Friday, April 22, 2016

Walking Away

The week of August 17th to 22nd is a blur. After getting home on the 17th, all I remember is crying a lot. Every time I did finally fall asleep I would wake up forgetting for a brief moment that I was no longer pregnant and the pain would start anew. I quickly learned about the triggers of grief, which there were and still are a lot of.

On the 18th we started planning Bryton’s service and celebrated our 3rd Childs 7th birthday. Switching from funeral mode to birthday mode felt unreal but we did it. As the week went on I started to feel physically worse and was diagnosed with postpartum preeclampsia. A day after this I was diagnoses with a prolapsed uterus and reminded to sit down and rest. I was told I had stay down just like I would be if my baby was home with me alive and well. This meant I could not do all of the funeral planning or errands I wanted to run on my own. I had to let others pickup where I was falling short.

As Bryton’s mother, there were so many things I wanted to do myself for her service and I couldn’t. It was frustrating but in the end everything turned out. On May 22nd we buried our daughter. We started off that morning planning to dress our daughter for her services ourselves, but in the end she was too fragile, so her socks, shoes, and bow are all we got to add ourselves. We never got to dress our daughter in this lifetime.

We had been being told all week that Bryton did not look good and they ended up not being able to embalm her. As a result we had not planned a viewing. But last minute, right before we placed her in her casket, Chris and I decided that we would warn our family and bring the casket out opened just for a short while before we said the family prayer and headed to the cemetery. The mortician was hesitant to have us do this, but we agreed he could stand close by Bryton making sure no one disturbed her in her very fragile state.

Chris and I were instructed to each take a side of Bryton’s little casket and carry her out ourselves. I didn’t want to do it, as I knew I would break, but I did. As we sat her down I wanted to run away and fall apart. But again I didn’t. I stayed and visited with family and watched our kids as they showed off their baby sister to their cousins. I can’t remember the order but I believe Chris said a few words; my step dad gave the family prayer and then we kissed Bryton one last time and closed the casket.

As we arrived at the cemetery I remember everything looking ultra green and beautiful. I felt like I was in a dream and nothing was real. Our baby did not die and we were not really about to bury her body and walk away. But it was real, she did die and we did have to bury her and walk away. The service was short and sweet and everything went as planned thanks to our family and friends. I once heard you won’t remember everyone who attended your wedding but you will remember everyone who attends a funeral of your loved one. It is true. We are so very for grateful for everyone who postponed their Memorial Day plans to attend Bryton’s service.
At the luncheon afterward I had to be reminded to eat and sit down. I just wanted to personally make sure every person there knew how grateful we were to see them and have their support. I didn’t really care to eat as I still could not taste food. I did as I was told and sat down and attempted to eat.

After the luncheon Chris and I had to go back to the mortuary and get Bryton’s things. It was not a place we were in a hurry to go back too, even though we had been there just this morning. Once we were home we were mentally and physically drained. We were grateful our kids had left to have sleepovers with their cousin’s so that we could have some quiet time alone together. Our dear friend was sweet enough to drop off a weekend package full of treats and videos so that we could just retreat into our home and not leave.

As the day ended I was exhausted but could not sleep. Life was moving in slow motion. We are no longer the same people we were just 7 days earlier. We had our 5th child, a daughter, and had nothing to show for it but a childless nursery full of things that were Bryton’s that she would never use. Life was not supposed to go this way, but it did. 

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Hoping for a Rainbow

Before I write about the experiences of planning a funeral instead of a baby blessing, I feel that I should take a timeout and write about what is happening now.

Immediately after having Bryton I felt that I could never go through another pregnancy.  Bryton was already my bonus baby and I swore I was done after 4 and she was our 5th. When I hit the 6 week postpartum mark and went into my doctor I decided to tentatively ask, “what if we try again?”  I told my doctor to tell me the real truth about how long would be the best to wait and what the risks would be. I did not want to be coddled and told, “Whenever you are ready,” I knew my body still had some recovering to do. I suffered from postpartum preeclampsia and a prolapsed uterus after Bryton which was slowing my body’s physical healing process.

My doctor first said to wait at least a year, but realized that would put me closer to 35 or older by delivery so she suggested waiting 6 months before trying again. At this point I was not sure if I would ever consider having another baby but decided I would give myself 6 months before deciding. Now if I could only get everyone else to give me 6 months…

People are well intended but almost immediately after our loss I started getting asked if I would have another. Even worse, people would make the comment, “you will have another right?” This put so much pressure on me making me feel like I was letting others down because I was not ready. I was walking around every day with a huge piece of me missing. Many have the false belief that if you have kids and lose one somehow your living children make the loss less significant, which is not the truth.

Others believe the longer you have a child the greater the loss, again not the truth. This is like saying I love my 16 year old more than my 4 year old, and I bet most would assume the opposite if they see me with my kids as my 4 year old needs me more. A loss of a child is a loss of a child, no matter the age or stage of life they are in. You don’t grieve because of time you had with someone you grieve because of the loss of time with someone and the love you feel for them. You long to be with them. There are various degrees of trauma associated with different types of loss too. But that is a whole other topic.

After much soul searching and turning to my Heavenly Father I did get a strong answer that there was another child for us to have. My husband though, was not ready. We both agreed that there was another, but we were not ready.  I would bounce back and forth about if I was ready or not almost on an hourly basis.  Before we had been ready there was a pregnancy scare. I say scare because of the anxiety that I felt which confirmed I was not ready. After a seemingly constant panic attack it was such a relief when I found out I was not pregnant.

A couple of months later at our son’s 4th birthday party my husband and I were watching him play and having fun. Later the next day my husband shared that he now felt ready to start possibly trying for another baby. A couple weeks later my husband was getting ready to leave town. I woke up really early and suddenly realized I was late. I calmly took a pregnancy test and waited as it turned positive (6.5 months after delivering Bryton I was pregnant). I did not panic, but instead felt completely calm. I hid the test and went about my day. While my husband was gone I figured out a way to tell him. I would put the pregnancy test and a note in the baby stocking we used for announcing Bryton’s gender the year before.

When he got home, a couple of days later, I had the stocking sitting on our bed and he instantly asked if I was pregnant. Surprisingly he was calm too. We decided not to tell our kids, until after we knew everything looked OK. Even after our first ultrasound (which I was a nervous wreck for) we decided to wait a little longer to tell our kids as we just did not feel ready to talk about the pregnancy with others.

Finally we told our kids, then eventually our parents and then everyone. Everything about being pregnant reminds me of Bryton and I have found the further along I get, the more anxiety I have. While I am at high risk for preeclampsia and other issues, everything seems OK at this point. I am already on no vacuuming, sweeping or mopping in addition to the normal no lifting (including Boston, but I forget).

I have had questions like, “Why are you high risk? It’s not like it will happen again.” I want to say, “Um my healthy baby died, inside me, nothing makes you more high risk than that.” But I don’t. There are so many ignorant things people say and ask (I have to make the constant choice not to be offended). Somehow I try to find ways to answer and then I often go home and crawl up into the fetal position and cry (it might sound more like whaling if you ask my kids or husband). I hope by being real and not sugar coating every little thing we have been through that others might know they are not alone when they have down times in their lives. Even with all the sadness I do still have times of great joy, they are often short lived because of the pregnancy hormones I have running through me, but they are still there.

As I go through this journey of caring a rainbow baby (child born after loss) I hope others will be sensitive to the fact that this child is not Bryton nor are we having another child to replace Bryton. I do not expect this child to heal my heart, nor do I feel I should place that responsibility on their tiny shoulders. I am meant to be their mother, no matter the shape I am in, so that is what I will do. It will not be easy but I will do it. However, we do hope by adding this child to our family we will be able to end our experience of having children on a happier note. This is something I am fully aware all too many couples do not get to do. I feel guilt for that. There is great guilt in being able to conceive and carry our own children to term when I know so many can’t.

While I carry grief, guilt and anxiety we are very excited at the same time. We look forward to August and pray it will bring us a living child who is warm and safe in our arms.

Baby loss terms:
Angel Baby (some that do not believe in God or angels do not prefer this term, be sensitive to that) – A baby that passed away in or outside the womb.
Sunshine – Child born before a loss.
Rainbow Baby – Child born after a loss.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Road to Bryton - Day 7

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Between midnight to 1 am I remember my hospital room feeling busy. Our parents were there and in my mind I was trying to plan out how to pay for a burial and delivery.  I had some money set aside to make up for while I was off work, but had not been able to save anything past that.  I remembered that we have an insurance policy that covers the burial of any of our kids and mentioned that out loud. I wasn’t aware at the time that our child had to be born, take a breath and then die for us to get this benefit. Who plans to ever deliver a dead baby? Not us.

At some point my dad volunteered to give me his 2 burial plots he has by my grandmother. This gives me some peace as I am trying to prepare for what is to come.  By 1 o’clock my induction is going and my epidural is in place.  On the third attempt, my epidural was finally in place.  It took so long because I was shaking so bad. The nurse was even trying to hold me still. I asked if I could be knocked out and woken up when everything was over. I am pretty sure my doctor said yes, whatever I wanted they would do. I chose not to take advantage of this because I don’t like feeling drugged and not in control of my body, even if I am about to completely fall apart.

After everything is ready, I decide I will try and rest while my parents and oldest daughter move to the waiting room. All night I felt restless feeling so sorry that we were finally having a girl and now she was already gone. You see Bryton is Chris’ first biological daughter. I met Chris when our oldest Payton was just over 2 years old. She was tall for her age and well past the baby phase. After we got married we had 3 boys, each time hoping for a girl. For a husband who is a huge sports fanatic who follows everything; I always found it interesting that he wanted another girl so badly. This was not because he does not feel Payton is his, but he always felt strongly there was a daughter and he longed to hold a newborn girl. Chris wanted to shop in the girl side of the store just as much as I did. This dream was now shattered.

As the night went on I still could not sleep.  My mind was running in a million directions. I asked my nurse what the baby would look like. They told me it depends, each one looks different. Later I would find out that it depends on how long it has been since the baby passed away. Since I was full term there was no way to tell from an ultrasound how long it had been because every baby is a different size depending on genetics. I was scared, scared that I would not be able to hold or look at Bryton’s body. I wanted the delivery to be over, but I also didn’t want it to happen.

Sometime during the 4 o’clock hour my stepmom and mother in-law came in to check how things were going. I was not too far from my body being ready to deliver. As the hour went on I suddenly felt like my body was pushing. My nurse said I was just about ready, then right when she left the room I felt pressure and called her back in to check again (it felt like my baby had just come out), my water had broken and I was 100% ready, they were getting my doctor who was attempting to sleep at the hospital. Oddly, this is the first time out of 5 deliveries that my water broke on its own.

I was so scared. I did not want to do this. I wanted to run away (a repeating feeling). I wanted my mom and dad to fix everything. Then I felt it. I could feel everyone’s prayers for us entering the room. The only word that can describe what I felt was love.

As we got ready the room was silent. There was no monitor with the sound of the baby’s fetal heart rate, there was no worrying about the baby, instead everything was about me and what I wanted. I decided anyone who wanted to stay in the room could.

When my doctor came in she was quiet and serious, this is not normal for her. During my last delivery we talked through the whole thing about random stuff like sushi. This time I just waited quietly until she told me to push. When I did pushed it felt completely different from my past deliveries. It was literally caring dead weight. I am now a believer that babies assist in their delivery. I don’t know how, but they do. This baby felt heavy and hard to push. My last delivery, 3 ½ years earlier, I only had to push once.

As I waited to push again I was still crying and shaking. I know I pushed at least one more time and by 5:01 am Bryton’s body was delivered. My doctor asked if Chris wanted to cut the umbilical cord, he was holding my hand and I felt him hesitate. I remember thinking that it was OK if he could not do it. He let go of my hand and cut the cord. I did not watch. I still had my face covered and was then asked if I wanted to hold her through the tears all I could say was, “I don’t know, I don’t know.” My nurse then said, we will clean her off and get her wrapped in a blanket and then see if you want to hold her.
I felt like such an awful person. I was too scared to look at Bryton’s body. She was gone, so why should I Iook? I could feel she was not in there. She was gone. I could not even feel her in the room. I could feel others there like my grandparents, but not Bryton. She was gone, gone.
After my doctor got me situated she gave me a hug and finally lost her cool as she started to cry and told me she does not know why this happens and that she did not think a cause to her death would be found because Bryton was perfect. I was told later that as she and my nurses went into the hall and cried. My doctor went and found Payton. She hugged Payton and sobbed. My doctor was my family doctor through 5 pregnancies and deliveries, an eating disorder, date rape and teen pregnancy (not a result from the rape but from no self-esteem afterward). We have been through a lot together. 

Through my tears I asked Chris if he would take pictures of Bryton. I did not know what I wanted pictures of though. I just knew I wanted pictures and whatever I did not want later I could get rid of. I can’t even remember being handed Bryton, but I do remember as soon as I looked at her my heart that I thought was already shattered, exploded. I felt so much love and so much pain all at the same time. It was not like looking at a living newborn, this was so painful I can’t describe it. The only way to even understand it is to sadly experience it. So I wish no one to understand it.  
She looked like a normal newborn, but relaxed. Her lips were bright red, as the skin had started to peel, but other than that she did not look any different than any other newborn. I cried harder and harder each time I looked at her and felt her dead weight in my arms. Never had a 6lb 4oz baby felt so heavy. I said anyone who wanted to hold her could and asked Chris once again to take pictures. Even after all my preparation I had accidently grabbed my broken camera flash and with it so dark outside, Chris did the best he could to take pictures through his tears.
Our daughter Payton came in but could not bring herself to hold her. She looked at her from a distance and that was OK. I don’t think at almost 16 I would have wanted to hold a dead baby either, especially if it were my only sister. My delivery had happened so fast that my mom and stepdad who had our boys did not make it but came in shortly after. Each of the boys came in. At first none of them wanted to hold her, but eventually Boston climbed up onto the bed with me and when I was not looking he would rub her hands. He kept asking me to take her lipstick off (since her lips were bright red and were starting to get darker).
The hospital got to work trying to get a hold of a photographer and attempting hand and foot molds. They took her hand and foot prints and got her dressed in her white dress, but it did not fit because she was too big. We decided to go from a white dress with purple ribbon to a sold white dress. My nurse was getting ready to leave and instructed us to remember that this was our show; no one should tell us when to have the mortuary come that was up to us. We could be with Bryton as long as we wanted an not to worry about or listen to anyone else’s opinions. She said she was selecting the nurse she thought would be best to take over and making sure everyone knew the situation.
As my doctor came in to check on me before she left, she told me she ordered labs and sent my placenta off. They would be checking both me and Bryton for many conditions ranging from diabetes to lupus. She instructed the hospital to let me leave whenever I wanted; she was not going to make me stay as I normally do just fine after delivery. Many vials of blood were drawn and we went about the day exhausted and broken but still having many decisions to make not sure if we would leave that day or spend the night.

I was brought breakfast and could not really eat. I could not taste anything. Our family was taking turns holding Bryton and I was still crying off and on and laughing through my tears while being sarcastic at times (I am sure I seemed like I was losing my mind), this is normal for me when stressed. I was currently trying to figure out how to tell one of my best friends about what had happened as she was getting married today (this is a side story I will share later).

There was so much that seemed to take place this day. We were given paper work to fill out. One paper had me fill out information about my pregnancy; there was not one risk factor I could check off for having a stillborn. I did not drink, smoke, take drugs or have a chronic illness. We filled in Bryton’s full name, Bryton Elizabeth Wintle (there is more about this in the post The Dream).

I was so tired and at lunch once again tried to eat. The only thing I ate was the lemon pie; it was the only thing I could slightly taste. I later learned that losing your sense of taste is a side effect of grief. It would be months before it came back. I tried to sleep but felt guilty if we left Bryton’s body sitting alone. I actually did not feel a huge desire to keep holding her, but there was a need to make sure her body was taken care of. We were still waiting for the photographer to arrive. I got a little frantic wanting all of the kids to get ready to be in pictures and then I broke. I could not get myself ready and pretend to be happy for pictures. It was then decided that we would only have pictures taken of Bryton and at a later date have family pictures taken with us holding her picture. This way I could stay the mess I was and my kids did not have to smile when they did not feel like it.
Once the photographer arrived she went to work taking pictures of Bryton and then asked what else I wanted. I told her I just wanted pictures of Chris holding her hands and feet. She then asked if I would get in the pictures and I said no. It was not that I did not want my picture taken but I could not smile when looking at Bryton as my heart shattered more and more each time I looked at her. The photographer agreed to leave me out of them, but later asked me to hold her feet and hands. She slowly worked me into a few pictures as tears streamed down my now swollen face (I was positive I would not use any of these pictures).

It was now around 2pm and we were given a list of mortuaries to choose from. Another nurse walked in to ask me a question and when I looked at her I instantly recognized her. It was my nurse from Monday, the one who had monitored Bryton. I quickly asked if it was her and she looked sad as she said yes. She told me she wishes there had been a sign that she was not OK. She sat down and told me that she had a stillborn sister and watched her mom suffer from the grief. She shared that still to this day she suffers. I felt bad for her. I felt bad that she had been my nurse that previous Monday. I felt bad for all of my nurses and kept telling them so. Who wants to go to work and end up delivering a dead baby? My guess is no one, including the doctors.

As Chris called the first mortuary on the list they told us everything for babies is free except the casket and the casket cost depended on the baby’s size. We did not have the strength to keep calling others so we called the mortuary back and set up the dreaded time to pick up Bryton’s body. At this point a nurse came and asked if she could take Bryton to try hand and foot molds again because they did not like how the first set turned out. The nurse that brought her back made sure to say; “her nose is really starting to run.” We got the hint that she thought we should have the mortuary come and told her we had already called them. Her nose was running. This is graphic but the truth. Small bodies deteriorate fast, plus she had already started to deteriorate before being born. We watched as her body got darker and darker, her skin more wrinkly and fluid from her brain ran out her nose. It was hard. But as any good father Chris would wipe her nose and say, “oh sweetheart,” in the sweetest tone I had ever heard. While falling apart I was also falling more and more madly in love with my husband. Watching how he loved our daughter even after she was gone was the most amazing thing I have ever seen on this earth.
We had visitors come and go, warning each one that Bryton was still in our room and getting very dark. But if that bothered anyone they did not show it. By the time the mortuary came it was 3 pm and one of my childhood friends and her husband were there. I remember the two young men that came in with a small quilt and asked if it was ok if they wrap Bryton up. Chris and I each gave her one last kiss as we handed her off. I felt ready to let her go. But as they wrapped her up I cried, they then asked if they could over her face now and we said yes, as they did I broke. Each step you literally don’t think you can take and then you do. It is still so much harder than you can imagine but you make it; you don’t have any other choice.

I am now being asked if I want to order dinner, but I don’t know if I am staying. Part of me feels like I should as I can’t face going home empty handed. Chris is ready to go home and tells me if I don’t go yet that he needs to; he can’t stand to be at the hospital any longer. I agree to go home. So by 4pm (11 hours after delivering Bryton) we are packed up with all of our things and a white box instead of our baby. For the day decisions are done, the funeral planning will start tomorrow. 

There is more to this day, but I will end here and write about the rest later.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Road to Bryton - Day 6

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Today is now Saturday!  I can finally focus on getting the baby’s room ready.  We cleaned and went to Wal-Mart where I felt like I ran into everyone I had known since I was a kid.  My husband hung up the baby’s curtains, assembled the stroller and car seat while I ironed her bedding that had just arrived.  I made sure my bag and camera were packed and ready to go.  It was time to get real about having this baby, I am now 37 weeks and 3 days. With my track record this baby would arrive shortly, and it did not seem real.
All day I kept trying to focus on feeling the baby move, but the fog around my mind was too thick, I would get busy with getting ready for the baby and planning my church lesson.  I completed making the artwork that would hang above the baby’s crib.  I had three frames and the middle one I made a B for her name Bryton. At one point I was sitting in the baby’s room and Boston sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to my belly.
As the day went on, I told myself at 7 pm I would eat and really focus on this baby’s movements.  After all every website said a baby moves the most between 7 to 10 pm.  As 7 pm came around I ate, and then laid with my feet up and waited, nothing.  8 pm came and I now was starting to worry but still telling myself I am just crazy. I started to once again look up ways to make your baby move and found a new one.  To lay on your stomach for a very short time and that it would force your baby to push back.  So I went into my room and and laid on my stomach with some pillows and felt nothing.  I started to cry. 

My husband came into our room and looked worried, he asked if I felt like we needed to go into the hospital.  I looked at him and said, “I don’t know.  I feel like I don’t want to go.  I just want to go to bed and deal with this in the morning. I feel so alone.”  This sent him into the mode of quickly getting things arranged with the kids so we could leave. I text my dad and step mom asking if we could stop by and have my dad and Chris give me a priesthood blessing on our way to the hospital.

I started to feel really cold and my teeth were chattering uncontrollably. I knew from others losing babies this was not a good sign.  We grabbed our things and started to head out. Our oldest saw us and looked a little worried but none of our 4 kids knew what was going on. We just told them we needed to go check on the baby and that we will probably be back. 

As we drove to my dad’s I kept telling myself, “my dad can fix this, my dad can fix this,” I am now a little girl just wanting daddy to make all her problems go away.  As my dad began to give me the priesthood blessing he suddenly stopped, it sounded like he could not speak.  This scared me.  He then said in the blessing that my Heavenly Father loves me and that everything will be OK.  After the blessing my dad shared that when he went to give me the blessing that it was strange. He suddenly didn’t know if he should be blessing me or the baby. He then said it was as if he was carried away and allowed to feel a glimpse of the overwhelming love my Heavenly Father has for me and that he knew everything would be OK, but he did not know what that meant. This gave my husband Chris peace. For myself I was even more worried.

As we pulled into the hospital parking lot I could not stop shaking and I felt like I just wanted to turn around and go home.  It took all my strength to walk in the door. I remember a lady sitting inside the waiting room as we entered, that Chris doesn’t remember being there. As we buzzed to be let in I felt dumb for being there as on Monday when I came everything ended up being fine, I should just go home.  But I didn’t. 

I laugh when I get nervous, I am pretty sure I laughed as we explained what was going on and that everything was probably fine but I can’t get the baby to move at all, and that I can’t remember the last time I actually felt a real strong movement.  This time they had me get changed and checked me in.  Then the nurse went to hook up the monitors.

While the nurse looked for the heartbeat I did not initially panic, but then as she kept looking I saw her facial expression go from happy to hyper focused.  Then she grabbed my hand.  This is when I knew.  She kept looking for a heartbeat for what felt like an hour, but I am sure was only minutes. I looked over at my husband who was sitting with his head in his hands.  I then started to say I was sorry.  I don’t know if I said it out loud or in my head, but I just felt sorry.  Sorry I had not come in sooner and that our daughter was in danger.  But I had not given up completely.  The nurse then told me, “I normally can find a heartbeat by now.  Nothing is confirmed yet. Your doctor was just here, we will have her come back and order an ultrasound.” There was no need for me to fight to have my doctor, a small relief as I try to keep from completely falling apart.

At this moment, I feel helpless and out of control. The only thing I could think to do was to have Chris text everyone we could think of to pray, pray for a heartbeat, this is just a mistake. Oddly we have experienced a broken monitor before, so I was secretly hoping this was just a big mistake.

As I sat there waiting, shivering and teeth chattering I felt completely alone.  I felt so empty. I felt like I just wanted to get up and run away. This was not going as planned. I was ready for bed, not ready to deal with this. Then my doctor came in pulling what I am sure was the first ultrasound machine she could quickly find. I told her I could not look as I covered my face and she turned the screen away from me. Then she and the nurse began the ultrasound.  I heard them say the placenta looked good, the umbilical cord looked good and other things to themselves. I kept my arm draped over my face and hoped any second they would turn on the sound and I would hear a heartbeat.

Then the ultrasound tech came in with another machine and my doctor looked at me and said she was going to let the tech do the ultrasound now, but that my doctor did not see any movement.  She was telling me my baby was dead without telling me. I believe I cried as the tech too did an ultrasound with her machine and again I heard bits and pieces that everything looked fine, but there was no movement; my baby had passed away and from the ultrasound they could not see a cause. My baby looked perfect.

As I am absorbing everything I looked right at my doctor and said, “I cannot do this, I am NEVER doing this again.” I can only imagine how I was looking at her; I know I felt like she should be able to fix this. She has saved my babies before. She looked at me calmly and said, “Well we are not making any major decisions tonight.” I asked if this means I need to deliver and she said yes. At some point I looked at Chris and said, “Our Heavenly Father has confused us with someone else, I am not strong enough to do this.” 

As our parents started to arrive we were trying to figure out how to tell our kids and getting them to the hospital. My doctor then told me if I wanted she would let me go home, sleep and deliver in the morning. But I said no, as there was no way I could make myself walk back into the hospital. Plus our son’s birthday is May 18th and if I wait until the next day I ran a greater risk of delivering on the 18th; I felt if I could prevent that I should.

We decide to wait until after we got some time with our kids to start my induction. When our kids arrived they were at first fine, not knowing that anything was going on except that we were going to have a baby. I can’t even remember which one of us said what to the kids. But we were honest with them. I felt like sheltering them from what was going on what not right. We told them that the baby had died and that we needed to deliver her. A few of the kids crawled up onto the bed with me and cried.

We answered any questions they had, many of which we did not have answers to but we were honest with them about that too. We left it up to them if they wanted to stay at the hospital or not. We also told them once she was born we were not going to make them see her or hold her if they did not want to, everything was up to them and we as their parents were not going to be upset with how they decided to handle this. However, we did make it clear this would probably be the only chance they would get to hold the baby.

We had family going to get the baby’s blanket that we had for her and I was asked if I had anything I wanted Bryton to wear once she arrived. At this point we had gone from referring to the baby as her or she to using her name Bryton. I realized all I had was a sleeper but nothing newborn sized at home yet as the clothes I had finally ordered were not going to arrive for a few days. My nurses brought in dresses for us to choose from and bracelets. Everything we picked had purple on it. The dress was white with purple ribbon, white booties with purple ribbon and a set of matching purple bracelets for Bryton and I.  After each of the kids figured out what they wanted to do I told my nurse I was ready (or as ready as I could be).

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Monday, February 15, 2016

The Road to Bryton - Day 5

Friday, May 15, 2015

Here we are again, another morning of no movement.  Before heading to work, I looked at our family calendar where all of us had made guessed about when this baby would arrive.  I had guessed May 18th, which is our son’s birthday. The whole pregnancy I had a feeling she would come close to this date even though her actual due date was June 3rd.
On my way into work I stopped and got a co-worker a birthday present.  I distinctly remember thinking, “what if I am walking around with a dead baby inside of me?”  As I stood in the checkout line I saw a cold red sugary drink and bought it, drinking something cold and with sugar was suppose to make babies move.

When I got into work I drank my sugary cold drink and got to work.  Around 11 am I was ready to go in into the hospital again. I was trying hard not to let anyone at work know what was going on in my mind and how stressed out and worried I was. I text my husband that I was going to head into labor and delivery, this baby would not move. After texting my husband I finally felt little flutters again.  Oh what relief I felt and went about the day and celebrating a birthday while entering a thicker fog; from this point forward anytime I would start to worry about my baby’s movement I would get distracted.

I can’t remember the rest of the day clearly.  I do remember at some point looking at the family pictures hanging in my office and thinking it bothered me I could not picture this baby being in them.  I pushed this thought aside, like I was doing with all of my worries and crazy thoughts by now. 
My husband say’s I mentioned being frustrated again about the baby not moving and just wanted her to try and break my ribs, like normal.  I did not feel an urgency to go into the hospital, instead I felt an urgency to make sure my hospital bag was packed, that my others kids had haircuts and that our camera equipment was ready to go.  After all we would be having a baby in a week or two and I did not want to be unprepared. 

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Road to Bryton - Day 4

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Again this morning there is no movement.  I am frustrated as this baby always was moving and extra busy in the mornings.  I lay on my side hoping she will move for me to give me some peace, but she never does. 

Something feels different this morning.  I am so tired and I feel emotionally, physically and spiritually drained; like I had just been in a battle for my life.  When my husband wakes up I tell him about my strange night and how I just feel different.  He asked if I thought we needed to go into the hospital and I said no I felt off.  All morning though I could not put my finger on what is different, it was as if I was walking through a fog. 

I pushed my worries aside, get ready for work and attempted to get the baby to move.  A couple of hours into my work day I text Chris that I am about to head into the hospital as this baby will not move.  Right after I send the text I suddenly feel a few little flutters and text him never mind and force myself to order a few baby girl items, as I have nothing for a newborn baby girl to wear.
Before heading home I search more ways to make the baby move, I don’t find any new information and talk myself into it being normal. I decide to really pay attention between 7 pm to 10 pm when every website said babies are the most active.  But I can’t seem to find peace. I continue to tell myself everything is fine and I am just being a paranoid pregnant mom, even though this is my 5th pregnancy and I have never been like this before.

7 pm comes and I start to pay attention, nothing.  I try not to panic and start to think maybe I am feeling slight movement but I still keep trying all the tricks to make this baby move.  By 10 pm I tell Chris we might need to head into the hospital when I suddenly feel three little light movements on my left side and feel like I can go to bed.

Looking back we learned that the early hours of May 14, 2015 are most likely when Bryton passed away.  The movements I am feeling are ghost movements, some caused by a type of indigestion mothers develop after a baby passes away inside their womb often preventing a mother from knowing the baby is no longer living.  I have struggled with that I did not know or feel an urgency to go into the hospital, but the reality is (according to my OBGYN) you only have 10 minutes to get a baby out and resuscitated after their final movement, if you know it was their final movement.  There is nothing I could have done.  

The 14th is often one of the hardest days for me each month.  Even today, during sacrament meeting in church, I suddenly wanted to curl up into a ball and disappear, but I do what I can to hold myself together and save falling apart for later.  

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Road to Bryton - Day 3

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

This morning still no major movements, but if I really paid attention I would feel slight movements here and there.  By now I was becoming obsessed with looking up way’s to make my baby move.  Every website I searched had the same suggestions over and over again, all of which I kept trying so desperately to get my baby to move more.  

I am now 37 weeks pregnant and considered full term; I feel completely fine if this baby decides to arrive.  I am normally not like this.  I have experienced having a baby at 41 weeks and 37; I preferred letting a baby be born later, but I just felt uneasy.  I kept telling myself that the baby is fine and that I am just being unreasonably paranoid.   So I go about my day, searching here and there for another way to make my baby move and start to convince myself that she really is fine. 

When I got home from work Boston ran up to me and started talking to the baby and racing his Lightning McQueen on my belly.  I hurry and took a picture of him; this would be the last picture where Bryton was believed to be alive.
During my whole pregnancy I kept having anxiety attacks and insomnia.  This night would be no different.

The night of May 13, 2015 to May 14, 2015

All night I am tossing and turning.  In my dreams there is a figure there to take my baby.  I keep trying everything I can to keep them from taking my baby, but they will not leave.  I wake, cuddle up to my husband and go back to the same awful dream over and over again all night long.

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Friday, February 12, 2016

The Road to Bryton - Day 2

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Again this morning there was no real movement.  Maybe some slight movements but nothing major.  I kept telling myself that it was normal; she is getting ready to be born.  I went in to see my OBGYN, she shared with me that she was frustrated the hospital had not called her while I was there the day before.  She told me to be very forceful the next time I go into labor and delivery; I had to force them to call her.  I promised her I would.  I shared with her that the baby was still not moving very much if at all.  She checked on the baby’s heart rate, it was actually higher than the day before, and the baby moved when she felt around to see if she was engaged, which she still was.

Everything was looking good and my anxiety lowered.  We talked about how at my next appointment, in a week, we would set my induction date. On my way to work I called my husband and told him everything was fine and that the baby’s heart rate was back where it normally was.

Looking back I wish I had a recording of Bryton’s fetal heartbeat.  This day was the last time I heard it.  For my husband it was the day before.  This was our 4th pregnancy together and my 5th.  I was totally fine going to all my appointments on my own.   If I could go back in time, I would always have my husband with me.  You never know when a life might end.

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Road to Bryton

Monday, May 11, 2015

Every morning when I wake up the baby moves around like crazy.  She is active while I eat, exercise and get ready for work.  This morning, however, there is no movement.  I start to try and think about the day before…I can’t remember if I felt her move.  We had been so busy with family that I had not paid much attention to the baby’s movements.  I try to not panic and then I suddenly have intense contractions that feel like a band is being tightened around my lower abdomen and back; they are so strong I could barely make myself walk.  At this point I feel like I need to go into labor and delivery to be checked out. 

The whole way there I keep hearing in my head, “there is something they need to see, they need to see it.”  As we park and my husband is trying to help me in the nurse sees me and asks right away if I need a wheelchair.  I declined and held onto the nurse’s desk. I explained that I have not felt movement and that I am sure my baby is fine but I have never had a baby just stop moving before.  The contractions had just started so I was not as concerned about them but could not really walk or breathe through them.

They did not have me change.  Instead they just asked me questions and got me registered.  The nurse hooked the monitor up and very quickly we found a heartbeat and began to monitor the baby and my contractions.  As time went on my contractions stayed the same but I had not progressed; just when I was about to be sent home the nurse ran in.  She seemed a little panicked and asked if I had moved, I said no but that I thought I had finally felt the baby move.  She said well you just got yourself another hour of monitoring as the babies heart rate dropped down to 90, but only briefly.  The next hour came and went and they sent me home.  I was contracting and was told I am just a couple days shy of making it to 37 weeks. “Let’s have you eat, rest (stay down), and get really hydrated to see if we can’t stop full labor from coming on.” (The nurse shared that she felt if I moved around I was going to have the baby).

So my husband being the good husband he is text my work, took my phone away, and made me stay in bed.  By the end of the day I had gotten my contractions to slow down but still rarely ever felt a movement.  If I did they were very faint, when I was so use to this baby trying to break my ribs. 

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

No Heartbeat

Because of a condition I had developed, I had to see my doctor a little more frequently during the 1st trimester with baby #4.  At the first appointment we were not too concerned when the heart beat could not be found. My uterus is folded into my back and tilted which can make it somewhat difficult for doctors to find a fetal heartbeat without doing an ultrasound.

At my 12 week appointment I remember my doctor closing his eyes and focusing as hard as he could while searching, determined to find a heartbeat.  He then told me maybe this baby is extra far into my back and that he was ordering an ultrasound.  I remember being a little scared but calm as I told Chris I was driving from Springville to Payson to get an ultrasound as other places did not have room for me.  My husband headed down from SLC to Payson and met me there.  I remember the relief I felt when a healthy heartbeat was found. 

This would not be the last time that I was sent for a ultrasound or a missing heartbeat as it happened at the 16 week and the at 20 week appointments. The 20 week appointment was the last time during this pregnancy I would have to face the experience of no heartbeat.  This experience desensitized me.  I was prepared when pregnant with Bryton for the struggle of a missing heartbeat, but it was always there, even at 8 weeks, without any problem.   It was such a relief to never have watch my doctor search for a heartbeat.

Then at 37 weeks and 4 days it was gone.  I remember thinking I have been through this before, they will find it.  Then the realization that I was full-term and the likely hood of this all being a mistake was very unlikely.  But I still had a sliver of hope as we waited for an ultrasound and asked anyone we could think of to pray.

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Name

Prior to ever getting pregnant with baby #3 while, on a date, Chris and I started talking about baby names.  Our waiters name was Brighton, I mentioned that as a name possibility and Chris agreed and our girl name was born.  However, this name would become something we would argue over for the next decade as my husband wanted it spelled Brighton and I wanted Bryton (it looks prettier and matches Payton); I ultimately won.  Chris loved the name so much that if he ever shared it with anyone he would make them promise to never use it, even if he never had another girl.

Over the years, we went on to have a Straton and a Boston but no Bryton.  One day someone mentioned if we ever had a girl we should name her Bryton Megan Wintle giving her the initials BMW.  This name grew on us, but I kept going back to the name Elizabeth.  Elizabeth is my grandmothers middle name on my moms side and  there is a Catherine Elizabeth in each generation except my mom stopped the tradition and named one of my sister Catherine Shea instead.

When I was pregnant with our oldest daughter I originally was going to name her Payton Elizabeth and last minute I gave her my middle name Jean instead as it just did not fit her.  Something similar happened with Bryton.  When she was born the nurses asked what her middle name was and I hesitated and said, Megan.  Then when Chris filled out her information he left the middle name blank and handed it to me to fill out.  I hesitated again and then ultimately wrote down Elizabeth and instantly felt at peace.

As we walked out of the hospital with a white box instead of our daughter Bryton Elizabeth my mind was suddenly flooded with the dream of baby Elizabeth and I almost collapsed as I looked at my husband and said, "we just had our baby in a box."  He responded with, "and you said she was perfectly fine, we won't find a cause for her death."  I sobbed the whole way home, harder than I have ever sobbed in my whole life.

Later I learned her full name means an illuminating place consecrated to God.  A fitting name for our angel illuminating our way back to our place in Heaven.

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Monday, November 16, 2015


In 2010, Chris and I moved from Lehi where we had experienced some strange things such as seeing shadows walk by us, hearing people walking around our upstairs (when no one was home), and doors opening and closing on their own all the time.  We did not fully realize how bad it was until we moved and all of these things stopped when we stayed at my dad’s house while house hunting.
It took longer to find a house than we planned so we decided to rent a condo until we found a house that felt right.  Once we moved our youngest Straton started to talk to someone.  He would tell them to stop playing on the fans and would demand they get down from the ceiling.
One night while in bed my husband and I were watching TV when we heard a loud knock on our bedroom door.  Chris yelled, "What?" and no one answered.  He opened the door and no one was there.  We checked all the kids’ rooms and they were all fast asleep and our front door was locked.  Another night our bedroom door was open while watching TV and we heard one of our kids running down the hall and stop at the end of our bed, but no one was there.  Again we checked on each kid and all of them were fast asleep.  We both looked at each other and started to wonder what was going on, as there was no mistaking that we heard and felt the running. At this point, we went from playfully joking that we were being haunted by a child to fully having to admit it was real.
Around this same time Chris and I were trying to decide if we should try for another girl.  We decided yes we would try for another and then I developed a condition that I was told if it did not leave me sterile I would only have a 1 in 3 chance of getting pregnant and then if I did get pregnant a 1 in 3 chance that I would be able to carry them full term.  Once it was confirmed I was not sterile and that I was healthy we decided to start trying and surprise we got pregnant right away and the haunting stopped.  Straton stopped talking to whomever he was talking to and we heard no more knocking on doors or running through our halls.

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