Disclaimer: This story contains details pertaining to child loss that may be upsetting to some.
“It was early January 2017. Although my period has always been irregular, I felt something was off. So, on January 14, 2017, I sat on my best friend’s toilet because I was too scared to do it at home and peed on a stick.
It felt almost instantly that the word PREGNANT appeared. I burst into tears, the millions of feelings that came over me were overwhelming. Diego and I had talked about the what ifs, but now it was real. I WAS PREGNANT.
Since I was a young girl, I knew I wanted to be a mom. I’ve always joked that I was put on earth to be a mom, even though I didn’t feel as excited as I thought I would feel the day I found out I was pregnant. I was terrified, I was worried, and I was unprepared.
Diego and I went to the dog park that day and we talked about the current situation in my tummy while I ate my Persian food leftovers, almost as if nothing was going on. I couldn’t believe a little bean was growing inside of me.
A few days later, I decided to call Planned Parenthood to make an appointment to confirm I was pregnant. I went in, and yes, I was 7 weeks along. A week later we flew out to New York to celebrate my 24th birthday and the whole time I was very ill.
I had major anxiety and I broke down a few times. THE SMELLS, the horrible New York smells… I couldn’t handle them. I tried not to think about the fact there was a baby growing inside me because hardly anyone knew at this point. After all, Diego and I didn’t even know how to feel; we were in shock.
Breaking The News
Once we got home from our trip, I told Diego it was time we tell our family. We decided to start with my mom. Diego, my mom, and I were sitting on the couch watching a novella (Rosa De Guadalupe) and I just said, ‘Mom, you’re going to be a grandma.’ She said, ‘You’re lying.’
She didn’t want to believe me. Her anger took over and she said, ‘You have to tell your dad,’ knowing this was what I was TERRIFIED of doing. Ever since I found out I was pregnant all I could think about was how my parents were going to react. I even started to look into apartments just in case.
The next day my mom called my dad out of their bedroom and said, ‘Kristal has something to tell you.’ Diego blurted out, ‘Kristal is pregnant.’ I have never seen my dad so sad and disappointed in my entire life. He just looked at me with watery eyes and walked away. I was so confused.
He said no words at all. Diego went to play video games with my brother, totally casual. My father ended up coming out and asked to only speak to me. ‘You are not alone. You don’t have to make any sudden decisions about getting married or moving out,’ he told me. ‘We are still your parents, and our home is still your home.’
I felt so overwhelmed with love and gratitude; I could finally breathe and feel excited for our little bean. As disappointed as he was, he was just as excited. After we told my parents, Diego told his mom alone (because I was too scared) and his brothers.
Diego and I had only been together for 6 months (I got pregnant 3.5 months in), hence the reason we were so terrified and unprepared. I was nowhere near as financially stable as someone wants to be when having a child. But we were determined to make our situation work.
On March 17, my belly became round and our little bean was finally showing. I had the most normal pregnancy ever. I rarely had morning sickness, I rarely threw up, and I had no bad symptoms at all. I had Preggie Pops to help with my nausea but other than that I was great. I could eat anything, I craved a lot of veggies and fruit, and I was always sleepy.
On April 6, we went to an ultrasound place to find out our baby’s gender, then at 19 weeks we had our gender reveal (my dad was the only one to know the sex). My mom bought us a piñata to hit and the blue balloons and blue confetti came flying out. WE WERE HAVING A BOY!
We were beyond excited. Although everyone just asks for a healthy baby, we knew we wanted a boy.
The weeks starting flying by. One Sunday afternoon as I sat to eat, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my stomach. I was not sure how to feel since I knew pain wasn’t a normal thing in pregnancy, so I just casually lay down on the couch and fell asleep.
When I woke up, the pain was back. It was a piercing pain that came every 5-10 minutes or so. Since it was Sunday, I decided to wait until Monday morning to see how I felt so I could call my OB.
‘Come in as soon as possible for a check up,’ she told me next morning. I got to my OB office and I explained to her my pain. She checked on baby and he was perfectly perfect, tossing and turning in my belly. His heart rate was great and nothing could seem to be wrong.
She asked me when my next ultrasound was and I told her it was the next day. She said, ‘Great! Depending on that ultrasound I will know if anything is wrong and we can go from there.’ She said I was probably just experiencing growing pains since I was almost 21 weeks.
I went to work but let my boss know I was feeling discomfort and I took it easy (I work for an after school program and I am surrounded by kids all day).
This part of my story always makes me so emotional because I wish I would have done things differently. I wish I would have gone straight to the ER on Sunday. I wish I would have just listened to my gut telling me something was wrong.
The next day, I woke up in the worst pain. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go to work, so I slept most of the day. Around 4:45 I couldn’t take the pain anymore. I started crying and I knew in my heart this was not normal. Something was wrong with my Ian Max.
My mom came in to check on me and said, ‘Why are you crying?? Why haven’t you said anything?’ She instantly wanted to take me to the ER. I knew Diego was off work at 5 so I told him to rush over and pick me up. I was fully bawling and terrified of what could be happening to my baby.
I got wheeled into the Labor and Delivery ER. They asked me what felt like a million questions and then finally I got put into a bed with a monitor on my tummy. A lady came in to check on Ian and said, ‘Oh he’s having fun in there! He’s jumping around.’ My heart was so happy to hear and see my baby was okay! But boy was I wrong.
The nurse came in to ask me what I was feeling and why I had come in. She opened up my legs, looked, and instantly said, ‘I’m going to get a doctor.’ The doctor came, looked as well, and that is when my heart shattered into a million pieces. He told me the membranes of my water bag were protruding and I was already leaking.
In other words, I was already technically in labor and the pain I was experiencing were contractions.
The water Ian needed to survive was coming out. He said my cervix had opened up and the placenta had come into contact with the vaginal canal causing an infection. I was on the verge of fighting an infection and I had two options at this point: 1. Expedite my pregnancy. 2. Let my body take its course. WHAT. THE. HECK.
I was heartbroken. How did I go from being so excited to reach 21 weeks and see my baby growing in my belly to knowing I would not leave the hospital with him? I looked at Diego and my mom; they were holding back tears. I didn’t want to do anything, I wanted this to be a nightmare I’d wake up from.
I told the doctor I would let my body take its course.
As soon as he left the room my mom started calling my dad and some family members. Diego called his mom and brothers and a few minutes later people started showing up. I was still experiencing contractions and they were becoming closer in time, so the nurse asked if I wanted an epidural.
After getting an epidural comes the catheter. I had the catheter put in and about less than half an hour later I was in feeling so uncomfortable. I was in physical and emotional pain. I called for the nurse because I told her I wanted the catheter out; I could feel it.
She informed be that because I had the epidural already, I shouldn’t be feeling anything. While she and the OB were checking on me, my water broke. THAT IS WHEN I COMPLETELY LOST IT. I knew this was really happening, I was really losing my baby.
I started to get wheeled out, but before I completely left the room with my mom and Diego, I turned back and I could see the heartbreak in my dad’s face. People on that floor must have thought I was being killed. I was yelling bloody murder through the halls and into the room.
I looked up from the bed and I could see my mom and Diego trying not to look at me while holding onto my hands. They moved me onto another bed and put my legs up. All I remember were the bright lights and hearing, ‘Push! Keep pushing! He’s almost out!’ After two pushes, I was asked if I wanted to hold him, but I wanted to deliver the placenta first.
I was so in shock, the OB who delivered Ian dropped him when he came out and kept saying to me, ‘It’s okay, you’re young. You’ll have more. YOU are okay.’ How can you tell me I’M okay when I just lost my son?! I couldn’t believe what had just happened.
My mom said she felt like he was going to be thrown away with all the trash the way the OB handled Ian. Since Ian was so tiny, he kind of slid right out and they failed to catch him.
When Ian was placed into my arms, I was in love. He was perfect. He looked just like his daddy. He had the cutest little nose and lips. His body was long and thin just like his dad. He was born at 11:40 and weighed 10 ounces.
After he was born, my family was allowed into the room. I was in and out of crying. All I wanted to do was hold my baby boy. When everyone said their goodnights, I finally got a call from my OB. She said her condolences.
‘I’m so sorry. I never predicted this,’ she said.
I had the most normal pregnancy and he was growing so perfectly. The next day she came in to see me and look at the lab results. That is when I found out I had an incompetent cervix. She told me the placenta was covered in bacteria and my body chose me over my pregnancy.
At that moment I felt a little peace knowing I had an answer. Many women experience miscarriages and never get an answer, so I at least had that.
Our overnight nurse made Diego and I a memory box with all of Ian’s things. She also made us a hand/feet print plaque. She took pictures of him for us. I stayed in the hospital for two days after Ian’s birth because the hospital said we could keep him in our room until we leave, so of course I wanted more time with him.
My biggest regret now is not taking enough photos. I enjoyed my time with him. I held him, I kissed him, I touched his little face and cheeks, but I forgot to take more photos.
He got blessed. We all prayed for him and the lady that came in to bless him said she had never seen so many visitors for a baby his size. After two days it was time to go home. We said our goodbyes to Ian. I couldn’t believe I would be leaving the hospital empty-handed.
While we were packing up our things, the little song would play whenever a baby was born and my heart would break all over again because I knew those people would be going home with their newborns and I wasn’t.
We planned a memorial for Ian and even the coordinator told us she had never seen so many people for a baby his size. She kept asking us for reassurance when we asked for the bigger room. Ian was and is still so loved.
He is never forgotten, and he is always in our thoughts and prayers. He is missed everyday and as much as I wish things could be different, I know God needed him more than I did. I cry for him almost everyday and it’s ironic when people tell me I’m so strong because I feel so weak without him.
It has taken me a lot to get to the point I am at now. I still have my days where I feel like I’m back to the beginning, but I know Ian knows how much I love and miss him. I know he is in my heart and that gives me comfort.
This is my story, real and raw. I hope that if anyone else has or is experiencing baby loss, preterm labor, or a miscarriage, you never feel alone. I hope my story of my Ian Max helps others and encourages others to share their story. With love, Ian’s Momma.”
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