After years of infertility, we found out on Easter Weekend 2019 that we were expecting. Curtis and I (and our families) were beyond excited!!

Later on in the pregnancy, we had a gender reveal party and found out we were having a boy. We were overjoyed with excited and could not wait to meet our son. 

August 28, 2019 I couldn’t feel him move and my gut instinct was telling me that something was wrong.  Nervous + anxiety ridden, I went and had things checked...strong heartbeat. Relief flooded my body.

On September 3, 2019, at my routine appointment, our worst fears became a reality. I had attended the appointment alone, as it was a routine appointment in our healthy pregnancy.  On this day, I had to call my husband to come to the hospital, my voice sank as I said the dreaded words, “they can’t find a heartbeat”. 

As my husband raced to meet me, I had an ultrasound to confirm my worst nightmare, there was indeed no heart beat. Grief-stricken, the OBGYN came in and told us what our next steps were. Feeling numb, we walked through the back into a hallway and called our parents and siblings. The tears poured out of me as I told each family member our horrific news, we had lost our son, the child we had longed for + worked so hard for.

I was induced that same day and our sweet angel Carter Louis Paustian was born two days later, at 26 weeks on September 5, 2019 at 2:15 am. He weighed 1 lb 5.2 oz and was 12.9 inches long.  He had his daddy’s nose and legs and his mommy’s lips and feet. 

Our immediate family came to meet Carter. After holding him and giving him all of our love and kisses; we had to let him go. Saying good bye to my son + letting go of his physical body was one of the hardest moments of my life.

We had an autopsy completed which showed a Nuchal Cord Accident.  He had his umbilical cord wrapped around his right arm and neck twice. 

Curtis and I were blessed to become pregnant with our daughter, Aubrey, born in July of 2020. One month after delivering Aubrey, I went to the ER and was transported to the hospital with Peripartum Cardiomyopathy, a rare pregnancy complication. My ejection fraction was 17%, meaning my heart was only functioning at 17% capacity. I wore a ZOLL Life Vest (defibrillator) for months and went to cardiac rehab. In the hospital we were told I could no longer carry children. That. Hit. Hard. I grieved all over again. Recently, I  had a second opinion consult at UIHC for becoming pregnant. I was devastated to recieve the same news, recommendations being the same.  I am at severe risk of maternal fatality + cardiac arrest with future pregnancies and they strongly advised against it.

There are times my grief hits me like a freight train. I feel consumed in it.  It is then that I feel most thankful for NFTS + remember the words from all who have supported me.  I hear, “You are not alone." I hear, “You are strong.”  I hear, "We are here for you today + every day."  

I am forever thankful + blessed to be Carter's mama, for I know we have a perfect guardian angel. 

Amber + Curtis Paustian