I think it’s hard for any woman to try and think about someone else raising her child. When I found out I was pregnant with my son, my first thought was oh fuck.. I really messed up this time. I was scared and wondered how the hell I was going to raise a child without a job or even a place to live. The father of my child wasn’t very supportive at first either, his first thought was to get rid of it which I had no intentions on doing. After the first couple of weeks I began to wonder how I could make it work because knowing that there was life growing inside me somehow made me feel important in a way, like maybe, just maybe, I actually did do something right, for once. I has my first doctors appointment when I was seventeen weeks. I remember sitting there a nervous wreck, waiting for my midwife. When I first heard that strong and loud little heartbeat, I started tearing up and I fell completely in love with my little peanut and even more so when I saw him!  He was already so perfect to me and couldn’t wait to meet him.

As the weeks went on, I realized more and more that I wouldn’t be able to do the thing I really wanted. I couldn’t find a job, I recently got kicked out of the place I was living and the father said he couldn’t do this and left. I was on my own and and felt hopeless.

When I first thought about adoption, I thought hell no, I couldn’t just giving my baby away and never see him again and I couldn’t imagine him calling someone other woman mom. I always thought people would say I was taking the easy way out or that I truly didn’t love my son.

But I did, I loved him so much that I was willing to break my own heart to give him the life he deserved. I started going through a agency I didn’t really like, it was only closed and open adoptions were very limited. I didn’t like them at all but I did it anyway because I knew I had to. One of my mom’s coworkers did a adoption and kept telling my mom to have me call Geri, founder of Adoption By Heart. She was saying that it was completely open and that she always gets to see her daughter. So after I had enough of the old agency and I meet up with Geri with my boyfriend Stefan. I did some paperwork and talked about what kind of adoption I wanted and why I decided to put my son up. Within a month I already got the books and picked a family I really liked and was meeting them for the first time with my mom.

We all met at the Cheesecake Factory and within ten minutes of meeting Steve and Christiane I knew they were the ones. They were just so cute and their love story was inspiring. They met in college, they graduated together and have been together for almost fifteen years. They were so sweet and we all got along great! After dinner I told them that I officially chose them and that I wanted them to be the parents to my son. The look on their faces I will never forget, they were so ecstatic.

As more weeks went on, I had more ultrasounds and watched as my little man got bigger and bigger. The parents chose the name Arlo Riley and I loved it. It was unique and I thought it was a perfect name for him. I finally got to feel him kick and I would always be either talking to him or playing with him. He was very active from the start, always moving. I would meet with the parents every weekend and I had Christiane come with me to my last ultrasound and watched as she fell in love with my son as fast as I did. It was truly a beautiful thing to see.

Finally, on January 23rd at 1:30 in the morning my water broke. I called my doctor to let her know I was coming in, woke up my mom, got my bag packed and ready to go and by 4:20am I was officially admitted into Castle Rock Adventist Hospital labor and delivery. I had a room full of people. My mom, Bria, Steve and Christiane and my friend Jordan. I got my epidural and was feeling splendid. I just couldn’t wait to meet my little man. As I was laying down in that hospital bed, a huge wave of all different kind of emotions swept over me. I planned out a great life for my son with two amazing people, well deserving of the gift I was giving them. I was also very nervous about what I would feel watching them leave the hospital with the one thing I loved the most.

By six o’ clock I was fully dilated and by eight I started pushing. The next few hours were blurry, everything happened so fast. I remember hearing my nurses saying he passed his meconium and he was in distress. He was stuck behind my pelvic bone and wasn’t able to move down. They tried turning me over into all kinds of different positions to try and get him unstuck. By hour three into pushing, they all started getting nervous. Started talking about doing a c-section if things weren’t getting better and they didn’t. By 11:30pm the fetal monitor lost Arlo’s heartbeat, my midwife and nurses called in a actual doctor and he did a vacuum assisted delivery. At 11:48pm Arlo Riley Harper was born.

I prepared myself for everything when it came to the adoption, I knew it was going to be hard to give him away and I knew they would be times I would think that I made a mistake and really miss him. I knew I wouldn’t be the one to wake up in the middle of the night to feed him and rock him back to sleep. I wouldn’t be the one to read him bedtime stories. I knew it wouldn’t be me seeing him crawl or walk for the first time or hear him say his first word. I was okay with all that though and I knew deep down in my heart that I was doing the right thing and he would love me for it once he was older. Like I said, I was prepared, but I never prepared for a death, the death of my son..

When Arlo finally came out, he didn’t make a sound. He didn’t have a heartbeat and wasn’t breathing. I remember looking at my mom and saying I had a really horrifying feeling that something was wrong. They rushed him over to the warmer and I sat there helpless as they brought in the crash cart and  watched 10+ nurses trying to revive my son. After about thirty minutes they rushed him the NICU.

On January 24th  my midwife came in to tell me that my son had passed and time of death was called at 12:37am and that they tried everything they could to bring him back. I don’t have a word to describe what I was feeling in that moment. I was numb and felt as though I was in a different world, not of my own. I was just filled with overwhelming sadness. My mom and I sat there just crying and crying. I didn’t and couldn’t believe it was real, my son was actually gone, forever.

They came in asking if I wanted to see him and at first I said no. I didn’t want to see him or anyone, no one was allowed to come into my room. They asked if it was okay to tell Steve and Christiane what happened and I feared for what was going to happen next, I felt horrible about it, like I failed them. My midwife came in with pictures of Arlo and after seeing just one of them, that’s when I decided to see him. When they placed him in my arms, I was absolutely breath taken by how perfect and beautiful he was. He was so tiny, weighing about 6lbs and 13oz and with a head full of blonde hair, just perfect. I held onto him, I sat there and kissed him telling him how much I loved him and how sorry I was. I watched as my mom held him and watched as she fell in love with a broken heart. I never wanted to let him go, he felt so great in my arms. I even fell asleep with him on my chest for just a little bit. By the time the sun came up, the hardest part came, deciding on what to do next. Bria came into the room, saw Arlo in the warmer and I saw her pick him right up and hold him, she comes over to me crying and commenting on how perfect he was. We both sat there crying together like we have so many times in the past. Finally, Steve and Christiane came into the room and held him too. They loved him so much from the start and having to see them grieve was heartbreaking for me. I wanted so bad to give them a child. By eleven o’ clock in the morning, I had to say my final goodbye to my son with my mom, Bria and Steve and Christiane. I decided on donating my sons heart valves and muscle tissue to save two other babies lives. I did it because I felt as though my son still had a purpose here in the time he was on this earth and I wouldn’t want any other woman to feel what I was feeling. I didn’t want to say goodbye, I kept wishing he would just start breathing again and that he would be okay. That somehow my love for him was strong enough to bring him back. I couldn’t let go, I didn’t want too. I said my final goodbyes, I kissed him and told him that I would always love him and how thankful I was to have him growing inside me, how he changed my life for the better and how I would always cherish him. When the doctors took him away, my heart broke all over again, more like shattered. I felt this huge piece of me leave when he did..

I don’t understand why God took away my son, I thought I was doing the right thing by giving him to someone who could actually take care of him and love him unconditionally. I didn’t get why he didn’t just take me and not him. I had the chance to live my life and made nothing but what I felt were mistakes, over and over again. But he didn’t even get to take a breath outside of my stomach. He didn’t get a chance and I was angry. I hated God. I hated what he had done to me, my family, Steve and Christiane and I still kind of do. I don’t know what I did to deserve this. I blame myself, I feel as if I did something wrong. My body is the one who gave up on him. I shouldn’t have smoked during my pregnancy, I should have eaten right, I should have exercised. All these things I think of on a daily basis. Like I said, he was perfect. There was not a damn fucking thing wrong with him. Nothing showed up in the autopsy to prove otherwise.

I had him cremated and I spread him ashes in my favorite place, where I went all the time when I was pregnant to talk to him. I then had a small funeral with close family and friends on February 2.

It’s has been almost two months since that horrible day and I still can’t believe my son is gone. I don’t go a day without thinking about him or wishing that he was here with the ones who loved him. I wish everything just went according to plan, that he would be with his parents with me visiting me as much as I could.

I’m still angry, confused, miserable and curious to why this happened.

I still question myself, my doctor and the hospital.

I’m still filled with overwhelming sorrow, I have just learned how to live with it.

To live with the guilt I feel everyday and the hatred I have for God and the world.

I still cry every single day.

I miss my son more and more everyday. I always sit here and wonder what he’d look like today. What his cry and laugh would sound like and most importantly see what color his eyes would be. I love him, I adored him from the start. He was my blessing in disguise. I know one day I will see that beautiful face again, it’s the only thing that gives me hope.

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-Katie H.