The story of Jacob Finley

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Told by: Rachel

The story of Jacob Finley.

I’m sitting here trying to gather the strength to type yet another story that is far too short. My hand wanders to what remains of my baby bump which still angrily cramps most of the time as a painful reminder off all I have lost, and all I can think is how cold and lifeless it is inside me now.

How did I end up here again? I really thought this would be my forever rainbow baby, “I won’t lose a 2nd baby… that happens to other people but not me”.

I had been in therapy to deal with the loss of baby Dawn in 2012 at 5-6 weeks. I felt I was has healed as I would be and I was moving forward in my life. My brother had died by Suicide that year and this had devastated my whole family. However I had returned to college and was studying nursing with a minor in International Rescue and Relief. I absolutely loved diving over the side of tall buildings in a harness to rescue my “victim” stuck somewhere half way down.

I got a job as an EMT working nights and excelled knowing I was in a field I loved. I had started dating a guy from home and we were making the long distance dating work. Apparently it worked REALLY well because on October 28th I took a pregnancy test before leaving for work at 5am. I took them regularly not because I thought I would get pregnant (I was on the pill) but because I just wanted to be sure because of the dangers of my field to a pregnant woman.

Before I ran out the door I remembered to glance at the test, and my world changed forever. From the beginning I had a hard time accepting my pregnancy. I loved my tiny baby with all my heart and was so excited to welcome him in July. However I struggled with depression and fear of losing him. I was also upset about having to leave work and give up some of the adventures I had planned for my life. My boyfriend was ecstatic when I told him and immediately began to make plans for the future as well as taking a second job to save for our little one. I had intense cramps from the very beginning of my pregnancy, but everyone I talked to seemed to think they were normal.

However on November 2nd on the three year anniversary of losing Dawn I began to bleed and my college roommate rushed me to the hospital. After a rough exam by a male doctor he told me I would need a catheter to fill my bladder with fluid before my sonogram. My nurse never asked my permission she simply shoved a tube the size of her pinkie inside me. I screamed and began to cry from the pain, to which she laughed and informed me that I really did not need the cath it just “made her life easier”.

She then left me alone and in pain for an hour.

I heard her outside telling a friend how she “did not have the right size so she made due”. I know I learned to disassociate from my body during that hour but I finally had my friend call the nurse and demand that they remove the cath. My request was ignored and instead I was taken back to ultrasound alone. My bladder was then filled with a bag of cold saline which increased my already horrible pain. I never even got to see my ultrasound I was in so much pain I could not even look. Afterword I was left alone in that tiny room while she took her scans to the doctor. I was finally diagnosed with a threatened miscarriage and told to go home. After that the bleeding and cramping stopped but I decided it would be best if I moved home early despite it being mid semester. My sister was just a few weeks ahead of me in her 4th pregnancy and I loved being able to gloat about how I was sailing through with little to no morning sickness while she puked her guts out well into her 2nd trimester.

Baby was looking great and my HCG was right on track so I saw no need to be concerned. Besides I had PLENTY of other symptoms like craving garlic so bad that I would cry if none was available. Even though it was early in my first trimester Mike and I announced our little surprise to family and friends and began to gather things for our yellow and grey nursery.

There was never a question to anyone this was totally a boy! We decided to name him Jacob Finley simply because it was a name we loved. At 7 weeks 4 days I started bleeding again much more than before and the cramps were back in force. I sobbed in the ER waiting for my sonogram and HCG test results to.

However It only took a few seconds for us to see a healthy little flutter and my cute little bean still hanging in there strong and healthy. He had a heartbeat of 130 which was amazing for a baby so young. The doctor sent me home on bed rest but was optimistic about me having a healthy full term baby. Every person who took care of me that night was pregnant which my mom and I joked about being a sign.

On Monday at 8 weeks 1 day my cramps seemed more intense but I decided to ignore them and focus on my healthy baby and staying as still as possible for him. However as the day went on my labor began to pick up and I started having full on contractions every few minutes. Michael helped me through them until he had to leave for his first night shift at 6 pm. Neither of us thought anything was wrong still since cramps were nothing new to me. At 7 PM I had three contractions in a row that made me want to cry out and a pressure and stinging in my cervix and I felt like I could not take another minute of it. I did not say anything to my family who sat nearby watching TV I still did not believe anything was wrong. I made my way to the bathroom doubled over in pain hoping a warm bath would bring relief. I turned on the water to let it run while I sat on the toilet.

Almost instantly I felt a pop and something that felt huge came out of me. I jumped off the toilet and reached in after it. As a midwife I knew exactly what I was feeling before I even saw the placenta. It was about the size of my palm which I felt was awfully large for my gestation. For some reason my first instinct was to put it in the bath I had just drawn for myself and washed the blood away. I saw the fully intact placenta, what looked like a cord and a small bubble of fluid. I could not see a baby anywhere but the fluid bubble was impossible to see through. I held it for a second but simply could not bring myself to open that bubble and see my worst fear.

Looking back I wish I had but I know I was in shock. I calmly walked out and told my mom I had just lost the baby and I needed to go to the hospital because I was bleeding a lot. We put the tissue in a jar and drove to the hospital in total silence I say tissue because at this point my defense went up and I decided that I had not lost the baby this was just a twin that they had missed or the part of the placenta that had been bleeding had broken off. I told the nurses at the hospital and my mom that I knew the baby was just fine and we would soon see a little heartbeat. I continued talking about nursery colors and working on my online baby registry during my wait. I did become superstitious when I noticed that none of my team were pregnant this time…Was it a sign?

A tech came in and asked if he could take the baby from me for testing at the lab.

Looking back I wish I could remember his name to thank him because him calling it a baby and not the fetus or fetal tissue has been something I replay over and over. Although I deeply regret letting the lab take the baby something about him calling him a baby and his respect lets me imagine that my baby was treated with respect after he left me.

My mom started crying and said it felt wrong to let him go and asked if I wanted to say goodbye first. I laughed and reminded her that my baby was still alive and well inside me and that was just tissue. However as he walked away with him I felt a sinking in my heart and instinct told me to run after the tech and not let my son go.

This is my greatest regret… why did I not run after him? Why did I let my baby go with a stranger to a lab? Why did I not insist on them giving him back to me to bury? I did none of these and I’m left with this as my most painful memory. I feel like it was so important for me to open that sack and see him, and hold him, and kiss his tiny body, and tell him how I love him. I was not allowed to see the sono screen but I knew from watching my mom’s face that she had not seen the heartbeat. The whole thing took about a minute to complete and to this day its so hard because I always want to slip back into denial and wonder if she missed him on the ultrasound because it was so quick.

I had the most incredible doctor who sat beside me and gently broke through my denial to tell me that my HCG was down a thousand points and that my uterus was absolutely empty, I had passed everything. I was sobbing by this time saying how much I hated my sister for having a healthy pregnancy when I could not even get one healthy baby. My nurse took my hand and I could hear emotion in her voice as she told me she had an angel baby too and she understood my pain.

I had been trying to call Michael all night but since it was his first night on his new job his phone was off. I sobbed for him and refused to take the pain medication because I was sure that there was still hope my baby was ok. I must have taken the drugs because I remember waking up feeling very drunk and hardly able to open my eyes because they were so swollen. Michael was climbing into my bed and holding me tight crying with me. We cried together through the rest of the night and since we both struggled with denial we finally looked at the pictures I had taken sometime before I left the house. Although you can’t see the baby in them it helped to solidify what had just happened. Those first days were my low point, I just wanted to die with Jacob and leave the pain of this world behind.

My mom bought me a pendent of a mother holding a child in her heart and I spent my nights holding that to my heart along with his tiny outfits and crying myself to sleep.

Now that I’m two weeks past the miscarriage I feel like I have some words of wisdom for any of you mommas who are going through this now.

The first days feel like life will never go on and you will simply implode from the pain. You are stronger than you think and you can get through this. You won’t get over it but you will get through it. Find a support group online in those first days. I ended up finding two other mommas who were miscarrying the same day I was and we formed such a bond as we grieved together and shared our journey.

My family loves me but in their search for answers they don’t realize that they suggest that this was somehow something I did or did not do which hurts so much. My sister had her gender reveal today and cried without shame when she found out she was having a girl.

I had to leave because I felt such anger that someone blessed with a healthy baby could complain about anything. The truth is everyone around me is going through their own grief and part of that is losing me to the new woman I have become.

I am Jacob’s mommy and part of me will forever be his alone. All he ever knew was me singing to him at night, Michael pushing against his little home feeling my growing tummy and the love of his extended family. Michael and I are ready to begin our journey toward a rainbow baby so here’s hoping that the new year brings with it that positive pregnancy test and a sticky rainbow baby.

In loving memory of Jacob Finley Nyarko Born sleeping at 8 weeks 11/24/2014

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