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!
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.