Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Empty Arms-Hudson's Story.

I have to start off by telling a little about our family. My husband J.R. and I have been married for six and a half years. We have three beautiful children. Emmaleigh is 6, Addyson is 4, and Landyn is 2. We thought our family was complete until we found out this spring that we were expecting baby number four. At first we were anxious about how we would be able to provide for our growing family but we put our trust in God, after all this was his plan. With some prayer and planning we began to get excited about our new arrival. In July we went in for our mid-pregnancy ultrasound and found out we were expecting another boy. Two girls and two boys, the perfect family. We began to collect baby clothes, and other necessities that we had gotten rid of once Landyn had grown out of them since we werent planning on having another one. We had a hard time choosing a name but we finally decided his name would be Hudson Levi Snell. Each doctor's appointment brought more excitement because it meant we were getting closer. By the end of October I was going to the doctor weekly and having weekly ultrasounds since I was an insulin dependent gestational diabetic (wow thats a mouthful to say) The baby's room was ready, (He would actually be sharing a room with is older brother.) and we had everything we needed to get us started. Now it was just waiting for the baby to come.
Sometime on the evening of November 16, 2010 I began to have contractions ten minutes apart. I finished some things I needed to do around the house and finished packing bags then took a shower. By 12 am my contractions were starting to get closer and by 1245 I knew this was it. I called the doctor who told me to go ahead and come in and then I called my husband home from work. We threw everything in the car and took the kids to the babysitter. I then began making the necesary phone calls to family and posted a status update on Facebook saying we were on our way to have the baby. They hooked me up to the monitors at the hospital and checked my cervix. Once they determined I was dialated to 5 and in active labor they transferred me to a delivery room. Finally after 36 weeks it was time. We were going to meet our new son.....
Thats the way it should have happened. Once I got to the delivery room, the nurses were no longer able to dectect the baby's heart rate. They gave me oxygen and I started to panic. When the doctor arrived he tried finding the heart rate with an internal monitor and still nothing. They immediately did an ultrasound and I could tell from the look on their faces that it wasn't good. My poor husband was watching everything and still hadn't realized what was happening. When the doctor told us that there was no heartbeat our world shattered. They determined that he had been gone twelve to twenty four hours prior and the heart rate they had at first was actually that of my own heart.
The variety and intensity of emotions that hit me at that moment were overwhelming. I didn't know what to feel, but I did know that I didn't want to go through labor anymore, I just wanted it to be over with. You forget the pain once you see your beautiful baby and get to love on him or her but I wasn't going to get that chance. That just made the pain that much worse. I even asked for an epidural, which if you ask my family, was something I was strongly against because of my fear of needles. I was not able to get the epidural but did get some pain medication. At 5:05 am on November 17, 2010 Hudson Levi Snell was born with his angel wings on. My first thought was that I didnt want to see him, I just couldnt bear to hold him and truth be told, it took a while before I could even look at him.
The next few hours are a blur to me. People talking about funeral arrangements, and pictures, and autopsies, it was so surreal. I didn't want any part of what was taking place. I wanted to wake up from this horrible nightmare. By 9 am our story was all over facebook and we were bombarded with phone calls, text messages, and even friend requests. Our Nurse on that first day barely left the room and we are truly thankful for her compassion. Our doctor, genuinely concerned, checked in on us frequently throughout the day. It is funny how God uses the people in our lives even in the most devastating circumstances. I finally decided that I needed to hold my baby boy. I picked him up and grabbed the outfit we had planned for him to wear home. I dressed him, hat and all, and just held him. I didn't want to let him go.
The rest of the day drug on and I tried to rest since I had been up since early the day before. Later that evening my sister brought our two daughters up to see him. Emmaleigh, our oldest,who gets her fear of hospitals from her mother, wanted nothing to do with the situation. Addyson, our four year old, sat on the couch in the hospital room holding her baby brother. She hugged and kissed on him as if there was nothing wrong. My heart just ached for them because they didn't fully understand.
After the girls left we were visited by other family and friends. Eventually it was just JR and I left alone with baby Hudson. I was finally able to get some sleep after everyone insisted I take something to help. I didn't want to sleep, I just wanted to love my baby boy and love him for as long as I could. When morning came I was just hoping that I had a bad dream and I would wake to Hudson's cry. Instead I awoke to my own tears. Decisions had to be made and no parent should ever have to make them.
We did not want to go through the pain of having an autopsy done....decision 1 made. We knew what funeral home we were going to use.....decision 2 made. We knew where he would be buried......decision 3. We kept checking things off our list and as it got closer to time to let him go I became more and more anxious because I knew that once they took him from me I would not see him again. We made arrangements to meet with the funeral director at 4 pm and he would take Hudson when he left. It didnt take very long to make the final arrangements and we said goodbye to our little boy.
About an hour later the doctor came in and said if we felt like it we could go home that night. I didn't really want to go home because that would mean that it was real, but I knew that staying wouldn't bring my baby back and I had three beautiful children at home that needed their mommy and daddy. So, at 6pm on November 18th, JR and I left the hospital to head home with Empty Arms.
I will add another post about the service and our Thanksgiving Holiday later.


  1. Jessica, Thank you for sharing your personal story. I'm so sorry for you loss. I am glad you have a supportive family close to you in this time. I'm also happy you started a blog.

  2. Hope this blog helps you. Its always helped me to write. We are a lot alike in that respect. I'm glad you started it. Love you

  3. Jessica,
    My heart breaks for you. We lost our son a little over 13 months ago... I have found that writing about my pain does help relieve it for the time being. I hope it does the same for you.
    We will hold our beautiful sons again one day.
    Jessica M.