Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Baby Ryser's Birth Story

How do I start a post about my baby dying?  I guess like that.

We were so so excited to find out I was pregnant with our 2nd child.  We were told it was almost impossible from our fertility doctor.  So when we conceived naturally we were shocked and humbled and ecstatic.  We waited the traditional 12 weeks to announce and were glad we could be a symbol of hope for other couples going through the painful experience of infertility.  I started showing earlier than with Cantley, our first born, and I was loving seeing my little baby bump grow.  We went to every scheduled appointment, heard the heart beat, and saw our little miracle on 2 ultrasounds.  We planned a gender reveal get together to announce what our Baby BooHeini #2 was going to  be for the night after my 18 week appointment.  The appointment where they count fingers and toes and tell you whether you need to buy pink or blue.

I woke up at 4:00 the morning of the appointment cramping and spotting.  I called the on call nurse and she told me to come in 1st thing at 8:00 for an ultrasound.  I begged God not to let anything be wrong.  I prayed please don't let anything happen to this baby over and over.  Brett and I were scared, but hopeful.  We didn't want to think the worst.  Deep down I knew something was wrong.  I kept thinking "God wouldn't do that.  He just wouldn't do that." After we got back to ultrasound, the nurse quickly pulled the machine away.  We only saw the baby for a second.  Then she said she needed to get the doctor because I had a very short cervix.  We waited for 15 minutes. It felt like an hour.  Brett and I waited.  He rubbed my back reassuringly, but I think we both knew.  The doctor came in and looked at the screen.  After only a few seconds she said "I have some really tough news.  You're baby doesn't have a heartbeat and you're 4 cm dilated and starting labor."  I literally felt like someone took the breath out of my body.  It sounded like someone had punched Brett in the stomach.  The ultrasound nurse hugged me and we sobbed together.  I grabbed Brett's arm and looked at him and said "This is going to be the worst day of our lives."  And it was.

My water broke about 20 minutes later when we were waiting to talk to my doctor in an exam room and I started to feel the pressure of labor happening quickly.  We were at Baptist, where my doctor's office is, and had to get to Methodist, where our insurance covers hospital stays.  I could tell I was about to have this sweet baby and was in pain at this point.  I prayed and prayed that I didn't deliver the baby in the car. We ran into the hospital where they had a room waiting on us.  Four nurses began tending to me quickly and not 5 minutes after I got onto the bed, I delivered our sweet baby boy.  I can't explain the pain I heard in Brett's sobs.  I can't explain the hurt I felt when they handed me our tiny child wrapped in a baby blanket and said "It's a little boy."  My heart hurt so deep down in my chest. 

We were left alone with him for about an hour.  Brett and I both held him and cried over him and talked about how perfect he was.  We looked at his little hands and feet.  We decided to name him Ryser.  A name we discussed naming him if we found out he was a boy.  It's from a Dierks Bentley song about being strong and getting through what life hands you.  A "riser" is someone who is a light in this dark world.  A perfect name for our precious little boy who was a light in our life for the short 18 weeks we had him.  His middle name is Street, a family name and my mom's maiden name.

It was hard to hand him back to the nurse.  We knew it was the last time we'd see our second born little boy.  Cantley's little brother.  We knew when the nurse left with him, that all our hopes and dreams of who this little boy was going to be were leaving with them.  The place we had made in our lives for him and the plans we had - gone.   Then we had to decide about where he was going to go, which funeral home to use, things you never want to have to decide about your child.  Everything about that day was just unreal.  I told my mom and sister, as they sat on either side of the hospital bed, that it was a nightmare.  A real, living nightmare. 

I was angry.  Angry God had even let me get pregnant so easily this time in the 1st place.  Angry that he had let it get this far.  Angry that our baby just passed away and that I had to deliver him and hold him and then leave the hospital without him.  It was an anger I had never experienced before.  It was an anger that sprang from a deep deep pain.  Fortunately the anger began to fade quickly, but the hurt was still there.  Our hearts were literally broken.

The nurses were able to take a few pictures of Ryser's little hands and gave us a box with a blue baby blanket and hat to take with us.  The hospital staff was so kind, gentle and respectful.  I couldn't have asked for better care.  We stayed the night and it was eerily similar to after I gave birth to Cantley.  Same nurse checks, same medications, somewhat same recovery, just no baby.  The next morning it was hard seeing new dad's walking in with their new carriers and their baby's "going home" outfit as I was being wheeled out holding a box of pictures instead of my baby.

The only thing that could and did get us through it was a precious family and friends.  They always show up.  No matter what.  We also had each other.  We knew we did not have to grieve alone.  We were both feeling the pain of losing that sweet baby and we could lean on each other.   And we had Cantley.  I honestly don't know what I would do without him.  He has gotten me out of bed in the morning & kept us smiling through our tears.  He has given us lots of extra squishy snuggles, like he knew we needed them.  I am so, so grateful for that.

Most of all we have our faith.  We don't understand why this happened or what plan this is for us.  We don't know why God chose to make Ryser's life so short.  All we know is that we pray for a peace and comfort that can only come from the Lord and have hope that we will see our son again one day in heaven. 

We picked out a tiny blue urn for Ryser and will get to pick him up later this week.  We didn't go into the funeral home thinking this is the decision we were going to make, but when we saw that little, Memphis-blue heart, we knew that was what we wanted.  We will never forget the pain we felt the day we lost him, but we will be sure to find little ways to remember him and one day tell Cantley about his little brother, Ryser Street Heinrich.

"Riser"  Dierks Bentley
Lay your pretty head down on my shoulder
You don't have to worry anymore
This old world is cold and getting colder
And I know how to lock and bolt the door
I'm strong enough to hold you through the winter
Mean enough to stare your demons down
The hard times put the shine into the diamond
I won't let that keep us in the ground
I'm a riser
I'm a get up off the ground, don't run and hider
Pushing comes a-shovin'
Hey I'm a fighter
When darkness comes to town, I'm a lighter
A get out aliver, out of the fire
If you we ain't got no money I can make it
I ain't afraid of working to the bone
When I don't know what I'm do and I can fake it
I'll pray till Jesus rolls away the stone
And I'm a riser
I'm a get up off the ground, don't run and hider
Pushin' comes a-shovin'
Hey I'm a fighter
When darkness comes to town, I'm a lighter
A get out aliver, of the fire, survivor
I'm a trier
I'm a get down low so I can lift you higher
An army couldn't keep down my desire
I'm a riser
I'm a get up off the ground, don't run and hider
Hey pushin' comes to shovin'
Baby I'm a fighter
When darkness comes to town, I'm a lighter
A get out aliver, of the fire, survivor
I'm a riser
I'm a riser
I'm a riser