With October being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, some families who have experienced loss are willing to share their stories. Through sharing these stories, it is hoped that many men and women who are silently suffering through this form of loss will be able to see that they are not alone and will be able to find encouragement and a way to handle the grief they are experiencing.
In 2019, Taylor Skinner and her husband were excited to find out that they would become parents. Their dreams were coming true, and they already adored their precious baby, Z.
“I’d spent the majority of my life ready and excited to be a mom. It was something I’ve always felt the Lord calling me to do. I was so excited,” recalled Taylor. “I was expecting a little boy. I wasn’t sure what to think about being a boy mom at first. After we found out it was a boy, I had gone to TJ Maxx, and when I held a little boy onesie, a peace came over me. I was so excited to be a boy mom.”
His name was easy for them to choose. Taylor had known what she wanted to name her little boy since she was a teenager. Her husband gave their little boy his nickname while adoringly referring to him one day.
“His name was Ezekiel, but we called him Z. We didn’t really put the name out there at first. We were going to wait until he was born and do an announcement of it,” stated Taylor. “My dad had said the name years ago when he was preaching, and I knew immediately that if I had a little boy that I wanted to name him Ezekiel and call him Zeke. Somewhere along the way of my pregnancy, my husband called him Baby Z one day, and it stuck. He became our Z.”
With each passing month, Z grew stronger. They were proud of their healthy baby boy and were preparing everything they could for his arrival. They were anxiously awaiting the arrival of little Z while continuing weekly checkups. In fact, the day of her 36 week checkup started out like any other day would for them.
“I went in for a routine check. I was 36 weeks pregnant, and my doctor was out of town when I went in for my checkup. The week prior, I had been placed on bedrest because I had a little swelling, and my blood pressure was elevated a little bit. My doctor told me he would be out of town but that I would go to labor and delivery for them to do my normal check,” remembered Taylor. “The morning of the checkup, I had been at the hospital doing my three hour glucose test again. I’d had the normal glucose test, and my numbers came out great. He wanted to do the three hour test again to make sure because I have a history of diabetes in my family on both sides. He wanted to make sure I would be great going into labor. My husband was actually off that day and came with me. Right before the last one hour check, I started having a little pain and was wondering if I was having a contraction. I told my husband that I thought I needed to time it, and it never let up. I finished my last hour for the blood test.”
They arrived in labor and delivery after that for the routine check. Like most parents, they anticipated hearing the sweet sound of Z’s heartbeat. They never anticipated that this visit would change everything for them.
“After that, we went directly to labor and delivery. They were hooking us up to all the machines and told us they were going to bring another nurse in. Then, ultrasound techs started coming in,” continued Taylor. “At that point, I just knew in the back of my mind that something wasn’t right. It was almost like I was bracing for the impact of it all. The ultrasound tech pointed to the screen and said, ‘Right there,’ and within seconds the nurse grabbed my hand and started to rub my arm. She told us that they could not find his heartbeat. I just looked at her, and it was like everything just froze. The nurse was asking if I understood what they were saying, and I understood it but couldn’t move. I looked at my husband, and he looked frozen, too.”
The news was hard to take, and Taylor and her husband realized just how quickly their whole world had been turned upside down.
“We were up around five that morning, and the last time I had felt him move was around midnight, so everything changed within a timespan of five hours,” said Taylor.
Once the news was given, Taylor had to endure hours of being in labor while knowing that the outcome wouldn’t be what she intended. She had to suffer through complications and then figure out what to do next once they made it home.
“We went through labor, and there were a few complications with it. I actually ended up in ICU for about a day and a half from it. My