Sisterhood of Angel Mama’s Magazine | Bereaved Parents Awareness Edition July 2022
Infant Loss Reality
Written & Photos by Megan Templeton
Infant loss. It’s one of those things that people “could never imagine”, until it happens to you. I entered into the world of infant loss on October 30, 2021. Up until that day I had a completely normal pregnancy. I began having contractions early in the morning I called the doctor and was told to come to labor and delivery. Even after a 40 minute drive the hospital was unprepared for my arrival and my doctor was not to be found. Nobody came in to check me and my baby’s heart rate began dropping during contractions but returning to normal in between. Without being seen my nurse paged the NICU to inform them they had a 26 weeker coming.
I had PROM in the triage room at 26 weeks and 3 days. When my water broke my son Grayson’s foot came out simultaneously and my doctor still hadn’t arrived but another doctor from the hospital took one look and said that Grayson was footling breech and they began rolling me to the operating room for an emergency c-section. I prayed for my baby as they rolled me down the hall. I was still in terrible pain because I hadn’t been given anything to help control it. The operating room felt like a tv show without people working on me quickly from every side while coming up with a plan. Two sets of doctors one for myself and one for Grayson. I remember waking up in the recovery room still in pain being told I had to be cut both horizontally and vertically (meaning in the future they do not want me to go into labor and would schedule c-sections ahead of time to try and avoid negative outcomes). I was scared when I woke up because I did not know whether my baby was alive or not and wasn’t even sure if I wanted to know.
Once my pain was managed I was shown photos of my baby and not long after his doctor came in asking questions regarding his care. I was taken to my mother baby room where I sat anxiously waiting for more updates on his condition. Initially baby Grayson was doing well and having normal gas exchanges on the vent. The doctors always seemed positive and confident in his condition until they came in and told me he was starting to decline and asked if they could send him to a hospital with a better vent. I quickly agreed and was told I had to be covid tested before he could go.
Thirty minutes later the doctor returned and sat on the couch and in that moment before a single word left his mouth I knew whatever he had to say wasn’t what I wanted to hear. He told us that he did not think that Grayson would survive transport at this point and if he did he would suffer significant brain damage due to lack of oxygen. I stopped pumping and got out of my bed and into a wheelchair so that I could go hold my baby for the first and last time. I’m pretty sure we hit every bump on the way to the NICU but as soon as I entered I knew which baby was ours because he looked just like his daddy. In that moment it’s like I was numb, I knew what was happening but didn’t want to and wanted to stay strong for my baby boy for the moments I had left with him. I held him on his ventilator for a little bit before I was faced with deciding when to remove his ventilator and then my son passed after 7 hours and 52 minutes of life here on earth.
I returned to my mother baby room full of posters of babies and care tips. Within the same hour a nurse was in for me to fill out funeral home paperwork. We also decided to have an autopsy and a chromosomal study done to see if there was any information unknown to us that could be beneficial in the future. After we managed to get a wave of visitors out of the room. I laid in my room still in shock as I hadn’t had time to even process I was in labor much less any other major event from the day. I could hear other babies cry, babies that were going home with their families, from my room.
I came home to all the sympathy cards, food drop offs, and incomplete homework assignments. I did not sleep well, I dread nights because I would wake up in tears begging for my baby back. In between juggling healing, homework, grieving, and appointments I had to plan a funeral and design a tombstone. As I continue to walk in this infant loss journey full of tears, therapy, and medications I have found it full of anger, sadness, and jealously. It is hard passing by the baby aisle that was once your favorite spot in the whole store. It hurts seeing pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, and baby showers almost every day. As happy as you want to be for others jealousy tries to overcome you at time when trying to figure out why they get to have their babies and you don’t.
Self doubt is involved questioning why your body failed your baby or if there is a reason you did not get to keep your baby while others did. Everyday is full of missed memories and longing for him back. It’s hard hearing people talk about everyone else’s babies but rarely mentioning yours. I would give anything for even one more second with him.