loveshalmai » Watercolor Artist and Designer in Northern Indiana

Silas Jude {October 16, 2014}

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 presetI never missed or wanted something as badly as I want my baby back. I wish with all my heart he could be returned back to me. Instead I received his ashes. We picked out a beautiful heart shape keepsake urn for him and had it engraved. This is obviously not the way I hoped to bring one of my babies home. The pain of loosing a child is incredibly big. I never experienced any loss this close, this was my first real experience with loss and grief. I had heard of friends and their losses but now I know there is no way anyone can understand or relate unless you go through it. We had been excitingly awaiting the arrival of our third baby who was due on March 2015.  Instead for whatever reason things went a completely different direction. A direction I never thought I would ever have to go. All the way until October 15, 2014, we heard a healthy heartbeat and everything had been going well. My health started to take a turn around the  14/15 week mark. It was getting hard for me to sleep and breath. I had absolutely no appetite. I was constantly tired and could barely make it through a photo session. I was constantly out of breath. My blood pressure started to rise but it was not at a concerning point. But when I reached 17 weeks my health started to get worse. The day before going to the hospital I got incredibly dizzy. I felt the blood rise to my head, my vision became blurry and fuzzy and my legs swelled up larger than I had ever seen, I had the worse sleep of my life that night. When I woke the next morning I could barely move or breath. Brandon was concerned and pushed me to call the midwife. This whole time I had been convincing my self that I was just overreacting and these were just normal pregnancy symptoms. Deep down I always felt like something was off. But I kept telling my self this was just a different pregnancy. Brandon didn’t buy it. He took me to get a blood pressure test at cvs during his lunch break. Both of our faces were in complete shock when we kept seeing the numbers go up. 156/109, 157/110, 160/110. We quickly called the midwives and they had us come in. This whole time I was convinced that everything would be fine. Maybe I just needed a little bed rest. The midwives were concerned and felt like something was just not right so they directed me to the hospital for further testing and an ultrasound. With tears in my eyes I told Brandon what we had to do. The boys were in the back seat and I was worried for them to see me this way. We dropped them off at my in laws and we headed to the hospital.

Nothing was scarier than getting wheeled down those hospital halls. Once I was in a room I had blood drawn, an ivy put in and a EKG. They came and took us to get an ultrasound a while later. As I was being wheeled downstairs I was in deep prayer. I was extremely afraid. I was asking God to please be with me, to please not leave me, to please let it all be ok. Everything was moving so quickly that it was hard to be present. But something we were blessed with was seeing our beautiful baby on that ultrasound screen. Nothing brought more joy to Brandon and I than seeing a perfect happy baby bouncing around my belly. I can still picture his little face on the screen. It was the best feeling at that moment to know he was ok. After the ultrasound I felt reassured. I felt like everything was ok. But it wasn’t. Our midwife left us with a Doctor because this was all beyond her expertise. But assured us we were in good hands and my goodness we were! Dr. B came into the room, sat next to me and gave me the news. I had a partial molar pregnancy, my body had been working extra hard to sustain this life that as a result I had developed sever preeclampsia. She said she had never seen such a thing. That my hcg levels were 1.7-2million when normal hcg levels are around 100,000. She told me that my kidneys and liver were failing and that my life was at risk. She insisted that I was going to continue to get worse and really fast. We had to move fast and the only way we could solve the issue was by delivering our baby. As she was saying those words her voice echoed thru the room and I felt as if I was floating outside of my body. It didn’t feel real. I was also told that our baby had 3 sets of chromosomes, the term is triploidy. Most babies with Triploidy miscarry way early, as well as molar pregnancies. They had never seen it be carried to 17 weeks. I had no time to think or analyze anything. I wanted a second to think, to see if this would be the right move. I again was told how at risk my life was and how fast we had to move. My only request was for her to please make sure I was ok. Thru my tears I asked her to please allow me to continue being a mother to my boys. And thru her tears she promised me that I would be ok. So we moved to the labor and delivery floor to begin the labor process.

They told me the process would be longer and harder than my previous births. That it could take 1-2 days to give birth. I didn’t want to believe that. I pleated with God at that moment. I begged him to please not to allow this to happen to me. I didn’t want to be in labor for 1 to 2 days. I didn’t want to be in deep pain. It was just not fair to me! I didn’t get to go through all that pain to have a beautiful healthy baby at the end. I would go through all that pain to then hold a baby that would pass away. It just seemed like emotional and physical torture. I even considered just asking for a c-section. Was there another way that I just wouldn’t feel any pain? I was started on Magnesium due to my high blood pressure they were concerned I would have seizures. I was then administered an epidural that would help with the pain and the labor process began. A few hours later I was just 1cm dilated so I was given another dose. Right after that dose labor began. The nurses were scattering around because they were just not prepared for it to happen this quickly. But it did. After 10 minutes of pushing and a little pain, Silas was born not breathing at 5:10am. They cleaned him up and he was brought to me in a blanket that reminded us so much of Julien’s favorite blanket. I just stared at him in complete shock. I still couldn’t believe this all happened.

I was expecting him to look strange. But he didn’t, he looked absolutely perfect. He kind of reminded us of Jaden. He just looked like a tinier version. It was a little confusing to me to see him look so perfect. He had a tiny head with eyes, nose, mouth and ears. He had two tiny hands with ten fingers and two tiny feet with ten toes. I couldn’t help but think it was all my fault that his life ended. What if he would of been fine? Did we make the right decision? I remember saying that out loud and nurses just reassuring me, that although he looked normal on the outside, the issues would of been more so internal. Plus the fact that if we didn’t move and deliver I would of died. They told me just 12-24 hours of my body trying to sustain his life, I would of just not been here anymore. That is just so insane to me. That still has not fully sinked in. That there was a time frame that my life would of just been over. From just carrying my baby. A baby I would of done everything to save his life and I just couldn’t. There was nothing I could of done. My body tried hard enough. I held him for several hours after his birth. Just studying his face. I don’t think I had enough strength to cry. The support system at the hospital was beyond amazing. We were given so many things to remember Silas by. We were allowed to keep him in the room with us for as long as we wanted. They gave us a camera, the gave me his foot prints, they told me to contact NILMDTS. Which we did. I had a fellow photographer friend come and snap a few photos for us. I really think I will cherish those images forever. I never realized how big of an impact photographs make until I needed them to remember our baby forever.

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetThe battle for my health wasn’t fully over. As I was trying to heal and figure out how to tell the boys about the baby. We were also in conversations with funeral homes, we were trying to figure out a name and we had to file a death certificate. My blood pressure struggled to maintain a normal number. I stayed hooked up to all these machines for what seemed days. The doctors didn’t know how long they would keep me there for. There were talks about cancer and chemotherapy. My kidneys had to be monitored to make sure they were back to functioning normal. We did decide to bring the boys up to meet the baby. After receiving some advice from a nurse and a friend who had gone through a similar situation, we decided that the best thing for them was to come and meet their brother. I think natural parental instinct is to protect our kids. We didn’t want to upset them or scare them. I think we tend to underestimate how resilient kids are. They were obviously devastated. But looking at them now and how well they have healed, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I mean they knew I was pregnant, it was obvious, I was showing. We had started to clean my office to make it the nursery, we received a stroller, we had been in talks about this baby and we have been preparing them to be big brothers. To show up from the hospital with no baby would of been so confusing to them. They speak about Silas now as if they’ve known him forever. He’s a part of our family and our boys wouldn’t want it any other way. They keep a teddy bear that was in Silas crib at the hospital in their room to always remember him.

The following day, Friday after Silas was born, my vital signs started to normalize. I received two blood transfusion, and my blood pressure was leveling off. That evening I was unhooked from everything and was allowed to take a shower. Let me tell you that was the best shower of my entire life. I felt as if my whole body was being healed under the warm water. It’s crazy how those little things we take for granted everyday was the one thing that made me so so happy that day. On Saturday I was released from the hospital but unfortunately my blood pressure started climbing again and I had to go back on Sunday. It was probably the worse thing to have to go through everything all over again. I had to get an ivy put in again, had another ultra sound, I was in tears through it all. I just wanted this to be over. The ultra sound showed that there were still cells from the partial molar inside and they were multiplying. So I had to have a D&C Monday morning to remove as much as they could. I had to be put to sleep and rolled into a surgery room. Another scary moment in my life. They didn’t get it all. They said those cells travel anywhere blood does. Which is why I will have to continue to be monitored for a whole year. Pretty much to make sure those cells do not multiply and cause tumors that would be cancerous. I was sent home for good on Monday afternoon and have been home ever since.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetOur lives have slowly been going back to normal. I have my days. I feel like I was completely protected and healed by God. My pain has been eased and I feel at peace with our loss. But I still have days that I feel totally down. I don’t understand why and I feel lost and confused. I feel like I had my life perfectly planned out and now I have no idea what I am supposed to do or what’s next. It’s also hard to be still in this moment and watch the world around you continue on. People stay busy with their lives, sometimes too busy to notice what they are missing. It’s hard to have people you expected to be there for you stay away because of their own busy lives or fear. It’s hard to hear the insensitive things people have to say and I am kind of over hearing the word “sorry”. I find it difficult to get back to work even though it helps pre occupy my mind. It’s hard how alone you can feel through this. As if no one understands, and majority of people do not understand. That’s when I have to completely rely on God and his heavenly promise to me. Even if it’s hard to remember it. Even if my mind gets foggy and I can’t see where I am currently going. I need to be ok that this is my life at the moment and I know I will come out of it. I  need to be ok in these moments as my mind and body heal.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”-  Psalm 34:18

“For sure, I tell you, you will cry and have sorrow, but the world will have joy. You will have sorrow, but your sorrow will turn into joy.” – John 16:20

“This is the reason we do not give up. Our human body is wearing out. But our spirits are getting stronger every day. The little troubles we suffer now for a short time are making us ready for the great things God is going to give us forever. We do not look at the things that can be seen. We look at the things that cannot be seen. The things that can be seen will come to an end. But the things that cannot be seen will last forever.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

  • Erica Freitas

    I am sooo sorry for your loss. I will be praying for you and your family.

  • Kate Shultz

    Shalmai I know all too well the pain of losing a child. My heart aches for you. Thank you so much for your donation in memory of your sweet baby boy, Silas. I love the name you picked out. I sometimes wonder how I am even surviving this but then I remember how the Lord has carried me during this time. He has given me a peace and strength that is not of myself. We grieve with hope (1 Thes 4:13) …the hope that comes with waiting for that day when we get to heaven and Jesus places our sweet babies in our arms again and says, “Well done my good and faithful servant, now raise your child.” I am forever changed, I now have eternal desires that will never be filled on this Earth, and that’s something most people will never understand. I will pray for you and it helped me a good deal to surround myself with others who know this pain. Please contact me if you need that.~ Kate Shultz

  • Brittnie Blackburn

    I am so sorry for your loss. I just lost my son at 20 weeks. . . his heart just stopped beating. No known cause. I was induced and delivered, held him for five hours, then buried him a few days later. I relate to all of the emotions you describe in this post. A constant peace but still intense pain and sadness. The hope of heaven but the longing also to just see your son again. I will be praying for you and your continued healing!

    • Shalmai Keim

      Brittnie, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. A reason I decided to write this blog post was for someone like you. Someone that would go through a similar loss and find something/someone out there that they can relate to and know that they are not alone. Just know that I am here for you and I will be praying for your heart. Healing is a long road but you do not have to do it alone. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Love, Shalmai

      • Brittnie Blackburn

        Thank you so much. I appreciate you reaching out!