Noah’s story begins with the birth of our daughter, Elliott Ann, on January 4th, 2018. It was a perfectly healthy, textbook pregnancy and delivery. We loved, and of course still do love, her with all of our hearts. She was our first child, and we navigated the joys and challenges of being a family of three. Around the time Elliott turned 11 months old, we were surprised to find out we were expecting again. While we weren’t planning on our children being so close in age, we were excited to welcome another little one after the initial shock wore off. I grew up an only child and my parents had me later in life (my mom was 38 when I was born), and I knew I wanted something different when I had a family one day. I knew I wanted to be a younger mom, so my children would have more time to know my parents as their grandparents. I also knew I wanted my children to have siblings because as I’ve gotten older, I know I have longed for that bond that only a sibling can provide. Knowing that my children would have that family to lean on after I am gone gives me great comfort. Our pregnancy began and progressed as expected through the first trimester. Since our first pregnancy had been normal and this one had been so far, we didn’t hesitate to announce on Facebook as soon as we hit the 13-week mark. We told some close family and friends even earlier than that because we are terrible at keeping something so exciting a secret. Little did we know how quickly things would begin to change.
Starting around 14 weeks, I began to have some light bleeding. Throughout the next 4 weeks, there would be more bleeding and cramping. We were monitored with weekly visits to the OB, during one of which appointments, we found out that we were pregnant with a little boy. I remember my husband getting so excited that we were going to have a boy. Soon after that appointment, there was a late night trip to Methodist’s emergency room because the cramping had intensified, and I was sure I would be delivering that night. But, everything checked out for the night, and we went home. I can’t remember exactly how much longer after that, I woke up in the morning and found that my pants were soaked. However, it wasn’t wet with blood like it had been before. I called my OB and went in to find out that my water had broken. While he still had some fluid left, there wasn’t much. The OB said he had seen instances where the amniotic sac would reseal and the pregnancy could continue. We were sent home that day with a wait-and-see-what-happens diagnosis. At this point, I was about 18 weeks along, and we had been told we would have to make it to 23-24 weeks to be considered viable. The next night, which was a Saturday, I had called my mom and was talking to her. The cramping had been worse that night, and I distinctly remember telling her on the phone, “Be ready for a late night call”. As wrong as wanted to be, my mother’s intuition would end up being right.
Around 1 am, the cramping had woken me from sleep, and I had to go to the bathroom. After I sat down, I realized that I could feel his head, and in my heart, in that moment, I knew it was truly over. I managed to walk back to our bedroom and tell my husband that he needed to call 911. I remember walking back to the kitchen and my husband telling me to lay down on the floor. My husband is a 911 dispatcher for the county we live in, so hearing him call his own coworkers was hard to hear. I could hear him go into “go-mode”, which was oddly reassuring. I laid there on the floor until the ambulance arrived, and in walked our neighbor who lives across the street, who is also the fire captain, a city police officer that we know well, and a couple of other first responders. I remember not crying much yet at this point, still in a “take care of business” sort of mindset. At this point, our little guy had rescinded, so I was able to walk out to a stretcher and take my first ambulance ride. I had to go alone because our daughter was sleeping, and he had to wait for my mom to get to our house.
The drive to the county hospital was short. I was unloaded and taken into a stark patient room in the emergency department. I remember laying there alone, waiting for my husband, just knowing this was end. The nurse went through the usual history, vitals, etc. before the doctor came into the room with a small portable sonogram machine. I remember this part vividly because I remember him scanning and scanning and scanning, and I all I could think was “Stop trying to find a heartbeat because I know there isn’t one”. He explained there was not a heartbeat and what the next steps would be. My husband finally got there about an hour after I had arrived, and the doctor explained what I think he already knew. I decided I wanted to try to deliver him, and after some pushing, though I can’t remember exactly how long,
Noah John entered this world silent at 3:45 am on March 31st, 2019. I remember the endless tears and seeing my husband cry in a way that I have never seen; a vulnerability that was completely unmatched by anything I had seen before. The OB department did come down soon after to give us a small blanket and hat to wrap him in. We were given a few hours to hold our sweet baby boy before having breakfast. My parents were able to come and bring Elliott to see her brother, but with her being so young, she didn’t understand the situation. Soon after, the funeral home came. This is another moment that lives in my mind from this day. We were having to make decisions that no parent should ever have to make, like choosing cremation or burial. One of the most difficult moments of this day was handing our son over to the funeral director. I knew this would be the last time we would see him and be able to hold him, and all of the raw emotions flooded to the surface again. We chose to have a small service with my parents at a local Catholic church to baptize him. He laid in a small basket with a blanket over him, so we couldn’t see him. We left the church and returned to our home with my parents.
The days and weeks that followed were filled with many tears and just raw, unbridled emotion and grief that I had never experienced before. I took about a week off of work before going back. I remember that being difficult because while some of the people who I work more closely with knew why I was away, others did not, so there was a constant re-telling of parts of the story, just enough so others knew I was no longer pregnant but not so much that I would make myself upset. There were many commutes in my car where something would be said on the talk show I was listening to or a song would come on that reminded me of Noah and our loss. Thank goodness for the take out napkins I hoard in my center console. I remember one instance where I was driving home from work, and the funeral home called to tell me that even though we had elected to cremate him, we would have to be prepared to receive no ashes back because since the bones were still mostly cartilage there may not be mineral material left behind. I sobbed in my car because it felt like we were losing what little bit we were going to have left of our son. We chose to move forward, and by God’s grace, we received back even more than they expected. My husband found a beautiful train urn engraved with his name, which now sits in our bedroom.
Now that we are almost two years out, we are embracing celebrating our angel and living to find a way for him to have an impact and bring joy to the lives of other children in the world in ways that are meaningful to us as his parents. In just over 4 weeks, we will welcome our rainbow baby, a little girl we plan to name Emma. It has been a journey of emotional ups, downs, and cautious optimism. While we will always grieve Noah, we know that we may have never tried to have Emma if we had not lost him. Noah’s loss has been our greatest trial, but also our greatest blessing.
IN HONOR AND CELEBRATION OF NOAH, DONATIONS CAN BE MADE HERE. ON BEHALF OF THE SCHEUERMANN FAMILY, THANK YOU FOR YOUR GIFT.