I felt the first of John Weston’s kicks at 19 weeks. Like little butterflies in my tummy, I remember lying on the bed for most of the day dreaming of what he would look like. I stayed home and messaged my husband and mother every time he would change positions out of pure amazement. At our 20-week anatomy scan, everything looked perfect. Our John Weston was measuring 2-3 weeks ahead on the growth chart. “Gonna be a big boy!” the doctor said. His daddy and I were beaming with pride.
During the last week of October, I noticed my sweet baby hadn’t been moving quite as much, just a faint turn here and there, no jabs or kicks. But every time I heard his strong heartbeat thumping through the Doppler machine, I was reassured. My OB explained that at my next appointment we would do our last ultrasound to see how baby was measuring. We would also be able to pre-register with labor and delivery in preparation of our upcoming delivery. I was over-the-moon excited at the thought.
Lance and I entered the dim ultrasound room hurriedly that day. We were both eager to see the baby. As the sonographer put the warm gel on my belly, my eyes were fixed on the screen waiting to see him. As she scrolled her tool over my belly, I was having a hard time finding anything familiar on the screen. To fill the silence, I explained I was worried about the baby because the last few days he hadn’t been moving as usual. The sonographer then asked, “When was the last time you felt him move?” I knew as soon as she asked that my worst fear was true.
After a few more measurements and questions, she promptly turned the machine off and pulled the paper drape off of my belly, “I’m so sorry,” she exclaimed with tear filled eyes. I knew he was gone. Lance didn’t understand, “What?” “What’s wrong?” I turned to him with tears falling from my eyes and said, “He’s gone.”
Our world would never be the same.
On a stormy October night, I gave birth to a perfect 5-pound, 3-ounce, 19-inch little boy. I remember, even through the silence following delivery, I could hear rain falling outside our hospital window. For some reason, the rain soothed me. To break the somber mood right after his birth I asked the room, “So, who does he look like?” My husband smiled and said, “He is you!” My doctor came close to me and whispered with a grin, “No doubt, this baby is you made over!” Tears flowed as the nurse handed me my precious little boy for the first time.
My John Weston was perfect. He had 10 long fingers and 10 long toes. I will never forget how delicate and soft his skin was, smooth like satin – unlike anything I had ever touched before. His long legs bunched up under the swaddle blanket, almost too long to even fit underneath. He had wavy blonde hair just like his mama. Perfect chubby cheeks and sweet tiny lips, he looked just like I would envision an angel.
With a number of friends and family lining the hallway for the entire labor, we welcomed anyone who wanted to come and meet our precious baby with open arms. The staff in labor and delivery was phenomenal at gathering keepsakes for us as we spent much of the night with our little one. We said the things we needed to say, we held him, we kissed him, we laughed at his floppy ears given by his daddy, we cried. We let our hearts break.
Through our tears, we were not alone. Not only were our friends and family there to support us, but every nurse, every social worker, every person that spent time with us wiped away tears as well. Our time together was sacred and some of the most precious moments I have ever experienced. By far the hardest moment I faced was letting go of my baby as the nurse took him from me for the last time.
When an event like this happens in one’s life, I feel as though time stands still. My husband and I agree, there is who we were before Weston, and who we are after. We are forever changed. The innocence and bliss that we once knew has been taken from us. True heartache and sorrow have become a part of our everyday lives. Once at home, in the days following delivery, we painstakingly reviewed details about our baby’s funeral arrangements, an idea every parent shudders at the thought of. There is something about coming home to a quiet, dark nursery that haunts you.
A number of friends and family mentioned how the “heavens cried” the day we laid our baby to rest on November 1, as the rain fell to the ground for the entire ceremony. And wouldn’t you know, not a drop of rain fell again until November 30 – his due date. I now call it my “Weston Rain.”
Looking back, on every major event throughout John Weston’s life there was always one common factor – rain. He is my perfect storm. He has taught me so much about life and how truly precious every moment is. I am comforted by the impact he left on this world. Even down to the tiny cross you can see on his foot from his hospital picture. This precious life has spoken to the hearts of many, and forever will be a testament of God’s perfect and unfailing love.
Almost a year later, with a framed photo of Weston beside us, we welcomed his baby brother into the world. Coincidentally, it was on October 15 – Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day – that we found out we would be induced with our second son. I remember staring down at the blue remembrance ribbon on my blouse when I heard the news. The very next day, on October 16th, 2018, just two weeks shy of his big brother’s birthday, John Wyatt entered the world with a loud and beautiful cry.
Many of the same nurses that had been with us for Weston’s birth came to be with us when we welcomed his baby brother. Even though they were not scheduled to work that day, they came to love and support us through the emotional experience of delivering our baby boy. I cannot put into words the gratitude I hold in my heart for the team that cared for us. The love felt in the delivery room was breathtaking.
From our care team at Woman’s Hospital, to community support from organizations like Anna’s Grace Foundation, through our tragedy we have been touched by so many. We are blessed to have been connected with truly inspirational people making big impacts in our community. We now consider it sacred tradition to recognize Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day and attend remembrance events through Anna’s Grace, showing support to other families facing loss. Year after year you can find us decked out in blue, with little brother Wyatt in tow, honoring our “Weston Rain!”