Updated: Mar 10, 2021
January 22, 2021
A week before we found out that our baby had passed away, my midwife, who is also one of my good friends, couldn’t find a heartbeat with a doppler. At this point, we thought I was only about 11 weeks (we found out later on that I was actually farther along than we had thought) so I wasn’t too worried. I know that I also have a tilted uterus and an anterior placenta. With all of those things in mind, I was calm about the situation and agreed to come back in one week, just to listen for fetal heart tones.
One week passed and I headed into the birth center with my one year old and three year old (my then four year old was in school). I laid down, joking and laughing with my midwives, as usual. I exposed my belly, which was a definite bump by that point, and she smeared the jellied wand across my abdomen.
None of us could hear anything.
Now I’m a bit worried, but still trying to keep my cool. She recommends that I run over to our local ultrasound office to get checked.
I left and I called the ultrasound office immediately. They told me that they couldn’t see me until Monday. Their exact words were, “You waited this long (meaning a week) to find out if your baby has a heartbeat, you can wait three more days.“ After that, I hastily made an appointment for Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. I knew I couldn‘t wait until Monday, so I called DJ, my mother-in-law, and our friend, Chelsea. My mother-in-law and Chelsea stayed with our kids, as DJ and I went to the ER.
As we walked into the ER, they wouldn’t let DJ back any further than the waiting room, due to the COVID-19 protocols. I knew my mom was working that day (she’s a respiratory therapist and I was at her hospital), so I called her and told her what was going on. She met me down in the ER and was able to accompany me to my ultrasound.
As soon as they put the wand on my belly, I knew. I’ve had my fair share of ultrasounds, and I’m also a doula, so I know exactly what I’m looking at and looking for. She turned her screen from my view and clicked through the measurements very quickly. I started sobbing and all she could say was, “I’m so sorry. I’m SO sorry.”
They quietly wheeled me back to my room.
I fought for them to allow DJ to come back there with me enough, that they ended up breaking protocol and allowing him to come back after we found out that our baby was no long alive, so the doctor could explain to us both what comes next.
My mom asked me who was going to be there with me for educated, unbiased support as I went through the process of figuring out which steps I felt comfortable taking next. She asked if it was my midwife’s job to do that... it’s not. She asked if I should seek out an OB, but that’s also not part of their job, either. I looked at her and smiled, and said, “Mom, this is a doula’s job. I need a doula.”
And in that moment, it clicked for my mom, who has always supported me in my dreams, even in the ones she didn’t fully understand. She realized that a doula is essential. Her daughter’s job is essential. And her daughter, the wild, hippy doula, needed a doula, herself.
My sweet Colton Dean 🕊🌿
The hardest thing to
convey to the world
is that I lost so much more
than meets the eye.
I lost my innocence,
an ocean of hopes and dreams,
the beautiful privilege to use your name
in normal conversation,
and to know who you’d be today,
instead of wondering.
We lost our sweet son today.
I’m heartbroken. I’m scared. I’m angry. I’m feeling all of the things at the moment. I miss him so much already. Please pray for our family. We have no idea how to tell the kids. Send us peace and the confidence to navigate this. Please send me strength through this process. I’m terrified of what’s to come. This isn’t how I envisioned meeting him.
Art work done by my sweet friend, Calli Boner, who owns the shop, ”The Ivy Vibe.”
Poem by Franchesca Cox.
*REMINDER: if you didn’t read my original blog post prefacing my story, Isla was originally Colton. Her sex was incorrect (male) on the first test we took, but came back correct (female) when we took our genetics test. Also, it was absolutely clear that she was a female when she was born.*