Truman was a calm baby. Stoic and strong, yet gentle and sweet. He was the strongest person that I ever had the pleasure of meeting. He is my hero and my greatest teacher in life.
I was surprised at how affectionate that he was when he came out. The last time that I touched him while he was conscious he was sweeping his feet back and forth on my hand. I remember my heart melting and thinking how lucky I was to have this perfect little person in my life who made my life complete.
My life up until I found out that I was pregnant was not the easiest. I had a lot of pain and loss in other areas of my life. I felt like Truman was my happy ending, he made everything perfect. I had everything in the world the minute that I found out that he was with me. That innocence and feeling of pure completion lasted the pregnancy and those 4 days that he was alive. I don't think that I will ever feel that level of peace, innocence and pure joy again in my life because I will always be longing for him. I feel like I am split in two- part of me is here, grateful to be alive, holding on to life with his little brother and his Dad and part of me is off with him, wherever he is or isn't. Every cell of me misses him. I will always wish that he was here with us growing and learning and enjoying life, as he should be.
I want to thank Truman for teaching me how powerful a mother's love is- how it transcends everything including time and death. For changing my life. For being part of it. For making me a mother. For being a joy to carry. For trying as hard as he did. For making me proud. For teaching me how brave and strong even the tiniest people can be. He lit up my life.
So I go on living, doing the best that I can in honor of him.
There aren't any words for life after your child dies. Words become obsolete and nothing can remotely describe the anguish. The grief is crushing. The tears, the pain, the questions, the confusion, the shock, the anger, the awkwardness. Time becomes the most abstract thing. Losing Truman for me was that pivotal point in my life where everything changed and everything that I thought that I knew about life came into question. You enter into another world. It's just not something that you can get non-bereaved people to understand by even attempting to explain it. It's just to big that the imagination does it no justice. That's where the loss community comes into my story. I was isolated in so many ways but I found healing in other people who have walked this path before me and with me. There is no one in the world who knows how hard it is to get up out of bed and keep breathing, keep trying, keep fighting, like those who have had to say goodbye too soon. Those who had to plan a funeral instead of a birthday party, those who have unused baby shoes and empty baby blankets instead of full and used ones. The secondary losses of friendships, health, hobbies, jobs, etc., all can be lost as well. The facts are people say ridiculously stupid things when you lose a child. Most don't want to talk about about it. Some want to fix it, for you to not be sad and just go back to being who you are before the loss happened. Life becomes a constant state of uncomfortable moments. There are burdens that pile on top of the already heavy load of going on living without your child. I think the loss community is breaking the silence and helping parents to heal and lightening the load. When we tell our stories and experiences it helps other people know how to support these families after a loss and as far as grieving goes. It gives concerned family and friends insight in to what is totally normal and to be expected. There is so much healing to be had in similar experiences.
We are a family of 4 in every way, we hold one child in our arms and the other in our heart. Whether others see Truman in our daily lives or not, he is there with us, always.
I got pregnant in April of 2006 and had our son, Alex Miguel Jimenez in 2007. He was perfect even though my pregnancy was rough. I was sick the whole time and even had to be hospitalized once to get fluids back into me. All the time everyone told me he would be fine and they were all right, he was just perfect. At this point, I decided (We) decided I would stay at home and raise him. Things got tight and my husband ended up losing his job of over 18 years and needless to say we ended up losing our house, cars and our doggies. Alex was about 3 years old at this time. We moved into a rental house, my husband found a great job and we started digging out from the whole we had created. I found out not too long after the move that I was pregnant and we were excited, however Alex was still in diapers and I had lost so much weight. I was the smallest I had ever been due to all the stress in our lives, and in my own parent’s lives as well. I made an appointment and we went to the first ultra sound to see how far along.That was when we found out that I had miscarried.
I was very sad, crying and my husband there to comfort me, however I really felt that it just wasn’t a good time in our lives and that maybe that miscarriage happened for a reason. We moved again after Christmas to another house closer to my husband’s job and a littler cheaper rent. Alex turned 4, then 5 and then in June of 2012, we found out again that we were expecting. I was so excited as was my husband, we had been trying for this baby and really wanted to give Alex a sibling, he had just started his first year of Kindergarten and I had gone back to work full time. My husband was still with the same great company. I was very sick again with Avery and had to go to part-time at work, which eventually led to me being laid off, kind of a good thing I thought, since I was so sick everyday!
We found out in early October that we were having a GIRL! I was so excited. I told everyone I will be happy either way “as long as it’s healthy” you know, what everyone says, but deep down I wanted a girl and I wanted to have one of each. I felt so blessed and told everyone one of each, life is sweet!! And so began the name game….It hit me one day and I thought Avery, I told my husband as we were driving and he said that’s it! He told me he got little goose bumps when I said her name and that’s how he knew it was the right name!
My pregnancy continued to be rough, but I got used to the morning sickness and found that not eating anything after 8 pm worked wonders on how I would do late that night. I tried hard to eat and drink and keep healthy stuff in me, but I sure did eat my share of jelly beans in the spring, I think I tried every one they made….I spent my days taking Alex to school and picking him up and napping in between, I was living the good life and my husband kept telling me I better not get used to this as we were about to have a new baby and surely life would be wild and crazy those first few months. I was nervous about being a new mama again. I kept thinking, will I remember everything that I did with Alex? Sure, I thought like riding a bike…right? I spent these months also shopping and buying lots of girly stuff, digging out old things of Alex’s and re-selling on a moms group I belonged to. I was so proud that I had everything ready for Avery’s arrival I just needed her!
I feel bad now, looking back and struggle with my actions during this pregnancy and even with Alex. I was so sick. Complaining a lot, telling everyone “this is the last one, I’m never doing this again”. It’s almost like I was jinxing myself I regret those feelings. I regret saying that and hope and pray Avery didn’t feel my hate for being so sick while pregnant. As I reached my last trimester I was so happy to almost be done! I told friends “stick a fork in me, I am done”. I had a final, or so I hoped doctor’s appointment on Friday March 22, 2013. My regular doctor was out that day and I was told in advance I would be seeing one of the mid-wives. My regular doctor had never been out so this was my first appointment without him.
The midwife’s nurse first came in and took my weight and then asked if I was sure I was as far along as I thought. She thought I seemed small, (Again being sick I struggled gaining weight the whole time but it wasn’t a big concern I was told). She asked if my due date was from my last known period or just from my scan, I told her my scan. Weird I thought…she then said “Well dang girl, you look great”. I beamed and was happy to hear that.
The midwife came and did the usual stuff and we listened to Avery’s heartbeat, (for what I now know would be the last). It was nice and strong just like it always was EVERYTIME we came in. She stayed on it longer then my regular doctor and I asked her if it sounded okay, she assured me yes, sounds great, just like I always heard! I then told her, I want her out ASAP! Can she scrap me? She said “Yes” and did so.
I sometimes now wonder if I had seen my regular doctor would he have been able to catch something she didn’t’? But he assures me that even a stress test wouldn’t have changed the outcome. I made another appointment as told. The midwife told me she was pretty sure I would be having this baby sometime that weekend or maybe a couple more days thereafter. Saturday came and went and by Sunday I was ready to have her. I told my husband let’s get out and walk a bunch so we did. We went to a hiking trail but just walked for a little bit. We bought some strawberry plants to plant in our garden and I stopped at the Koi pond they have at the nursery and asked my hubby to take some pictures of me and Alex and my large pregnant belly, those are the last images I took before we lost her.
Sunday night my hubby fixed us dinner and we then laid in bed and watched some tv. I told Rick, my husband that I hadn’t felt Avery move as much tonight. He then put his hand on my tummy and we rubbed and both felt her kick strong and he said, “oh I felt her…she’s fine,” I had felt her too and I believe now it was her and that she was still with us then. Early Monday morning around 6:00am I woke like I did every morning (usually to get sick), but with contractions. I waited and timed them then woke my husband to tell him that I was pretty sure they where contractions. I tried to stay home as long as possible until we needed to go to the hospital (I have always been told to try and labor at home for awhile until you’re ready). He got our son up and took him to school we told him when he got home he would be a big brother. I took a bath and we called my mom who is a nurse and she came over. By 10:00 am my contractions where pretty strong so we headed to the hospital. We were all so excited, I remember my mom saying as we got in the car, the next time you come home you’ll be a Family of 4! I laughed and smiled, until my next contraction hit. As we drove to the hospital (it’s very close) I said to my husband today’s going to be one of the worst and best days of my life! The worst for the pain but the best for the reward. In hindsight, It was like I already knew.
We got to the hospital and told them I was in labor. I got the nicest nurse, she was the charge nurse for the day. She asked me to put on the gown and then take a urine test. She then told me to get into the bed and they started hooking me up. She then said, Oh I better check the heartbeat, as she was putting the gunk on my big belly. She said, “have you felt her kick today”. My body got kind of numb and I said no, not since last night. With all the contraction pain I really didn’t even notice she wasn’t moving and I guess I thought if I was having contractions then she must be just fine.
The nurse tried and tried to find Avery’s heartbeat, asking me at one point “honey, are you breathing??”. She found mine and for a moment, I felt like all was going to be okay. She said, “okay that’s you”…..I remember my mom and husband on my left side both like deer in the headlights just in aww, of what was happening. My mom said, “oh my god Morgan”. I could feel the shock hit me, I went numb….I just remember my husband and mom clutching me and telling me it’s okay it’s okay.
The nurse then said she was going to get the Doctor. He came right in, very concerned, he asked some questions and tried to find her heartbeat. He ordered the ultra sound machine and tech. to my room and he came very fast. The ultra sound tech. was a guy and he came in cheerful. The nurse told him she couldn’t find the heartbeat, He looked at the nurse and said, “If I had a dollar for every time they were wrong,” he put the wand on me and silence hit the room.
There was lots of clicking and I put my face in my hands as I could not bear to look at anyone. I could hear him clicking and typing and it seemed like hours went by when finally my mom blurted out, “well, do you see it?” The doctor stood behind him and looked at my mom and shook his head. She burst into tears and lost it. I sat there in shock with my husband by my side, my mom inconsolable.
The doctor told me how very, very sorry he was and that he couldn’t see on the machine what caused her heart to stop. He left and gave us all some time. Later he came back in asked me to decide if I would have her naturally or c-section. I thought fast and wanted c-section. I asked how would I ever be able to push out my dead daughter? HOW?? I told the doctor (who wasn’t my regular doctor). A few hours later my real doctor came in and told me he really wanted me to do this naturally. He said that I could and that it would be better on my body and I would be able to go home faster.
I just kept thinking I want her out NOW. What does it matter, I don’t get to bring her home with me. He convinced me and I gave birth naturally with the help of an epidural in less than 7 hrs total. My beautiful Avery Michele was born at 5:46 pm, She was 6 lbs 5 oz, 19′ long. A pound smaller then Alex. She had black hair and bright blue eyes (they told me). The doctor confirmed that she had the umbilical cord wrapped once tightly around her neck and that this was the cause of her death.
I held her, she was soft and so tiny. She was so warm I just felt like she was sleeping, her lips dark but her skin still so perfect. I unwrapped her and looked at her tiny feet and wondered why they had put a diaper on her. I held her sweet hands, kissed her and then handed her back to my husband. By this time ALL of my family had come and I had all of them hold sweet Avery.
The deacon came in and blessed her. All of the nurses came in and hugged me and cried with us. The doctor even stopped my parents in the hall outside and told them he was so sorry and that this just wasn’t fair. He was pretty upset about it. Everyone reassured us there was nothing I did or could have done to prevent this from happening.
She was with us for a long time. My mother-in-law stayed with her and didn’t leave her side. My friend is a nurse there and she spent time with me and then I asked her to take Avery away. We signed papers to have her cremated, received a memory box and just like that, went home.
A week later we had a private service to honor her with family and friends. My angel is gone but not a day goes by that I don’t think about her, think about what she would be and look like and how WANTED she was, how amazing Alex would have been as a big brother….not a day goes by that she isn’t loved!!
We love you to the moon and stars Avery Michele.
Your mommy, Morgan; Daddy Rick and Brother Alex