It was a beautiful day on Oct. 18, 2009 -- useasonably warm too. About 80 degrees as I recall. My husband, Brent, and I dragged out our comfy lawn chairs to our deck and enjoyed a Sunday afternoon sitting in the sun and relaxing. I was furiously trying to finish "Baby Wise," a book to give mom and dads great hints on how to get your baby to sleep. That was the most I was worried about that afternoon -- how my newborn would sleep. I knew the baby would be coming anytime, and of course, I wanted to be prepared.
The baby was doing his usual kicks that afternoon. I knew his patterns quite well. When I was pregnant, I did a lot of research on how much your baby was supposed to kick, and I kept track of it. My baby never gave me any problems or worries in this respect.
We grilled some steak that night, I ate and went about my usual routine. Brent got in the hot tub, and I sat on the edge and soaked my feet. We were having a great conversation. During it, I remember telling Brent that I hadn't felt the baby kick in a few hours, but of course there are always several hours where the baby doesn't kick. They do sleep you know. Besides, I was told, the closer you got to labor, the less movement you felt. I was just hoping this was a sign of labor.
It was in the middle of the night when I got up to go to the bathroom that I realized again I hadn't felt him kick at all. I always felt him kick during the night. It was then I started to worry something was not right.
The morning of Oct. 19 I called the doctor. They told me to eat breakfast, lay down, then count my baby's kicks. Nothing. I called back and they told me to come in to check on things. I called Brent and he came home from work and we went in together. We threw our hospital bags in the car -- at this point I really thought I was overreacting, and that I would probably be sent in for an emergency c-section.
We sat and waited for what seemed like forever at the office. They finally called us in and hooked me up to the ultrasound. As soon as I saw the baby on the screen, I knew something wasn't right. The nurse fiddled around for a few minutes. I remember her pointing out body parts on the baby to us. She left the room, and came back with a doctor. It's never a good sign, I guess, when they send for the doctor.
The doctor looked at the ultrasound. "I'm sorry," she said. "There is no heartbeat." They were the worst six words Brent and I have ever heard.
"It's like a tragic accident," I remember the nurse telling us. "Sometimes we don't know why these things happen."
A few hours later we headed to the hospital to be induced. I was 7 cm dilated and when I arrived. Which only leaves me wondering if only I had gone into labor the day before my baby would be here. Alive. I was 38 weeks pregnant.
Jackson Carl Zimmerman was born at 9:50 p.m. October 19, 2009. He was 6 pounds, 11 oz and 19 inches long. He was the most beautiful baby Brent or I had ever laid eyes on. He was perfect. After a million tests (mainly on me) no one at the hospital could really say anything about how he died. Their best guess was an umbilical cord accident.
Instead of bringing my baby home in his car seat, we brought his ashes home in an urn.
A few weeks later my umbilical cord and placenta was sent to a specialist. The specialist is "fairly certain" a blood clot formed in my umbilical cord that cut off circulation to Jackson. They have told us that it was a completely random event and has a less than 1 percent chance of recurrence.
My pregnancy was "textbook," as they say. I had no sign of anything being wrong. I was active through my entire pregnancy. This was the biggest shock of my life.
It took Brent and I a long time to get pregnant. I thought that was our biggest hurdle. I was so happy being pregnant -- probably the happiest time in my life. I had waited, it seemed, forever to finally become a mom. Now all that innocence is gone forever -- no matter how many babies I go on to have.
We continue to grieve our son everyday, and we are hoping something good will come out of all this. We know we are changed forever by this. Jackson will always be a huge part of our lives.
He is our son, our beautiful boy.