that we have.  The hope that one day, we will be reunited with our children in heaven.  There is a piece of us that will always be missing, a small void that can never be filled - because it is with our son.  But God understands our pain, and cries when we cry - and can mend our broken hearts.  My prayer for anyone reading this story is that you will understand one thing - that while we hurt deeper than I could have ever imagined, we are trusting the Lord to heal our wounded hearts.  The bible promises us that he will bind up the broken hearted.  We daily pray that God would take our burden, and give us peace.  Thank you for reading our story.  We pray that God would bless you deeply and bring you comfort.




    Time spent with Katelyn - Video

    January 23, 2009 by Audreys · 1 Comment