Only lived a few minutes and already touched so many hearts. The story of Walter, our son who has touched so many people in his short life of just a few minutes. A special and moving story with beautiful photos by Walter.
'Friday, June 14, was a day that went completely different than I had thought. I started the day with a wonderful pedicure together with my good friend and bride in Megan. Her mother Cathy and all her bridesmaids were there too. We then had a nice lunch, did some shopping and then we all went home to prepare for the practice dinner.
From the previous Tuesday I had some spotting (RED: blood droplets from the vagina). It was never much and dark brown in color. A normal pregnancy phenomenon. I never had pain either. But on that day I saw that blood loss changed color, from dark brown to pink.
When I got home that day to pick up my camera gear for the practice dinner, I decided to call my midwife to ask her whether the small blood loss had a meaning. The next day I would take pictures at the wedding and then I had to stand all day. Around 12 o'clock.
My midwife advised to go to First Aid so that blood loss could be investigated.
Not because she thought something serious was going on, but to reassure me. With my other child I had a complete pregnancy during pregnancy placenta previa (RED: this placenta). We were therefore both a bit afraid that this would be the case again.
Together with my partner Josh, I left for the recommended hospital in Kokomo around 3:00 PM. This was 45 minutes drive. On the way we called our parents to inform them. Because I was not 20 weeks pregnant, (I was 19 weeks and 3 days) I had to stay at the emergency room. Pregnant women who are 20 weeks or more were immediately sent to obstetrics.
When we were in the waiting room, we saw how several pregnant women came in and left because they were more than 20 weeks pregnant. I was just waiting there. Only at 5 pm we were picked up from the waiting room.
After I had dressed, we found the heartbeat immediately. I think it was around 160 strokes.
Because I could hear the heart so quickly, I immediately became more calm and I waited patiently for the doctor. Eventually a nurse or assistant came. She indicated that the doctor would come for a vaginal examination and an ultrasound. And again we had to wait. Finally the doctor came. He said he was not going to do a vaginal examination, but that I did get an ultrasound. In the meantime it was 5.30 pm and Josh had to leave. We were both very excited that we got an ultrasound and hoped we would hear the sex of the baby. We had the ultrasound pass for 20 weeks next Wednesday.
A new nurse came in at 6 pm. She gave me 3 glasses of water and said I had to drink it for the ultrasound. I turned on the TV. A few minutes later I started to feel some stitches.
After half an hour I noticed that I was giving birth, I did not hesitate for a moment because I've done it before.
I could no longer sit up because the pain was too intense. I pressed the bell so a nurse would come, but it did not come. Ten minutes later I called again and she finally came into the room.
At that moment I screamed in pain and I was overwhelmed with emotions. I was mentally totally unprepared that I would give birth and every fiber in my body resisted this delivery. I did not want to give birth, not yet.
The nurse at first did not believe that I was giving birth and she said she would let the doctor know. Then she went away again. I have no idea how long it took before the doctor finally came in. The only thing he said was that he would shift the echo slightly forward and he left the room again.
I had the feeling that I had been pushed into a corner of the First Aid and had to save it on my own.
No help, no sympathy, nothing. I could not call my mother because I had no range. I could send Joshua a message through my wireless signal, but I did not want him to worry.
A little later than 7 pm Josh was on his way to the hospital again. I was taken for an ultrasound around the same time. The lady who took the ultrasound was the first person I felt she cared about and she was also very friendly. Not that the others were mean, but she did not spend more time than she thought necessary.
She immediately found the heartbeat, but it was disturbing. She could not tell me anything else. Then she examined the echo quickly and then went to consult with the radiologist. She asked another lady if she could stay with me.
When I went to the bathroom to clean myself of the ultrasound, there was a lot more blood than before. I collapsed completely.
Joshua just arrived at the moment they drove me back to my room.
Back in my room at the emergency room I had to go to the toilet again. The lady who had made the ultrasound immediately turned to Josh and said, "I'm sorry and I do not want her to see me cry, but I'll pray for you."
Then she gave him a hug and left the room. It was about 7.20 pm when I returned to the room. At that time there were no breaks between the contractions. They were very intense and when one fell asleep, another started.
I have already given birth twice before, in my childhood I regularly heard stories from my mother about births and I have been a photographer myself as a child. That is why I knew, when I listened to myself, that I had arrived at the end.
I did not want to give up hope yet, but I knew deep in my heart that I was losing the baby.
At one point the little sister, assistant or whatever she was who I had seen in the beginning came into my room. She said my fetus was still viable. I almost wanted to hit her because she called my child a fetus. But at least she was a little more sympathetic than the doctor, because I have not seen it at all. I was told that I had to go upstairs for one cervical cerclage (RED: a band around the uterus that can prevent preterm birth). Because of this news, I got a bit of hope again.
From this moment everything becomes a bit vague. I was finally taken upstairs at around 8 o'clock to the obstetric department. I was in so much pain that I had no idea what was happening around me. After 3 attempts they finally got the infusion inserted, it did not interest me anymore. While I am normally very scared of needles.
The doctor examined me and then sat down next to me on the bed. She told me they were going to get my baby.
This was the first time someone called my baby a baby.
I immediately screamed and asked if there was no other option. The First Aid told me that I would get a cerclage. The doctor was very friendly and she indicated that a cerclage is not possible with someone who was giving birth.
And that was me at that moment. I had full access, so there was really nothing else. She said time and time again how much she liked it and I found her very friendly.
I can not tell you how many people were in my room to help me. What I can say is that I was never left alone. I got some painkillers and the pain finally went down a bit. Still, it was still pretty intense during my contractions, but now I could rest a bit in between. Joshua called our family and that dear Megan, who actually had to focus on her marriage the next day, came to see me.
She was with me, crying and talking, the moment my membranes broke.
I can no longer remember what time I started to press. After my membranes were broken, I no longer felt the contractions. I had to press a few times to get his little body out. He was born at 21.42.
I had to cry very hard, but he was perfect. He was fully developed and had everything on it. I could see his heart beating in his small chest.
Joshua and I held him both and cried and looked at him, our perfect little son.
The doctor and nurses left our room so that we had a moment with him alone. We called our son Walter.
Somewhere between midnight and 1.00 am I had to go to the operating room for an operation because my placenta did not let go. The surgery went well and I was quickly back in the room where I fell asleep due to the medication and exhaustion.
I am very grateful to the doctor and nurses who were with me during the delivery. They never took the word 'fetus' into their mouths. They had prayed and cried with me and they were there for me when I needed them. Even at times of extreme pain, I felt love for them all. They have taken great care of us. For example, they called a local funeral director and took all forms and phone calls on them. We decided to cremate our son.
Although I felt incredibly abandoned at First Aid, the midwifery department was great. They were also those who encouraged us to see our son to get a connection with him. In fact, he was taken with me when I had the surgery and was immediately returned. He stayed with us until the undertaker took him.
My heart breaks when I hear stories from people who were not allowed to see their child. That must have been really terrible.
I was allowed to hold it and cuddle it. While his heart was beating, I laid it against my heart. I counted his toes and kissed his little head. I will always cherish these memories of him.
The next day my daughters were taken to the hospital. I thought it was very important that they would see their little brother so that they could better understand that their brother can not come home with them. They could also say goodbye to him.
We still do not know how this could have happened. They can be innumerable things, but then we still do not know what exactly the cause was.
I'm very happy that Joshua walked to our car to get my camera. In the beginning I did not want photos. But now the pictures are the only thing I have to look back on. Meanwhile, our photos of Walter have been viewed and shared by many people. I get a lot of positive reactions to this.
In his very short life of just a few minutes, our son hit more people than I ever thought possible.
Just because you can not see the baby in your stomach does not mean that it looks like a sphere of cells. Walter was completely developed and already quite active in my stomach. If he had stayed a few weeks longer, he would have had a chance of a life.
'Walter's photos are beautiful and crazy, but can also be a little shocking. Prepare yourself a little bit before you go to see them.Nevertheless, the photos give a beautiful picture of the development of a baby of just over 19 weeks old. Really very special.
The story of Walter:
"In loving memory of Walter Joshua Fretz"
Do you want to know more about Walter's story? Check out his website and read the many reactions he has made to many mothers around the world.
Source: Walter Joshua Fretz
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