Losing Wallace

In November of 2017 my husband and I welcomed a beautiful and healthy baby girl into the world. We were delighted when we learned I was pregnant again in January of 2019. My pregnancy was unremarkable but uncomfortable. We learned that the baby was a boy around 12 weeks and named him Wallace Rainer, after 2 of our favorite poets. I started having strong and frequent Braxton Hicks contractions around 25 weeks that were disorienting but harmless. My 20 week sonogram showed a happy, healthy growing boy.

My third and final ultrasound was at 36 weeks 5 days. Wallace was estimated to be 6 lbs 3 oz and healthy. My conversation with my OB was only about whether or not I should attempt a VBAC since I had unfortunately had an emergency C section with my daughter. She didn’t rule out a VBAC but said we should wait to see how I was doing at the 38 and 39 week appointments, partially because Wallace was posterior.
That was Wednesday.

Thursday Wallace was very active, as he usually was, and I wondered if he had flipped to the anterior position.

Friday I took my daughter to the zoo and didn’t pay much attention to my pregnancy…I was just slowly plodding along, waiting for his arrival.

Saturday morning I noticed I hadn’t felt him move in a while. I ate granola, drank juice, and laid on my side for an hour. I tried poking and prodding my belly to get him to move. I even sort of pushed on it, gently, but I just felt him float. I called my OB, who was on call at the hospital. She told me to go straight to Labor & Delivery.

I was 37 weeks 1 day pregnant.

When I got there the nurse immediately started to look for a heartbeat. They could only find mine, which was beating at about 100 bpm, much higher than my usual 58 during pregnancy. I asked “Could that be his?” but they said “No,” it was mine and it was high because I was anxious. The nurse called in a backup nurse but she couldn’t find it either. They called in my doctor who brought a sonogram machine and immediately looked at Wallace.

And there he was. I could see his rib cage but there was no movement. He was gone.

I just repeatedly asked “How could this happen? I don’t understand.” My doctor said “It happens sometimes. We won’t know until we get in there.” She offered to check again but by this point I knew he was dead.
I was having frequent contractions but I wasn’t effaced or dilated yet so we planned a C section. Unfortunately I had eaten 2 hours before going to the hospital so I had to wait several hours. We scheduled it for that evening and I went home with my husband and daughter.
The C section was uneventful but felt long. I didn’t hear her figure it out but my husband later told me the doctor exclaimed during the surgery “There it is.”
In the recovery room, she showed it to me. An amniotic band was tied tightly at the base of the umbilical cord.

We held Wallace in the recovery room and later they brought him to our room to say goodbye. We got to hold him one last time at the funeral home a few days later when I got released from the hospital. We will always love and miss him, and there is a hole in my heart.

3 thoughts on “Losing Wallace

  1. My thoughts are with you. I found out early that my baby had severe fatal ABS and wouldn’t have survived the pregnancy so we lost her at 15 weeks. She had bands around her head, stomach, hands and feet and her stomach was growing outside her body as a result. We now have a happy healthy 17 month old girl. Xx

  2. I am so very sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family. My granddaughter was born without 9 of her toes and we thank God every day that this is all. I can’t imagine what you are going through. My daughter had about 1 sonogram a week for the last trimester and the Dr. never picked up on it but even if he did, like the gentleman said above, they would not have done anything unless there was danger. God bless you and your family. You are all in my prayers.

  3. My heart and prayers go out to you and your husband. ABS has such a wide range of outcomes that you really never know the extent of the damage until the baby is born. My grandson will be missing a forearm, and nothing else appears, but there is nothing to do. Unless there is an immediate danger to the fetus, the doctors will not intervene with the intention of removing stray bands.

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