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Love Lives On .....

by April Diane Hill
E-Mail is appreciated at joeyhill@webtv.net 

October 5, 1998

Just two short months ago, I was still pregnant. We were in the homestretch. How on earth could anything go wrong? It did...

My husband and I learned on January 21, 1998 that we were finally expecting our first baby. Words alone can't describe the joy we felt. We fell in love with our child that very second and that love continued to grow over the next several months. I had a very uneventful pregnancy. I am a diabetic but I kept my glucose under tight control the whole time. I had every symptom known to pregnant women but they never really bothered me. Several times from Father's day on, I would notice a decrease in movement and run straight to the hospital and it always turned out to be nothing. I figured the nurses thought I was just crying wolf and just wanted to hear my baby's heartbeat all the time...WELL I did, what's wrong with that?

My last office visit was on August 12. The doctor said everything looked beautiful. The heart rate was strong at 150 bpm. He even did an ultrasound. The baby was breech but that did not seem to pose any potential problem. Little did I know then that that would be the last time I would ever see my baby's heart or hear it beating ever again...

On Friday, August 14, I noticed that I hadn't felt the baby move much lately. After trying everything I knew to encourage kicking or something, nothing had happened. The doctor had me come to the hospital to get monitored. Two nurses could not find the heartbeat with doppler. They said not to worry, that the doctor would probably find it with no problem on u/s. After scanning me for several minutes, I asked if everything was all right. My doctor turned to me with a tear in his eye and said that he was sorry, but it wasn't. He couldn't find the baby's heartbeat. My body went numb. There was no way this was happening. There must be some mistake. We only had two weeks left. I was 36 weeks pregnant, how could our baby be dead?! This doesn't happen at this stage of the game. Babies die in the first or second trimesters, not the third! I had no idea then, that this could possibly happen to us or anybody else for that matter.

After 36 hours of labor, I only progressed to 7 centimeters. I was in agony both mentally and physically. My doctor performed a c-section on Sunday, August 16. Our son, Joseph Daniel Hill (Joey) was born still. No cries, or movement that I had so long dreamed I would see and hear...just silence. I finally got to see and hold our son a couple of hours later. The nurse handed me my big boy. He was 9 pounds, 3 ounces, and 20 inches long. He was so perfect. How could a baby that looked so healthy be dead? We held him for as long as we could. He had ten fingers and ten toes (big feet). Everyone says he looks just like me. I just think he looks beautiful. We took lots of pictures and we laid our son to rest on August 21, 1998. We miss him terribly. My husband and I have slowly started putting the pieces of our broken lives back together. We have even already started trying to conceive again. We realize that another baby will never take Joey's place, but we do want to have something positive to focus on. We have since learned that Joey had a cord anomaly called a two-vessel cord (one artery/one vein). This will predispose a baby to stillbirth not cause it. My doctor believes his cord got pinched off somehow probably that Friday morning or so. We can't prove anything. His autopsy showed that he was perfect in every way. One day, we will get to raise our son in Heaven. For now, he will be in the loving arms of Jesus to care for him. Joey will live on in our hearts and minds forever. I promised him that no matter how bad things get, no matter how hopeless, we will go on. We love you little Turtle Man and miss you more than words can ever express...Love lives on...

Love, Mommy and Daddy

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