Up until the last day, we had a perfectly
normal and healthy pregnancy with no complications. I felt great and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of carrying my boy, although we had not found out the gender until he was born. Just days before he was born were some of my favorite memories with him still in my womb. It was spring and everything was blooming and his big sister was showering my belly in kisses.
My work family also threw me a lovely baby shower that I look back on fondly. Enzo was still alive during those times and surrounded by many who loved and cared for him. He only knew love. And we were so excited to meet our newest family member.
But on Saturday, April 8th, 2017, our lives completely changed forever.
I was 38 weeks and 3 days. That morning I woke up with what felt like a mild stomachache. As the day progressed the stomachache slowly kept getting worse then moved lower and around to my back. That's when I knew these were real contractions and not just a bad stomachache. My husband, Evan, and I were not prepared for baby to come yet. It seemed too soon. My hospital bag wasn’t even packed. So between my contractions, which were becoming more intense and more frequent, I told Evan all the things I needed while he ran around the house packing our bags. Our friends came and took our oldest, Leora Pearl (who was 20 months old at the time), to their house and our doula arrived shortly after. It was at this time that I told Evan and our doula that it was time to go to the hospital.
When we arrived to the hospital, we checked in at the Emergency Room, which was where I was currently working as a nurse at the time, and told them I needed to go to Labor and Delivery. A fellow coworker wheeled me up to the L&D floor to triage while I continued to have strong contractions. Upon arrival to triage I became extremely nauseated and started vomiting. (I did the same thing when I went into transition with Leora.) The triage nurse then told me I was already dilated to 8cm. That's when we all knew this was the real thing.
I was moved to a labor room where things were set up quickly. A nurse placed a Doppler on my belly to monitor baby's heartbeat. While they struggled to find the heartbeat, I just attributed it to me not sitting still long enough due to the strong contractions I was experiencing. Between contractions I was told to lay on the bed while they attempted to use ultrasound to locate baby's heartbeat. Still nothing. This was when I knew something was up. More and more people started crowding the room with more equipment. As an ER nurse, I was very familiar with the vibe that had now filled the room. Adrenaline-filled fear for the worst. Next came the fetal scalp electrode that was placed on baby's head. Still nothing. It was at this moment that I announced I needed to push. With just a few pushes, and lots of assistance around me, Enzo Charles Wilcox was born (within only 30 minutes of arriving to the hospital) at 5:32pm.
The next part is by far the worst part. Enzo was immediately moved to the infant warmer to initiate resuscitation performed by nurses, respiratory therapists, and led by the NICU doctor. Enzo was intubated, given multiple doses of epinephrine along with high quality CPR. It was in that moment that I wish I wasn't an ER nurse. I wish I wasn't certified in the neonatal resuscitation. Even though my eyes remained tightly shut refusing to believe what was happening next to me, I knew exactly what the team of providers were saying and why they were doing what they were doing. It sounded like a training simulation, but it wasn't. It was real life. And it was my own son. I was begging God to save my son. I pleaded to Him. What seemed like forever of attempting to resuscitate his heart, the NICU doctor came to my side and explained what had been done with no success at reviving him, and asked if I was ok for her to end the resuscitation attempts and call it. That is by far the worst question I have ever been asked in my entire life. In my head I was screaming "no!" but in my heart I knew and very much trusted the code team that they did everything– and he was gone. I nodded my head slowly, still without opening my eyes.
Next the room started to clear out. I caught glimpses of several of the team members as they gathered their equipment and headed out the door. I saw the tears in the eyes as nurses embraced each other just around the corner from where I laid. And then he was brought to my arms. Wrapped in that typical hospital baby blanket and blue/pink striped hat. There was a tiny cut to his upper lip where he was intubated, but otherwise looked like an absolutely perfect sleeping newborn. Thick black hair, button nose, and long fingers and toes just like his big sister. Truly perfect in my eyes. Soon after, he was cleaned up and weighed in at 8 pounds 10.5 ounces and measured 20 inches long. An impressive size for being 38 weeks and 3 days old. Again, perfect. A perfect baby boy just without a heartbeat.
Very soon after all was settled down, I requested that Leora be brought to us. Our friends arrived and we introduced our Leora Pearl to her baby brother, Enzo. She was so sweet to him. She pointed out his eyes, nose, and mouth. And gave him lots of kisses. Just as I envisioned she would. But in a much different scenario. Yet there was something still fulfilling about having my family united together. Leora loved on her little brother as if he was one of her baby dolls. She took on the role of big sister beautifully right before my eyes. But in a very special, extraordinary kind of way. We were then moved to a medical floor away from pregnant mothers and crying newborns. Evan had made all the phone calls to all our family that were states away from us. Friends came and cried with us. Evan and I were faced with some of the most difficult decisions to make such as autopsy or no autopsy, cremation or burial, and what funeral home. All decisions that one is not prepared to make when expecting to take a newborn home in your arms. Enzo stayed with us in our room until we left the next day. I held and admired my sweet boy as much as I could during that time. We took countless amount of pictures. I made every effort to embrace and cling onto every memory made during that brief time.
The next difficult moment was leaving our son behind. Saying goodbye to that precious face for the final time. Wrapped in a bright yellow blanket that has since become the color I associate with him. Physically left in that hospital room but eternally in heaven with our God and Savior. Enzo Charles Wilcox, Enzo meaning "winner" and Charles meaning "manly," "strong," "free man." Forever our son, always remembered, and always missed. Until we are reunited the day the Lord calls us home to Him.
We have since added two more to our family– Evalina Lily came one year, one week, and two days after her big brother.
And we have another due December 2019. Through pregnancy with Evalina I learned that I was diagnosed with cholestasis in pregnancy, which is likely what caused Enzo to be stillborn. Though we’ll never know for certain. We miss him every single moment of each day. And will continue to until that amazing day when I can embrace him again in my arms. Until Heaven.