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My Sweet Baby Zachary

by Susan Holstine
10th May 1998

My heart goes out to all of you who to have lost your sweet babies.

Last August of 1997, we found out we were pregnant. My husband & I were so excited we could hardly stand it. We were very cautious & decided to wait until after the 12 weeks, the safe period, to tell anyone. We were due April 11, 1998.

My first visit to the Drs. was at 8 weeks, they could not hear a heartbeat so they wheeled in the ultrasound & there my baby was!! The size of a quarter, just a round circle spinning around. I was so happy, I was finally going to be a Mom!

My Dr. advised us that since I would be 35 when I delivered, to either have an Amnio or CVS test done. We chose the CVS test. At 13 weeks we had the CVS test & that was the first time my husband saw our baby on the ultrasound. You could already make out the head, arms, body and legs. The ultrasound tech called our baby "wild thing" because it was just moving all over the place. We were both very proud parents already. In 1 week we would know if everything was ok and whether it was a girl or boy.

My pregnancy went very smooth, no morning sickness at all. I just couldn't sleep at all at night & was just basically very crabby most of the time!

The results were back from the CVS in a week or so and everything was ok & it was a boy!!!!! This would be the first boy on my side of the family. We had now told everyone & everyone was very excited for us.

We started slowly buying things and getting ready for the baby. We got a new crib, changing table, monitor and some clothes. I decided to decorate the baby's room in clouds. I picked out the nicest material, it was light blue with clouds and silver sparkles all over it. Little did I know at the time that our baby would end up in the clouds in the sky.

My husband & I love to travel, especially to Hawaii. We had decided that even after the baby was here that we would travel there once a year for 7 nights without the baby, just the 2 of us. We also thought we would go to Hawaii December 4, 1997 for one last long vacation, just the 2 of us before our bundle of joy arrived.

My Dr. said it would be ok to travel, I was at 22 weeks, but just to be on the safe side I would take a copy of my medical records. We were all packed and ready to leave on Thursday. Tuesday my worst nightmare started. That night before I went to bed I noticed I was spotting a little pink stuff. I was very nervous, I don't think I slept at all that night. I called the Dr. on Wed morning and the nurse told me, unless it is bright red blood, not to worry. She said there are a lot of little blood vessels and one could have just broke. I told her that we were leaving tomorrow for Hawaii for 12 nights. She just said well have a great trip, everything should be just fine.

Thursday was a long travel day to Maui, were both exhausted when we got there, but everything was fine. Friday we had a wonderful day on the beach, took a nice walk & had dinner at The Hard Rock Cafe ( my favorite burger place). That night I just could not get comfortable at all I really didn't get any sleep that night.

Saturday I wasn't feeling too great. I wrote out some of our Christmas cards, just telling everyone about how excited were about the baby. Around 2pm my husband & I were walking on the beach & I just had to stop I was getting really bad pains in my stomach. I called my Dr. in Colorado & he advised me to just go the hospital and get checked out just to be on the safe side.

It was 1 hour drive from our hotel in Maui to the hospital. I knew something was wrong I kept having those pains, I told my husband, I think I am in labor! Well sure enough when we arrived I was dilated to a 3 and was in labor. They started me on terbutaline with mg and ampicillin. They said if they could just keep the baby inside for another 8 weeks the chances would be good of survival. They did an ultrasound around 7pm. Our baby was just fine, there were enough fluids and he was just moving around. That would be the last time my husband would see our baby, although we did not know that at the time.

The hospital in Maui decided to airlift me to Honolulu to a Women's & Children's Hospital where they had a neo-natal unit & the plan was to keep me on bedrest for 8 weeks until I could deliver safely.

My husband & I decided since everything seemed ok, the labor was stopped, that he should go back to the hotel, pack everything up and fly over to Honolulu Sunday morning. Keep in mind there are no commercial flights between the Hawaiian Islands between 10pm and 6am. We saw no urgency for him to go with me.

I was airlifted around 10:30pm. We were just 15 minutes into the flight when my labor stared up hard. This time there was no medicine that would stop it. I was very scared. When I reached the other hospital, I was dilated to a 10 & was told I would deliver in a couple of hours.

I had to call my husband & tell him, the man upstairs had a different plan for us and I would be delivering our son soon. That was the worst call I ever had to make, I felt so bad that he was alone by himself in Maui at the hotel, at least I had the nurses and Drs. with me.

I delivered a beautiful baby boy, Zachary Robert, at 1:29am on December 7th. He looked so perfect to me. He had his Dads nose & finger, he had my hairline and toes. His eyes were not opened yet, but I could not believe how big he looked to me. He weighed 1 pound .02 oz and was 12 inches long. He had fingernails & toenails but his lungs and insides were just too small. I just wanted to breathe life into him. My heart just ached. The nurses and Drs. were so nice to me, they took pictures of him and dressed him. We also baptized him right away and then we would do it again when my husband arrived. I just held him until his heart stopped at 4am. They took his fingerprints and toeprints. They let me keep him by my side for as long as I wanted. My husband arrived at 7:30am, of course Zachary did not look quite the same as he did when he was born. His dad held him & it was a very sad & precious time for all of us.

I am so thankful for the pictures I have and for the time I had with Zachary. Although it was not long enough, I now wish I would have held him a little closer & kissed him. I don't know why I didn't kiss my baby, all I can remember between the tears is just saying my sweet, sweet baby. I also regret not having someone take a picture of Zachary & his dad. That will always be a mental picture I hold close to my heart.

That Sunday was the start of my 23rd week. The Drs. now believe I have an incompetent cervix. I did have a leep procedure done in April & that may have weakened my cervix & it just could not hold the baby in once he starting getting too big. Next time they will put in a cerclage at 13 weeks, hopefully to avoid another traumatic outcome.

Zachary will always be our first baby & can never be replaced. Hawaii has always been a very special place for us & now is even more special to us. We just went back April 23rd & it was sad at first and then almost calming and peaceful knowing that was where we had our son.

I have come to learn that this grieving process is a long and hard one. Just when you think you are doing great, you have a set back. I have also learned that the anticipation of holidays & my actual due date turn out to be worse than I had expected. Today as I write my story it is my 1st Mother's Day. I just kind of feel numb. I sure would love to have Zachary here with us instead of him being in Heaven.

I have been reading a lot and have seen a lot of poems & this saying is my favorite;

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

Even though it has only been 5 months, I want to let you know there is hope, it does get a little easier with time. Someday I hope to see the good in all of this, but for now my eyes are still clouded by tears.

Zachary Robert will always be remembered, even when others have forgotten. He has left his fingerprint in our hearts forever.

Thanks for taking the time to read our story.

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