‘Did I really experience that or was it a dream? The pastor asks, ‘Have you had any problems with your pregnancy?’ I reply ‘NO.’’

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“What just happened, did I really experience that or was it just a dream? April 1, 2006; I was pregnant with our first child (a son named Benjamin Curtis Adams). I was 26 weeks pregnant and excited. We had painted the room green, bought lots of cute clothes, and were planning a baby shower. It was a Saturday and I was getting ready to go to choir practice at our church; suddenly I felt a weird combination of movement (oh, it’s just the baby kicking around) yet, it felt as if he was somehow struggling (this being my first pregnancy at 26 years old, I didn’t want to overreact) so I continued on.

Saturday night came and went and I felt this weight that I never felt before. Sunday came and I went to the altar for prayer. The pastor asks, ‘Have you had any problems with your pregnancy?’ I reply ‘NO.’ Sunday leaves and Monday morning arrives. I’m a teacher so I’m at school but something just isn’t right. I ask other teachers about my situation and one tells me to dink a Dr. Pepper and the baby should start moving. That didn’t work and by the afternoon I know I need to call the doctor and he tells me to come right in. I leave my classroom with another teacher watching my students and drive to the doctor.

Once there they begin trying to find a heartbeat. One doctor leaves and another comes in. He can’t find the heartbeat either. They tell me to get dressed and meet them in the conference room. I still have no idea what this means; both doctors approached me and informed me that my precious baby boy was no longer alive and I needed to go to the hospital for an ultrasound. Immediately I call my husband and repeat what I was told and requested him to meet me at the hospital (still no tears and I don’t understand). The lady informs me my baby boy died three days ago (Saturday) and I had the option to schedule an appointment to return and to go home for now, or I would have to remain in the hospital to have the baby before I got sick. The thought of going home knowing my baby was gone was not an option for me (I was afraid of what I might do) so I was admitted Monday, April 3rd.

My husband called our pastor to come to the hospital and pray. He called my principal and told her what was going on, he called both sides of our family and gave them the news (yet I knew none of this until people started showing up). Nothing else in the world mattered to me. I felt nothing, thought nothing, and felt like I was in a world all alone as I laid in that hospital bed. It seemed I had an out of body experience. I laid there and remained there waiting, praying, and not believing what the doctors said.

My grandfather was a pastor and I was raised in a strict Baptist church. I was taught that just ‘one mustard seed of faith was all it took.’ So as I laid there I seemed to feel the baby move, I refused to give up and let go. How could I go on in this world not having a baby? I was far enough along that you could tell I was pregnant. What would I tell people? What questions would they ask? How would I be able to explain? Daily the nurses came in to check to see how far I was to giving birth. Daily they would wash me so I wouldn’t smell. Daily I forgot to eat because it wasn’t important. My husband was very supportive and never left my side; visitors were not important to me; I knew they were talking but I had no idea what they were saying, and I really didn’t care. I focused on believing I would have an alive, healthy baby despite what others were saying. I entered into this world that only I was in and put up a wall so no one else could enter. Yet, on Thursday, April 5, 2006, I had my baby stillborn after three days of laying in the hospital naturally.

WHAT HAPPENED? Why is he not alive? I never stopped believing, so why did this happen? The doctor approaches and begins to explain that the umbilical cord had become twisted and my baby boy fought to the end to live. Now I remember, Saturday when he was kicking so much, he was actually dying! Our main doctor approached my husband and I and asked if we wanted to keep the body and have a funeral or, since he was only 2 pounds, they could take care of the situation. HAVE A FUNERAL FOR MY BABY! No, I still can’t believe this happened. I grow angrier and angrier at GOD. THIS WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO END LIKE THIS! Why is it that people who don’t want kids or treat them horribly have children, and people like me who would be a great parent, ends up losing their baby? IT’S NOT FAIR!

We keep Benjamin in our hospital room for about two hours. I stare at him, I look at all his fingers and toes. He is perfect, but he is starting to get cold. He is not breathing, he is not crying, he doesn’t need to be fed because he is not alive. Finally, the nurses come in and tell us it’s time for them to take him. I laid in that hospital bed all night trying to decide what went wrong, what did I do wrong; was it that I took a picture while I was pregnant? My mom had told me not to do that because it was bad luck, and I did it anyway. My sister was also pregnant at the time and we were due two weeks apart. What was she going to say? Were people going to blame me?

Courtesy of LeeEtta Adams

The next day the doctor came in with my release papers; I totally freaked out! WAIT, WHY AM I LEAVING? I’M SUPPOSED TO HAVE A BABY IN MY ARMS. THIS IS NOT THE WAY THE STORY IS SUPPOSED TO END! I started hyperventilating, which I had never done before and I refused to leave. The nurses gave me a paper bag and told me to breathe in it. They gave me paperwork for me to go see a counselor (REALLY, I DON’T WANT A COUNSELOR, I WANT MY BABY!) Finally my husband got me to calm down and get dressed. I’m sent home with Xanax, depression medicine, and told to rest. I DON’T WANT TO REST, I’M SUPPOSED TO BE LEAVING WITH A BABY!

On the ride home no one talks, we get to the house and my husband tells me to lay down and rest; I had so much medication in my system I did as I was told. I decided I would take two more weeks off from work. I really don’t want to go back looking pregnant, but I know the students will ask what happened. Over the weekend my nieces and nephews visit. One is 6 and she asked, ‘What happened to the baby?’ Suddenly everyone tries to stop her from talking. My husband says, ‘Remember we told y’all not to say anything about the baby?’ I ask myself, when did this conversation happen and why? Was I not supposed to talk about it or explain what happened? I needed to talk about it, to question the situation, to grieve properly; yet I couldn’t because no one dared mention it. I finally went to see the counselor and finally I could talk about it with someone, but it didn’t help. She told me to write down my feelings and we would discuss them at my next visit (there was no next visit).

I decided to attempt to return to work but the first day back I cried all day and was sent home; I didn’t need to be at home alone. I was depressed, angry, and wanted to hurt myself. I continued to take the prescribed medication but I mixed it with alcohol which was a truly bad idea. I called two of my teacher friends and asked them to take me to the ER; I was hoping they would put me on suicide watch or put me in a mental institution, but neither happened. If only they knew what was going through my head they would have done something differently. I went to work for two weeks. The principal had already told everyone to not bring up my situation. Out of 10 days, I left early 8 of those days. I feel like I can’t breathe, I can’t go on, just let me lay somewhere and die. I can’t handle the fact I never got to meet Benjamin, I never heard his cry, I never got to change a diaper. IT WAS ALL TAKEN FROM ME!

Over the next few weeks I noticed my husband avoided me, couldn’t look at me, and we didn’t talk. I need you to talk to me, I need you to hold me, tell me it’s going to be ok. WHY WON’T YOU TALK TO ME? Each day he got up, went to work, stayed late at work, took on extra work assignments, and each time I started talking he would say, ‘I don’t want to talk about it because I don’t want to see you cry.’ I NEED YOU TO TALK ABOUT IT. I NEED TO CRY. I NEED TO SCREAM. I NEED TO DESTROY EVERYTHING UNTIL I FEEL BETTER.

Courtesy of LeeEtta Adams

Three months later my sister is set to have her baby. She doesn’t mention inviting me to the hospital for his birth. Instead, she asked me to keep her 2-year-old son for a week. It is now July and I am off work for the summer. Each day I force myself to get up and cry my pain away while everyone else walks on eggshells around me. I consider taking my life (who would notice and who would care). August comes back around and school starts back. I feel better getting out of the house and in September I find out I’m pregnant again. But I’m not happy, I’m not excited, I don’t paint anything, I don’t buy anything. And because of my situation, I am now a high risk pregnancy. Slowly my husband starts talking to me again, he acts like he is interested in my well-being, yet you could tell he was nervous the entire 10 months. I call the doctor every day, I go listen to the heartbeat every day. Finally, on June 4, 2007, my beautiful, precious daughter is born, and I feel this unexplainable love for her I had never felt before. All she has is a car seat, so I begin sending everyone to buy baby items I refused to buy until she was born.

Baby Benjamin would be 12 years old like my sister’s youngest son. I don’t like to think about the ‘what if’s.’ I am also blessed to have another son who is 7 years old. The topic is still unspoken by everyone except me. I pray for him when I pray for my other children, I have a Mother’s ring with ALL THREE of my children’s birthstone and name. I use my testimony to bless others and let them know that God does everything for a reason and the numbers 4, 5, 6 will always be special too. Benjamin’s Birthday is April 5, 2006. My children know about their big brother and they know what happened. Although Benjamin is no longer here, I continue to take depression medication and medication to prevent panic attacks caused by post-traumatic stress disorder. I have attachment issues and watch my children constantly; my daughter and son have only spent 2 nights away from me in their 11 and 7 years on this earth. They call me overprotective, but the truth is, I can’t help myself. I need to see them, feel them, protect them, and I feel I’m the only person who can do it correctly.”

Shaw Photography

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by LeeEtta Adams of Nacogdoches, Texas. Have you experienced a similar journey? We’d like to hear your story. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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