Our Story: Atcher our Angel
Paul Rodman Combs & I have been married for 15 years. When we married he took on the responsibility of helping to raise my 2 little girls Bailey & Ellen, ages 3 & 11 months when we got together. 4 years later we were blessed with a baby girl together, Lilly. We suffered from unexplained secondary infertility. We agreed that if we hadn’t gotten pregnant by the time Lilly was 10 we would move toward sterilization to stop the heartache of not being pregnant each month. I delivered our baby boy, Evan, 5 days before Lilly turned 10!
We were shocked 15 months later to see those 2 pink lines. Another baby, so soon? What a blessing!
We found out we were again having a boy & were so happy Evan would have a brother close in age to grow up with. And they would get to share a birthday most likely. I was scheduled to be induced on Evan’s 2nd birthday. The girls were so excited & went to several ultrasounds with me & loved to help decorate his room. We had everything set. He would be Atcher Bane Combs. Atcher is my maiden name & Paul thought it would be a lovely way to honor my family since girls dont pass on their last names usually. Bane for the Batman villain. It was a name we had considered for a while without telling anyone & Ellen pointed out he looked like the Bane character in one of his ultrasounds. We then knew it was perfect for him.
My pregnancy went by quickly with no concerns. On December 23rd 2014 my father whom lived with us passed away unexpectedly. Not only had I lost my father but the dream of him being there for this baby. He lived too far away to see the others grow. We picked up the pieces & focused on rearranging the house to welcome home our little one. We decorated his room in Justice League. Everything was set for his April 2nd arrival.
March 22nd, my brothers birthday: I had been feeling a little off & had some pain in my left side the few days before. The pain became too intense & we decided it was best to just go in. I had called my OB days prior about the pain & decreased movement only to be told it was to be expected since I was full-term & it was my 5th. I knew I couldn’t be brushed off again with the pain I was in. We arrived at the hospital around 8pm.
The nurse had trouble locating Atcher on the monitor but no worries. My children were notorious for facing the wrong way to be born & that makes them hard to pick up on the monitor. Ultrasound came & as she scanned she turned the screen away from Pauls view. When finished Paul asked if everything was ok. Her response, “I only take the pictures. The radiologist has to look at everything.” Worry sits in. The nurse returns & says we are being admitted, bloodwork has been ordered, my OB will be there soon to talk & we were moving to a delivery room. Whispers outside our curtain. More worry. We are moved to a delivery room. The same room we delivered Evan in. The lady comes to take blood & as she leaves says, “You guys will be in my prayers.” Unusual but we tried to push those thoughts away. We both knew, I think, but were too afraid of the answer to ask THE question.
10pm my OB arrives: As she enters I can see in her face what has happened. I look at her & say “We know something is wrong. Please tell us.” She busts into tears, sits on my bed & says, “Paul & Shannon, I’m so sorry. There is no cardiac activity. I had them check the ultrasound twice.” What? That can’t be we felt him rolling around, we heard him scratching around on the monitor. All that was hopeful thinking. Our baby was dead. Paul dropped to his knees in agony. All I could do was weep & think of the kids. They offered us a moment to process things. We declined & asked to start induction. I was already 4cm & have a history of fast deliveries so we didn’t want to risk delivering him at home or in the car.
I called my sister & mom. All I could say was come to the hospital. I knew my sister would think I was joking because we kidded I would have him on the 23rd because her birthday is the 24th. She knew something was wrong. She asked if everything was ok. I said “No” She hung up & was there in 20 minutes. My mom asked what was wrong, all theat cam out was, “He’s dead.” The call dropped. Paul called his mom to go to the house to sit with our children. He left to go tell them the news in person. He had to look our precious children in their beautiful faces & tell them their brother wasn’t coming home. EVER. No one should ever have to do that. Our oldest came to the hospital to be there for the birth.
8am March 23, 2015 Atcher Bane Combs came into our arms, still, silent, beautiful.
He was perfect. We will never know why he died. Everything came back normal. There was a clot in his cord & on the placenta but they said there was no way of knowing if that happened before or after he passed.
He is buried in the cemetery a few blocks from our home. They buried him in the wrong spot & wanted to move him weeks later. We had bought 3 lots & he was to be in #3 but they put him in #2. So we decided he wasnt to be disturbed & now we will go on either side of him. Maybe it was supposed to be that way anyway.
It’s hard to grieve & care for 4 older children but together we get through things day by day. Our children are 19, 17, 12, 2 & forever newborn.
Although this is by far the hardest thing in life, we would do it again if it was the only way to be his parents.