I remember the day we found out we were pregnant with James. It had already been 5 months of no luck after deciding to try again after losing hannah. Those 5 months were filled with many disappointments for Brit and I. Month after month of negative tests. So this wednesday, was like any other wednesday. I decided to go workout early that morning and as I was walking in from my workout, I heard Tessa Renee running to the door shouting something. I opened the door and she was holding a pregnancy test and I was shocked. This is the third time we had been pregnant and we had been trying, so not sure why I was shocked. I think I had just lived in the negative space for so long after Hannah, that I assumed that was all she wrote for us and we would never get pregnant again….
A snapshot of our short time with James
But we did! We were both so excited. We felt like this was the beginning of the redemption story that so many people talk about post pregnancy loss. We were determined to celebrate this pregnancy the whole time! With Hannah we were distracted and that was one of our BIG regrets was not having enough “bumb” photos of britt and hannah. so we took bump photos starting at week 4!
Britt went in to confirm her pregnancy with the doctors that same day and then we headed to the mountains to decorate our new rental property. We were so excited and started envisioning our future yet again as a family of 4! Tessa was excited! We started slowly telling people. Britts HGH levels kept rising….all was well.
We went in for an early scan because of our past loss. Brittany was 6 weeks and 4 days. These early scans you can never see too much yet, so we didn’t know what to expect. Ultrasounds for us have not been our friend, so we were both very nervous. We went in and saw the baby for the first time, he was measuring fine and was perfect from a development standpoint. On this first scan there was no heartbeat…The ultrasound tech said that was normal..The Doctor said that was normal. The plan was to come back in 10 days to hear a healthy heartbeat and we would be almost through the first trimester.
We asked for family and close friends to pray, We were a little scared but reassured from what the doctors said. We talked to some friends who had early scans and about half of them did not have a heartbeat on the first scan. so we were assured, everything would be fine.
We went in on October 7th, 2020 for the confirmation of heartbeat ultrasound. We met there because everything would be fine, we’d be able to go our separate ways after the appointment. We would be sent to a very familiar place, the hospital where Hannah had passed almost a year earlier, the hospital where we would deliver a still, lifeless baby, our daughter, hannah. We were nervous, memories came back to us both. But this time was different, we told ourselves. This time we would be able to redeem those memories.
The tech walked in, she was not that friendly. She asked if this was our first pregnancy and questioned why we were coming back for another ultrasound so quickly after our first one (READ THE FILE…I could write a whole book on this concept…) To which we had to tell her this was our third and tell her about our loss of Hannah, reminding ourselves of what was at stake.
The tech started the ultrasound and there was just silence and clicking in the room, the tech said nothing for what seemed like 10 minutes, she just clicked and then said “I’m sorry there is no heartbeat” , she said it in a way that felt casual, as if we just lost our favorite toy and not our baby, our son, our first boy. Then she just left the room, left us in this NEWS, this messary. I suppose there is no easy way to do this, to deliver this news. BUT, this was certainly one of the worst.
We were in shock, in disbelief…how can this be happening again. We were escorted to another room to wait for the doctor. Another walk of shame. Another avoiding the stares of the other happy patients and nurses. It felty all too familiar. We were here just one year ago, october 2019, now october 2020. We waited on the doctor in silence, is there a reason this keeps happening to us? The doctor explained that Hannah and James were not related. Miscarriage is common, stillbirth is not. She said “I hate this is happening in a row like this to yall, but take comfort in knowing they are not the same thing, they are not related”. The comfort was in what? I’m not sure? I was angry this time…and anger that has yet to go away (still working on it). The Doctor went over all the options…which we already knew because we have had so many friends and strangers over the last year talk about their loss with us. We knew the options that Britt had to “deliver” this baby. Our son.
Britt decided to do a D and C. Her body doesn’t like to release babies. She was in labor for 65.5 hours with Tessa and 55.5 hours with hannah. So she didn’t want to wait or induce labor, in case it didn’t work. We went home and we just didn;’t believe it. We started researching and we also were reminded of other couples who have had this exact story and they ended up not miscarrying. So we decided to get another ultrasound. We waited until October 13th. We prayed for a miracle, we felt the LORD in those prayers, we felt like James was still there still growing. We went in to a different tech, a tech we really liked and she confirmed we were miscarrying. She walked us through why, and answered all our doubts. We left there accepting our fate, but also very appreciative for the time she took to show and explain everything….it helped a ton!
Britt was scheduled the very next day for a D and C. It is an out of patient surgery. Because of COVID no one could be there with her, so I had to wait outside in the general waiting room. I couldn’t be with her for post op or pre op. We had learned through our loss of Hannah that sometimes doctors could determine the sex of the baby this early with a D and C. So we asked for that test as well as all the tests to determine if there was anything genetically/chromosomally wrong with the baby. Or if anything was going on with me or brittany. This day was such a HARD day. Entering the hospital one last time, the same hospital where literally on October 21st, 2019 we lost Hannah and began the delivery of her. Here we were on October 14th, 2020 “delivering” another baby who had already passed. Brittany was a champ, I facetimed her through the pre-op before surgery. We cried, we reminisced, we vented together. Then she was put to sleep and I was made to wait. About an hour later the doctor came to chat with me that everything went well, and an hour after that Brittany was brought out to me and we went home….Just like that our third baby was gone and we would never lay eyes on him or see him again.
About two weeks later we learned that the baby was a boy and we named the baby James Franklin Facinoli. We also learned that everything was fine with him, genetically, chromosomally, everything. He was alive, surviving and then died sometime between our first scan and second scan. Also everything was fine with Britt and I. Another fluke, another mishap yet again….
This being our second loss, the grief was different. The grief process was quicker, and yet slower all at the same time. We have done this before, we were experts right…? Our losses were different, but a lot the same. We got to see Hannah – touch her, hold her, feel her. We have no idea what James looked like, and we didn’t even get a great picture of him on an ultrasound… One is not worse than the other… They are both heart-wrenching life experiences. They are both losses of a future – of a child – of a hope of what was to come.
James gave us our new home, our new church and gave us new friends. We were 5 weeks with James when we put in an offer on a new house in our neighborhood, the same day we met Greg and Christina Payne, who would eventually buy our old house and become great friends and neighbors. The Paynes would go on to introduce us to our new church. James gave us his little brother Seth – Seth and James could not co-exist. His life being sacrificed allowed us to love another little guy, his little brother Seth.
James Franklin Facinoli, 10.07.2020