On Wednesday morning, March 22nd, I sat at the breakfast table sharing breakfast with Ron before he headed out the door for work and I casually mentioned to him that I hadn’t felt the baby move much this morning. Her gentle kicks normally woke me around the same time the boys would come prancing into our bedroom asking for breakfast. We just decided she must be sleeping in today as she had had other quiet mornings in the past and I didn’t think much else about it as we said our good byes and off he went to work. I then began hustling to get myself and the twins dressed and ready for playgroup at our church and it wasn’t long before we were headed out the door. I remember how frigidly cold it was that morning because we dressed for the warmer spring weather we had had the past couple days and didn’t realize until we stepped out the door how cold it was.
We had such a great morning and I remember excitedly talking with friends about how my pregnancy was going and how the nursery plans were coming along. The boys and I went back for lunch and I put them down for their nap. The crazy thing is that I had an ultra sound scheduled for later that afternoon. They missed just a couple measurements at my last one because of the way she was situated so it was just supposed to be a quick one. I was so tired from our busy morning and decided I would lay down myself for a bit. I went to the bedroom, lay in bed, on my right side, one hand on my belly as I always did, feeling for her kicks. About 10 minutes went by and I felt nothing. I rolled back over to my back, both hands on belly now, waiting patiently for her to let me know she was ok. Just one little kick baby, thats all I needed. Still nothing. I started to worry a bit, changing positions every few minutes. I went to the kitchen and poured myself a glass of cold orange juice hopeful that it would wake her up. I went back and lay down again, now praying desperately for just some little sign that she was ok. I started to google as I lay there on my phone and the first things that came up were all positive. (baby might be facing towards my back and I wouldn’t be feeling any kicking or it’s not uncommon to not feel much movement some days) But I knew my baby girl. And in the past she would move when I asked her to. Something wasn’t right. I began to panic and called Ron at work. He tried to reassure me that everything was likely fine as there were no other signs that anything could be wrong and as I was getting an ultrasound within the hour anyway, she would be checked over thoroughly for a peace of mind. After I hung up, I put on the song “Good Good Father” on my phone. One of my favourite worship songs. I needed to hear it to calm my soul but I also held it up to my belly in hopes that the music would wake up my baby girl. Tears ran down my face as I prayed that all was fine but deep inside I felt something wasn’t. I keep imagining that maybe it was that moment, her heart actually stopped and she was ushered into heaven, wrapped in the arms of her good, good Father. I got up a few minutes later, woke up the boys and we headed downtown for my ultrasound.
As I waited in the waiting room with the twins for Ron to meet us, I had a mental battle with myself. Both hands still on my belly, I kept praying for just the tiniest little movement. I was dreading the ultrasound at this point but also kept trying to convince myself that I was over reacting and within a few minutes, I would be fully relieved. They called my name and in I went. I lay on the bed and as the tech immediately began to snap pictures of what she was looking for, I casually mentioned I was a bit worried because I hadn’t felt much movement today. She moved the probe to a different area on my belly and immediately turned the screen away from me. Thats when I knew something was very, very wrong. I started to cry and asked her if there was a heartbeat. She responded by asking me if I had had any cramping or bleeding. I was shaking and sobbing by this point and told her no. She moved the probe around a bit more, but I could see it all over her face. She told me she’d be back and went to get another tech. They both looked at the screen as she kept moving the probe around on my belly, obviously searching for something. The other tech shook his head and they exited the room again, saying they’d be right back. What was probably 5 minutes, felt like 3 hours. I wanted to scream and shout. I wanted to grab the probe myself and find my babies heartbeat. I tried my hardest to stay calm and begged God for there to be a mistake. I knew deep down what was true but I was in denial. I guess the techs aren’t allowed to release such information so they had to get my midwife on the phone. They came back in to get me and I remember seeing Ron down the hall in the waiting room and bawling on the spot, motioning to him that things were not ok. My legs felt like jello as I tried to make it to the room where the phone was. My midwife confirmed to me in the most sensitive way she could that they were unable to locate a heartbeat. I couldn’t process everything she was saying but all i knew was that my baby was not alive and I was broken. I was so so broken. They brought Ron into the room while the secretary kindly entertained the twins and I bawled on his shoulder while he spoke with my midwife. He tried to stay strong but it wasn’t long before he was crying too. We held each other and cried and cried but we had to compose ourselves to go out and get our boys who had no idea what was going on.
What happened next is still a blur to me. After trying to explain what had happened in the best way possible to our precious boys who were so excited to meet their baby sister, we drove straight to the hospital to triage where my midwives met us and they would do another ultrasound to confirm what we already knew. I texted Britt who so kindly came to get the twins immediately. I remember laying on the bed in that room just praying there was a mistake. Praying that my baby girls heart would beat again, praying that it was just all a bad dream. How could this be? I had felt her kicking me so strongly just the day before. I was healthy, she was healthy. There were no signs or any reason to be concerned that anything could possibly be wrong leading up to that day. They did the ultrasound not long after and it was confirmed. They was no sign of movement, no beating heart. My baby girl had gone to be with Jesus, and no part of me was ready for this. Ron and I wept and wept together, hugging and holding each other. They did a ton of bloodwork and the doctor on call came in to discuss what the next steps would be and give us some options. I could either go home and allow my body to naturally go through labour when it was ready, I could stay in the hospital and be induced or they could preform an alternate surgical procedure so I didn’t have to go through the painfully emotional process of birthing her which to me personally, was not an option. But no part of me wanted to go home. There was no way I could lay in my bed and get any sort of rest with my lifeless baby inside of me. Ron and I both decided without any question that induction was the route we wanted to go. There was quite a list of people ahead of me however, so they actually ended up sending us home anyway until a room became available. We made the long drive home across the city, completely broken, crying and asking God why. As soon as we got in the door however, we got a call that there was a room available and to come right back.
I was so flustered and an emotional mess while I tried to think of what I may need in my “hospital bag”. This is not how I imagined packing it. Packing your hospital bag was supposed to be a joyous activity with lots of happy anticipation. Not this. I couldn’t think clearly or see much through the tears and just grabbed whatever I could, while both Ron and my mom tried to help.
I remember going into the twins room where they were fast asleep and just weeping over them, kissing them and holding them. I was devastated beyond belief yet had never been more thankful for these two beautiful blessings in my life . We left the house and made the trek back to the hospital. My midwife met me at the desk and after registering, we followed her to a room at the very end of the hall. I got dressed in a hospital gown that was laid out for me, got as comfortable as I could in the bed and after speaking with the OB on call and hearing what the induction would entail, the process began. They started the oxytocin drip but I was also given an internal medication every four hours as they said I wasn’t far enough along to have enough receptors for the oxytocin. We were told it could take as long as 24-48 hours before I was fully dilated and ready to birth her. This was so hard to hear because I just wanted it all to be over. It was so painful lying in that hospital bed, waiting to give birth to my precious, lifeless baby. I never in a million years imagined I would have to do this. What mother ever does?
We tried to get some sleep that night. Ron had a cot beside me in the room. But we both couldn’t stop crying. We just hugged and cried and hugged and cried some more. We just didn’t understand how this could have happened. Not this far along. My last miscarriage had happened at 8 weeks along and once I passed that point, I remember taking a big breath of relief, resting assured that our baby was going to be just fine. And to think that that morning everything (as far as we knew) was perfect. Our entire world felt like it was flipped upside down in a matter of hours and we just didn’t know how to deal with it. We prayed together, and cried out to God asking for peace and clarity and comfort. We put on some worship music and that helped to calm our hearts a bit but I just couldn’t sleep a wink that night. I was shaking and feverish from the medication and my mind just wouldn’t shut off.
At 7 am the nurses and OB’s switched shifts. I wasn’t prepared for all the questions that lay ahead in the hours leading up to her birth. So many questions. Questions I never imagined I’d ever have to answer about my own child. Painful questions that brought me to hysterical tears. Did I want to see/hold my lifeless baby when she was born? Did we have a name picked out? Did we want to go forward with an autopsy if there wasn’t any obvious signs as to what happened? Did we have a funeral home in mind? These are questions no mother should ever have to answer. I was so thankful during this time for the support of my amazing midwife and the incredible nurses we had who made me feel as comfortable as possible and took the time to talk with me and just listen to me when I needed it most. I feel like God just placed all the right people in all the right places along the way.
I started to feel some bad cramping around 8 am and we decided to move forward with an epidural so I could try and get a bit of rest having not slept through the night. I was a lot more comfortable after that and was able to sleep little bits on and off between hourly blood pressure and temperature checks. We asked our Pastor and his wife to come by that afternoon and as hard as it was to be so vulnerable and allow them to see me in the worst emotional state I’ve ever been in, it was exactly what we needed during that time. They listened to us tell share our broken and heavy hearts, they prayed with us and spoke words of truth into our lives. Truths we hung on to with everything we had in the hours to come. We are so thankful for them.
Around 6 pm I started to feel very intense cramping on my left side. I had been laying on my right side for quite a while and I guess the epidural had worn off on the other. The cramping went from a pain level of 1 to a 10 in a matter of minutes and after checking me, the OB resident said she could feel the head. As they prepped for me to give birth and went to locate the OB on call, Ron held my hand and I remember weeping and telling him I couldn’t do this. He looked me in the eye and said “You Can, You are so strong, You can do this.” I asked him what we were going to name her. He said “what do you want to name her babe?” We had a running list of 4 names but hadn’t picked one yet. I asked him if we could call her Paisley. He cried and nodded. The reason I said Paisley is because out of the 4 top names, I had a favourite, he had a favourite, we had one new one that we had found and loved but Paisley was one we both absolutely loved from the start and the one we had most recently talked of.
They told me to push whenever I was ready and with one small push at 6:19 pm on March 23rd, Paisley Young was born. Our beautiful, baby girl with all her tiny fingers and all her tiny toes. She had the cutest little nose and perfect little lips. She was everything we dreamed of and more. Up until that very moment, I hadn’t known if I would be strong enough to hold her. Strong enough to even look at her. But the moment I laid eyes on her, I couldn’t take them off. She was perfect. So tiny yet so incredible perfect. Fearfully and wonderfully made by her heavenly Father. I wanted to hold her and hug her and kiss her and never stop. Ron and I were in awe of this beautiful babe that we would never get the chance to know, we would never get to look into her eyes or hear her little voice. But she was beautiful and the moment we met her, we were both forever changed..
They told us we could have her with us as long as we wanted. I expected to just see her and then say my goodbyes, but once we had her, we didn’t want to let her go. I was staying one more night in the hospital and we both decided we wanted our families to meet her. How could they not? We had to share this beautiful blessing with them. We had our wonderful friend Sophie offer to come and do some photos for us which we were so incredibly blessed by. It’s all we have left to remember little Paisley and we’ll cherish those photos forever. It was the next morning at around 9:30 am when we said our final goodbyes to our sweet angel. We sobbed over her and prayed together. We sang her the song that we sing our boys every night before they go to sleep. Walking away and leaving her in that hospital room was the hardest thing I’ve done in my entire life. Leaving the hospital without my baby girl was so completely and utterly heart wrenching. But yet we still had this incredible and overwhelming peace. A peace that we knew where she was. And a peace that even though we don’t understand why, His plans are perfect and good and she is where she is supposed to be.
It really is hard to understand why these sorts of things happen. Why did my babies heart just suddenly stop beating at 22 weeks along? She was perfect, I was healthy, there is no clear explanation and no reason as to why. It’s been over a week and as autopsy results have started to come back, we still have no answers at all. That is one of the hardest parts for me. That we may never know why.
But God does. He knew what her life would entail before the was placed in my womb. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13
He knows how and why and for whatever reason, He allowed it to happen. And even though, that’s hard to accept. Even though it doesn’t make sense in the least bit right now and I’m an emotional, broken mess, I’m choosing to believe with everything in me that the way my baby girl’s life ended was not meaningless. While we may not be able to see what He’s doing right now, we will one day and until then, I will keep praising Him and blessing His name. God says in his word that He will give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4). But His perfect timing isn’t necessarily my perfect timing. And while it’s so painful and hurts like hell not having my sweet baby girl with me to hug and to hold, to love and to raise, I will not lose heart. ( 2 Corinthians 4:16)
Our sweet daughter Paisley has taught us more about life and trusting in the Lord in the short time we knew her, then anything ever before. We have experienced the power of community and His faithfulness during this difficult time like never before. We found out after we named her, that “Paisley” is a Scottish derivation of the Greek word “Basilica” meaning “church”. Our church family and so many others have gathered around us, cried with us, loved on us and supported us in ways we never could have imagined. There are no words to express how grateful we are for this powerful community standing behind us and the way we’ve been lifted up in our time of need. We only pray that we can be the same hands that have reached out to us, to others in the future.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14
my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14
A good friend of mine sent me this song the day after Paisley went to be with Jesus, and while I lay in my bed weeping over the loss of my sweet girl, it brought so much comfort to my hurting soul and I wanted to share it with you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read.
Thinking of you and your family. Thank you for your bravery in sharing her beautiful story with us ❤️
Sending you so much love to you and your family. You are so incredibly strong xxx
My heart goes out to you sweet girl…
Thank you for sharing your story. I had to do this at 21 weeks in October. It was the hardest thing I will ever have gone through. It’s apart of me everyday. But somewhere along the way it gets better. And you still have the memory of your baby girl (I was having a girl too), but there’s hope. This experience brought my husband and I closer together and made us realize we can make it through everything. I’m sure our daughters are in heaven and we will see them again soon. You are so strong.
This story touched my heart like no other. I admire you Natalie. I will always remember this story and we will always remember Paisley. ❤️️
So sorry Natalie for your loss. Thank you for sharing your so personal story and your beautiful pictures. May God bless your life and give you a mighty strength through His Holy Spirit.
God bless you all and keep you well.
I am weeping as I read this. I have no words to say that seem adequate, but I can certainly share that God is receiving SO MUCH glory from your trust and devotion to Him. He is using your sweet Paisley to touch hearts. Dear sister, you remind me that God is enough for every trial. May His grace continue to cover you and your family…
As I partake of my nightly rituals I somehow stumbled across yours and Paisley’s heart touching story. I pray God’s abundant peace over you and your precious and sweet family. You will continuously be in my prayers. ❤️