I was 20 weeks pregnant, had just flown into Orlando that morning, my husband was deployed, and my water broke.
After dinner, I got up and thought I had laughed so hard that I peed on myself (after all, they say that’s common when you’re pregnant)! Looking at it, I knew it wasn’t that I peed myself, so I called the OB and went to the hospital. Did I mention it was my dad’s birthday?!
So here I am, in the hospital with my mom next to me when my husband calls and says he made it to their destination. I told him “I’m in the hospital because my water broke.” Neither of us knew exactly what that meant, but I was under proper care. My body had drained all the amniotic fluid I had, so the doctors told me without it, the baby wouldn’t develop properly and after reviewing the options with the doctor, I decided to stay in the hospital and deliver our baby.
After about a week in the hospital, they told me the plan was to go home on bed rest and let the baby develop a little more but by this point, we still didn’t know the gender. Without the fluid, they couldn’t see if it was a boy or girl. So, I would go home and come back knowing the baby would be premature. The morning I was supposed to leave, I started to have this strong pain in my leg and back, and after several tests, it was discovered that I developed a blood clot and had to remain in the hospital.
That’s when things got real. With my life at risk, we sent a Red Cross message to my husband so they could release him from his deployment to be with me. On top of my newly discovered health issues, I still had my baby to worry about. After a while, more complications occurred and I was unable to keep the baby in any longer. I would have to give birth knowing our baby wouldn’t survive.
So the question became “who tells my husband?” Not me! I wasn’t ready to tell him that and I just wanted him to arrive safely. At this point, he was finally in the U.S. taking all the flights he needed to get to us on time. My dad spoke to him and told him what was going on, and that was the last I heard from him until he arrived in Orlando.
I started to labor when my husband landed and he arrived at the hospital 30 minutes before I had to start pushing. Three pushes was all it took. The nurse said, “it’s a boy.” I told her “I know. I knew he would be.”
My pregnancy never felt right but I dreamt three times that I had a boy and knew exactly what he looked like at different stages of childhood. I know now that God knew he would take him back but was so gracious that He let me see him in my dreams. That night, it was my husband, parents, and siblings in that room and it was the best moment considering it was the worst moment in my life. We named him Benjamin, which means “son of my right hand,” and later most of us got his name tattooed somewhere on our right arm. He’s buried in a military cemetery where the family visits him, even if we can’t because we live out of state. All his cousins know of him and we all make sure to keep his memory alive.
A few years later I got pregnant and my husband deployed again. My water broke at 7 months this time, but we got to keep our boy. His name is Daniel, and he was born in the same hospital with the same nurse as Benjamin.
Losing a child is something you never get over, but with time, you learn how to live life and be happy even if you have those days where the thoughts creep up on you. If/when you have kids after the loss, keep their memory alive and let them know about their sibling. It’s so sweet to hear them talk about the angel that’s looking down on them.
Photographs courtesy of Jamie Ortiz