When Emily Mueller shared her stunningly original maternity photos, she had the whole world buzzing. Emily, a beekeeper, daringly posed with 20,000 bees on her pregnant belly back in September to celebrate the upcoming arrival of her third child.
Little bee baby Emersyn Jacob was due last week. But instead of the happy welcome baby post we were all waiting for, Emily shared the devastating news that her precious son was born sleeping.
Emily’s story is heartbreaking to say the least. Her detailed account of going through the process of losing a child isn’t a light read. But it is also such an important one to take in, to share and to pass on to other women who may be in a similar situation.
Stillborn at 39 weeks gestation
At 39 weeks pregnant, Emily was busy preparing for the upcoming birth of her third bubba. The bee expert wasn’t paying strict attention to the baby movements and didn’t realise until the evening that bub hadn’t moved much all day.
“I would push on my stomach and feel him move inside me but it didn’t seem it was the type of movement I normally feel,” Emily explains in a Facebook post. “I just told myself he was sleeping but as the time passed, I felt uneasy about it.”
After being unable to find a heartbeat with their doppler, Emily and her husband, Ryan headed to the maternity ward to check things out.
“I truly thought we would be sent home with a smile, telling us to just wait for the arrival of our sweet Emersyn, who was due in 6 days,” she writes, in a devastatingly honest Facebook post.
“I wanted to hold onto the hope everything was okay.”
With her youngest son and her husband Ryan by her side, Emily watched as the nurses and doctors tried to find a heartbeat. They tried and tried, but, Emersyn was gone.
“The nurses tried comforting me, telling me to just wait. It seemed more and more of them came into the room. Tears streamed down my face and breathing started to become difficult,” Emily says
They asked for them to retrieve the doctor on call. I remember his presence, his walk, the way he grabbed the gel from the nurse’s hand, the ultrasound. Every detail of that moment is forever sketched into my mind and I cannot stop replaying it. Doctor Sutter sat on my right side looking at the screen and turned to me and said, ‘Your baby has passed’.”
“I can’t and don’t want to explain that feeling to anyone.”
“Turning to your husband and seeing him die inside. Seeing him completely break. Seeing your children feel and suffer your pain in front of your eyes. The pain is unbearable,” Emily says.
The doctor encouraged me to look at the screen and I wish I hadn’t. I wish I could remove the image in my mind of seeing the unbeating black, lifeless heart on the screen. I wish all of that was a blur. I wish I could say I don’t remember any of it but I do.
Our baby has died. Our baby will never come home with us.”
Saying goodbye to Emersyn
Emily recalls the process of returning home, knowing her baby was no longer alive inside her, preparing to be induced and explaining what had happened to her children. Though her words echo with rawness and sadness, she remains grateful, thanking her doulas, the hospital staff and her church for helping them through this unimaginable journey.
The hospital gave the family photos, footprints and comfort objects to cherish after the loss of their son. For one day, Emily and her family got to celebrate Emersyn and his very short life.
“For one day we got to give him all of us and to do important things that mattered.”
Loss after loss
Losing Emersyn is by far the hardest thing Emily has (and probably will) ever experience. However, this isn’t the first time the resilent family has experienced heartbreak.
As Emily previously explained during her maternity shoot, she has previously suffered three miscarriages, which is one of the reasons she decided to include bees in her maternity shoot.
“Bees represent life and death,” Emily told Cleveland.com. “These pictures are dedicated to life and death.”
Recently Emily shared another series of photos on her Facebook page – of her son. His teeny tiny fingers rest on a bee blanket. His little body is covered in a bee onesie. It is a tragic ending for the Mueller family. But Emily’s strength, grace and courage to share her story proves that love is stronger than loss.
You don’t have to suffer alone
Emily, Ryan and their children, Westyn and Cadyn, are not the only family who have suffered through this. In Australia 1 in 120 births will be a stillbirth or a newborn death.
Six babies are born still in Australia each and every day. Six babies. That’s six families who go through this heartache every single day.
Many people do not talk about it. Many people do not know how to talk about it. Emily hopes that, by sharing her story, she will be able to change that.
“I know many people want to understand how and why this happened. What was the reason? Do you have any answers? It makes me feel better to talk about it and to share our experience. I want people to know the story so they can also go through grieving of their own.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mueller family during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing your story and shedding light on the heartbreak of stillbirth. For more information on stillbirth, visit SANDS.