This is the still birth story of our beloved daughter
whom we lost at 36 weeks pregnant.
Haven Rose Harvey
We met her, January 17, 2017 at 8:48pm
Weighing about 3lbs & 16in long
On the evening of Monday, January 16th, I told Derek that I hadn’t felt the baby move much that evening and so I wanted to lay awake trying to feel the baby before going to bed. I had some braxton hicks contractions and figured things were fine, so I went to sleep.
I woke up the next morning, January 17th, to the sound of Journey and Derek in the kitchen making breakfast. I slowly rolled out of bed and went to use the bathroom where I found just a hint of blood after wiping. I called my midwives and they came over within the hour for us to check on the baby with a doppler. They came, and we couldn’t find the heartbeat. My midwives called our nearby hospital to let them know we were coming to get an ultrasound to check on our baby. At this point, I was terrified. I knew what could be ahead but tried to remain hopeful.
We arrived at the hospital just after 9:30am and we met up with our midwives to go get checked in. Once we checked in they showed us to the ultrasound room. The staff at the hospital all seemed super somber, like they all knew what was about to happen...
I laid on the bed waiting to get a look at our baby and the doctor came in to do the ultrasound. She started moving the wand around on my belly and I stayed hopeful that we’d see that pattering heartbeat. Moments later we were looking at our baby in the ultrasound monitor with no movements or heartbeat. That moment is one I’ll never forget.
After that it was all kind of a blur. I remember two of our friends arriving and everyone clearing the room to give Derek and I some space. We gave our sweet Journey girl to our friends so Derek and I could embrace and weep together.
Around 10am, we were moved to our room where we settled in while we waited for an official ultrasound by one of their tech’s to make sure my placenta wasn’t too low so that I could have a vaginal delivery. My midwives and our friends stayed with me in the room and provided so much comfort. My mom arrived around noon to pick up Journey.
It was about 2pm when the doctor came in to check me. I was 3cm dilated and 30% effaced. She gave me 2 oral misoprostol pills to induce labor. The doctor said she'd give us 4 hours and come back and check to see how things were going.
Derek and I tried to “nap” but really just rested for a few hours together while we waited for my body to do it’s thang.
Around 4:30pm, I started feeling my contractions pick up a bit so I texted my midwives who had left us to rest. I was getting a contraction for 30 seconds every 8-10 min. So things were starting to move a bit. And we waited some more.
6pm the doctor came in to check and see how the induction was going. She checked me again and I was now at 6cm. We opted for her breaking my bag of waters to keep things moving along. I was so thankful for our nurse at the time...she was so helpful and so supportive of me wanting to labor naturally. She even brought me a birth ball and birthing stool if I wanted to use them in labor.
7pm our pastor came to visit and pray with us and to offer his condolences. It was so great to have him there to pray over us.
After he left, I remember feeling some good contractions at this point and they were just starting to pick up. My midwives arrived to help support me in any way I needed. We had all the lights off with only a few electronic candles lighting the room. We played Steffany Gretzinger’s album, The Undoing, in the background as Derek helped me though contractions. This album was truly a gift to me during this time.
I liked standing and leaning over the sink area as he pushed on my lower back. There was a shift change around this time so I met my new nurse. She was an amazing gift to me.
This is where things got a little intense for me as contractions were starting to really pick up speed and intensity. It really is like riding waves and trying to let the contractions consume you...and you just ride them instead of resisting them. I changed positions a few times, laboring on the birth ball leaning on the bed with a bunch of pillows, to getting on the bed and leaning over the back part that was elevated. This is where labor land was in full effect. I felt so much intensity with each wave that I knew we had to be getting closer. I could also tell by the sounds I was making. For me, letting out a low sound helped me through the intense waves. It’s common for that low moan to get deeper and heavier the closer you are to the end (at least in my limited experience).
I remember when I started to feel the pressure of the “I have to poop” feeling that often comes with being ready to push. I will say, at this moment, fear gripped me. I knew what was on the other side of this push and I didn’t want to go there. Of course, I wanted to see my baby girl, but I hated that my body was doing all this work without getting to experience the reward. I resisted pushing but my body was totally in control. The next contraction, I pushed (this is for me, the hardest/worst part of it all...give me labor all day long, but pushing, no thanks).
At 8:45pm, I only pushed once and her little body, still en caul, came out. Immediately following her was the placenta. Since she was still in her sack the placenta came out at the same time. I turned around and sat down to hold my baby girl. My midwives were actually the ones in the room at the time Haven came. My body moved so quick that the doctor and even the nurse didn’t make it in the room.
At this point, we were able to hold her and soak up all those endorphins that were soaring through my body. Although her body was still and her eyes never opened, she was my baby girl, whom I was getting to know over the past 9 months. When I look at photos of her that we had taken at the hospital, I don’t see my stillborn baby. I see my beautiful girl who is in a safer place.
As we still grieve our loss of her precious life, we have to sit with questions that we will never get answers for. We will struggle with WHY for a long time. But we have a peace that is unexplainable and is extremely comforting and healing. We know that Haven’s life will be marked deep for us. We will never be the same again after experiencing this deep loss. But we have faith that God will bring good from this and He will bring blessing. This we can stand on and believe. That brings us comfort.
Below are some images I wanted to share with you. They were taken within 10-30 min of delivering Haven.
IMAGES TAKEN BY HEATHER G.
The photographer was a blessing from heaven. She’s a NICU nurse that donates her time and talents to families with a loss to give them these priceless photos. She also did a cast molding of Haven’s hands, so we have that to remember her by also.
Looking back and reflecting on my labor and the time we got to spend with Haven has been painful, beautiful and healing. I had such an amazing birth experience with Journey, that I was so fearful of having a traumatic experience with Haven...causing even more pain to have to overcome. But having Haven in the hospital with all my support, and being able to labor how I felt my body needed, was truly healing and a beautiful experience...even in the midst of our grief and pain for the loss of our baby girl, Haven.
Thank you for crying with us and sending your love to my family during this painful time. We are truly comforted by your words, texts and gifts. Thank you for loving us so well. I know most of you live far away but, even from afar, we still feel your prayers and love.
Thank you to my amazing husband, all my family, midwives, hospital nurses, friends & everyone in-between that's wrapped their arms around us and comforted us. We have clung to these words from Isaiah...