My husband, Jon and I got married on October 19, 2019. We became a beautiful, blended family, him bringing his 7-year-old son, Roman, and I bringing my 3-year-old daughter, Nora, but we knew we wanted to bring a baby into this world together.
We knew we wanted to start trying right away, as we were quickly moving out of our “younger years.” On January 14th, 2020, we were so overjoyed to see a plus sign on that little white stick! We wasted no time in telling our loved ones and friends, this baby was a gift to be celebrated!
My pregnancy was normal throughout, some moderate nausea in the first month and then smooth sailing. The ease of my pregnancy quickly came to a halt on April 8th, 2020, when I became overwhelmingly sick.
My husband, at the time, was an over-the-road truck driver. He had headed out to Iowa earlier that week and I wasn’t expecting to see him until that Friday. I am a stubborn and independent individual who is not skilled at asking for help, but on that day, I called my mom, who is a nurse, and asking her to come over to help me care for Nora as I didn’t feel well enough to get out of bed.
When she arrived, we both assumed that I had possibly eaten something bad and that some rest would help. I called my OB as soon as they opened and explained the situation. They thought I might be dehydrated and told me to drink 90 oz of water over the next couple of hours and to call back if my symptoms persisted.
I took a shower shortly after my mom arrived and I remember standing there under the running water, holding my 16-week and 5-day pregnant belly, telling my sweet baby that we were going to be okay.
My heart somehow knew that this was more than some bad food. A few hours went by, and I started to feel better. I wasn’t feverish and shaky anymore, but I did not feel well by any means. I went to my OB, and they checked me over thoroughly and said that the baby looked great and that everything seemed normal.
No one really knew what to chalk my symptoms up to, so I was told to go home and rest, and if it got worse to call back the next day. As the day turned to evening the feverishness, shaking, cramping and aching ramped up worse than the night before.
I under played it all in my head and just felt like I was being a bit overreactive. After not sleeping most of the night I called my mom again that morning of the 9th and said I wasn’t okay.
Again, she came over, and again, I called my OB as soon as they opened, to which this time, they directed me to go to the ER. My mom took me to the ER, and I made a call to my husband, trying not to scare him. I told him that I was sure I was fine, but I would let him know. It being April of 2020, the hospitals had just that week started restrictions for COVID, no one really knew what protocols to follow, there was a weird atmosphere to it all.
I was grateful when I arrived at the ER that they let my mom accompany me. My symptoms upon checking in were once again mild. It was difficult trying to explain what was happening to all of the nurses and doctors when I seemed fine right in front of them, I felt like I was going crazy. They had me hooked up to a monitor and my precious baby was just fine, strong heartbeat, no issues.
All the doctors and nurses were positive that this had nothing to do with my pregnancy. After 4 hours in the ER, tons of tests, and no answers they were debating whether or not to admit me. The only thing they could find was an elevated white blood count, so they knew there was an infection somewhere, but no one could locate it.
As the doctors and nurses were discussing my condition outside the door, my friend’s mom, who was the head of the ER, popped in to check on me. As she walked in, she placed her hands on my feet to feel my pulse and I fell off, my BP dropped to 50/30.
Everything became foggy for a while after that, but I received an abdominal CT and chest x rays to provide no further answers. Upon admission, they took me to the general floor and then last minute someone made the call to switch me to the ICU. My mom had made a call to my husband to let him know things were not good, so as I was running through tests and bloodwork, he was trying to get home to me from Oklahoma as soon as possible.
Over the next few hours, I met with five different doctors, PAs, and specialists, most of which were convinced that this had to somehow be appendicitis. My OB came to see me once and assured me that the baby was good and we would figure out what was going on soon. As the afternoon turned to evening, my symptoms progressed back to the severe nausea, dizziness, cramping; the only way I could explain this to people was that I was having contractions, but all of the tests were not supporting that.
When my husband finally arrived, I was in bad shape, he was thrown into the fire of what was going on and because of the COVID restrictions, my mom could not stay to comfort him. The tests had determined that I was septic, my system was in shock and not one of the doctors could pinpoint where the infection was.
I was pretty much having convulsions nonstop; my body was cold to the core and then they told me it was 7pm and my husband had to go home. What?!?! COVID Restrictions! They had me scheduled for a spinal tap at 9 am the next morning, to try and find out more, they told him he could come back then. I was in more pain than I had ever been in in my entire life, and they sent my husband home!
I laid there the whole night having contractions and convulsing, exhausted, and cold. No one would validate that I was having contractions, but I knew, my heart knew. I laid there in that bed and sang “Our God is an awesome God” and “Amazing Grace” throughout each contraction.
I knew that my sweet baby was not going to come home with me, my heart knew. At 7:46am on April 10, 2020, I called in the nurse because my pain spiked tremendously, I told her I needed to stand up immediately. She helped me out of bed and immediately, I felt my water break. Tears streamed down my face as I told her what had just happened.
She told me that might not be what happened and I looked her straight in the face, so sick of no one validating that I was in labor, that I was having contractions; so angry at myself for not demanding my OB be there earlier, devastated that I just trusted what all the doctors were telling me; I told her, yes, I know for a fact that is what happened, and to call my husband.
She called for another nurse to get ahold of Jon and then grabbed my hands and asked me if she could pray with me, to which I graciously accepted. Not 30 seconds after I opened my eyes, my friend’s mom popped in again to check on me, my guardian angel when my husband and my own mother couldn’t be there. She held me and validated me, FINALLY, someone validated that I was losing this baby, I knew, my heart knew and now, finally someone else knew too.
I remember saying 100 times that I didn’t know what to do, she was loving and calm and told me that it was ok to push if I felt like I needed to. They laid me in the bed and hooked me up to a monitor, when my husband walked in, he heard our baby’s heartbeat and saw me drenched in tears and writhing in pain, his brain could not comprehend what was happening.
My OB arrived with a look on her face I will never forget, shock, what was happening was not a possibility. I laid there with my husband on one side and my friend’s mother on the other as I listened to the strong beating of my baby’s heart, knowing that my baby had no chance of survival once he entered this world.
At 8:37 am on April 10, 2020, just 17 weeks pregnant, I pushed his tiny body out of my own and watched as they snipped the tiniest of umbilical cords. My husband and I sat there in the deepest grief imaginable, looking over this perfect 3.2 oz, 6.75 in baby boy. David Bruce Crone, we already knew his name.
We held him and kissed him and cried with him. “He has your long fingers and toes”, my husband gently muttered, and we giggled slightly through our tears. Due to the unknown of what was happening with my body, they needed to do an autopsy on our son. A sweet nurse came in and asked us if we would like her to take some pictures, we said yes, and she took David with her.
She placed him in a beautiful blue and white knitted cradle, it held him so perfectly. She took several pictures of our precious boy, placed them in a box with his cradle, his hand and footprints, and a measuring tape with his length and weight, these things would become our most prized possessions.
When we checked out of the hospital, we were handed the box, the box that held the only earthly thing that touched our sweet boy, the box that held his cradle. The perfect blue knitted pattern with white hearts throughout, perfect with a cross at the end and a little card that read Bridget’s Cradles.
I held this cradle, cried into this cradle, and pressed it against my heart in hopes that I could somehow be closer to my baby boy. My soul was empty, and my husband and I were lost, the grief was unbearable, why wasn’t time standing still?
God put it on my heart to reach out for community, I reluctantly got ahold of Ashley from Bridget’s Cradles and that was the day that God changed the trajectory of our lives.
I spoke with Ashley on the phone and then met her a few days later, I told her I wanted to volunteer, and she told me that she felt God had opened up a place for me there. I showed up to the Bridget’s Cradle’s headquarters on May 3rd, 2020, for the Mother’s Day drive-up event (COVID times) and I never stopped showing up.
For me, to serve other bereaved families, to honor our son in this ministry provided me with a healing that I never knew I could experience. To be in community, in support groups, with other women who knew how I was feeling, whose husbands knew how my husband was feeling, placed us on a path to beautifully and intentionally heal from the hole left in us by the loss of David.
My husband will tell anyone who asks, that this ministry, Bridget’s Cradles, saved our marriage. It gave me the outlet I needed to honor our son and the grace in understanding that it was okay that my husband grieved differently than me.
I do not believe that God took David from us, but I believe that God took the devastation of that experience to strip both my husband and I to the rawest parts of ourselves so that we could grow together as something stronger and more beautiful that we could imagine. In grief, there is hope if you turn your pain over to God and find an incredible ministry like Bridget’s Cradles to help you along the way.
Written by Kelcey Crone, mother of David Bruce Crone, born into Heaven 4/10/2020 at 17 weeks
Please leave some love and encouragement for Jon and Kelcey in the comments below. We appreciate your prayers for their family.
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