I've always wanted to start a blog, I used to joke that my life was too boring and I had nothing good to write about. I didn't think sharing pictures of food I cook, trips we've taken, or experiences we've had would be enough to keep the attention of anyone but our immediate families. One month ago, our lives were forever changed in a way that we could never imagine. In one of the most difficult times of our lives, several people were able to reach out to us and share their stories. Many were similar to what we are going through and it brought us soo much comfort, we want to do the same with our story. We hope that Chandler and his story can help others, just as so many have reached out to help us.
This is the story of Chandler Nixon Sturgill. I will be sharing the story of my pregnancy and pieces of our lives prior in several parts, but this is the story of his birth....
For several days leading up to Chandler's arrival, I noticed he wasn't as active as he had been. We had watched him turn flips on ultrasounds and I had been feeling his kicks for about 7 weeks leading up to the week of his birth. I had worked several busy nights, had a busy weekend and contributed him being less active to a "growth spurt" and assumed he was sleeping while I was on my feet working. I didn't really get concerned until Tuesday(July 14) when I had made a point to pay close attention and count his movement throughout the day. I had worked the night before and sneaked a little peek at Chandler on ultrasound(perks of being a nurse) and saw a strong heartbeat and my sweet one all curled up in a ball, so I felt reassured that he was just sleeping more this week. On Tuesday, I sat down more than normal and felt no movement during the day, which wasn't unusual, Chandler was a night owl (like mommy and daddy) and did most of his moving after 11pm. That night, Evan and I laid in bed and tried everything from playing music on and nudging my belly hoping for a kick from him, nothing. We decided to give him through the night and if I hadn't felt him move the next morning, we would call the dr. Around 8am the next morning, we called my doctor's office, spoke with a nurse and were told to "go to labor and delivery to be monitored." I questioned if that was really necessary, couldn't we just make an appointment to come to the office today? They insisted they would send me for monitoring anyway for decreased fetal movement, so I should just go there first. So we got ready and headed to the hospital. I still felt like maybe we were overreacting and even insisted my mom not meet us there, because I felt certain we would be sent home after reassurance that our little one was just fine and nothing but stubborn like his daddy(and mommy).
Once we arrived on the L&D floor, I explained that my doctor sent me here, but I felt like we were just worrying for no reason and needed then to tell us everything was ok, send us home and hope not to see us again for at least 10weeks. They took us in a room and placed me on the monitor. I should mention for those reading who don't know me well, I am a nurse, but not a labor and delivery nurse, I'm an ER nurse. So some of the things they do on L&D is foreign to me, I did learn about the basics in nursing school, but I'm far from an expert at anything that goes on in that world. But, I know that at 27weeks they should have been able to immediately pick up Chandler's heartbeat with their fetal monitor, and when they could not, my heart sank. That's when they fear sat in for me. I grabbed my husbands hand and the tears started flowing, I knew something was wrong. By this time, several nurses were in the room with us, and they calmly sent one of them out to get their ultrasound machine. Once the ultrasound screen came up, the room got quite, the tears began to pour and I began to question. They tried to protect me for just a few more minutes, to delay the news no one ever wants to hear. They explained they wanted to call my doctor and get the ultrasound tech to bring in her machine to confirm, but they could not find a heartbeat. I will never forget that feeling. Like I couldn't breathe, like if I tried to stand up, my feet wouldn't hold me up- a desperate desire to wake up from this nightmare. This can't be happening to us! We've done everything right, he had been perfect at out last ultrasound, I saw his heartbeat on Monday night, please tell us this isn't happening. But it was, the ultrasound tech confirmed the same thing, she couldn't detect a heartbeat, and our doctor assured us of the same when he came in- our baby wasn't living. I felt out whole world fall apart in that room, our hearts were broken. Our doctor explained what would happen next, we would need to induce labor and go through delivery. He would be out of town, but his partner would be with us for however long the process took. We decided to go home for awhile, get our things, be with our families and come back later in the day.
We checked back into the hospital later that afternoon and started the induction process at 8pm. Surrounded by our families and close friends over the next hours, we continued the long process. By around 4pm on Thursday, approx. 20hours later, I was not making much progress. There were times, I wanted to give up. Not because of pain- until this point I had received nothing but the induction meds. But, because labor in itself is exhausting-being in a bed for 20hours when I am used to only sitting down a few hours before bed and on my feet non-stop most days, was wearing on me, and I was emotionally exhausted. I feel like I would have had more strength if I knew at the end of this process, I would have my sweet baby- it would all be worth it, but that wasn't happening to us. We had made the decision to hold our baby, show him off to family and friends at the hospital with us, and take pictures with him. But we knew our time with him would be short, and we wouldn't get to take him home with us.
We sat down with our doctor around 4pm on Thursday and made the decision that we would continue the same course of induction we had been using, but he highly recommended an epidural at this point. He felt like I couldn't relax enough to make progress and that an epidural would best step to help move along. I was very reluctant, I didn't want to give in to not being able to get out of bed when I wanted to stretch my legs, I wasn't in uncontrollable pain, and I was scared. Like I said, I know just enough about the world of medicine and labor and delivery to be anxious and cautious about everything going on. I felt like I was giving up all control I had of the situation, and my doctor quickly caught on to the fact that I like to be in control. After much discussion with Evan and our doctor and nurses, I gave in. I received an epidural a couple hours later.
I want to mention our nurses and how I know without a doubt that the fact that they took care of me through the whole process after both of them had went through very similar heartache was a "God thing." They were amazing. I can't even begin to describe how much they comforted us and went far above and beyond just providing care to me during the labor and delivery. We could never thank them enough for how wonderful they were. Two of the most compassionate human beings I have ever met, and they passed me on to each other over the whole process, that was a blessing. So we knew that we would be facing a shift change, in which neither of our beloved nurses were scheduled to be working if Chandler was not born, so we began praying that he would arrive before night shift was over.
Around 1215am, things started to change. I felt a lot more pain in my back than I had even before the epidural, and I knew something just wasn't right. My dear friend, a fellow nurse, knew something was going on and brought my nurse in. My nurse said she felt like she should bring another nurse with her to my room, based in the symptoms my friend told her I was having. Another "God thing," for sure. Once they came in, they told me it was time. When I realized what was happening, I began to sob, I told my husband "I wasn't ready for this." He assured me we were ready and this was an answer to our prayers. I knew delivery meant we would get to meet our precious boy, but it also meant our time with him was limited, and after carrying him for almost 7months, he would no longer be a physical part of me. Chandler Nixon Sturgill arrived at 1234am on Friday, July 17, 2015.
We spent lots of alone time with him, just the 3 of us, our little family. We studied his every feature, told him how loved he was, and how proud we were to be his mommy and daddy. But, we also proudly showed him off to our family and close friends who had been going through this journey day and night, with us. Chandler had a head full of dark hair, so much that it had already started to extend down his little neck. He had long fingers and toes(like both mommy and daddy), but he looked just like his daddy, I had always hoped he would. He was a perfect tiny bundle, 1lb 12.4oz and 13inches long.
We had planned a perfect life for him, his nursery was painted and crib up, his bedding was being handmade, his closet already full of clothes and diapers, 3 showers already being planned, and numerous people were making him blankets for the cold fall and winter months we had anticipated snuggling him. This is not how we had planned his arrival, or the rest of our lives as his mommy and daddy. For 7 months I carried him, felt his sweet kicks, saw him on ultrasound, and heard his heartbeat often, and now he was gone. No longer with us, but with our Heavenly Father, such a bittersweet thought.
Ours hearts are broken. We know that God's plan for our lives are so much greater than any plans we could ever make, and we are trying to cling to the promise of His plan. But as Chandler's mommy I want him here with us. On my darkest days, I find comfort in the thought that our sweet boy did not have to face any of the evil things in this world. He knew nothing but warmth and love from so many and went straight from his mommy to Jesus' arms. Although his daddy and I had big plans for the life we wanted to give him, I know his Heavenly Father is taking care of him and he has lots of grandparents snuggling him as well.
We are slowly figuring out our new path and plan to share pieces of our journey in this blog. We desire your prayers and are certain they are what has kept us going this far.