Most parents post their children’s photos on Facebook, display them proudly on their walls, show them off unabashedly from their cell phones and wallets. I don’t get that. Our daughter was born sleeping when I was 38 weeks pregnant, we have no explanation why.
This is a place to remember and celebrate our daughter, Ruby Jayne. It is a place for me to talk openly about my feelings of loss, my journey of grief and pain, and to share what no one in my life wants to see or hear.
Here is our story:
I found out I was pregnant on June 30, 2011. I took two tests. I told my husband in the evening, after dinner, in front of the TV. I said, “I think I’m pregnant”. He said, “really?” I said, “I took two tests.” We went back to watching TV. My due date was February 26, 2012.
The baby grew. We had our first ultrasound at 20 weeks. She wasn’t moving a lot so they couldn’t get measurements. The ultrasound tech said he thought were having a girl.
I felt her kicks for the first time on September 27. I was in Toronto for a conference. They were amazing. The baby was real. Every night just before I went to sleep, the baby would wake up and kick the most. We would feel the kicks the most right before I fell asleep every night. I truly started smiling. We had our own universe, the baby and me. We were so happy.
Our next ultrasound was at 22 weeks. I ate 6 oreos before the appointment. The new tech said the baby was definitely a girl. She was perfect and healthy. She was kicking the ultrasound wand.
On October 1, 2011, a friend suggested the name Ruby. I knew when I heard it, our baby was Ruby. Ruby Jayne. Ruby was the name of my friend’s grandma, and grandma Ruby was a fierce, brave and notoriously feisty woman. It was perfect. I hadn’t met Ruby but I already knew her. She was full of joy, full of courage, full of fun. When I faced the world with Ruby, we said, “bring it on!”
On February 11, 2012, we finished putting the decals up in the baby area of our bedroom. We made a video for Ruby. We were smiling and hugging each other. I stood up in front of the computer, showing her where she was, I waved at my belly and said, “Hi baby! There you are, inside mom. You’re kicking and kicking. We love you so much. We don’t know when you’re coming but know it will be very soon. We can’t wait to meet you.”
On February 12, 2012, I woke up at 5am. I felt like something was wrong. I went downstairs, was sick, and came upstairs again. I woke up my husband and asked him in a panic if our last supper, beef stew, was refrigerated (I always cooked, but this one meal I didn’t as I was 38 weeks pregnant and tired from a day of work. It wasn’t totally reheated when I ate the first piece of meat, and I had him heat it more before I kept eating). I was worried Ruby had food poisoning. He assured me it had been, the food was refrigerated, everything is fine, go back to sleep. I emailed my colleague if she could take my day’s appointments. I said I felt “off”. I fell back asleep.
I woke up and went to work. My colleague’s truck had been broken into. She couldn’t take my appointments. I felt fine, so I went to work. I had no pain, no bleeding. At the end of my first appointment, I told the people how excited I was as I just knew Ruby was coming anytime. I ran into my parents during my second appointment. I drove to my third appointment. The client’s dog jumped up on my belly – I was so angry the client couldn’t control her dog. I drove around. It started to set in…
Why wasn’t Ruby moving? Why hadn’t I felt her moving… My clients wrapped things up early. I went for a meal, hoping that afterwards I would feel Ruby kicking and wiggling. I ate. I sat in my car, closed my eyes, and waited. 2 in 30 minutes. Were they kicks? Or Braxton Hicks contractions? My doctor said less than 6 movements in an hour to go to the hospital. I had so many contractions they were masking her movements, she was moving less, was this normal, everyone said it was normal for the baby to stop moving as much as she ran out of space.
I called my husband and told him I was stopping at the hospital on my way home. I told him not to come. I told him I was sure it was fine. I was angry that I had so many things to do and take care of. I paid the parking machine for 45 minutes. I walked into the hospital. I sat down in the chair at labour and delivery. I told the nurses, “I’m not in labour, I just wanted to be sure, I’m sure everything is fine, my doctor told me to come in if I hadn’t felt more than 6 kicks in an hour”. I gave the nurse my chart and birth plan. She handed my birth plan back to me. I walked with the nurse down the hallway. I asked her how busy she was. I was smiling, trying to cheer her up. She made a comment about the full moon causing more births but said that night was slow. I laid down on the bed. She got out the doppler machine.
She turned up the volume.
She called the resident. They brought in the ultrasound machine. He went to get the staff doctor.
I texted my husband… “come now!!! They can’t find her heartbeat!!!”
Ruby had passed away on February 12, 2012. She was born in silence on February 13, 2012.
The hospital staff took many vials of blood. They tested for infections, they took my blood pressure. All normal. The pathologist tested the cord blood, and examined the cord and the placenta, all normal. The doctor ordered a full blood screening for me for blood clotting disorders, Lupus, etc. All normal. The doctor said we had “incredibly bad luck”. 1 in 2,000. SUID. Sudden unexplained intrauterine death.
This is the journey from there.