My husband and I have been married for almost 14 years. Our oldest son James is 12. That was a tough 1st pregnancy. I had complication after complication. I had a emergency c-section at 33 weeks. After a struggle we were finally able to have our daughter Elizabeth; she is 6. Our son David is 4 and he was a surprise to us!  When we decided to add a 4th baby to our family, it took about 7 months and a couple chemical pregnancies, but we were overjoyed to get pregnant. This baby was going to be the last one. 


Everything seemed to be going well, except I had extreme morning sickness well into my 2nd trimester.  I felt the baby move abound 10 weeks; he was quite a wiggly worm. Everything looked normal on my 1st ultrasound scan.  When I was 16 weeks gestation, our baby's heartbeat was 177 and I was measuring 17 weeks. It was the next week, I felt off and movements were diminishing.  I went in at 18 weeks and baby's heartbeat was 169. My doctor said everything was fine, movements weren't counted until after 20 weeks, and the placenta was in front, so that may be the reason for less movements. She assured me I was ok and in 2 short weeks I would get to have my 20 week ultrasound to see my baby. Over the next 2 weeks, I felt like something just wasn't right. 


Friday November 15, 2019 my life changed. I still remember the 'gulp' the ultrasound tech made.  I still remember the look on her face as she tried to measure our baby and then....those words. "I'm sorry, but there is no heartbeat. Let me get the doctor"  His head measured 16 weeks 5 days. That's all we were told at the time. 


I had 3 previous c-sections, so a natural delivery was considered not safe. I had to go to Iowa City, but had to wait until Monday. I would need to have a D&E.  I was not keen to this procedure and it was very hard knowing I wouldn't get to see my baby and the condition he would be in.  Not to mention, this procedure was very painful.


For peace of mind, I requested another ultasound to confirm fetal demise.  They measured and looked at everything.  His tiny body measured at 15 weeks, head 16 1/2 weeks, placenta at 18 1/2 weeks.  He weighed 11 oz.  The doctors were stunned he stopped growing and he still continued to thrive for so long. We don't know exactly when his heart stopped, but more than likely in my 18th week.  Everything on the ultasound seemed normal except my baby was not alive. 


On Tuesday November 19, 2019, I was 20 weeks 4 days and Thomas Vern was born.  I never got to see or hold my baby.  I still struggle with that.  We did genetic testing and everything came back normal...everything was normal.  We don't know why he stopped growing and his heart stopped.  Those questions will be forever unanswered. Thomas now sits on my dresser in his urn. 


We've decided we are ready to move forward and try for a 5th baby.  I'm afraid that I will lose another baby well into a pregnancy again.  In the past 6 months, I've had 1 chemical pregnancy and recently an early miscarriage.


I'm so glad to have seen other stories that are similar to mine and know I'm not the only one out there who has experienced this type of loss. 


I hope to one day be able to attend a gala event and be able to support building birthing and bearevement suites.  I was in a room that I had to share another mom. There was a frosted glass sliding door but I could hear everything including her baby's cry and their excitement. It was so very hard. 

Angela Collum