Thursday, September 4, 2008

Parker's Story

I’ve just assumed that everyone knows everything that happened with my son. I’ve been surprised lately to realize how many people don’t know much of anything. I guess it’s one of those situations where people are afraid to ask for details. So I’ve decided to share Parker’s story for any who want to hear it. If you have any questions, please ask. I always love to talk about my son.

I found out I was expecting in January of 2004. I was excited and shocked when I found out. We had been trying for over a year and I’d kind of given up on the possibility of me getting pregnant. Needless to say, it was a pleasant surprise. I was due September 13, 2004.

Everything was picture perfect with the pregnancy. Of course I was sick and threw up almost all the time, but other than that everything was as it should be. Everything always measured normal and the pregnancy was everything I could have wished for.

In April we had our ultrasound and we found out we were having a boy. I was seriously SO excited. I figured we were having a boy because that’s almost all the Rowley’s know how to make! We were excited and started shopping for baby stuff.

I had a couple baby showers in August and we got so much stuff. We felt like we won the jackpot! The last week in August we decided to set the baby room up. My mom had bought us the most beautiful crib and I had painted signs with Parker’s name on. We had a blast decorating the room. I washed all of the 0-3 month size clothes so that I would be prepared for when my son arrived.

I felt good my whole pregnancy so I decided to work up until September 1st and then that would be my last day until a couple months after I had the baby. September 1st was my last day of work and I was counting down to the day! I was coaching a local high school drill team at the time as well as working at Deseret Book. The morning of the 1st I drove to the high school to coach for a few hours and then I worked at Deseret Book until like 4:00pm.

My mom had decided to come to town with my Grandma and Aunt (who were coming to see plays at the Shakespeare Festival). My mom stayed at my house and she was there when I got home from work that day. Feeling exhausted, I sat on the couch and just visited with my mom while she worked in the kitchen. After a little while I said, “I haven’t really felt the baby move for a while.” I adjusted positions and thought I felt some movement. We were pretty busy the rest of the night so I didn’t really give it much thought.

The doctor’s office called me and asked if they could bump my appointment up to early the next morning (I had an appointment for later the next night). I switched my appointment. My mom was supposed to head back to Salt Lake the next day, but she called and asked if my Grandma and Aunt could wait until after my appointment to leave because my mom was excited and wanted to go to my appointment with me.

On Thursday, September 2nd I woke up and got ready for my appointment. Daniel wasn’t going to be able to go to this appointment with me so I was very happy that my mom was coming. Plus, I was hoping that the doctor would say, “Oh, you are in labor – let’s have a baby!”

We arrived at the doctor’s office and sat out in the waiting room for a bit. The nurse came and called me back. My mom and I both looked at each other because we weren’t sure if my mom should come back or not. I’m a pretty shy person when it comes to my body and so my mom thought it would be awkward for her to come. But I was like, “Duh, come on back!” That in itself is a great miracle that she came with me.

We walked back to the room and the nurse had me jump right up on the table. She got out the machine to check for a heart tone. She lifted my shirt and placed the machine to my belly…silence. She kept moving the machine around and continued to get the same result…silence. She told me that maybe the machine was bad so she would get another one. She told me to go use the restroom because sometimes that helps babies move around so they can pick up their heartbeat. I used the restroom, washed my hands, and then dropped down to my knees. I asked that Heavenly Father please let everything be alright. I prayed that the nurse would be able to find a heartbeat when I went back into the room. I prayed with all my might that my son would be ok. I felt an overwhelming warm feeling of peace overcome me. I felt peaceful and wasn’t really worried that anything serious could be wrong with my son. I naively walked back to the room.

Another nurse came in with a new machine and tried to pick up a heart tone for what felt like 10 minutes. I asked her what was going on and she reassured me that their machines were probably malfunctioning. She left the room to go get the doctor.

The doctor came rushing into the room and put the machine to my belly for not even two seconds. He took the machine off and asked, “When was the last time you felt the baby move?” I started to sweat and told him that I really couldn’t remember. He rushed me into the ultrasound room and quickly started up the machine. My mom followed. He scanned my belly back and forth, taking measurements and looking at different angles of the baby. After what felt like hours of him looking at the ultrasound screen, he turned to me and said, “I’m sorry, but he’s passed away.”

My mom started weeping, “Jenny, no! I’m so sorry!” Tears filled my eyes and my heart sunk into my stomach. My mom jumped up to the table and embraced me. I felt as if my body went limp. The doctor hugged me and said some very comforting things to me. After a few minutes, he sent my mom out to call Daniel to come down to the hospital. They called Daniel but didn’t tell him anything.

The doctor continued to reassure me that I would someday know the rich blessings of motherhood but that Heavenly Father had a different plan right now. I felt great comfort in his words.

Next was the worst part – when Daniel came. I had done an okay job of keeping myself composed. I was crying, but I think I was mostly in shock. But then Daniel walked in the room. It was just me and him. He opened the door and saw tears running down my face. He ran to me and just held me. I started sobbing. I couldn’t speak for a bit. Finally I said, “He died.” My husband lost it and started sobbing and we just held each other as we felt our hearts break. Our dreams felt shattered and our bodies were aching for this precious little soul we hadn’t yet met.

After a while the doctor came in and explained that they would induce me first thing the next morning. I was still trying to fathom what had just happened. By the time I was leaving the hospital my aunt and grandma had already arrived. I walked out the door and they ran to me and hugged me. I sobbed as they held me. They helped me outside to my car and we drove back to my house. I made it home onto my bed and just cried as hard as my body would allow.

My mom and husband started making phone calls to inform family and friends of our situation. I’m glad I didn’t have to call anyone because I wouldn’t have been able to talk. I definitely appreciate the courage and strength of my mom and husband for making the calls to our loved ones.

My bishopric came over and gave me a blessing. They were very loving and very supportive. My brother-in-law, Kevin, also came over later that night to give me a blessing. I felt the Spirit so strong while Kevin was giving me that blessing. He told me that Parker was a very choice spirit of Heavenly Father’s. And that Satan would have tried very hard to get him. He spoke many truths and the spirit whispered much comfort through that blessing. I felt as though the hands of a thousand angels were on my head while I was receiving the blessing.

That night as I knelt in prayer I received more comfort. I wanted more than anything to pray for a miracle, but my heart and mind knew that a miracle was not part of Heavenly Father’s plan. I prayed for strength and shook in fear when I thought of having to deliver a stillborn son. I didn’t think I had the strength. I didn’t think I could do it.

The next morning was a very somber morning. We woke up bright and early and headed for the hospital. My stomach was too upset to eat. We walked in and the nurses immediately knew who I was and what I was there for. There was a special sign they put on my door so everyone would know that I wasn’t going to be taking my baby home with me. There were so many sweet nurses who cried with me and held my hand. I couldn’t have asked for a better staff.

They started the induction at 5:00 or 6:00am. I had a relatively peaceful labor until my water broke. Throughout my pregnancy, I had been planning on trying to do it naturally without any drugs. I had comforting/peaceful music playing and I was trying my best to relax. After my water broke the Pitocin was causing the contractions to come very fast and very hard. Most of my labor was in my lower back because my son was facing the wrong direction. At about 10:00pm, I asked for the epidural. It took awhile for the anesthesiologist to get there but it was so much better once I got the medicine. It had taken me about 15 hours to go from 0 to a 4 centimeters and after I got the epidural I went from a 4 to a 9 in like 30 minutes. It definitely helped me relax and my only regret is that I didn’t get it sooner.

As soon as it was time to start pushing the nurse asked me if I wanted to see my son right away or if I wanted her to clean him off first. To be honest, I was a little worried how he would look since he had already passed away. I was scared so I told her to please clean him off first. I pushed for about 45 minutes. He was born at 12:53am on September 4, 2004.. When I felt my son come out my whole attitude changed. As soon as he came out, my body was filled with this overwhelmingly powerful love for him. It’s indescribable how much love I felt for him in that instant. I didn’t care what he looked like. I said, “I want him! I want to hold my baby.”

They passed him straight up into my arms. He was perfect. He was beautiful. He wasn’t scary, he was my son. Ten fingers, ten toes - dark, curly hair and chubby cheeks. He was beautiful. He was perfect. He was mine.

As I held him and kissed him I felt so much warmth and peace. It really is so sacred to me and words don’t do it justice. Let’s just say that it’s the closest I have ever felt to the veil or to heaven. It is an incredibly powerful feeling - one of peace, hope, love, and eternity.

They bathed him, dressed him, and brought him back to me. We were able to hold him and take pictures. It was the most special two hours of my life. We were able to have a lot of family there. He honestly looked so perfect. He looked like any other healthy baby. The only difference was that his spirit was no longer in his body. We named in Parker Daniel Rowley because that was the name we had chosen for him before he died. And it was his name.

We had a graveside service for Parker that was very touching and special. We buried him in Richfield because at the time we weren’t sure where we’d end up and we wanted him by family.

The weeks that followed were hard and also very enlightening. It is crazy to think that I had to bury a child. I honestly never really thought that I would be faced with a challenge like that. But I have found such great comfort in the words of the Prophets. I have spent many a night and day on my knees praying for knowledge and comfort concerning the death of my son. I miss him like crazy and I think about him every day. I know that he is a choice spirit of our Heavenly Father and that all he needed was to get a body to finish his earthly journey. I feel privileged that I was honored enough to be his mother.

There are definitely times when I wish he were here instead of in heaven. It’s hard to see kids his age because I think about what he might look like or what type of person he would be. But then I think of the Master’s plan and I know that Parker is where he is supposed to be.

I can’t wait until the day when I can be reunited with my son again. It will be such a warm embrace. I can’t wait to hold him in my arms again and kiss his little cheeks. It was a hard journey but I’d do it all over again just to hold him for another minute.

I miss you my angel baby!
Here are some pics:

Us right before we left for the hospital to be induced. I like how the picture of the Savior is looking down on us.

A table of pictures and momentos we had set up at Parker's funeral.

Parker's casket. I think it was just beautiful.


~kamie~ said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I enjoyed reading it again.

I am thinking of you and Daniel on this special day.

All my love.

Shannon said...

What an incredible story. I knew bits and pieces, but not the whole thing. I cannot imagine having to go through that. I hope you feel comfort today. I know that hearing stories like this make me cherish my little girls more, and make me so grateful that they made it here OK. What a blessing to know that Parker will never be tested down here, and that he will always be your perfect baby!

Team Korte said...

Jenny, thanks for sharing your story. I am one of those who wondered but never felt appropriate to ask. You are such a strong woman and I am sure you have helped many with your story. I hope you feel Parker with you everyday and see him in Hayleys eyes. I can tell they would have looked alike. Please know I will say a prayer for him today. Happy Birthday, Parker.

Sheri said...

Thanks for sharing Jenny. Even I didn't know all those details. It was difficult for all of us, but I can't begin to imagine what it was like for you two. Seeing some of those pictures again, I remember the look in yours and Daniels eyes at the time and it broke my heart. But like you've said, I'm very grateful for the gospel because it makes it possible for us to deal with these things.
Happy Birthday Parker! We love you!

Janell R. Cropper said...

I now feel what my mom explained to me back then. It touches your heart so much differently after you've had a baby of your own. I didn't know all of the details either, but I do remember Daniel saying how grateful you were for the blessing that Kevin gave you. Ah, the gospel is so wonderful, and our Heavenly Father loves us so much!

Roberts' family said...

I remember when Megan had told me about little Parker. I scrambled to find all the nice poems and good books that many people had given to me so I could in some way help you through. Now with this page, you help me through every day. Thanks for your friendship.

arianne said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I lost my angel baby on Sept 3rd 2004. I still greive his loss, but I try to look at that the Lord needs these special little missionaries in heaven at this time to teach and prepare for the second coming.

I hope you were able to do something special for Parkers 4th birthday.

This year for our sons birthday we try to make it a happy day and went to dinner and bought our daughter presents.

Jaelyn said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog and for sharing that wonderful story. Your son is definitely your angel. It's so comforting to know of the plan of salvation and that he is waiting there for you on the other side. You had one amazing son to not have to endure this life because of his righteousness. I would appreciate if you would help spread the word about NILMDTS so that it may help others who are going to go through what you did.

Hinckley Family said...

Hi, I am Cali's sister in law, and baby Mac's aunt. I loved looking at your pictures, and reading your story. They brought back memories from the special day I met Mac and felt his beautiful spirit. I could imagine what was going on in your delivery room and the feeling there, because I have had a similar experience. I love your faith and could feel it as I read you talk about the birth experience of your son. I loved the song playing too, I could have missed the pain ( couldn't we all) but then I would have had to miss the dance. Perfectly said.
Heather Hinckley

Taylor Made Family said...

I knew nothing about any of this. I am so honored to learn of your valiant little son. What an honor to be chosen as HIS mother and father. As I read your story I truly shuddered... cried so very very hard... couldn't see the words at times through the tears. I am so impressed with your strength, your testimony and your courage. Parker was and IS very hansome! I anxiously await the day when I get the opportunity to meet him. I can just imagine Jacob playing hide and seek with him right now. Thank you so much for sharing such an amazingly difficult yet sacred time of your sweet life with us.

Love you tons,
Mandi Nebel Taylor

Welch's/Leake's said...

Jenny, I know we dont really know each other all that well except the fact that we were both on drill team on snow at different times, but I just want you to know i think you are one of the strongest people i know. This story is so touching. I am bawling uncontrolably right now. I am pregnant so its hitting close to home. I cant even imagine how you must have felt. I am praying for you this day. You are an incredible woman. You are so tough. I'm so sorry for your loss. I cant imagine how hard it must have been. You have an amazing spirit and amazing strength. The power of prayer is unreal. I dont know how anyone gets through hard times without it. I cant tell you enough how sorry I am and that I think you are an incredible mother and woman for the outlook you have had with this experience in your life. You are simply amazing.

-Ashton Welch

Justine Cook said...

Jenny, I cannot thank you enough for sharing your story. You have such amazing faith. He is beautiful. His story touched me. Thank you for helping me to not take anything for granted. You are a strong example to me of a Women of Faith.

Michelle M. said...

I don't even know how I found your blog! What a touching story. I've had tears streaming down my cheek as I read your story. What a special experience for you to go through. And you shared it in such a beautiful way. Thank you for sharing your story!

Jeff and Britt said...

Parker's story is truly touching Jenny. I've been in tears for the past 10 minutes reading it and watching the video of pictures as well. Jenny, I felt so overwhelmed with emotion it felt like I couldn't even breath for a moment. As a mother to two myself I can't imagine going through that experience, to be honest I would probably need to be medicated because I would not to be able to bear it. What an incredible woman it takes to be as strong as you were able to be. You are an inspiration and a wonderful example of strength and love. I strive everyday to be that kind of mother. Although it's been more than 15 years since I have seen you, your story has truly touched me. Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your life. Parker is truly a beautiful spirit.