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Everything Hurts

I sat on the toilet crying and telling Colin how in pain I was. He asked, “What hurts?” I replied, “Everything hurts- my body and heart. I have the chills. I am so cold.” He gently helped me maneuver from the toilet to the couch. He plugged in the heating pad and placed it on my lower back in between my body and the pillow. He put other pillows up to prop me as I was having a lot of difficulty laying flat. Whimpering, I said, “Colin, I can’t breath.”

 

He asked, “What do you mean you can’t breath?”

 

I said, "We need to go to the hospital. You need to take me to the ER now. I texted the OB/GYN and she told me that I could have blood clots in my lungs if I am having trouble breathing.”

 

He said, “Let’s just take a minute. Relax and try to catch your breath.”

 

My phone rang. It was my sister. I figured she was calling to check up on me and to mostly see how I was doing emotionally. I picked up the phone. She asked how everything was going. As I began to answer I had to try to catch my breath between words. I told her I needed to go and hung up the phone.

 

Colin turned to me and asked, “Were you having trouble talking to your sister on the phone?”

 

“Yes. We need to go.”

 

We both reluctantly got into the car hoping that they would tell us that it was just breast engorgement and I needed to continue to ice and put cabbage leaves on them to help with the pain. I didn’t want to be going back to the hospital. I especially didn’t want to go back to Mary Greeley as that was where I first learned that something was wrong with our little boy.

 

We pulled into the parking garage. We tried to find somewhere near the ER to park, but it was under construction. We ended up having to park on the opposite side of the hospital. We entered the sliding door and the security guard on duty asked us where we were headed. We asked her how to get to the ER. She explained the way to go and I stood there trying to catch my breath from my walk from the car to the door. We proceeded down the empty hallway and took a right. We entered into the back side of the ER and had to walk through it.

 

A nurse stopped us and asked if we were looking for the labor and delivery room. I held back the tears and said to her coldly, “no.”

 

As we got to the waiting room of the ER I motioned to Colin that I was going to take a seat. He went up to put my name in to be seen. He told the woman that our OBGYN in Des Moines thought that I possibly had blood clots in my lungs. By the time Colin finished saying that my name was already called. We went into a triage room near the waiting room.

 

After multiple tests it was confirmed; I had clots in both of my lungs. I would be admitted to the hospital and would be on blood thinners for the next six months.

 

Please come back in a few days for Kolbe's Legacy: Part Six

 

The Birth of Kolbe Scott Hurd  

We were prepared for what we wanted when we got to the hospital as we had met with S.H.I.N.E. during our pregnancy and they helped us put together our birth plan. They also had molds and anything else that we asked for ready at the hospital for memory making items that we could take home so we didn’t have to think about all of that in the moment.

   

We arrived at the hospital around 7:00 pm. I took off my clothes and put the gown on and sat in the hospital bed. Colin and I had decided previously that Kolbe’s legacy was something that was really important to us. We wanted people to experience him even though he wouldn’t physically be here. So, once we were admitted we shared the Facebook page we created for him, @KolbeScottHurd. We created this page just days before our 33-week appointment in hopes of having it complete by Kolbe’s arrival, as we were unsure when that would be. On his page we posted pictures of our pregnancy and shared Kolbe’s diagnosis as no one had known, except our families, until we posted that. We told people that we were admitted to the hospital and that we would be giving birth to our precious baby boy. Our hope was to create a legacy, so if people felt inclined to support us they could donate in honor of Kolbe to the Crowdrise page we had created.

   

We sat in the room together unsure what to expect. Part of me was excited to see our beautiful son, but the other part knew that once he was delivered he was no longer going to physically be here. I would no longer be carrying him in utero. My pregnancy with him would be over and we would be left with the grief and suffering that comes with losing a child.

   

The nurses were great and accommodated everything we asked for. They kept us hydrated and kept Colin full. They suggested we get some rest and told us that the Anesthesiologist would be in during the middle of the night to administer my epidural. The door opened and he turned the lights on. He had me sit on the corner of the hospital bed. Before putting the needle in he stopped to acknowledge and empathize with what we were going through. He told us that he too had lost children. He had lost two at birth and he knew that this was not an easy experience to go through. He tried to give a glimpse of hope as he talked about his four living children. My eyes were filling up with tears. He finished and left the room.

   

The nurses came in and out throughout the night to check my blood pressure and administer drugs to help induce labor. Needless to say, we weren’t getting much sleep between that and the blood pressure monitor continuously going off. Around 5:00 am the OB/GYN who was specialing my case came in on her day off, before her morning run, to put in a balloon to help induce labor since I was not progressing on the drugs alone. Colin and I sat there waiting.

   

A couple hours passed by and my OB/GYN came back in. She removed the balloon and checked to see how dilated I was. I had barely progressed. She proceeded to break my water in hopes that it would help.

   

My family had been at the hospital for quite some time, so we had everyone come in to say hello. They brought plenty of snacks for Colin to munch on during the day, as I wasn’t able to eat at this point. We chatted for a bit and then had everyone leave so we could have some time together before I would start pushing.

   

We finally got to the point where I was experiencing contractions. Colin sat to the left of me holding my hand and watching the monitor to see when to help me calm down my breathing and get through the pain. The OB/GYN told us that unfortunately Kolbe was breech and that I would not be able to push entirely once his lower half was out. I wasn’t dilated enough at that point. We had to wait to push until I progressed more. I laid there for an hour and a half in the hospital bed scared to reach for Kolbe in fear I would hurt him. I finally started to feel the urge to push and was progressed enough to continue. He was born at 6:42 pm after almost 24 hours of labor. The hospital room was silent.

 

 KolbeBirthMother and Son 

 

The doctor immediately handed Kolbe to me. I looked down at my son. He was so beautiful. I held his limp and lifeless body in my arms. Nothing in my life prepared me for that moment. My eyes filled with tears.

   

I gently handed our son to the nurse so he could have a bath. She bathed him, clothed him in the outfit we brought, wrapped him in the blanket that was made for him by my mom, and left the room to give us some privacy with our son. Colin sat beside me as I held Kolbe and we read him the book, If I Were a Giraffe. I set him down in between my legs in the hospital bed. We just looked at our son pointing out the similarities he had to both of us. He was so beautiful. He had a full head of brown hair like me. We laughed over the similarity him and Colin had with their feet and how long he was. I think when he got older he would have looked a lot like his Daddy.

   

Both our families were in the waiting room, so Colin went back and got groups of two to come to the room to meet their nephew/cousin/grandson. Since Kolbe was so fragile I wanted to hold him the entire time. As people came in they were able to meet Kolbe and take photographs together. It meant a lot to Colin and I to have our families there to meet our son as this would be the only opportunity they would have. This was by far one of the hardest days we have ever experienced, but we had great support in the waiting room the entire time.

   

Everyone met Kolbe and it was just the three of us again. Another nurse on the floor then came in to do memory-making activities in our room- footprints, handprints, molds, etc. After she left, a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep came in to do professional photos of the three of us. I will forever be grateful for these photographs.

 

KolbeBasket

   

Everything that we had put on our birth plan was complete and a man from the funeral home was on his way to pick up our son. Colin and I sat there together switching off who was holding our son. We told him how much we loved him and how sad we were that he wasn’t physically going to be here with us. I remember the last time I kissed him on the forehead before he was gone. They took our son in his basket and covered him with a blanket through the halls and to the car.

   

I sat there in the hospital bed feeling completely empty, like a part of me was missing and I would never get it back. My belly, that once held our son, was empty. Colin and I were both exhausted. I felt so much pain- physically, emotionally and spiritually. I remember sitting and waiting for Colin to fall asleep. I had hardly cried that entire day as I wanted it to be a happy day meeting our son.

 

After he fell asleep I rolled onto my side and cried.

   

Please come back in a few days for Kolbe's Legacy: Part Five

   

I was at work and my cell phone rang. It was the OB/GYN calling. It seemed too early to know the results. I picked up the phone and walked into a private room. She told me that she got the results in. I couldn’t breathe; I prayed it wasn’t life threatening. She said it is confirmed that our son has Triploidy. I thought to myself, “This isn’t one of the ones that she listed as life threatening.” I gave a sigh of relief and said, “Well that is great news.” She said, “No, Kim, this is a life threatening condition and has a 0% survival rate. Your son will either die in utero or shortly after birth.” I began to cry and thanked her for her call. I immediately hung up the phone and called Colin. We both sobbed. This was not the news any parent expects and we were devastated. The rest of the day my eyes were filled with tears as I laid my hand on my 26-week pregnant belly and told Kolbe how much I loved him.

 

TripwithKolbe

A week after we found out Kolbe's diagnosis

 

No one will ever know the difficulty and suffering that comes with carrying your baby and knowing that they will die. All the things I dreamed of doing with him weren’t going to be experienced in the way I imagined it. No one, except our families, knew about his diagnosis. I wanted Kolbe to experience a full and happy life regardless of any diagnosis he had. I didn’t want our pregnancy to be treated any different and that was a gift I could give him.

 

I continued having my regular OB/GYN appointments with both sets of doctors. I had started seeing a rotation of the doctors who were focusing on my prenatal care in case the doctor who was specializing in my case was not able to be at the hospital when I gave birth to Kolbe. I will never forget one of the doctors whom I met. It was right after Kolbe’s diagnosis. I had seen my high risk OB/GYN right before and she gave me a packet to give to this doctor.

 

I walked in and gave it to the nurse and asked that she have the doctor read it prior to my appointment. Colin and I sat in the exam room and he came in. He looked at my chart and I could tell he had not read the packet as he started to ask me questions. He said that our son’s measurements were a concern and that it didn’t seem like he was growing. We both said we were aware and that was due to the fact that he was diagnosed with Triploidy. He continued to tell us he wasn’t sure of that, as he had never seen a baby make it this far with that diagnosis. I said, "Well, I had amniocentesis." He said, “Oh, bummer.” Needless to say, that appointment was over.

 

No Heartbeat

 

The doctors said I would probably not feel our baby’s movement throughout my entire pregnancy. Well, Kolbe proved them wrong. I could feel him move almost every day. I would feel his flutters and I cherished these moments together as I knew it was only temporary. I remember one night, Colin and I were sitting in bed and I was uncomfortable, and I didn’t really want to be touched. Colin jokingly placed his hand on my stomach and within moments Kolbe kicked him so hard. We both sat there laughing together. I will forever cherish that moment as it was one of the only times Colin felt our son move.

 

The doctors told us the farther we progressed in our pregnancy, the more likely Kolbe would be born alive. We didn't want to take any chances, so on July 7th, we had a priest come to our home and we did a belly baptism. It was really important to us that Kolbe experience this sacrament.

 

I had been babysitting the weekend before my 33-week appointment. I was a little hesitant when we went to my doctor’s appointment, as I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt Kolbe flutter. I lay back as she placed the ultrasound wand on my stomach. Silence. She never had issues finding his heartbeat before. Tears were building up in my eyes and Colin looked uneasy in the chair across from me. Was this his time? Had he passed?

 

The OB/GYN took us to the ultrasound room to see if she could find a heartbeat. Looking at the ultrasound there was no flutter of the heart or movement. He sat there, still. The OB/GYN and tech left the room to give Colin and I a moment together to process. Our son had passed away and when I would give birth to him we would hear no cry and there would once again be silence.

 

The OB came back in and asked when we would like to be admitted to the hospital to deliver. We decided we wanted to be admitted that night. We left our appointment in tears and went home. Colin and I lay on the bed facing one another with both hands on my stomach, crying. He was gone. We grabbed everything we could think of to pack for the hospital as this would be the only time we would have with Kolbe.

 

Our goal was to make a lifetime of memories in the few hours we would have with him.

 

Please check back for Kolbe's Legacy: Part Four, coming soon.

 

A High-risk Diagnosis

 

We finally had our high risk OB/GYN appointment. When given such shocking news at our 20-week appointment, it felt like forever between then and now. Our names were called. First, we went to the ultrasound room to get higher quality images so they could take a closer look at what was going on. After, they continued with the normal prenatal checkup.

 

The doctor then came into the room with a nurse that assisted him as he looked through our ultrasound photos. He had a concerning look on his face. He began to tell us there were multiple abnormalities that came across on our ultrasound. He said our baby had a defect on the heart, he possibility had sandal toe, and asymmetrical growth. He said he also had small ears, then paused and looked at our ears and said, “Actually, that’s probably not an issue.”

 

We asked what all of this information meant or if it pointed to a specific diagnosis. He said he wasn’t sure as it could be a number of things- Downs Syndrome, a heart defect, or possibly Dwarfism. I began to literally laugh out loud at this point. The past couple days had been a blur and now our son, who seemed healthy up to this point, could have a life altering diagnosis. How would we care for him? Would he be able to go to school? Would he have a happy and joy filled life or would it be a life full of suffering? I didn’t have the answers.

 

As my thoughts continued to race, the doctor asked to do blood work as it could possibly confirm our son’s diagnosis. We agreed. From there, the doctor began to talk about our options. He said our first option “given the circumstances of our pregnancy” was to terminate our pregnancy, as the “fetus” may not be viable. Our immediate response was “no”. We made it clear that, regardless of the diagnosis, we would be continuing our pregnancy. His next option was amniocentesis to give us a definitive diagnosis for our son. After learning the risks of that we decided at this point in our pregnancy we would not want to go through with that test. We would wait for our blood work to come back.

 

Leaving that doctor’s appointment, I remember thinking how I never thought I would be asked if I wanted to terminate my pregnancy. Do I love my son any less because he is sick? No, I love him more. I am his Mom and I need to be strong, regardless of his diagnosis. I scheduled my next appointment for a couple weeks out and asked to switch to the other high risk OB/GYN because I wanted a second opinion.

 

At my next appointment, we met with the other OB/GYN. I felt as if the previous doctor wasn’t straightforward nor did he have any answers to our questions or concerns. I felt as if he was painting this picture of happy endings, but I wanted reality. I wanted the truth no matter how devastating or scary it could be. Our son was sick and he needed the best care possible. It was the same routine at this appointment- ultrasound, prenatal checkup, and then follow-up with the OB/GYN.

 

She came in and once again there was a look of concern. I knew she didn’t have good news. She had the results of our blood work and it had come back inconclusive. This meant that not enough of our baby’s DNA had crossed through mine, which was concerning because this should happen much earlier in a pregnancy and I was already past 20-weeks. She moved on to say that the multiple abnormalities pointed to a more serious diagnosis. Typically, with Downs Syndrome or Dwarfism, there is only one abnormality in the ultrasound. With the multiple abnormalities there was a possibility that my pregnancy was “lethal.”

 

Lethal? What did that mean? She was making it sound like my baby was a ticking bomb and could go off at any minute.

 

She then gave us the same two options as the doctor we had previously seen. We once again said "no" to both. We would be continuing our pregnancy regardless of the diagnosis. She gave us information on a program in Des Moines called S.H.I.N.E. They work with families whose unborn babies are given complex diagnoses. They provide an additional layer of support during the pregnancy, birth and beyond. She asked if I was continuing to see my regular OB/GYN near my home. I told her that I wanted to switch to an OB/GYN down in Des Moines as I wanted to be able to go to the appointments on the same day and have the doctors be within the same health system so that everyone was on the same page. She gave me a suggestion for an OB/GYN she thought we would like as I didn’t know any in the area. She said that I would need to see them for my prenatal care and that they would be delivering our baby as well.

 

She again brought up the amniocentesis test. She said this is a very important test that could possibly save our baby’s life. She said there are various places she would send us for the birth, depending on the diagnosis. Based off the tests, she wasn’t sure where she would have us go. Colin and I both thought it would make sense to go through with this test. We didn’t want to do it for any other reason besides the possibility of saving our son’s life. It was a really hard decision to make because a risk of this test is the possibility of miscarriage. When we left that appointment we scheduled a follow up to do the test.

 

Amniocentesis/Diagnosis

 

Colin had been to all of my doctor’s appointments through my entire pregnancy with Kolbe. After leaving the previous appointment they made the amnio test sound like it would be a quick in-and-out appointment and wouldn’t take much time at all. I told him I could go to this appointment by myself since it probably wouldn’t take long anyway.

 

I arrived and was escorted to an exam room. They had me get ready to go into a private room where they would conduct the test. I sat in the room nervous and wasn’t sure what to expect. I told myself after my 20-week appointment that I wasn’t going to be Googling anything because it would freak me out, so I really did not know what to expect with the amnio test.

 

The doctor came into the exam room and asked where Colin was. She asked if he would be coming to the appointment at all as this may be a scary test to go through alone. I thought to myself, “Well that would have been great to know given everyone here made it seem like it was not a big deal!”

 

I laid back in the table of the ultrasound room. They lifted my top up over my belly. My heart was racing. I saw the needle they would be using. The tech began the ultrasound and Kolbe popped up on the screen. My eyes were filling up with tears, but I knew I had to be strong. The doctor said, “It’s okay, honey.” She inserted the needle in my belly, then into my amniotic sac so she could remove some of the fluid. The tech was there as a guide to determine a safe location for the needle to enter. They filled the needle with a sample of amniotic fluid they would be sending to a lab for analysis. They would call us when they had the results.

 

After the test, the doctor told me to take it easy the rest of the day and not to do anything too strenuous. If I had any spotting or discomfort she wanted me to give them a call.

 

I left that appointment feeling numb.

 

This was not what I was expecting for any of my pregnancies, especially my first. I told myself that everything was going to be fine. I prayed for peace of mind, heart, and soul. I prayed to God for strength.

 

At this point, all we could do was wait.

 

Please check back for Kolbe's Legacy: Part Three, coming soon.

 
As many of you know, October is Respect Life Month. It is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Many mothers and fathers-some who we know personally- have suffered incredible heartbreak from saying goodbye to their precious babies before birth and in infancy. Please join me in lifting them in prayer.
 
In today’s post, we introduce you to a courageous mother who will be sharing her inspiring journey of motherhood with her first son, Kolbe Scott Hurd. He is a brave little boy who left our world too soon. While he is in Heaven with our beautiful Savior, Kim, her husband Colin, and her family strive every day to keep Kolbe’s legacy very much alive. This post is the first installment of an entire series for this month. Please join us as Kim shares her powerful story. -Joan


The Beginning

 

I want to be completely raw and vulnerable with you because my story is a story of suffering and beauty. I was recently told that we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ. For some reason, that inspired me to share my story and to share my journey of grief and motherhood with you.

 

To truly understand our journey, we must start from the beginning.

 

My husband Colin and I met on a March for Life trip to Washington D.C. when I was fourteen and Colin seventeen. From there, it took a while for Colin to initiate dating, but we started dating and dated for a short period of time. I broke up with Colin and we kept that “love/hate” relationship for about a year.

 

Both of our families were involved in a movement within the Catholic faith, so we still had that connection. I remember seeing him his senior year of high school, when he got up in front of a group of families to share that he was doing a mission year with Regnum Christi. At that point, I was like, “Ah, what was I thinking? He was such a great, Catholic guy!” So, right before he left for his mission I sent him a text to tell him that I still had feelings for him and of course he played hard to get. Before he left, we met. He told me that if I waited the year that he was gone and didn’t date anyone then, then at that point we could talk about dating. But there were still no guarantees because he was discerning priesthood or it may just not work out.

 

Obviously, things did work out and God’s will was for us to marry. We married three years ago, on July 27, 2013. We were married at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Des Moines-, which was the same place Colin announced years prior that he would be doing his mission year with Regnum Christi.

 

Hurds

Kim and Colin on their wedding day

 

In 2014, Colin and I had been trying to conceive for a couple months and in January 2015 found ourselves pregnant. I couldn’t believe it! I was so excited. Right away, I felt the connection with our baby. I knew at that moment, we were no longer two, but a family of three. Our love had expanded into this new form of life and we were responsible for loving, nurturing, and caring for our baby.

 

We kept our news to ourselves until about 9 weeks along in our pregnancy. To share the news, we got personalized wine labels that said, “Drink for me, baby Hurd arriving October 2015!” We gave our parents the bottles and both were thrilled. Right away, they were purchasing gender-neutral items and periodically stopping by to see how I was doing.

 

Overall, my first trimester was pretty “uneventful.” I was extremely exhausted from the beginning and felt really nauseous, but it was manageable. Not feeling so great was just a part of motherhood and I wanted to embrace it entirely.

 

At our first doctor’s appointment we were supposed to hear the heartbeat. I sat on the table and laid back. The doctor came in, put gel on my stomach and began the search for our little one. All we could hear was a sound that seemed like movement: swoosh, swoosh. The doctor turned to us and said the baby was moving. She told us that to elevate some of the stress of being first time parents she wanted to do an ultrasound. She said the baby is very active and that was a great sign. We went into the ultrasound room and there our baby was with such a strong heartbeat. It was all starting to feel real as we saw our baby on the screen.

 

As each day passed, I became more calm and the nerves began to subside. Society tells you that once you hear the heartbeat and/or make it past 12 weeks you are guaranteed a successful pregnancy. No one talks about the possibility of an in-utero diagnosis or infant loss.

 

Around 18 weeks, I started to experience pain and discomfort in my side. The doctor had me come in and we did an ultrasound of my kidneys to rule out a kidney stone. The tech looked around and did not see anything unusual. As she finished the ultrasound she asked if we would like to see our baby. Of course we did! So, she moved the wand down and there our baby was again with a healthy heartbeat and forming beautifully. She asked if we wanted to know the sex as she could tell. We had been going back on forth on whether we wanted to know or not. We decided we were going to find out, well, my patience decided in that moment that we would, anyways! She said, “It’s a boy!” Looking at Colin in that moment was unforgettable. He looked so full of joy. The tech told us that the doctor still wanted us to come in at our 20-week appointment and that we would be amazed at how much our baby would grow between now and then.

 

KolbeUltra

Kolbe Scott Hurd

 

Naming Our Son

 

We went back and forth throughout the first 18 weeks of my pregnancy. Finally, we decided upon a name that we thought was strong- Kolbe Scott Hurd. His first name was a result of two things. First, it came from St. Maximilian Kolbe. He was a strong saint and had a beautiful story in his devotion to God’s will. Second, that was literally the only name we both liked and could agree upon. His middle name came from Colin’s Dad’s name. His Dad passed away from Melanoma a year before we found out we were pregnant with Kolbe.  We wanted to incorporate his name in our son’s.

 

St Maximilian iPhone wp

St. Maxmilian Kolbe, design by Cassie Pease Designs

 

20 Weeks

 

Our 20-week appointment was first-thing in the morning. We sat in the waiting room together waiting to be called back. They called us back and started the ultrasound. As I looked at our son on the screen I was a little concerned. I was recalling the tech’s comment about the growth we should see.  The tech kept pausing and got up. She did that a couple times during our appointment. The last time she left the room, I turned to Colin and said, “I think something is wrong.”

 

The tech returned and escorted us to one of the exam rooms. My eyes were filling up with tears. I knew something wasn’t right. The doctor walked in and told us that the baby wasn’t hitting the measurements they would anticipate at this point. In addition, she had some concerns with his heart. Her hands were full of pamphlets. She said for the remainder of my pregnancy I would need to be seen, in addition to these appointments, by a high risk OB/GYN. She gave me tissues and escorted us out without scheduling my 24- week appointment. I left thinking, “Did they not schedule my follow-up appointment because they think our son will die between now and then?”

 

There was no way we would be returning to work that day, so we left in our separate cars to meet at home. I was crying. I called my sister, Katie. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what was wrong. I felt helpless. She answered. I sobbed. I couldn’t even speak. When we got home we sat on the couch and embraced one another. We sobbed. I will never forget that moment- the uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. The three of us just sat there.

 

Please check back for Kolbe's Legacy: Part Two, coming soon.