Mother’s Day was an unforgettable one. I am rarely at a loss for words. But this experience has left me speechless at times. However, I want to share our story with you. And it might be too much information for some but it is therapeutic and comforting for me to write this experience down into words. I know that so many of our loving family and friends have been cheering us on along the way of this pregnancy as we anxiously and excitedly awaited Cassidy’s brother or sister joining our family. And we are so grateful for your past and continued support and now most especially your prayers in the present and days to come. This pregnancy has not been an easy one by any means but it has been a healthy one (for momma and baby) from the day I found out I was pregnant. This makes it all even harder to grasp and fully understand.
I was 39.5 weeks pregnant on Friday. Felt lots of kicks and even some sporadic contractions throughout the day. Saturday, I was not feeling fetal movement during the day which was concerning and very unusual for what was a very active baby for many months. I started noticing it at 3:30 pm. I then paid more attention in the hours that followed. We went to the hospital at 9:00 pm to get the heart rate checked. There was not one. 3 ultrasounds later, it was confirmed. The news a mother and father never, ever, even in their worst nightmare, expect they will hear. We were told we were going to deliver a still born baby. And it was later confirmed that the umbilical cord was the cause of this. This happens in 1 out of 1,000 pregnancies that make it into the 3rd trimester. Nothing we could have done differently. It just happened.
Our families rushed to the hospital after we had our ultrasounds and had to tell them the heartbreaking news. They all held us in their arms and hearts and cried with us all night and day. We were all physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. But we held onto each other and survived what was to be a very hard, tiring, heartbreaking but beautiful in so many ways, Mother’s Day. We feel blessed to call them our village. We are so fortunate to have them lift us up when we fall. Feelings of severe sadness, unimaginable heartbreak, why me?’s, numbness, confusion and disbelief were pouring over us. I wanted to feel angry but I didn’t allow myself to be.
I can not begin to describe the extreme amount of love and comfort we received the next 24 hours from three very special L&D nurses, the OB on call, my OB and a local priest. It was angelic. It was beautiful. It was emotional beyond words. It was heartwarming. It was one of the truest forms of love and God’s grace I have experienced in my life. I don’t know if anything can ever match it.
These women squeezed our hands and hearts so tightly, prayed over us all night and day and cried with us. They were our earth angels and they were just where we needed them to be, at the exact moments we needed them. It is really and truly such a gift that our family received on such a devastating day.
And as much as I would like to just wake up from this nightmare and pretend it really didn’t happen, it did. It doesn’t quite feel real right now. As my family all held hands with one of the nurses, she prayed with us and it was absolutely beautiful. She said, “God does not want you to be strong right now. Be weak. He will be strong for you. God knew all of this was going to happen before we even knew about this baby. He will carry you, Nick and Cassidy through this”. We believe these words.
We are unsure of how people deal with such heartache without the belief that there is something better waiting for us after this life.
The most perfect little girl was born at 2:54 pm. on Mother’s Day. Mary Clare Kovar weighed 9 lbs, 22″ long. She is a big, beautiful, precious baby girl. Cassidy would have loved her so much. Mary Clare was already so loved before she even got here and she knows that. Holding a baby that you know you will not take home with you is something that is unimaginable. It is beyond difficult to come to terms with. It is a very deep physical, mental and emotional pain that is really just unexplainable. Although her body was here on Earth, we knew her soul was already in heaven. She was baptized immediately after birth and that was such a moment of light in a time of darkness. I know she will watch over us as we pick ourselves up from this horrible pain. She has already taught us so much. Love the life you have and slow down to live each and every day like it your very last. We know that we, personally, are such busy bodies and simply do not stop long enough to just soak it all in. We will cherish each day we are blessed with and really appreciate even more so every minute that we get to spend with each other and with Cassidy. She will bring us even more joy than before throughout this grieving process. We will cry looking at her imagining what life would have been like watching the love between two sisters. But she will be a constant reminder of just how great God is. She was going to be the best big sister and she is still the best big sister. We want her to know that. We will talk to her about her sister who is with Jesus in heaven and make sure she always knows how special they both are to us. We know and believe that God chose us to be Mary Clare’s parents for a reason and that is an everlasting gift.
This experience was not something I wish upon on anyone. Ever. If I was able to get granted one wish, it would be that from this day on, not one single person would have to endure the loss of a baby.
My husband is amazing. Every nurse and doctor here can attest to that. He is my rock. And my backbone. He carries me through good times and in bad. And I am so lucky God chose him for me. Especially on this Mother’s Day. I don’t know that I could ever get through something like this without him to cry on. His heart is so sad. And it has been so difficult to watch him hurt so much. We will get through this together.
The most amazing earth angel of them all is Nurse Sherry. I can’t quite paint a perfect picture of who and what she is to us but I will try. She delivered Cassidy 3 years ago and if you know about that labor and delivery, you know it was a 24-hour long labor and 2.5 hours of pushing. Sherry was determined (when I had nothing left) and brought our sweet Cassidy into this world. She was amazing then and we still talk about her 3 years later with our families and doctor. We just told our OB this past Monday “We hope that we get lucky again when we go into labor and have Nurse Sherry”.
We thought she was our life saver then but we had no idea what she would mean to us almost 3 years later in such a very different circumstance. God really knew what He was doing when He brought her back into our lives. She wasn’t supposed to work on Saturday night but she put her name on the list since they were short staffed. We are beyond grateful for the many gifts she provided my family throughout this journey. And just putting her name on the list that night is one of many. When a priest or chaplain could not be there at 1:00 am to pray with and for us, she stepped up and I have never felt closer to God in my life. She spoke to each and every one of us and told us exactly what we needed to hear. My family will never forget how special and amazing she is and was to us.
She came back on her next shift and came in my room at 11:30 pm to wake me up to tell me she went home at 7am when she got off. She said she cried a lot, prayed a lot, told her husband she did not want to celebrate Mother’s Day because she was too sad and called her Mom in Belize to tell her our story. Then she shared it with her 17-yr old son. He immediately went back to his room, grabbed a stuffed teddy bear he has had since he was born named “White Angel” and said ” I want them to have this bear and every time they hold it, they will think about their baby in heaven”. I have no words. I am overcome with so much overwhelming emotion and a pool of tears running down my face writing about this. Sherry truly is the GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING. Her sweet son, who has never met us, gave us such a special keepsake. And she came to give it to me and told me she snuck it in the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photographer’s photo session and placed it with Mary Clare in the pictures. She hoped I didn’t mind. I couldn’t speak. We cried and cried. And cried some more. Just so overwhelmed by her continued graciousness and genuine love and concern. She said to me, “There are no tears in heaven. She did not cry. She is not in pain and will not suffer. She is perfect and pure. Mary Clare is not supposed to walk this way; she is supposed to walk that way with Him”. We love you Sherry. You, without a doubt, hold a very dear place in our hearts forever and you fell into our lives for a reason. May God always hold you in the palm of his hand.
We know we have a long road ahead of us. Grieving, healing and trying to find the most comfort and peace in such a tragedy. We are grateful for the beauty that we have seen in such sadness.
So we leave this hospital today with empty hands but not empty hearts. Our hearts are aching but they are full.
Please pray for us.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. Jeremiah 1:5