‘Just unhook our boy, and let us hold him.’ The feeling is indescribable. Things became a blur.’: Woman has baby at 23 weeks, shares grief journey, ‘He’s our little superhero’

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Disclaimer: This story includes graphic images of child loss and may be triggering to some.

“When I got pregnant with Jameson, it was a HUGE SURPRISE. We weren’t trying. Heck, we were engaged and planning a wedding, and along came a pregnancy.

I remember thinking, ‘How is this even possible?’ I never thought I could get pregnant. My OB at the time said it would be hard, given I suffered from PCOS since I was 16. Here I was, 28 and having my first baby. I never planned on it happening in my late 20’s, because I always wanted to be a mom. But, God had other plans, and so did I, apparently.

Matt and I met when we were 25 — kind of randomly through our (now) sister-in-law, Kaitlyn. We were so close where we worked together, and I remember joking I would be her sister-in-law one day. Lo and behold, here were are years later.

Matt and I talked about having kids, but after we were married. I don’t really remember why I took a test. I know I was late for sure, but that happened now and again. But, there I was in the bathroom of our rented house, with a positive pregnancy test. I was ready to burst of shock and happiness!

The pregnancy was relatively normal, for me. My progesterone was low, and I had to take supplements the first few weeks. At 10 weeks, I suffered a sub-chorionic hemorrhage, and I thought we were losing the baby. I remember getting up to use the bathroom and running because I felt something coming out. There was blood EVERYWHERE. The OB on-call was zero help and wasn’t very supportive, but I went to the hospital anyways. Thankfully, God was with us, and we heard Jameson’s beautiful heartbeat. There he was, moving around so strong.

I had a few more ultrasounds than the norm to watch him. A few weeks later, we chose to switch to our now, amazing, OB office, which I will always say was the best decision we ever made. A few more weeks passed by, and I felt great. I felt him moving around more and more and heard his heartbeat with a home Doppler whenever I wanted. Things changed pretty quickly though.

Courtesy of Megan Poznanski

July 9th I woke up feeling off. I couldn’t pinpoint what it was, but I called off work and just took it easy. Sometime in the afternoon, I noticed our dog, Dixie, was super clingy and wouldn’t leave me. She followed me everywhere (which now, isn’t too far from the norm). I went to the bathroom, and when I sat down, I felt like I had peed myself before actually going. My back also hurt a little. I called Matt and told him I thought something was wrong, and we needed to go to the hospital.

We got to OB Triage at Reading Hospital and the normal checkups started. Lab work, an ultrasound, etc. I told them I still felt like some fluid was coming out, and they decided to check it. It turned out positive for amniotic fluid. Here I was at 23 weeks, leaking fluid, and starting to have contractions. They decided to admit us to labor and delivery to start the process of stopping the contractions (very small at the time). They gave me shots to help Jameson’s lungs and other meds to slow whatever was happening, which we had no idea why it was.

I had no idea what to even expect, given this was my first pregnancy. We were terrified but determined to do whatever we could to give him any quality of life, because we understood the other option. NICU came in to talk, and because he was just over ‘viability’ (a topic I feel strongly about because I think the parameters should change a little), we wanted anything done to save his life if he decided it was time to make an appearance earlier than we wanted him too. They talked us through all our options, and we knew we were stuck in the hospital until he was born, or we were deemed safe to return home and wait for him.

However, this little man had other plans. It was July 10, 2015… I remember it being late, almost midnight. I had been up to pee a trillion times it seemed, but my contractions hadn’t gotten too much stronger. I remember they checked me to see if I had dilated, and I had a few centimeters, but was stable earlier in the day. The back contractions into the legs were brutal, but whatever to keep this baby in! I remember going into the bathroom, and when I wiped, there was blood. I called the nurse and they called my OB, the amazing Dr. Strieb. Things became a blur from there.

Jameson was breeched and hadn’t moved, and now here we were with two choices. We could either give birth naturally or have a c-section. Because he was so small, there were pros and cons to both. If I had chosen naturally, he would be feet first. We wanted as minimal trauma as possible, so we chose c-section. I knew that night, from then on, I wouldn’t be able to vaginally birth, due to the type of section I was having. Trauma life issue number 1.

I got prepped, Matt called everyone in who we wanted there, and I was rolled into the OR. Again, we went over what the NICU was going to do. He was a 23 weeker, so his odds were extremely low to begin with. When he was born, they would try their best to intubate him (put a tube down his throat to help him breath) to try to help him stay with us. Then, into the NICU he would go, to start his battle. I remember being prepped with the spinal, and everyone in the OR being so wonderful and supportive. Typical me was probably joking, as I usually do at inappropriate times. The shakes from the medication were the worst, but Matt was right there, and I was warmed up real nice.

At 2:07 a.m. on July 11, 2015, Jameson came roaring into this world, and we were FOREVER changed. We were told he tried to cry, and they got the tube in. Thank you, Jesus. As they were sewing me up, they wheeled him next to us to see him. He was so tiny, so transparent, but so incredibly beautiful. I remember my heart changing forever. I remember, right when they said he was here, looking at the clocking and saying, ‘2:07’ out loud. It was like I was reaffirming the moment in my mind and heart. When I was going into my room to recover, they wheeled me in the NICU to see him again. He was stable but critically sick, since he was so early. He weighed 1 lb., and at 23 weeks, was closer to a 25 weeker. I should have known then, we’d have bigger babies.

Courtesy of Megan Poznanski

I remember the anxiety and not being able to cope with being away from him, even if only down the hall. I was so extremely tired, between pumping for our son, seeing visitors, and going in to be with him. It was so much. It was at that time we started ‘Jameson’s Journey’ (now ‘Fables of a Foster Mom’) to update everyone who was inquiring about how everything was. The messages were on overload, and it was hard to keep up with. The days that followed got bleaker as time went on. I had a terrible experience with one of the neonatologists, because of poor bedside manner, but Jameson’s amazing nurses and my OB made up for it, and the head neonatologist was out of this world.

Courtesy of Megan Poznanski

We learned he got a brain bleed during birth, along with being bruised from being so premature. He was considered a micro-preemie and had everything against him, but he fought so hard. Our little superhero. Unfortunately, in three short days, his labs were getting worse (more ‘not compatible with life’). His brain bleed grew, to I believe a 3/4, which is not great for his functioning abilities, and he had coded twice. The first time, my husband wasn’t there. He was at work, which wasn’t being very supportive of what was happening with his newborn son. But, he got back in time when they stabilized Jameson.

Courtesy of Megan Poznanski

Then, on the 14th, he coded again, early in the night. This poor little boy had battled so much, so early in his life. We had a meeting with his nurse, Traci (who I owe so much for how amazing she is), and his neonatologist, about his prognosis and what was happening. As hard and heartbreaking as it was, we both knew Jameson’s outcome was slim. We decided we wanted to let nature take its course, and we didn’t want him to suffer anymore. We were taking him off all supports.

We were devastated, and even that description is underrated compared to the feeling of your heart exploding from grief. We set up for a photographer, ‘Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep’, to come in to get photos of him. Then, we asked for the chaplain to baptize him.

I wish I could remember in detail all that happened after we chose to spend the last moments with our sweet boy, but it was a whirlwind. The chaplain came and baptized our baby. My mom and dad were with us, and my amazing mother-in-law. At some point, he started to code again, and CPR started. We were there while it happened, and it ripped the life right away. We asked them to stop. ‘Just unhook our boy, and let us hold him while he goes to be with Jesus.’ It was the first time we ever held him since he was born. We had held his hand and bathed him, changed his diaper, but never got to physically hold him, because he wasn’t stable enough.

Courtesy of Megan Poznanski
Courtesy of Megan Poznanski

That feeling is so indescribable. It was full of so much love and so much hurt, disbelief, and guilt. When it should have been the happiest day of our life, it was the worst day we ever experienced. He was gone. July 14th, at 3 days old.

Courtesy of Megan Poznanski
Courtesy of Megan Poznanski

We got to take photos with him and our family. Matt and I got to bathe him and dress him one last time. And then, we left to go straight home after we were done, after hours of being with him. Leaving him there for the funeral home to pick him up. (Thankfully, Lutz Funeral Home was amazing, and picked him up on the floor while we were still there.)

We went home empty handed, utterly shattered, and now having to plan a funeral. It was a whirlwind of disbelief. A feeling I would NEVER want for anyone else. A feeling I can now relate to when others go through what we went through.

Courtesy of Good Vibes Photography

In light of things, a little over a month after we lost our beautiful boy, with the help of our family and friends, we became husband and wife in a beautiful ceremony at a local farm.

Courtesy of Good Vibes Photography
Courtesy of Good Vibes Photography
Courtesy of Good Vibes Photography

However, little did we know, our journey of infant loss and preterm labor were far from over, when Rhett and Everleigh came along in 2017 and 2019.

However, that’s a story for another day.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Megan Poznanski. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more stories like this:

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‘You’re only 19 weeks, it’s too early.’ I was scared to hold him. But THAT was love at first sight.’: Woman’s baby born still after years of infertility, ‘he has changed my life, even when he is not here’

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