‘There is no heartbeat.’: Devastated mom gives birth to ‘sleeping angel’ stillborn

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“January 10th, 2017, was my boyfriend Jon’s birthday. He was at work and talking to me via video chat. I had been feeling ill for a week and a half at that point, so he told me to take a pregnancy test to check that off the list. I remember thinking it wasn’t possible, I had 4 miscarriages prior to this so my faith was a little low. I took the test and quickly looked at it — it had one bold line, and a very faint line. I didn’t think anything of it, so I just tossed it in the trash and told Jon it was negative, and went on to do some at-home duties. About halfway through doing my dishes I slapped myself in the head. ‘I didn’t even wait the full 3 minutes!’ I ran to the bathroom and plucked the test out of the trash. Sure enough, two bold lines. I was in shock! I ran to the computer and messaged Jon. He was so happy, he said it was the best birthday gift he has ever received.

A few months later, we were just weeks away from finding out if we were having a boy or girl. I knew in my heart I was having a girl, I just knew… Call it mother’s intuition or whatever, but I was convinced. We picked out names for boys and girls, and decided that if we were having a boy, he would be Cable or Teagin, and if it was a girl, Piper. On April 20th, 2017, we went for the ultrasound to find out our baby’s gender. She wouldn’t uncross her legs (What a little lady!) And last minute before the technician gave up, she spread her legs. It’s a girl!!!

Baby pink onesie saying, "little sister" next to t-shirt's that say, "security for my little sister"
Julienne Laxton

I remember looking to Jon who was holding my hand, and I kept asking him if he was happy. He looked like he was going to cry. She would be the perfect little addition to our family. When we got home, we told my stepsons. Dezerus was happy (our youngest boy) but Lydian was a little disappointed. He wanted another little brother, but he said we could keep her. (What a nice guy. lol)

Pregnant mother who will have a stillborn baby smiling next to husband and two son's in front of her
Julienne Laxton

July 17th was when we found out I had gestational diabetes, and it was not going to be the natural labor I had hoped for. Instead they were going to induce me. The date was set. On September 5th I was going to bring my baby girl into the world. I would also need to have weekly biophysics and non-stress tests to make sure everything was great, and it was! Her heartbeat was strong, she moved like crazy! I was getting less sleep, but it was so worth it. August 26th, I started to feel her move less and it was concerning. She moved so much, I knew something wasn’t right. But people kept telling me that everything was fine and that they move less when you are about to give birth.

On August 28th I knew I needed to be seen, so I went to my nearest hospital (not a hospital I trusted) and they found her heartbeat. The tech told me the rate of her heart, and it was low. But she said that when I talked out loud, it jumped back up so I should go home and get some rest. The next day I had a biophysical and non-stress test, so I thought it would be fine even though I didn’t sleep at all. Something was wrong. When I went to my appointment, the ultrasound tech started her test, moving the monitor around on my belly. She excused herself and left the room. I knew right then and there I was right. Something was wrong, but I never would have imagined what would come next, the worst possible thing. My OBGYN walked into the room and told me the news. ‘There is no heartbeat.’ I was hysterical. Jon just held me in his arms. I kept screaming that I wanted my baby, I want my little girl. But I would never have her in the way that I needed her. She was gone, and so was a part of my heart and soul.

On September 1st, 2017, at 4:04 a.m. after 3 days of labor, I gave birth to my sleeping angel. Piper Marcella Dee Wagner. She was perfect. I secretly prayed she would cry, that she would wake up and be here with me, but she never made a sound. I held her for so long, just looking at her, and watching every hope and dream I had for her fade away.

Woman who just gave birth holding her still born baby in her arms with husband resting head on her shoulder
Julienne Laxton

Jon told our close friends and family, then made a Facebook post to tell the rest. The baby we were all so excited for was never going to come home. Her nursery that we had just finished setting up would be empty, and our worlds would never be the same. People sent their condolences and promised to be there if we needed anything or anyone to talk to, but we knew most of those would be empty promises. Everything for me was such a blur until we left the hospital. We had no money, so thankfully a crematorium reached out to us and told us the cost would be free. My mom bought her urn and my mother-in-law bought the memorial necklaces to keep her ashes in. I don’t remember even looking at the urn Jon picked.

Mother of still born baby holding up necklace that contains baby's ashes
Julienne Laxton

Once we got home, I printed the pictures we took of her and put them in frames around the house. My brother donated a small glass cabinet to keep some things of her in it, including her urn. Family came by to check on us here and there. While some loved the pictures and the way we were honoring her memory, others wanted us to just pretend like nothing happened, like I was never pregnant, like she was never born. Hide her existence like a dirty secret. But Jon, the strongest man in the world, told them to mind their own business and told them to stop being cruel. I laid in bed for weeks. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t move… I just existed. Jon would come home and be next to me, let me cry all over him, and would help me get to sleep. The boys… my sweet stepsons, they were there for me every single day. They would lay in bed with me, tell me how much they loved me, and how pretty I was every single day. They willed me out of bed to spend time with them and begged me to cook a homecooked meal they were so used to.

We went for walks as a family, watched movies, snuggled, and slowly but surely… I was starting to feel OK. Not well, but OK. And to this day, with everyone who promised to be there, Jon and the kids were the ones who were, every single day. Jon is the strongest man in the world. He personally made sure to keep me grounded, to be there every minute that I needed him, to wipe my tears, to cry with me, make me laugh, to just love me in any way he could. While situations like this can tear a family apart, it made mine so much stronger. I fell in love with him more because of this. We will always love our beautiful angel Piper. She will never be far from our thoughts. And maybe someday, when we have the next baby, she will be there to make sure everything is perfect.

Close up of still born baby's feet with socks on with white flowers
Julienne Laxton

They do not give you a guide on how to grieve when you lose a child.

They do not tell you who is going to be there, and who will not.

They do not tell you that you’ll be changed forever.

You have to learn for yourself, and find your own way to grieve.

And I hope and pray that you will be lucky enough to have someone to grieve with you.

Someone to love you, even when you do not want to be loved.

A family like mine.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Julienne Laxton of North Judson, Indiana. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories here.

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