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Cody's Story

Originally posted on the stillbirth bulletin board at parentsplace.com (now ivillage.com)
by Cody's mom, Jo

Cody

I used to post on the August 1999 expecting board. But that was before Cody Austin was stillborn August 13. He was a perfectly formed, 9 lb., 2oz. baby. Born three days past his due date.

But he was dead.

The placenta tore away from the wall of my uterus, and Cody wasn't able to get any oxygen. Massive placental abruption, the doctor called it. Cody suffocated while I was having what I thought was pre-labor back pain. I thought that, soon, I would be having timeable contractions.

I didn't know my baby was dying.

I bled internally for at least several hours before I knew it. By the time I saw blood, I was nearly passing out. I fell to the floor while dialing 911.

I didn't know that Cody was already dead.

I had an emergency c-section and lost so much blood that I was in the hospital for six days and confined to my bed even longer. (I received 42 units of blood and blood products.) Yes, I was able to hold Cody and kiss his head and smell his sweetness. But I was so drugged from the morphine drip and still in so much pain from the surgery that I know now I didn't bond with him like I would like to have.

Cody

We have pictures of him, but he's swaddled in each of them. I long to see his fingers and toes, his belly, his back. I never will again.

I have a six-year-old son, Ryan, who is as confused and saddened by Cody's death as his father and I are. I feel so lucky to be alive to be with him. My DH and I both have a new appreciation for things we have long taken for granted. (Even watching Ryan brush his teeth or listening to him whine to stay up later is a blessing to us.) Our family and friends have shown us more love, compassion, and generosity than we ever thought possible.

But I still miss Cody.

It's so unfair. There is no explanation. I had a perfectly normal doctor's appointment the day before the abruption took place. The following Sunday — two days later! — I had an appointment for inducement in case I didn't go into labor before.

I am truly thankful for all that I have, and I know there are people to whom even greater tragedies occur. I know that time will slowly heal my broken heart. And I also totally believe that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

But I will never forget Cody. And I will always miss my baby.

I want to nuzzle his dark, silky hair. I want to nurse him in my arms. I want to kiss his chubby cheeks. I want to rock him in his room and lay him down in his crib and cover him with his comforter and watch him sleep, his chest rising and falling.

And I never will . . .

Jo R. Hill (now Jo R. Hawke)
August 1999

Cody's tiny feet