The Bed: Afton’s Story, Part Three

This post is part of a ten-post series I’m sharing about the life and loss of our son, Afton. Click here to read more of Afton’s story.

Afton's Story

I had gone in for a routine exam when we realized that something might be wrong. It was after hours, so the doctor sent me to the nearest hospital to have a specialist take a look, “just to make sure.”

The hospital we were sent to was the hospital that we were also planning to deliver at. Well, hey! we thought. This is convenient! We had already done a tour like the super eager-beaver parents that we are, and we joked more than once on our way into the hospital about how it was actually kind of awesome to have a practice run before coming in for the real thing.

We waited for the doctor in the triage room, eating graham crackers and drinking apple juice and watching the Hallmark Christmas movie that the nurse had put on the TV. The doctor came in, started the exam, and said: nope, there’s no dilation… oh my goodness, yes there is. She’s dilated and her water is about to break through. Lay the bed flat, lay the bed flat.

The nurse rushed to lay the bed flat – inverse, actually, with my head reclined lower than my feet. And there could be no more painfully perfect metaphor for our lives in that moment – the tipping of the bed signaling the tipping of our world. Completely and utterly flipped, crashing, inverse, upside down, all wrong.

The doctor took my hand. “Lindsay, if you deliver tonight…”

Tonight? I stopped breathing. I stopped listening. How is this happening? Wouldn’t I KNOW if I was going to deliver a baby? I’m only 23 weeks. “Bedrest… risks… survival…” No, no, no. This isn’t my life.

When they left us alone for a minute, Bjork and I cried and tried to find words, something to make this okay or to reassure us that our baby would come out of this just fine. And there was really nothing, except:

This is our story now.

We said these words to each other over and over throughout the next 6 days, telling ourselves at every turn: this is our story.

Brené Brown says: If we own the story, then we can write the ending.

Even now, in these fresh and tender days after Afton is gone, I’m reminding myself – this is your story now. It really hurts. It’s not the story you wanted. But it’s not done, and you can still write the ending. 💙

Afton's Story
I’m sharing more about life with and after Afton on my personal Instagram account. I’d love to have you follow along here.

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43 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Rachel

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s such a real experience for so many women and their beloved babies. My prayers go out to you all.

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    Amy

    I don’t know if I’ve every followed a series of blog posts so closely. Your bravery to share such intimate and painful details is astonishing. Thank you for sharing your story and your pain. Thinking of you, your husband, and your baby as your story continues.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Thank YOU for walking along the road with us. One of my greatest desires is for Afton to be known, even in his short little life, which makes writing about him (and having people read it) feel healing. Thank you Amy.

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Thank you for raising awareness to this condition. Even though they say it’s quite rare, (1 in a hundred) I’ve had 2 very close friends go through it. This caused me to do tons of reading on the topic and try to understand how they were feeling. And honestly, finding the right words of comfort was one of the most difficult moments in my life. Through your words, I’m getting a glimpse of how they felt. Neither wanted to talk about it all that much, they just wanted to be. To exist. To know that I cared and loved them and would do anything for them. But talking about it, no. And you’re helping me understand why they felt as they did.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    anna

    i don’t have any words right now, just know that my thoughts are with you and your family. thank you for sharing.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Amanda

    I have been reading all of your posts about sweet Afton, crying at my work computer. This very same thing just happened to my best friend yesterday afternoon, at 23 weeks, and I am visiting her in a couple of hours in the hospital. Thank you for bravely sharing your story. I cannot even imagine what you have gone through, but I hope that you can find comfort & rest in your faith. Praying for your sweet family.

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      NO, no, no. I have chills, not the good kind. Such deep, deep heartbreak. I’m so sorry. Thank you for visiting her in the hospital Amanda. My friends came the night before I went home from the hospital and it was one of the most healing times for me to be able to talk, cry, and look at pictures of our sweet boy. You are doing so much for your friend just by being a listening ear.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Becky

    Oh Lindsay … I have been following your blog for about 5 years, and I feel like I know you (you’re lovingly referred to as “the chicken tamale pie girl” in our house!). Know that you have people praying for you, believing with you, hoping with you, rooting for you, crying with you, mourning with you, and sending you love every step of this journey. Our God is a God of hope! His Hope is an anchor to our souls.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    deborah

    May the God of all mercy comfort you and your family. Sending much love and many prayers!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’m following your story because of the way you are able to connect your emotions with the written word. You have a gift.

    I’m following your story because I am a mother, a nurse, and a writer.

    I’m following your story because I too am human, and I too have lost loved ones. It’s painful.

    I just finished reading a book that you may or may not be ready to read yet – but I’m putting out out there. It’s called “When Breath Becomes Air”.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I read it this summer. So powerful. Thank you for the comment Mary Ann, and thank you for the work you do as a nurse. We had so many amazing nurses who made such an impact on us.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Catriona

    I’m still thinking of you, every day. That you can share this with others is an incredibly touching thing. I really hope that you and Bjork find peace and serenity in the aftermath.

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Carrie

    Thank you for sharing something so deeply personal and emotional with all of us…my heart aches for you and your husband. Thinking of you and sending you both hugs and strength. xoxo Sweet Afton.

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Susan

    I must have accidentally clicked on the option to only receive emails about food. I want to read all of your posts. Can this be fixed on your end? During this difficult time for you I am sorry to add something like this to your day. You are so strong to be able to write about this sad loss in your lives. My prayers go out to you and your family.

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    pooja

    Love love to both of you. Thinking of you and my heart breaks for you. May you find the strength to continue to move forward and write your story in a way that helps all three of you heal.

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    maryanne

    My heart breaks with each posting of this story. Your beautiful way you share it with us, your readers, must be very therapeutic for you. I look forward to each posting. I feel like I know you. God bless.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jill

    Thank you so much for sharing your powerful, heartbreaking story. Thank you for diving deep into your grief and being so willing to share that with friends and strangers alike! There is so much love in your words and make even the hearts of strangers ache to the core. Deep grief is only present where there has been deep love. Continued prayers.

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Oh Lindsay, my heart is breaking and I am sobbing right now reading your story.
    My daughter, Ivy, lost a baby boy @ 19 weeks. His name was Hudson. I held him in my arms. He was so beautiful. Such a heartbreaking time.
    This was the summer of 2011. Just over a year later, she gave birth to a beautiful and perfect son, Adler (AJ).
    It was a difficult pregnancy. She has a damaged cervix that was sewn together pursestring style and spent 6 months mostly in bed. It was totally worth it of course. He is an amazing 4 year old character.
    Now @ 39 she is 8 weeks pregnant. Surprise!!
    She and her husband are ecstatic but scared.
    My heart and prayers are with you and Bjork.
    Much love, Deborah

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I’m so sorry for the loss of sweet Hudson. 💙 What a cute name. And rainbow baby Adler – also so cute. Thank you so much for sharing your story Deborah, it helps to know that we’re not alone.

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Anne

    You both were very brave to let us share a moment during such a gut wrenching time of your life!

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Susann

    Blessed Afton is making his truly loved short life known through your words and pictures. I see the strength he is given you and your husband. Who’d have thought his gift to the world would be strength.
    Blessings

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Susan

    My heart is broken for you, and I find your bravery and your ability to share overwhelming and beautiful! You are my hero. Sending love and prayers.

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Debbie

    I am so honored that you are sharing your story with us. Remember this and tears will be helpful to you both to heal. I also am glad to see the beautiful pictures you have of you and Afton. Such treaures. 💙