A Labor of Love: Chip’s Story

In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance this month and the national day yesterday, I thought it fitting to share the loss of Chip Jordan with you all. I promise I will rarely be this long winded but our angles deserve every detail we can give them.

We got pregnant with our 3rd 4-5 months after our second was born.  They were going to be about 13 months apart.  We have done home births with both boys.  Our midwife is a couple of hours away from us.  Because it was our third there was a hands-off, been-there-done-that, we’ll get to the midwife later attitude. 

I was excited!  I hadn’t really been sick or tired with this pregnancy.  Both boys I was so, maybe, just maybe this was a little girl!!  My 19 week tummy bump shot comparisons looked fairly spot on.  This ones was slightly smaller but still close. 

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My ‘week’ started on Tuesdays.  The day I was 19 weeks I thought I need to check in with my midwife.  I texted to see if she would still see us on Sundays because that’s what worked for everyone’s schedule.  She said yes, but I didn’t make an appointment.  I had a back of my mind nag that we needed to but I put it off.  

The next Tuesday when I was 20 weeks I had a sudden panic!  I HAD to see her soon.  We scheduled for Sunday at 12:30.  That meant we’d skip church to see her.  We got there did urine, BP etc and at the end got the doppler out.  Both my boys were gathered ready to hear the heartbeat and it just wasn’t there.

I asked if an anterior placenta could hide the heartbeat enough to not hear it. She said yes, but proceeded to prepare us for a molar pregnancy. I had never heard of such a thing and as we researched it that evening I was actually hopeful of a lost child rather than odd cancer like probabilities.

The next day I called a pregnancy center that my midwife said would do free ultrasounds prior to 20 weeks. I was 21 but she gave me the dates to lie with. I didn’t like that but I called and they had just changed their policy and would not do an ultrasound after 16 weeks. My lie had me at 17… So I then called 4D Imaging in Grand Junction. After some cat and mouse I got a ‘gender’ ultrasound scheduled for the next day. It was the cheapest at $100. I told my office ladies I had something to do the next day and I either needed them to find someone to cover my massages or reschedule them.

The next day my hubby and I left early in the morning and went to GJ. We had breakfast together and then drove through the Colorado National Monument before going to our ultrasound at 2. We discussed the possibilities but still had an elephant in the car. We went to the ultrasound and the wait in the waiting room was the longest of my life. My husband said it was the worst ever. He just had this feeling…

The tec finally took us back and I explained that I’d never had a u/s before. She found a baby! Praise God it was not a molar pregnancy! I saw profile like I expected and then ribs… I didn’t remember u/s showing skeleton… She looked around some and I realized there was no sound. I asked if u/s would allow us to hear a heartbeat. She said yes but bc this was just a gender u/s that was turned off… Then she left. Cody and I talked about what we had seen and I was ready for the worst.

She came back with the office doctor. Introduced us then showed him the baby. He said, “There’s just no easy way to tell you this, but your baby is gone.” He said that it showed signs of decay so it had been gone a few days. He also said that with u/s we should be able to see a heart flutter and it wasn’t there. They turned off the u/s, helped me sit up and said how sorry he and the tec were. He also confirmed that I had prenatal care and I said yes, a midwife. He said ok, she can help you with the next steps. Then he left. The tec asked if I’d like a photo and I debated but ultimately decided that it was the only chance I had of getting one so I may as well. The tec said to take our time and come out when we were ready then she also left.

Baby Chip
Baby Chip

Cody, my rock. We sat a few minutes and I wiped more jelly of my stomach then we left. I had already paid so we were able to just leave. We got out to the car and I lost it. I cried and then called my midwife to let her know. She said she was praying for me and asked if the dr said how far along he thought the baby was when it died. He hadn’t said so I called the office back and had the receptionist ask. He said he thought it had been gone 5 days at most, but I think he was lying. I thought that in the room too. Based on my mama instinct and the observations of my body over the last couple weeks I knew he had been gone for at least 10 days if not longer.

We drove home. Cody called my mom and texted his mom. We came home and I called a close friend who had lost 2 in second trimester. She told me about what to expect. Full on labor… And that she had used a tincture to get things going. I wanted to let my body do it on it’s own as long as I was safe and my midwife was good with that. She told me what to watch for to make sure there was no infection and also told me that her sister had taken 3 months to deliver a stillborn of hers.

On our way home my SIL called and needed prayer for her son. It was a long conversation and a welcome distraction. I finally told her a few hours later.

The next day was kind of a fog. I remember that evening denial set in. Cody and I talked ourselves into a twin hiding behind the babe we’d seen on the ultrasound. I was having phantom kicks (and still do). But deep down I knew there was no extra babe.

I went to work the next Monday and Tuesday and feigned that everything was ok. Lying to my coworkers and beloved patients was a very difficult thing and I broke with one of them. I had to tell her. She’d just lost her husband and was deferring questions to me and I was doing the same. It was a lost cause so I finally told her and we cried together. I felt like I coudln’t announce yet that we’d lost our child because I hadn’t delivered. That is a very awkward thing for our society. If you lose a baby, you immediately have a D&C and that’s that. But I just don’t believe in medical intervention without cause.

We took photos of my belly, and it was obvious that it was getting smaller. No doubting that. I had moments of extreme grief. It would overtake me and I would be unfunctionable (Yes, I just made that a word!). I would lie on the bed and be racked with sobs. I remember once I took the boys next door to my mother in law and said I just need 10 minutes. She got it and immediately took them.

A Tuesday evening, I think April 28th I panicked and we made a quick run to Montrose in the evening to get a tincture called Womb String. My friend told me that she used it and it seemed to get labor going. I felt like I NEEDED it that day but once I got it I couldn’t take it. May 1st we borrowed a doppler from my friend. I felt like I needed to confirm just once more that there really wasn’t a live baby before I began herbs that might cause me to lose it. We used it May 2nd.

May 3rd I started taking the tincture. I had my first twinge of a contraction that evening.

I went to work on Monday and told them what was going on. With Nina, Christina, and Dr. Olson lined up across my massage table from me, I told them we had lost our baby but I was letting my body deliver on it’s own. Dr. Olson made sure my midwife was good with this and that I knew about D&C and that if I needed anything, script, etc he was there to help.

My midwife touched base around then and I told her about the tincture and she said she trusted Wish Garden Herbs and to take it as regularly as it said to. Tuesday evening I was for sure having labor twinges but nothing bad. Nothing like my boys. Wednesday morning I was but was functioning. I could do some things but would need to stop for a contraction from time to time.

Cody’s grandma had made a small blanket and hat but I looked at the hat and knew it was much to big to fit my baby. So I decided to crochet a smaller cocoon as a labor project and whichever fit is what we would use. Cody ran to Delta Wednesday evening to buy some chucks pads just in case. While he was gone, the only comfortable place to sit was the birth/excercise ball. It had been that way since about 4. My pelvis and hips had moved about the same amount that it would in 4 months of a normal pregnancy in 4 hours! It was achy and very difficult to sit anywhere solid. I sat on the ball, crocheted and watched Twilight.

Beginnings of the cocoon.
Beginnings of the cocoon.

Cody stayed home the next day (Thursday the 7th) and the boys were at grandma’s most of the day. I was certainly in labor, and it was no joke that it was going to be very real. Both the boys’ labors were long and intense and back labor. I was hoping this would be different. It wasn’t. I could walk around some but mostly I sat on the birth ball and kept crocheting and would stop and breath through contractions. Facebook told me that it was my dear friend’s birthday. I wished her happy birthday, and she told me, “Hopefully I get to share it with someone special.” I had my doubts. With how my labors went, I probably wouldn’t deliver until Friday or even Saturday.

Contractions intensified through the evening. I think my family probably had leftovers or something Cody could cook. We got the boys in bed at 7 like normal and I returned to my movie. Crocheting was done.

Cocoon I Crocheted.  No pattern.
Cocoon I Crocheted. No pattern.

I had rented New Moon and Eclipse. I was lying on my right side on the loveseat (pre furniture free living 😉 ). The pains were getting sharp and suddenly I needed to get up but couldn’t. I was afraid I would gush all over the couch if I made myself do it. So I texted Cody who was next door at his folk’s. I swiped ‘help’ 3 times. It sent ‘hell’ twice and ‘hero’ once! He got the point. 🙂

He helped me sit up and I really needed to pee. He helped me to the bathroom and I did pee. Then I felt pressure and I said, “Wait, that’s a baby!” We had the sitz bath bowl right there and I squatted up enough to get that under me and delivered our baby at 8:58pm. I looked and saw a blob mess and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t tear into that sack. Thoughts of I hope everything is there so I avoid infection etc raced through my head. I had Cody call my friend who’d done this to have her come see if everything was there. She was also an RN.

I went and sat on the couch and waited for her. Cody was busy around… Not sure. She came and they got baby out of the sack. She said placenta was intact and looked like everything was delivered. I went in the bathroom to look at my baby and my heart wasn’t ready for the amount of decay I saw. My logic knew that was right but I hadn’t been ready. I looked, took 2 photos and headed back to the couch. We were ready to take hand and foot prints but with the amount of decay, there was no way without damaging what was left of our child. 

She said she thought it was a boy so I went back to see what I thought. Yes, it did look like maybe a boy. I headed back to the couch but couldn’t make it. I grabbed onto the hutch part way there and was soo dizzy. Soo lightheaded. I did make it to the couch and told Cody. My BP was extrememly low. I got some water and my friend said a sweet carb would be a good idea. Cody made us milkshakes… My friend told us what to watch for regarding low BP and she left a bit after 11.

We laid our son in a box my husbands aunt had given us. Laid him on a blanket my husband’s grandma had made in the cocoon that I had made. We went to bed.

The Box Cody's Aunt Gave
The Box Cody’s Aunt Gave

The next morning, it dawned rainy and dreary. Go figure. I had to look once more. Before I laid my baby to rest, I had to be sure it was a boy. So I went into the bathroom alone with the box. I had trouble getting the baby back out of the cocoon but I did. It was indeed a boy. Both my living boys love mama’s hair. This boy needed mama’s hair too. So I cut a lock to lay in the ground with him.

Lock of my Hair
Lock of my Hair

I didn’t want to do what was next. I strapped on my 10 month old in his carrier and crawled onto a 4 wheeler and we drove to the place my husband had dug in the 2 weeks prior. Just my Father-in-law, Mother-in-law, mom, Cody, Clark and Grant were there. Bob and Cody made an X with bailing twine over the exact spot so we would know where the baby was after the dirt was put back. Cody laid our little in the ground in his box. Bob said a prayer and we covered the box. (This was done according to our county guidelines.)

The next couple of weeks are hazy. I watched movies. It was something I could do to distract. I somewhat understood why people used alcohol or drugs. It was a way to not think about it for an hour or 2. It was a way to escape and maybe when I came back, the pain would be less.

In those next weeks I looked up names and tried to find something that did justice to our son.  When I got pregnant I was nursing our second still.  He had extreme grain and dairy intolerances so I didn’t eat ANY grain or ANY dairy.  The only thing that could satisfy the carb cravings of pregnancy were potato chips.  I had started calling the new baby Chip as a joke and it stuck.  Finally my husband said, “He’s always been Chip, why change it?”  I looked it up and it means ‘Chipping sparrow of God’.  I’m good with that.  So we kept it Chip and no middle name.

This is the Story of Chip Jordan. With this sweet boy, we joined the ranks of parents who have lost a babe. They are home with God but we still ache for them. I have found plenty to be grateful for in this. I have been blessed to suffer as my Heavenly Father did in losing a son. Not as traumatically but still a loss. I have been counted for trial and refining to be a stronger Christian and person for what God is preparing me to do in this life.

Chip Jordan May 7, 2015
Chip Jordan
May 7, 2015

2 thoughts on “A Labor of Love: Chip’s Story

  1. Sarah, few of us are chosen to be Mothers of Angels. Those that are, seem to blessed with huge hearts because only a big heart can carry the joy and sadness of losing a child.

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