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Monday, April 19, 2010

A Changed Life

About a month ago, I thought about posting on here about how much my life had changed since I last posted. I was pregnant, we had moved cross country to Connecticut, Nate was working for a film company and we were just trying to get settled in a new place and getting ready for a new baby. If I only knew what would happen.

I can't help but think that, somehow, it was all meant to be. Why? I can't explain, but so many things lined up in such a way that we lost our child. It is so hard to say the words out loud. It is easier to type them, but only just. It has been nearly a month since our little Phineas was born.

It was going well. Things were progressing nicely with labor at home. Baby sounded great and I was almost completely dilated. My midwife encouraged me to get my water to break. After the rush of fluids came a foot and a cord. My whole life changed. What was meant to be peaceful and full of joy became a harrowing ride to the hospital trying to hold my baby in.

I knew from the look on my midwife's face that my baby was dying and I had no way to stop it. I was wheeled into the OR but they had me push since the baby was so far out anyway. Moments later he was born, barely alive. It was so quiet there in the room as they worked on him. I was in shock and freezing, my body shook uncontrollably. Fear gripped me and I just waited to hear one thing, the cries of my baby. But I never would.

He was stabilized but had suffered severe brain trauma due to being deprived of oxygen. They transferred him to another hospital to undergo cold cap treatment. It was his only hope. It would hopefully put off some of the brain damage and allow his brain to heal itself.

I left the hospital 9 hours after he was delivered and agonized over what would happen. The next days we kept vigil at the hospital, hoping for something to change. After his therapy was over, the prognosis was still very poor and we had doctor after doctor repeating it.

We knew the prognosis, but we still felt like there was a reason to hope. We went to church and attended the temple. We felt peace that all would be OK. I struggled with this a bit because we thought it meant that he would be made whole, that he would be healed. I felt his presence, I knew he was there with us. And then, I knew, finally I had peace that all of these promises would be ours, just not in the way we expected.

April 1st, just eight days after his birth, the sun came streaming in our bedroom as I woke up and I just knew. It would be OK. But, it was time for him to go. I could not keep him longer. We told the doctors that we were ready to do "withdrawal of care" the next day.

So on April second, Good Friday, we let him go. They removed the equipment and we held him as he passed, surrounded by family. It seems so strange that I felt more happiness and peace on the day that Phineas died than I did the day he was born. I feel like his life was sacred, that there are many reasons, most, likely unknown yet, why his life was so short.

I miss him so much now that sometimes my arms physically ache to hold him. Sometimes I just fall apart. People are often asking how I am doing. Mostly, I say that I am doing OK. And it sometimes true, other times, it is all I can say.

I think now how much life has changed, but then, how much the same it is. My life feels so different now, but looks nearly unchanged. I have to find a new normal now. One where my son is a presence and a memory, but not physically there.

12 remarks:

Abby@AppMtn April 19, 2010 at 12:01 PM  

I am so, so, so very sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family.

LankyJane April 19, 2010 at 12:03 PM  

This was so touching Kathryn. I want to give your whole family hugs for your loss, and yet I am so amazed by your positive take on what has happened.

I was thinking to myself the other day, what if the point in life isn't to live a full life and grow old? What if instead it is that God puts us here for just as long as he feels we need to be here in order to touch the lives of others, in ways that are beyond our own comprehension?

Nicole April 19, 2010 at 12:15 PM  

You are such a strong woman Kathryn. Phineas touched so many lives and had such an effect on so many people in his short time with us. I'm glad to hear that you've made some peace with what has happened, and hope you continue to heal. ((Hugs))

Cristin April 19, 2010 at 4:17 PM  

I've been wanting to write you privately for awhile now to ask you about the details, but I wasn't sure when would be a good time, so I'm really glad you wrote this. I honestly think about you every day and what you must be feeling right now. You have a lot of courage to do what you did and like you said, I think this will make sense later on why it happened like it did. I hope you have a good week.

Deven and Alyssa Perry April 19, 2010 at 7:37 PM  

Wow.. What a hard experience to go through... You are very courageous for sharing this news with everyone.. I love his adorable name and I am so happy that you have pictures to remind you of the happy moments. He must have been an elect spirit to have been here for such a short time but like many others have said he has touched the hearts of many and will continue to do so in the future. I hope you are doing well and having more happy days than sad, you sound like you have great support and a strong testimony to get you threw. You are an amazing, inspiring, Mom and Friend.

Weezypops April 20, 2010 at 12:13 PM  

Kathryn, you are amazing, just amazing. This was so touching and heartbreaking to read, yet strangely optimistic. My thoughts are with you all the time.

Kathryn April 21, 2010 at 3:37 PM  

Thanks everyone. We are getting through it one day at a time.

Mneme April 21, 2010 at 7:54 PM  

Oh Kathryn. I am so very sorry. I never know the right thing to say, but I am thinking of you and your family.

IndieBambino April 23, 2010 at 1:14 PM  

Oh Kathryn, I am so sorry you had a need to find my blog, but I am glad we are here for eachother. The nightmare of a homebirth gone terribly terribly wrong haunts me every single day as well, it's sad and terrible that we are sisters in this. Your grief is so fresh and new, those days are just breathtaking. Please email me if you need to talk (you can reach me through indiebambino -- my blog) about anything. My love to you and your family.

Sarah April 23, 2010 at 2:08 PM  

My heart aches for you and Nate. I love you both so so so much. Close your eyes, wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze. That's a hug from me. I wish I could do more, but know that you're in my prayers.

Sarah April 30, 2010 at 10:28 PM  

I am so sorry for your loss. My son Foster was stillborn the day before your son was born.

I understand your grief, as I'm newly here myself. There are good days and bad ones - I too am learning how to manage both. (I'm writing over at

Much love to your family.

Rynae October 22, 2010 at 10:27 PM  

LankyJane - what an incredibly beautiful and insightful sentiment.

Kathryn, only hugs for you and admiration of your strength and willingness to see God through this.

silver :)

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