Angels Embrace Foundation

Sawyer’s story

Sawyer Tyce Winsand

Thursday night was a long one for me at work. 11pm-7am is never easy, no matter how long you’ve done it. Being 35 weeks pregnant doesn’t help either. . .fatigue was always plaguing me. Working on a birth center definitely has its rewards, but it makes pregnancy seem even longer when you want your own baby in your arms!

Sawyer was busy kicking, as usual, during my shift. My second child was born at 35.3 weeks, so I had the idea in the back of my head that, “It could be ANY day!” Sawyer continued to kick after I got home and ate breakfast. Eating always sent him in a tizzy. I guess he liked food just as much as his momma!

As I lied down, Sawyer continued to kick and roll in my belly. I was hoping to sleep longer, but 5 hours later, at 2pm, I was up for good. I lied in bed for a bit, watching television and checking my emails. Sawyer hadn’t moved yet, but as he was my third pregnancy, his moving was not the first thing I thought of when I woke up. By 3:30, I was hungry and fixed a plate of food. Halfway through, I thought it was odd that I hadn’t felt Sawyer move. . .I’m telling you, the kid liked food! J

A wave of nerves went through my body as I paid closer attention and still felt nothing. I grabbed a cookie, chugged some soda and lied on my left side. Still, nothing. Nervous, and a little teary eyed, I called the clinic and told them what was going on. They said they’d talk to the midwife and call me back. I knew it was close to closing time for the clinic. I was annoyed with my timing. Although I was nervous, I still, in the back of my head, didn’t believe it could happen to me. While waiting for a call back, I found Sawyer in my belly and pushed. . .nothing. I had done this a lot with all three of my pregnancies, and my babies would always move or shift. This time was different. Something just felt weird. I called my husband, Stacy, and cried as I filled him in. I was really nervous. . .nervous to the point when it hits your gut and you can’t shake that unsettling feeling.

I got the call back from the clinic and they wanted me to come in as soon as possible. The urgency, I felt, was more related to closing time than them anticipating an emergency. As I walked out the door, Stacy walked in. “Do you want me to come with?” He asked. “I don’t care, but I have to leave NOW.” Thank God he came with.

The car ride felt much longer than the ten minutes it was. It was also quiet with just one question from my husband, “Feel anything?” “No.”

The clinic was quiet when we arrived. The receptionist had even gone home already. The nurse finally came out and led us to an exam room. Right away, I was hooked up to a monitor. However, they couldn’t quite find the heartbeat. Sawyer was always easy to find. They kept getting 106, 110, 112. “That’s me.” I said flatly.

The midwife arrived within minutes. She tried to find the heartbeat without success and then felt my belly. After a few moments, she said we should get an ultrasound. I think she knew then. Stacy said he knew then. I had a bad feeling, but still really didn’t think this could possibly happen to me.

I hopped on the table. The ultrasound tech squirted some gel on my belly. “This is your baby’s head, now we’ll move up. . .there is your baby’s stomach.” My heart was pounding. “There is no flicker.” I said, and the tears flooded out.

Time stood still, but flew by at the same time. In an 18 hour period of time, ultrasound confirmed our baby, who had danced inside me just hours earlier, was dead; we had to choose how and when we wanted to induce labor; I was escorted down a long hallway to labor and delivery (I now refer to this as the ‘walk of shame); Stacy had to call our families and Pastor (I was in no shape) to make arrangements for our 2 ½ year old and 15 month old; I was induced and gave birth to our beautiful, but dead son, Sawyer; we had a professional photographer come in and take pictures of our little man; we called and made arrangements with a funeral home (I never thought I’d be doing this for my child); we captured a lifetime of memories in a few moments of time; we left our baby, our son, in the arms of a very special nurse and kissed him goodbye; we exited the hospital with empty arms and eyes filled with tears.

When we got home, we faced more heartbreak. My 2 ½ year old daughter picked up on every emotion; she knew there was no longer a “baby in momma’s belly.” With a memory box (we had purchased earlier in the year), filled with Sawyer’s “things” (foot and hand prints, foot and hand molds, locks of hair, his blanket, his hat, the shirt I wore that still had a “stain” from Sawyer, and other items), we began to introduce Rylee to her little brother, Sawyer, who for reasons we will never know, died and was taken to Heaven by Jesus. Now, she loves looking through Sawyer’s box and sees it as a representation of her little brother. My other son, Trey, who had been completely oblivious to everything when we first came home, looks at the box with Rylee and has started to say, “Look, Baby Sawyer.” That he can still have the opportunity to know his little brother means the world to us. The memory box is also very dear to my husband and I as one of our biggest fears was that our baby would be forgotten. Not only does the box and its contents let Sawyer’s memory live on, but it holds all we have left of him.

These feeling of attachment, remembrance, representation, and love are what we hope all families will experience with the gift of the memory box and items inside.

Love and Blessings,

Breanna Winsand

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