This session was very special to me. Pam has been one of my best friends since FIFTH grade….you read that right. We have been through soooo much together. I can’t even begin to list all the wonderful AND tough times we have seen each other through. But Pam was one of my biggest supporters through the loss of Rosalynn. She attended the funeral, and birthday celebrations after the fact, she sent gifts and brought her up regularly. The one thing you hope when going through the loss of a child, is that no one you know will EVER have to know that pain as well…..unfortunately she (and a few other close friends and family) now know the pain. I will share her story here in a moment.
When she announced her pregnancy, I KNEW the one way I could pay her pack for all of her love and support over the years, was to make her our August newborn session for the rainbow baby project!! Here is Pam’s full story, and scroll down to see the BEAUTIFUL newborn photos of Brooklynn:-)
“I have an amazing friend who has been with me though some of the best and worst moments of my life. On July 27th she was there for the birth of my rainbow baby Brooklynn. But to talk about Brookylnn, we have to first talk about her brother Joey.
In late 2014 my husband and I had been throwing around the idea of divorce. Our relationship had become extremely strained over the years, but thought that we would wait until after the holidays for the kids. In early January 2015, I found out I was pregnant. This was a huge surprise for us and completely shifted our plans for 2015. I loved being a mom and was excited and scared about this pregnancy. Not everyone was as excited as I was, but I wasn’t going to let that ruin the amazing feeling of carrying a baby.
I had gone into preterm labor with our son Cameron, and had watched Erin lose Rosie full term. I knew in the back of my mind that delivering a healthy baby doesn’t always happen, but was reassured at our 8-week ultrasound. The baby and I were doing great. I was measuring a full week behind, but maybe I just confused the dates (there was a lot going on.)
When I made it though the first trimester it was a relief. I knew the statistics and making past 12 weeks is a huge milestone. There still wasn’t the excitement from most family and friends as they were very confused about the pregnancy given our original plans. But, my husband and I decided that this baby must be here to bring us closer together. We decided that we needed to start doing more of what we had done in the past, so we decided to go on date night.
It was a Sunday and we had already prepaid for our hotel room and we had an overnight babysitter for the kids. But, by the time we got to the hotel I was feeling under the weather. I felt so crappy that we decided to order room service and stay in. I was having chills and was achy and I was convinced it was the flu or a virus. Date night was not a big success, but I spent a lot of time resting. I didn’t feel better the next day, in fact I felt worse. I called my OBGYN and she wasn’t overly concerned. She told me to stay hydrated and rest.
By Monday mid-day, I was feeling horrible and even called my boss and best friend and told them I wouldn’t be in for the night. I rarely called off sick, so they were immediately concerned. I called the OBGYN again and the nurse wasn’t worried about my symptoms. I didn’t have a fever and I already had an appointment later in the week for our 16-week gender ultrasound. She called to check on me a few hours later and at that point I started to get worried. She kept asking if my back hurt or if I was crampy and honestly, I hurt everywhere so I really didn’t know how to answer that. Instead of waiting until tomorrow for the ultrasound and to meet with the doctor, she wanted me to come in immediately.
I left the house immediately, and called my mom on the ride in. We chatted for the short drive to the OBGYN’s office. I hung up with her and started to walk in the door. Little did I know that stepping though those doors would change my life forever. I would no longer be the same person.
I was called back into the room and the doctor examined me. I didn’t have a fever, there wasn’t any protein in my urine and everything looked fine. She was convinced it was the flu also. She decided to listen to the baby’s heartbeat really fast. And that was it….silence…… She kept her cool and tried different spots on my stomach. She thought she had it at one point, but it was mine. She asked if I had felt the baby move, and I wanted to scream…..No I haven’t felt the baby move, I’m only 16 weeks. But as tears started to swell in my eyes, I simply said no. She said not to worry about it, sometimes due to baby’s position its hard to locate at this gestational age. Although she was extremely calm, this was not reassuring. I had 3 kids at this point, and never had the doctor had an issue finding their heartbeats and definitely not at 15 weeks and 6 days.
I got dressed and headed across the hall to the ultrasound room. I can tell you exactly what I was wearing that day. I can tell you that life as I knew it was about to change. She quickly put the ultrasound wand on me and there was my baby. But it wasn’t moving. Although I already knew the answer, I asked anyways…. why is the baby not moving? She explained that there wasn’t a heartbeat. That the baby was measuring 4 weeks behind and it was gone.
I have never felt so alone in all my life. There was just the two of us in the room and she was crying and so was I. Lots of tissues later, I had to get it together and listen to what she was saying. But how could this be…. I had a belly…I made it past the first trimester. We were going to find out what we were having TOMORROW. She explained that the baby must of not been compatible with life. What does that mean? My baby was living…for nearly 16 weeks! How could this be happening. In my darkest moment…she gave me a prescription for pain meds and explained that the nurse would be calling me with a date and time for surgery.
All I could think of was my kids, how was I going to tell them. I called my mom from the parking lot and told her right there. She starting crying and the worst was my dad…. all I heard was NO, NO. I tried to compose myself and called Erin. She had a way of making me feel better for the moment, but it quickly changed as I got closer to home. I walked in the door and my husband knew something was immediately wrong. Luckily, I could break down with him prior to my two older children coming home from school. Once they came home I had to tell them what was going on also. I’ve never had anxiety before, but watching my children hurt like that killed me.
I decided to take one of the pain pills but I still felt like I was betraying my baby for taking them. I knew there wasn’t a heartbeat, but I still had a belly. I still felt pregnant. I thought I had the flu. I felt like I missed something, I mean how could a mother not realize at nearly 16 weeks her baby was gone. I posted on facebook what was going on, and asked for prayers. I got a call from a friend to check on me. I had no idea that this call would change my life again further down the road.
I took another pain pill just wanting to go to sleep and hoping that I didn’t start to miscarry at home. The nurse called and explained what I needed to do to prep for surgery and that they couldn’t schedule me for two days. For two days I carried my baby knowing that it was already gone. These two days I thought about everything I should have, could have done differently. I must have done something to cause this.
The hospital called me to confirm the surgery time and had the audacity to ask how I was going to pay for the surgery. I lost it. I had been crying nonstop since I left the doctors, but this was down right bawling. How could someone be so inconsiderate. When did payments become more important than life.
Life wasn’t fair. I had to wait 3 weeks to find out the gender of my baby. I buried my baby and couldn’t put anything on its headstone until I knew what I was having. Although my belly was going down day by day, it was a constant memory of loss. I visited the cemetery and would talk to my baby even though I had no idea who I was talking to. Was it a boy, was it a girl? Finally, I was called back into the office to go over the test results. As I was impatiently waiting I found myself listening to the heartbeats of other babies. I got to hear the joy in their parents’ voices. I sat in the cold room all by myself waiting to find out. Life wasn’t fair. The testing came back and it was a boy. I lost Joseph Michael Hoffman on 4/1/2015. I lost the sense of myself on that day also. The same genetic testing that had revealed Joey was a boy also revealed I had a clotting disorder. The doctor explained that there must have been a clot and he saved my life. I felt horrible….my child died to save my life.
My husband and I didn’t make it. The loss of Joey was too much along with everything else that had strained it before. I started seeing my friend. The same friend who called to check on me at my darkest moment. We were very surprised when I found out I was pregnant. The deck was stacked against me. I had been recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, was older, lost a baby and had a clotting disorder that can make carrying a pregnancy to term pretty difficult. But with each appointment the doctors couldn’t believe how good I was doing. My boyfriend came with me to every appointment because he knew I was alone for some horrible moments in that same doctor’s office….he never wanted me to be alone.
We were induced on 8/27 at 39 weeks. 19 hours and 46 mins later we got to meet her. Erin barely made it in time. Brooklynn was perfect. She had a full head of hair and chubby legs. She completed a part of me that had been missing for a long time. She completes our blended family. She will never take the place of Joey and I will never forget him and his profound effect on me. I love harder now. I take things one day at a time or in some cases one moment at a time. I’ve learned that life is too short to be angry and that you can only live if you learn to forgive. “