It was mid summer of 1987. I was 29 years-old and expecting my second child. My three year-old was excited about her baby brother or sister that would be delivered in a few months. My husband and I were attending a conference in Iowa, so our daughter, Whitney, was being cared for at home by her grandparents in our absence.
The week we were away was a sweet time for us as a couple. During one of our free-times I wandered into a baby shop and purchased a stuffed version of Jemima Puddle-Duck; a character of Beatrix Potter. It was perfect for an infant. It was made of the softest fabric that made the duck feel like it had real down feathers and it played a lullaby when you wound up the music box inside. It was a special memento of our trip. I hadn’t purchased anything else yet for the baby, as a matter of a fact, I hadn’t even started working on the nursery. I wasn’t sure why; perhaps preoccupation with our three year-old.
It was the last day of the trip and I woke that morning with a feeling of heaviness in my womb. I rolled over, shrugging off the “feeling”. Because of my 4’9” stature when I was pregnant the baby took my whole lap, so times when I could stretch out, the baby would kick and stretch as if to say “Thank you, Mommy, for giving me some room to move!” On this morning, however, when I lay on my back, the baby was still. “Hmmm…must just be sleepy this morning” was my thought. At that moment though, I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that something wasn’t right. I didn’t say anything to my husband; I just waited to see how the day would progress. I wasn’t in any kind of pain; perhaps I was being an over-anxious mother. As we made the long drive home that day I remember sitting in my seat in the car and reaching back to lean the seat back a bit to give the baby some room to move…at least I prayed she would move. My fears continued to be realized when she again was still. It was then that I shared with my husband, “I think there’s something wrong – the baby hasn’t moved all day.”
…to be continued tomorrow