Jaron Truth Salinas
Born/died – May 17, 2012
We were so excited to share the wonderful news that we were expecting again. Expecting… such an interesting word. We were expecting to hold our sweet baby; big and bright eyed – delivered into our arms directly from my womb, a gift from the Lord. Yet we were hesitant to share, because Kimberly had just announced their first pregnancy and we didn’t want to steal any attention from them. Finally, after many days and much prayer, we realized that it wouldn’t steal anything, but only be joy that we would share together; pregnancy milestones and cousins born just days apart.
When mom was planning to come over so that we could go shopping in Canton, we decided it was time. I called Kimbo up and shared the good news with her. I wanted her to be the first to know in our family. She was ecstatic with us. I then set off to prepare how we would tell the children and mom. I made 10-grain cereal that morning for breakfast but added a baby spinach leaf and baby carrot to each plate. The look of horror was evident on everyone’s face, though some tried to hide it. I said, “Baby carrot. Baby spinach,” then paused. Everyone just stared at me and I repeated, “Baby carrot. Baby spinach.” Pete chimed in, “means we’re having a …. Baby!” Christian got it just seconds before it came out of Pete’s mouth. Everyone was so excited, hugging, laughing. Mom was overjoyed at the thought of 2 grandbabies born so close together. My due date was just 3 days from Kimbo’s.
Over the months our expectations continued as each sonogram and heartbeat check showed a tiny but growing baby.
He was still a gift from the Lord, a true treasure for our hearts, but we would never hold him big, alive, and bright eyed.
There is much to add to this journal, but the pain is so great I have to take it in little steps; baby steps.
Tuesday, May 15
I woke up that morning tired. We were in Branson Missouri on vacation. We had been there since the previous Thursday and every single day had been full to the brim. Pete and I had been waking up exhausted every single morning because each day had included so much activity. I went to the bathroom and had some weird spotting. I was concerned, but didn’t think a lot about it because it wasn’t bloody. I came back to bed and told Pete. He recommended calling the midwife, which I did. She said to keep an eye on it. I wasn’t cramping, so it didn’t seem there was an emergency. It then went away for most of the rest of the day. I took a shower and we began to get ready for the day.
I remember it being one of the calmest days we had yet. We sat on the swing outside on the front porch of the cabin. The birds were chirping and the kids were playing. Pete and I just enjoyed the breeze and talking to each other, sipping our coffee. No one was in a rush. Well, the kids may have been but we just needed a calm day. Silver Dollar City was closed that day, so we already knew we weren’t going there and had other plans. We ate lunch in the cabin, warming up leftovers and making sandwiches.
After lunch we gathered in the van and headed off to the College of the Ozarks; Hard Work U, they call it. We had a nice time in the museum. Then we went to a lookout point that was beautiful.
Next on the agenda was Dixie Stampede. We needed to be there around 4:15 to pick up our tickets and get into the pre-show. They had us take a picture before hand that I didn’t really “feel” like taking because things had been a little frustrating and stressful but once we were all in there I felt a little better. Looking back, I’m glad we took that picture. At the time I didn’t even want to buy it. When they brought it around to show us, I tried to talk Pete out of buying it because it seemed so expensive. Now I’m glad that he did. It was the last picture we had together before finding out about losing our little boy.
Once in the pre-show, we had a great time enjoying the juggling act. I had gone to the restroom several times and there didn’t seem to be any problems. We had a great time during the actual Dixie Stampede. The kids really enjoyed it and Noelle was really great and loved watching the show. Pete and I passed her back and forth a couple of times but mostly she stayed with daddy and I just pulled apart her food.
After the show I had to go to the restroom so bad. I bypassed a few hundred people. I didn’t feel bad as they could plainly see that I was expecting and therefore should have rights! J I quickly got into line in the bathroom and I may have even cut in front of someone. When I went to bathroom the spotting was back and all of a sudden I was crampy. I remember my heart sinking and feeling a unrealistic heaviness come over me. I almost couldn’t move. I went to wash my hands and looked in the mirror to see my face a very drained pale color. I got out as quickly as I could and had to hold back tears. I knew that spotting and cramping at 20 weeks could not be good. I prayed the whole time for someone to not ask me how far along I was. I didn’t want to talk. I just wanted to get downstairs to the gift shop and tell Pete we needed to leave NOW. When I got down there, the kids were looking at all the souvenirs. I didn’t want to alarm them, so I caught Pete’s eye as quickly as I could and said “we need to leave right now.” He had everyone put up their pretend guns and such and he shoveled everyone out the door. They were all kind of stunned but didn’t ask questions. He took them to the car while I waited in the front for him to pick me up. There were hundreds of people around me and I tried to hold back the tears. I knew what the worst case scenario was and I couldn’t wrap my head around it.
We headed back to the cabin immediately. I thought he would want to take me to the ER and then take the kids. I think he knew that whatever was happening, it wouldn’t be good for the kids to be there. With the big ones able to take care of the little ones, we knew things would be better this way. It seemed to take forever to get to the cabin. Pete went to the restroom, got his computer logged on to the MiFi so that the kids could watch something on Netflix, and then we headed to the only hospital in Branson – Skaggs Memorial. I had paged my midwife to let her know we were on our way to the ER. I sent texts to Brandi, Barb, and Tanya. Although I felt a degree of guilt for not letting my mom and sister know what was going on, I knew that it would do nothing but make them worry. Since we didn’t have any answers and didn’t know how long it would be until we did, I felt helpless and knew they would too.
They were quick to get me to triage, where my blood pressure was elevated even though I looked very calm. Once back in a room, they started me on regular blood pressure monitoring and all the normal stuff. The nurse came in with the Doppler to try to find a heartbeat on the baby. She couldn’t find anything, but I didn’t really put much stock in that since the midwife had trouble finding it a few weeks before. My placenta was in the front of my belly and was cushioning the baby and making it difficult to hear his heartbeat. They ordered an ultrasound. The nurse tried to reassure us that the Doppler was not always accurate and to try not to worry. She then told us how she lost a baby and felt very alone only to find out that 1 in every 3 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I’m certain that she was trying to comfort me, but it was not comforting. I am not a statistic and my baby was never a statistic. Her words were not comforting to me because I didn’t care about numbers, I care about my baby.
It seems in times like these that everything takes longer than you ever thought it should and they finally got us back for an ultrasound. They wouldn’t let me go to the bathroom because they wanted my bladder full to push up my uterus to get good sono pictures. The sonographer immediately took two quick pictures on the machine and he had it facing where I could see it. He was so quick with snapping the pictures that I couldn’t tell if the baby was moving or not. Then he told me that I could go to the bathroom because we didn’t need a full bladder for the rest of the sono. I didn’t know what that meant and was literally shocked that he hadn’t given me any more information than that. I remember feeling as if I couldn’t move and had to force my arms and legs to do their thing. Once back from the bathroom he had me lay back down for the rest of the sonogram, but he had moved the machine so that I couldn’t see it. Pete stared at the machine and I kept looking at his face for some sort of clue of what was going on. I had a huge lump in my throat and couldn’t ask the sonographer. I was afraid of his answer – or worse I was afraid that he was going to tell me that he couldn’t tell me anything and I would know his answer.
In my heart I already knew the answer. Many weeks prior to this, I had a feeling that I would not make it to October carrying our baby. It wasn’t a fear, it was a knowing, more of a resolve or an understanding. I wonder now if the Lord was preparing my heart to release our baby to Him.
When we got back in the room, I asked Pete what he saw. He hasn’t seen enough sonograms to know what to look for. I knew that if the machine was pointed toward me that I would have seen the lack of a beating heart. The sonographer knew it, too, which I’m certain is why he turned the machine.
When Pete and I sat in the room alone, we both cried. While we didn’t have anything substantial to tell us that our baby was gone, we knew; I knew. The nurse came in and offered us water and wanted to know if she could get us anything. I cried out to Pete, “they never are that nice to you in the ER unless something is wrong.” I was right, but it was a time I never wanted to be. The doctor came in with a very sad expression and said, “So, I guess you have heard the news.” “NO, WE DON’T KNOW ANYTHING,” I quickly spat back at him. “We couldn’t find a heartbeat.” I don’t think I will ever be able to get those words out of my head. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to block them out. As hard as I try, they continue to ring in my ears.
At that moment the only feelings I felt were pain and exposure. I felt so vulnerable, similar to standing in an auditorium in your underwear – which sounds very odd and nonsensical. Pete and I sobbed so deeply I can’t imagine what it sounded like to the nurses and doctors outside of the room. I can’t help but think they truly hurt when they hear those cries of torture and pain.
The doctor wouldn’t let us leave because my blood pressure was so high. The only place I wanted to be at that moment was home, or at the very least the cabin, with the kids. I knew we needed to tell our parents. I couldn’t do it. While they monitored my blood pressure, I asked Pete to call them – from somewhere else. I knew the grief that would strike them and that I would hear it through the phone. I couldn’t bear to hear it. At one point my blood pressure was at 159/103. They had me on heart monitors. My heart was breaking, but they couldn’t hear that on the machines. I prayed hard for my blood pressure to go down. I did everything I could to breathe and relax. Nothing helped. I was supposed to be in that hospital overnight.
Later when I asked my mom what Pete had said when he called. She told me that it was 10 pm. She answered the phone and Pete said, “Hey, how are ya’ll doing.” She responded, “What’s the matter, Pete?” She knows better than to think that we would call back home while on vacation.
They wheeled me upstairs. The sweet technician, named Tyler (who had also been the one to take my blood), told me on the way up that he didn’t know what I was going through but that he knew that all things, good and bad, were for our good and things would turn up. I knew in my heart he was right. I knew in my head he was right. All I could do was nod my head as my tears silently rolled down my cheeks – because nothing felt right at all.
We were nearing a shift change at this point. The nurse was sweet and compassionate and got me into a gown and situated in the room. Not long later another nurse came in and shortly after a phlebotomist, to take more blood. He was rude because someone didn’t tell him about something they were supposed to. Apparently he had missed the notice that we had lost our baby and the nurse was appalled at his behavior. She gave me a compassionate glance and we finished our business with him as quickly as we could. Pete had gone back to the cabin to check on the kids and let them know our terrible news.
Pete came back after talking to the 3 big kids, Christian, Paige, and Brason. The others were asleep. The doctor came in right after Pete and explained what his concerns were and the plan. He knew we wanted to be home, to deliver at our hospital, near family and friends. We were 600 miles from people we knew. Everything seems so desperate. Because of my blood pressure he didn’t want me to travel. And he thought I may go into labor at any moment. He decided to postpone things until the morning. If my blood pressure went down, he would allow me to leave and travel home under strict orders. If it continued to stay high or rise, or if it looked like I was in labor, he would have to induce me there. We would then have to stay in Branson another 3 days to recover before the long trip home. There are big risks with a 2nd term loss, including loss of blood and possible need for surgery to remove the placenta. He was due back at 6 to make a decision.
It was apparent that I wasn’t going to get much, if any, sleep. They offered to give me some Ambien and I accepted. The nurse came in to check on me through the night and told me to page her if I got up to go to the restroom and she would check my blood pressure then. When the shift changed again at 7 and she had heard nothing from the doctor, we were both hopeful that I would get to go home. That was the direction that we were all praying in.
The hours came and went with no word from the doctor. Finally at 11 or so, he came in. He was performing surgery that morning and then another that afternoon. My blood pressure had dropped to a somewhat normal state – 140/80. It didn’t appear that labor was imminent, so he said I could go. I couldn’t help with packing and Pete and the kids weren’t ready, so I stayed for lunch.
Soon after they delivered my tray, someone knocked on my door. A lady and a little boy walked in the room and I didn’t recognize her and thought she had the wrong room. She said, “Hi, do you remember me?” At closer look, it was an old friend, our previous pastor’s daughter. She was like a big sister for a few years, but it had been at least 16 years since I had seen her. Over the years that family has razzed us a bit about the number of children we had. I was able to express to my old friend how much this baby was wanted and loved in our family already. I can clearly see one of the big reasons that we were in Branson. Jaron, we didn’t realize at the time, was already singing God’s truth through his little life.
They released me and Pete was there to pick me up around 1. We had to go back to the cabin because I had one of the the cabin keys in my purse and we had to return it. Pete took it in and brought back a card, our first bereavement card. They had enclosed a receipt that they had refunded one night’s stay in the cabin. We were leaving early but they were under no obligation to do that. I started crying immediately. I felt loved and cared for by the Lord and by others.
The trip home was long. We tried to make the best of it. I tried to participate in the conversation. Many times I found myself staring out the window. I’m not sure what I was thinking or if I was thinking. I was sobbing as quietly as I could. Pete noticed and he was continually reaching over to me and rubbing my arm. With the Lord’s help he was able to focus on getting us home and caring for me and showing me his love.
Before leaving Branson we had stopped at walmart to get a bp cuff and a few movies for the trip home. We had not used movies at all on the way there, but this was a different trip on the way home. I constantly did ankle rotations and we stopped regularly to allow me to walk around. The biggest fear the doctors had with the long drive was me getting blood clots in my legs.
We arrived home at 11:30 pm. Everyone was asleep but Pete and I. About 30 minutes before home I had started having some cramping. When we got home, I realized that I was bleeding. My blood pressure was rising again. If anything of those things were to happen on the road we were supposed to stop at the nearest hospital. The Lord, in His amazing provision, kept them from happening any earlier in the trip. Pete and the kids unloaded the van. We got the littles to bed, and I packed a bag for the hospital. I stood at our closet looking at all my maternity clothes. I cried, “I don’t want to do this.” We knew we had to go then.
I never expected our vacation would end this way. How could one ever prepare for something like this? The tragedy that is in our hearts is so painful yet we can see our loving and faithful God paved a way for us to make this road a bit gentler. In my heart I continued to pray that the doctors in Branson were wrong. Once we got to the hospital and they did a sonogram maybe they would see a little beating heart. It wasn’t to be so.
We got to the hospital. They expected us because I had called the midwife to let her know we were on our way. The nurse was nice to us. The doctor at the time was a bit short. I explained why we had come and she acted as if we were over reacting a bit. The induction was schedule for 6am, it was 1am. They weren’t alarmed by my symptoms. She told me that she would call the doctor and see what he said. There were a few possibilities 1) they were going to keep me and start the induction or 2) they were going to send me home with some pain medicine and have me come back. I said very quickly, “we have been on the road for 11 hours, it is 2 hours round trip to come to Baylor. I DO NOT WANT to go back home and wait. If he doesn’t want to start the induction now, we will just stay here.”
She quickly returned and said that we would start the induction. I opted for an epidural before we started anything. I honestly didn’t want to feel any more physical pain. The pain of our loss was grasping me like an unrelenting beast. Since drugs were an option, I was taking them. In any other scenario I wouldn’t have; this was no other scenario.
The doctor came in to do a quick sonogram to see the baby’s position. At this point we still didn’t know his gender. Part of me wanted to ask. The other part of me wanted it to be a surprise. Since we had picked out both names, I was under no pressure. Pete was asleep and I didn’t have the heart to wake him to find out what he thought. I kept silent waiting for her to say that she found a heartbeat. She didn’t say it. He was silent and breach. I would have to dilate more than expected to deliver.
I slept on and off until the anesthesiologist came in to give me the epidural. Pete had been able to sleep, as well. I was bumped a couple of times by moms in labor with live babies. Getting the epidural was very uncomfortable, painful to some degree. I never want to have another one in my life. They put the cytotec in my cervix right after that. We were able to get a little more sleep. I woke up about 2 hours later and asked the nurse how long the process could take. She said it would probably be that night sometime, but it could take several days. I could not imagine laying in the bed for several days waiting for labor. They weren’t going to check my cervix until it was time for another dose of cytotec - 4 hours.
About 4 1/2 hours later, they came in for another dose and to check me. To all their surprise, and my relief, I was completely dilated - at a 10. They told me the bag of waters was still intact and they could break it and we could be done. That’s when I lost it. I couldn’t do it. They let us have a few minutes to decide. I didn’t want my water broken. I knew that if I pushed him out, there was no putting him back in, where he was safe (or as safe as I thought he could be). I wanted to hold onto him longer. I wasn’t ready to let him go. A couple of days ago I was reading the blog of a woman who lost her 7 month old baby girl. She said they tried to hold onto her so tightly, but just because you hold on as tight as you can, doesn’t make them yours. He was the Lord’s, but I just wasn’t ready to give him up yet. I was willing to wait out labor because I did not want my water broken. I knew that if they did, they was a higher chance that his little body would be more traumatized by the birth. I cried so hard. Pete cried with me and prayed. Then a peace came over me and I knew I could do it.
When the doctor came in, she said that we were going to give a few pushes and see what happened. I pushed 4 times and he was born, in the sack. The placenta came out as well. The worst case scenario was that the placenta would not detach and I would have to have surgery to remove it. I was very thankful and could see the Lord’s hand in the whole thing. My fingers started tingling, I couldn’t see or talk; I was about to pass out and apparently looked pale. They had me squeeze their hands, I couldn’t. The nurse said, "her bp is dropping." They gave me oxygen. I’m scared of having masks on my face, but I didn’t panic, I just breathed. The Lord, again. Apparently this is a “normal” response.
When she was walking to me with our baby in her hands, she had wrapped him in a tiny little flannel blanket, made just for babies his size. She warned me that he was very small. He was bigger than I expected. I just stared at him. I don’t remember crying. She said, “you had a little boy.” I was so shocked because I had fully expected a girl.
We stared at him, cried together, held him, and were in complete awe of his perfectly formed but small body. His head was mis-shapen, which happens when they have been gone a while. Everything else was perfect. I admired his hands and how the little knuckles had wrinkled skin perfect for grabbing. He had little nail beds and his fingers were so long. All his little joints were so perfect. His toes were so long and perfect with perfect little ankles and heels. His legs were long and his knee joints were just so amazing. I marveled at how his fingers and toes looked like Brason’s. His broad shoulders and chest reminded me of Noelle. His legs were big at the thigh and smaller at the calf, just like Pete and most of the kids. At first his ears were folded down and I thought they had not formed, but when I touched them I was able to see that the skin of his ear had just folded forward, being so soft. They were amazing in design and we could even see his ear canals. He even had perfect little boy parts. No hiney just yet, but he had a perfect little rectum to poop out of. [
His skin was so thin and dark. I could see his rib cage. And his little nose wasn’t formed. I want to ask the doctor about that because it was formed in the sonogram at 12 weeks. He had a perfect little tongue with little bumps on it and I could even see his gums. We inspected him just as if he was alive. His name was Jaron Truth Salinas.
The nurse said that the cord was wrapped around his neck several times and twisted. If the pathology reports came back with no answers, we could have a “cord accident” diagnosis - even though she didn’t really believe in cord accidents since babies are born with the cord around their neck all the time. The time flew by so fast. The chaplain, Millicent, came to see us. From the moment she started talking to her we knew that she was a true believer. She immediately asked us if we were Christians and knew that his was not his eternal home. I had so many questions about testing and how we would bury him. They would not just let us walk out of the hospital with our baby, the way the hospital in Missouri was going to. I was shocked and didn’t know how to process the decision we were going to have to make.
Barb, one of my dearest friends and pastor’s wife, came. She had come earlier but we were unable to talk. She came in later and grieved so openly with us. She also asked to see Jaron. About that time my mom and Kimbo got there. They were so broken hearted for us and we all cried again. Mom wanted to see him immediately. We admired him again. Kimberly and I were able to talk we shared about trusting the Lord through all things. I knew this was almost as difficult for her as it was for me; we were only due 3 days apart.
Millicent later came in with several keepsake items for us. We were given a lamb that played Jesus loves me. I later found out that Kimberly had just received this very same lamb in blue for Jayden. We also received a memory box to keep all of his momentos in. They gave us 2 baby rings to wear on a chain - one for Pete and one for me, a cross made from a baby blanket along with a tiny baby blanket that he could have had been wrapped in. We also got his baby bracelet and the measuring tape that they used to measure him - 7 inches long. I’m not usually a card keeper, but I have put every card we have gotten since losing him, in the box. I also have included the baby blanket he was wrapped in along with the baby blanket that we wrapped him in later. It was supposed to be buried with him, but the nurse was afraid that it would get lost in the pathology lab. I hated to see her giving it back to me. I wanted to believe they would have kept him warm in it.
We were then moved upstairs. I assumed they would take me to the maternity floor, since I had just had a baby. Instead they took me to the gynelogical/women’s floor so that I wouldn’t have to hear babies crying. Pete talked to Barb and Drake, who had gathered some information on burial for us. Pete and I finally decided that we needed to have him cremated and his ashes scattered at a Garden of Peace they have just for Baylor Babies. Our choices were so limited and Pete had plainly asked Drake about what the Bible said about cremation.
Christian and Noelle had come with mom and they all ended up going downstairs for a late lunch. John had come to see him also. Pete held Jaron while we all talked. It was very surreal and kind of blurry. We talked about the Lord’s goodness and His hand preparing a way for us down this tragic path. I wanted to hold him some more. Drake came and saw him and was in awe of the Lord’s handiwork. He prayed with us all before everyone started leaving.
We had called the nurse that we were ready for them to take him. His body was changing so much that I wanted to remember him the way he was when he first was born. When she finally got there I cried so hard and kissed his little head. My arms ached as I tried to hand him over to her. I knew I would never hold him again on this side of heaven. Barb later told me that she saw the nurse carrying him down the hall. She said that she was so careful and respectful, never stopping to chat but that she just kept looking down at him.
I have tried to journal daily my thoughts, feelings, emotional, and ways the Lord has shown Himself great and powerful through our tragedy. Someday, maybe, I'll be able to share more of that. Our family would appreciate your prayers.