“Blake took so long to come into this world, but was taken from us in an instant.
On December 6, 2012, the day he turned 6 months old, our world was forever changed for the second time that year. We found out I was pregnant with our first baby on September 26, 2011. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is unbelievable. I’m going to be a mom!’ My husband Ben and I decided to keep the sex of the baby a surprise from ourselves and everyone else at my 20-week scan.
Pregnancy with Blake was so easy. No morning sickness, no crazy cravings…until I was nearing 8 months pregnant. I started to have high blood pressure readings and was finally put on modified bed rest for the last 4 weeks of my pregnancy. I had more 24-hour urine collections, blood draws, and NSTs (non-stress tests) than I can count, and a few stays in the hospital trying to keep my son and I healthy.
They were worried I was going to develop pre-eclampsia. At 39 weeks, on June 3rd, they decided to induce me and I was instructed to come in the next morning to check for any progress. My cousin Heather came along and she ended up being an amazing labor coach! I was having mild contractions but didn’t really know it at the time. The doctors decided it was time for Blake to make his arrival. Little did we know it would take days, 50+ hours, for him to make his appearance! So much of that timeframe is a blur for me now.
The doctors and nurses tried so many induction techniques before my doctor came in to speak with us. He said Blake’s head was stuck! I could try to push if I decided to, or be wheeled in for a c-section. We decided on the c-section. Honestly, the thought of pushing gave me anxiety! I didn’t do any research about c-sections, so I had no idea what was about to happen.
Luckily, everything went smoothly and Blake arrived at 9:49 p.m. on June 6, 2012, weighing 7lbs, 9oz, and 21 inches. Daddy announced, ‘It’s a boy!’ I was extremely happy to hear that we had a boy! I know in that instant Ben had all of these ideas in his head for when Blake was older and them being best buddies.
Once we were home, Blake slept so well! I used to think how great it was to have a baby that slept through the night. We were told Blake was doing so well at every check-up, growing perfectly, eating well, and meeting the normal milestones. In October, when he was 4 months old, we were having concerns with flatness on the back of his head. His pediatrician agreed and we were sent to a neurosurgeon to see if he would need a molding helmet to re-shape his head. I was feeling nervous thinking, ‘What if something is wrong with him? What if he needs surgery? How will we pay for it?!’
The doctor checked him out and said, ‘This looks to be a cosmetic thing. It is your choice if you want to have him fitted for a helmet, but he does not require any surgery to correct his head shape.’ I felt relieved, but it also meant we had a decision to make. We decided not to fit him for a helmet and hope that his head re-shapes on its own as he grew. I continued to have the thought in the back of my mind, ‘What if it doesn’t fix itself? Will he hate us forever for not getting the helmet?’
I didn’t have to worry about that thought for much longer. As it turns out, he was only with us on this Earth for 2 more months after that neurosurgeon appointment.
I didn’t have paid maternity leave and had to go back to work at 6 weeks. He was staying with an amazing lady who loved him like he was her own child! On December 6, he was put down for an afternoon nap on his back and never woke up again. For the first time that we knew, he rolled from his back to his belly and was found faced down in the pack n’ play. CPR was performed before paramedics arrived, but his heartbeat never started again.
I got the phone call from our daycare lady around 4 p.m. She told me, ‘Blake isn’t breathing’ and I didn’t get any more details before I hung up and was out the door. I must have been really hopeful during that 10-minute drive because I didn’t realize how bad it was until I arrived at her house. She told me the full story before we rushed to the hospital. My brain must have blocked out all of the horrible thoughts, because I honestly thought everything was going to be okay.
I knew Ben would already be there when we arrived. He was home from work and doing work around the house when all of this happened. I walked in the ER and the receptionist girl said to me, ‘Who are you here to see?’ The girl beside her hit her on the arm and said, ‘She is THAT baby’s mom!’ The original receptionist then asked for my insurance card. I walked away from them thinking, ‘This is the least of my worries right now! I need to see my baby!’ I was directed to a room and before I walked through the door I thought I heard a baby cry and thought everything was okay. I was completely wrong.
One of the nurses stopped me and said, ‘I’m so sorry ma’am. We did everything we could.’ Blake was gone. Ben, at some point before I got there, had told them to stop life-saving measures. He is a volunteer firefighter in our town and knew at this point it was too late. Our worlds came crashing down that afternoon. I felt so many emotions then. Obviously sad, but also angry because I didn’t know why this happened to us. We had more questions than answers for weeks before we found out that Blake had passed to SIDS. Basically, there is no known reason why he was taken from us. I thought having an ‘answer’ would help, but it didn’t give us closure like I was expecting.
Fast forward to July 2013. I found out I was pregnant again with our rainbow baby! Ben and I went out to dinner at Olive Garden for Ben’s birthday dinner on July 7th. I told him I had one more birthday gift for him and told him I was pregnant! Fast forward a few months and we found out we were having a girl. We instantly settled on the name Jenna. We were both terrified.
The thought of having a girl scared me to say the least. I’m not very ‘girly,’ so I had no idea how I would raise her! We know Blake had a hand in picking her and maybe he knew our hearts needed a girl because having another boy would bring back too many emotions. My pregnancy with Jenna was so much like Blake’s, minus the bed rest. I was having so many mixed feelings since everything was feeling the same as Blake’s pregnancy and I was scared we would lose her too. We had her c-section date scheduled for February 5th, but she had other plans!
I was dealing with high blood pressure again and at my last appointment my doctor said to me, ‘How does today sound for having your baby girl?’ I called Ben and we were on our way! A few hours later, Jenna was born at 8:21 p.m. weighing 7lbs 1oz and 19.25 inches.
Her first baby footprints at the hospital shocked us! Her one foot has a heart up by her toes! We have always thought Blake had something to do with this.
I have been to a medium before and both times Blake came through to me. During both readings baby footprints were talked about, but I wasn’t sure what that was referring to. I never made the connection that it was Jenna’s footprints until sometime after the second reading. This is one of our first big signs that Blake has given us!
Blake also had a hand with our next baby. Once again, this pregnancy felt so much like Blake’s. But I did have more complications early on. During the 10-week ultrasound, there was a high fluid level on my baby’s neck and they called it a cystic hygroma. This could mean so many things, or it could resolve and have nothing come from it. We saw a genetic counselor and decided to do non-invasive prenatal testing to check our baby’s DNA for chromosomal anomalies.
After several weeks of impatiently waiting, the results came back and we were having a boy! But most importantly, he seemed to be healthy! His next several ultrasounds showed the fluid had resolved. Fast forward to March 4, 2016, and Brady arrived by c-section. He had a little fluid in his lungs and needed oxygen for a day or so, but luckily that all resolved quickly. I had a potential complication during the surgery; they said my uterus was so thin and basically ‘see through.’
My doctor saw Brady’s full head of hair before he was removed! He said my uterus could have ruptured at any time and it was a blessing in disguise that Brady came a little early. He was 6lbs 6oz. 6/6 (June 6th) was the day his big brother was born! Another sign from Blake!
Both of our rainbow babies continue to be a blessing for us. They keep us on our toes as I’m sure their big brother has a part in. Jenna is so fierce and strong willed. She has big emotions and there’s never guessing what is on her mind as she is always talking! Brady is our sweet, goofy child and is the more laid back one, but is easily convinced by his sister to get into trouble!
We couldn’t be happier. We know Blake is here with us, making sure we’re okay!”
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