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Caleb Michael Shockey


It was July 21st of 1998 when I found out I was pregnant, it was the best day of my life, I was so happy because I really wanted a baby even though I wasnít really trying. I think I had known it for some time but I wasnít really sure, my periods had never really been normal. I was so excited and happy, all I could do was cry. I took a home pregnancy test and I didnít believe it at first, so I called a girlfriend of mine and she told me that pregnancy tests were pretty accurate. I immediately got of the phone, grabbedthe positive pregnancy stick and drove to where my fiance was working. We were both so happy, WE WERE HAVING A BABY!!!! I went to see my doctor the next day and he confirmed my pregnancy, I was 6wks pregnant and was healthy..everything was great.

September came and it was time for my first ultrasound, I was so excited to finally get to see my little bitty baby. Of course we didnít see a whole lot because he was still so tiny, but what I did see made my heart melt, and I got to hear his heartbeat. The following week I had to go see my doctor so he could tell me how the ultrasound came out. (they were checking the babies measurements) He told me that they saw a dent in the top of my babies head, but he told me not to worry, it might just be a shadow or maybe even the soft spot. I was scared, but I didnít let it bother me, I was determined to have a healthy baby and didnít want to get myself all upset over nothing. I kept thinking though, was it really just nothing? My doctor said that when the baby got a little bigger, weíd do another ultrasound. I thought ok and started down the merry path of pregnancy.

Well October came and I was 16wks pregnant, it was time for the AlphaFetaProtein (AFP) test, no problem, after all it was just another blood test. I waited I think 2 or more weeks to get the results back. My doctor called me into his office to give me my results. The results were abnormally high, which could mean a couple different things, either the babies due date was off a bit, multiple pregnancy or spina bifida.Well, I wasnít having twins, we already knew that. My doctorset up an appointment at Savannah Perinatology for me and my fiance Jason to have genetic counseling and some high tech ultrasound. I was so scared, I couldnít believe this was happening to us, I knew in my heart then something was wrong and all I could do was pray.

It was October 28th when we went to our appointment in Savannah, the day started pretty good, even though I was scared and was pretty sure the news they had to give us wasnít good. We got there and spoke with the genetics counselor. Before she finished I was crying, she said that our baby may have a birth defect, neither myself or Jason have any history of birth defects or mental retardation in our families so I didnít understand how this could happen.

We finally went in and had our ultrasound and thatís where the doctors confirmed that our baby had anencephaly. A defect that occurs in the first month of pregnancy, and there's nothing known that causes it, they just know that Folic Acid reduces the chance of all birth defects. Anencephaly is a neural tube defect, where the spine doesnít close at the base of the neck. This news of course was very hard for us to accept. I just wanted to leave then and be alone with my baby. The counselor asked us if we wanted to terminate, I immediately said no, that was not an option, I wanted to keep my baby safe within me until it was time for him to go. It may have been selfish but I loved him dearly.

Jason and I went home and cried in each others arms. It was hopeless, there was nothing I could do to save our baby, I felt so small, like the world was closing in around me. We told our families and they were just as heartbroken as we were but supported our decision to carry our baby to term or at least try. We found out on that horrible day in Savannah that our baby was a boy, at least there was some good news, we decided
to call him Caleb Michael, it means brave and it fit him perfectly.

I had a normal pregnancy, no problems at all. The first couple of months after we found out Caleb had anencephaly, were kind of spent in mourning, I wanted my baby so bad and didnít know if I could live without him. It soon got to the point where I couldnít cry anymore, and started making the best of my pregnancy. I would play with my baby while he was inside me, I would talk to him and when I didnít think it would scare him, I would sing, hehehe. He seemed to respond to our touches and our voices, which really surprised me.

My love for this little life Jason and I created grew more and more with each passing day, I couldnít wait to see his little face but I also dreaded it because I knew he would not live long, if at all. My due date was April 3rd, I was both excited and scared. I had no clue what was going to happen, after all, this was our first baby. As the due date of our baby approached, we decided to pick out a little outfit for him, after all it would be the only thing we would ever be able to see him in.

My parents were due to come down on March 27th and stay until the baby was born, and help out for a few weeks after. We just kept patting my belly and told him to wait for grammy and grampa to get here. Itís amazing because on March 29th at about 3:00pm, I went into labor. I stayed home until 8:30 that evening and finally had to go to the hospital, I had been dilated to 3 cm for 2wks and was still only at 3. My water hadnít broken so my doctor had to break it for me at 12:00pm the following afternoon.

My labor was very long and tiring. Thanks to the pain medicine, I finally got some sleep. After the doctor was done the nurses put pitocin in my IV to speed the dilation process, and by 1:00pm I was trying to push my baby out. I pushed for an hour and couldnít push anymore, I was so tired I went right to sleep, and even though my sleeping time felt like hours, it was only minutes and I would wake again. My doctor decided our baby was not coming out unless he had some help, so he decided to try and use forceps. The very last thing I remember is the anesthesiologist coming at me with a bunch of needles. I asked, if they would make me sick and he said no. All is blank from there, I was out cold but still partially conscious, they tell me I was talking about kittyís. I remember none of this.

The forceps didnít work in removing our baby, his shoulders were to broad, so my doc had to go in with his hands and literally pull our baby out. Even then he couldnít grip him well because his head was flat on top, all he had to grip was the babies face. Finally at 2:05pm our Caleb was born, weighing 6lbs 110z and was 18 inches long, our baby had also passed away while still in the birth canal. The birth was very hard on him and the first thing that was exposed to the air was a piece of his brain, the air damaged the nerves, causing him to pass away.

I didnít awake until 45 minutes after he was born. When I woke, my mother was asking me if I wanted to hold my baby, I didnít realize he had even been born yet, due to the drugs. I had a hard time holding him at first, which really frustrated me, I was still so groggy. I couldnít believe how beautiful he was, he was so big, he had such big hands and chubby cheeks, I couldnít believe this precious baby came from me.

We got to hold our baby for 4hrs before calling the funeral home, we had a pastor from the Baptist church say a blessing, we took tons of pictures, it was great that we had this time with our son. They came and took our baby and I went to my room, it was so weird because I didnít even act all that sad, I donít think I had really comprehended what had happened. It hit me when it was time to leave the hospital, I wasnít taking Caleb home with me, I cried and cried, it wasnít right, I couldnít leave the hospital without taking my baby with me. I left the hospital empty, no baby, no bulging belly, what was I gonna do now?

We had Caleb's funeral that Thursday, I never cried so hard in my whole life. We had him cremated and his remains were put into a cherub urn that we now keep in our living room so he can be with us always. The days have gotten a little easier, but I still have bad days when I just want him here with me so bad. He is my angel in heaven watching down from above, I know he is safe and very loved, he even touched the nurses at the hospital. He has made such a difference in my life, he made me realize the importance of life, not just the life of babies but of all living things and creatures. He is truly an angel.

MARCH 30TH 1999 TO MARCH 30TH 1999

Written by Jessica
Caleb's Mommy

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