In the Spring of 2016, my husband and I were thrilled to learn we were expecting a baby boy. Already parents to 2 young daughters, we were overjoyed at the reality that they would soon have a little brother.
This was not our first rodeo, and there was nothing abnormal to report in comparison to our other pregnancies. Our unborn son was passing all the early testing and scans just like a thriving and healthy baby should.
Around 17 weeks, my husband and I finally decided to share the news that we were expecting our third child. We had picked a name for our precious boy- Graham John Cowan. I was well into the 2nd trimester, and was cruising through the pregnancy counting down the days until we got to meet our son.
On September 26, 2016, my husband and I went for a routine 21-week scan and checkup. Our ultrasound tech knew our family well as she was the tech for our other 2 children. During my scan, I noticed that nothing was moving on the screen. No one said anything. She just continued to move the doppler around, but our baby boy looked lifeless. I could tell by the look on her face something was wrong. The heart monitor that always blared very loud beats was silent.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity but was probably 1 minute, my husband said, “I do not hear a heartbeat.”
Our familiar ultrasound tech welled up with tears and said, “I am so sorry.”
If I could explain in words how it felt to hear our baby boy was gone, that would be a start. To say we were in disbelief is an understatement. In that moment, it would become the day where we changed FOREVER, and the day our life became divided into two parts- before we lost Graham and after we lost Graham.
How was I going to tell my young daughters that their baby brother wasn’t coming home?
My cherished Orlando Health GYOB, Dr. Nicholas Abrudescu was the next face I saw. He explained I would be admitted to Orlando Health Winnie Palmer and would be given Pitocin to induce labor, and then essentially just wait. We waited for almost 24 hours, but the next day, at the same hospital where I’d given birth to our 2 daughters, I delivered my stillborn baby boy.
Graham John Cowan was born into Heaven at 4:52 PM on September 27, 2016, at 21 weeks old at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies in Orlando, Florida.
For me personally, the agony and heartache of delivering my son knowing he was not alive was nothing I had ever felt before. As a mother, I kept asking myself, how would I EVER recover from something this traumatic? I knew I would never, ever be the same person again.
When the nurses brought Graham back to me, I just stared at him in disbelief, realizing (and also began the process of accepting) that he was really gone. Every fiber in my being knew that I would spend the rest of my life protecting his memory.
Because of his life, the Graham J Cowan Foundation was born.
“When a child is born, it’s a mother’s instinct to protect the child. When a child dies, it’s the mother’s natural instinct to protect their memory.”