As the ultrasound tech squeezed the warm gel over my belly, I told her we didn’t want to know the gender, and I suspected a finicky placenta since I hadn’t felt any movement. I watched her face melt as she scanned my belly for maybe three minutes before she turned off the screen and told me, “There is a lot of fluid in there...baby has a lot of edema. I am going to get your doctor.” My heart sank, and I debated calling my husband Mike, but just sat there, numb, and decided to wait and see what my doctor said. She is the kindest, sweetest, most amazing doctor I have ever been under the care of and I trusted her dearly, so knew she’d have something good to say. She always did.
She did not this time.
My wonderful OB came back in with the ultrasound tech and they scanned me for another few minutes. She pointed out the heartbeat, which was pretty fast at 160+ beats per minute, and told us we were having a little boy. She also told us he had something called hydrops fetalis inside his chest and abdomen, two massive cystic hygromas on the back of his neck, and severe skin edema over the majority of his body. The fluid was putting some major stress and pressure on his internal organs.
The next few weeks was a complete blur. Our little guy had a lot of fluid all over the inside of his body and some pretty serious issues resulting from it. He was in heart failure. We were given a fatal prognosis and told we only had a few weeks left with him. Despite this, we didn’t give up hope; Mike and I went to countless appointments, ultrasounds, underwent an amniocentsis, tons of blood tests, all the while our little guy was hanging on, fighting as hard as he could in there while we fought for him out here.
We named our son Clark William -- Clark after Clark Gable, my grandma Goose’s (who passed away last November) most favorite actor from her most favorite movie, Gone With the Wind and William after Mike’s dad; his middle name.
As Clark fought on, we shared his story online, posting updates for our friends and family on social media. It felt good to share his story and feel the love from our family, friends, and community from near and far. As we waited for answers, we were showered with messages, food, goodies, and the most perfect TinySuperheroes cape from all of our friends...some of them internet buddies I had never met in person.
And then, all of a sudden, Clark was gone.
After a restless night of sleep due to some severe itching and a frantic text to my OB early on a Sunday morning, Mike and I headed to labor and delivery for bloodwork and we discovered our little guy no longer had a heartbeat. We were completely devastated -- we anticipated this coming, but nothing could have prepared ourselves for the overwhelming and crushing feeling of losing your child -- a child that was still cozily nestled inside of you.