On 30 June 2017, Adrian James Hernandez was born silent into this world. He was 9 pounds, 0 ounces; 22 inches long. He was perfect in every way.
Adrian was planned for and desperately wanted; he was conceived in a medical setting with the help of a sperm donor who has been a beautiful light in my life, but was never meant to be his “daddy”. Adrian has no daddy.
Our pregnancy was relatively easy. It would have been considered textbook, up until the last page. I had morning sickness, round ligament pain, and other typical pregnancy aches and pains. We had regular check-ups, gained weight as planned, and met all the expected milestones. Adrian was healthy, active, and growing up until the day (the week?) he died.
One of the best parts of our pregnancy was that I actually didn’t know he was a “he” until he was born. Although we attended all of our testing as scheduled, I wanted this one thing to be a surprise reserved for birth.
The other best part was that I wrote to my son throughout my pregnancy. These letters contributed to my feelings of closeness and immediacy with him. These letters make me thankful I was always present during this pregnancy.
Adrian was due on 22 June 2017. Like many first-time moms¹, my pregnancy went late. Although my medical providers advised induction due to my age, with no other risk factors, I chose to let labor happen naturally. I will always regret that choice. Adrian died in the early hours of the morning of my 41st week of pregnancy.
When I woke up that morning of my 41st week, I was surprised to realize I had slept throughout the night. It was the first time in several months I hadn’t needed to get up to pee, or shift position, or just spend a few minutes staring at the ceiling. I think I felt something was wrong, but I didn’t know. I didn’t know babies could die. I didn’t know I could go into the hospital for a routine checkup and be told my son had no heartbeat.
None of my providers and too few of the books tell you that stillbirth affects 1 in 160 pregnancies, and in half of those cases, the cause is unknown. The cause of my son’s death is “unknown”.
I went into labor that same evening, and delivered Adrian the following day. I remained with him in the hospital for 24 hours, taking photos and creating tactile memories to carry with me when I could no longer carry him.
On 11 July 2017, we held a memorial service for Adrian. He was cremated the following day. His ashes reside in a pendant around my neck, a tattoo on my ribs, and a miniature urn in my home. His memory lives in his mother’s words, his family, and all of you who have come here to learn his story.
Thank you for being here.
1. Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, Good Books, 2011.