Yesterday, October 6th, was my first born son, Teddy’s, 3rd heavenly birthday. And I can’t believe it’s been another long year without my sweet boy.

Not only was it just his birthday, but it’s also Pregnancy, Infant, and Child Loss Awareness Month. I’m going to take it back to the beginning of our story.

My husband and I were married in the spring of 2017, and we knew we were ready to start our family. I have PCOS – so we went in knowing there may be some challenges. After a few failed rounds of Clomid because I don’t ovulate on my own, I was sent to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) to take a closer look at things. While going through my extensive bloodwork, they noticed my thyroid levels were off. So off to another doctor I went, a normal endocrinologist. I had a nodule on my thyroid, and the initial biopsy came back as benign. We opted to have half of my thyroid removed vs radioactive iodine because we didn’t want to wait a year before trying to get pregnant. The post-surgery biopsy revealed that the nodule was actually cancer – but the good news was it was gone! Never thought I’d be thankful to my PCOS, but my struggle to conceive naturally led us to that crazy discovery. Once I had the clear, back to the RE we went.

She placed me on letrozole, and the very first month, we conceived!

We were ecstatic, and couldn’t believe it happened so quickly! I went back to my normal OB/GYN for routine pregnancy care and we were over the moon. We found out we were having a little boy – Theodore “Teddy” Russell Michalski. We excitedly started working on the nursery. We put the crib and changing table together, and we waited for the arrival of our sweet baby boy.

The morning of October 3, 2018, I put on my new maternity dress shirt for work, and I drove to work with my best friend. It was a seemingly normal morning. Teddy even kicked on our way, as he had for the first time the night before (all because of a toaster strudel!). Around 10 AM I found myself in the bathroom as my stomach was upset. As I was going, I felt a pop, and then a gush.

I was completely confused. I didn’t feel like I was urinating, yet so much fluid was coming out of me, and every time I tried to stand there was more fluid coming out. I started to panic, not knowing what was happening and not having my phone on me to call anyone. I eventually waded up toilet paper into my underwear and went straight to Tina’s (my bestie) desk. I was shaking. I bent down and told her, “Something’s not right.” We went outside and I called my doctor. While walking I felt another gush. The doctor’s office told us to come right in, so we did.,

We arrived at the doctors and were rushed into ultrasound, and right then and there they confirmed my worst fears.

My water had broken – at 21.5 weeks. I was sent to a hospital downtown for more scans, ultrasounds, and not-so-great news. They didn’t think we’d make it through the night, and yet we made it a few days. Long, excruciating days of not knowing what would happen. They couldn’t medically intervene until I was 22 weeks, so we just had to hold on. Family and friends visited and tried to keep us in the best mood possible, despite the circumstances. But after 5 AM on the morning of October 6, 2018 – the day we hit 22 weeks – my cord prolapsed and I was in labor. We were rushed down to labor and delivery where I was given steroid shots and an epidural. I had the most wonderful nursing staff who remained delicate about my situation. After hours and hours of sitting in the bed, unable to move much, one last scan confirmed the worst, and the nurse uttered the heartbreaking words, “I’m sorry, but the baby has passed away.”

Theodore “Teddy” Russell Michalski - Teddy's 3rd Heavenly Birthday

Author’s Personal Collection/Elizabeth Michalski

My dreams, gone. My heart sunk. My first born, my sweet baby boy, was no longer living. Why? Why didn’t he make it? Why did this happen to my baby? He didn’t deserve this. He has a mom and dad, an entire family who loved him so dearly and wanted him in our arms. What was happening? We cried. We all cried together and it was the absolute worst day of my entire life. After another 9 hours of laboring, at 11:58 PM I gave birth to the most beautiful angel, sleeping. We took turns holding him, adoring his features, and trying to make sense of it all. But, we couldn’t. No reasoning existed for this. No one could change the outcome or take away the fact that we had just lost our baby. And we’d go home with no answers, to an empty house, a blocked-off nursery, with empty arms and broken hearts.

And I sit here in tears, reliving these moments as I write this.

My angel, my first born, my beautiful boy would be 3 years old. I’ve been blessed to have my wonderful rainbow baby, and I am blessed again to be pregnant with my pot of gold. But nothing can take away the pain of losing a child. My babies born after Teddy are not replacements. They aren’t a fix for what was broken, but they gave me the experience I didn’t get to have with him. Teddy is my first. And I’m forever missing out on a lifetime with him. Who would he be today? Would he love Mickey Mouse and kitties like his little brother? Would he have looked like his father? I see Nathan, my rainbow, and I wonder if that’s what Teddy would have looked like too. And I’m just going to have to always wonder, because I will never get to know, and I will carry that grief with me for all my life.

Teddy's 3rd Heavenly birthday

Author’s Personal Collection/Elizabeth Michalski

To my angel, my Teddy, I hope you had the most magical birthday in heaven. I hope it was spent with all the wonderful family you have surrounding you, who are taking extra good care of you for us. We visited you and brought you sunflowers, we sang happy birthday around your cake and we made a wish for you. My wish to have you here may never come true, but my wish to know you’re always with me already has. I wish the last 3 years were spent with you in my arms, but I know you’re forever in my heart. We miss you, sweet boy. Thank you for being our firstborn, our angel, and making us parents. Sending our love to the skies – from Mommy, Daddy, Nathan & Delilah. Happy birthday, my love.

Share this story!