Mum’s heartbreak after doctor drops baby
"Push! Keep pushing! He's almost out!" Kristal remembers hearing the doctor shout as the pain crested for the final time.
The American woman could barely see the stark hospital room through the tears that continued to stream down her face.
She had been hysterical for hours - since her labour pain had become so intense she could barely move.
Minutes later, as baby Ian entered the world, Kristal saw her partner Diego's face turn away in agony.
"Since Ian was so tiny, he kind of slid right out and they failed to catch him," she first wrote on Love What Matters.
"'It's OK, you're young, you'll have more, YOU are OK'," the doctor said.
"How can you tell me I'm OK when I just lost my son?! I couldn't believe what had just happened."
'I WAS TERRIFIED, I WAS WORRIED, AND I WAS UNPREPARED'
Kristal had known for her entire life that she was meant to be a mother.
But finding out she was pregnant with Ian after just three-and-a-half months with his dad Diego had been a shock.
Especially as Kristal was only 24 at the time - and still lived with her parents.
"I was terrified, I was worried and I was unprepared," she said.
"Both Diego and I were in shock.
"All I could think about was how my parents were going to react. I even started to look into apartments just in case."
'HE WAS PERFECTLY PERFECT - TOSSING AND TURNING IN MY BELLY'
Although Kristal's parents took some time to get used to the news - they soon couldn't wait to meet the baby.
The entire family celebrated when the baby was revealed to be a boy.
As the pregnancy progressed, Kristal marvelled at how easy it was - until one Sunday she suddenly felt a stabbing pain in her stomach.
The next morning she went straight to her doctor, who immediately checked to see if the baby was OK.
"He was perfectly perfect, tossing and turning in my belly," she said.
"His heart rate was great and nothing seemed to be wrong.
"She said I was probably just experiencing growing pains since I was almost 21 weeks."
'I WISH I WOULD HAVE JUST LISTENED TO MY GUT'
The next morning Kristal woke up in excruciating pain, which was so bad she wasn't able to go to work.
But instead of going straight to the hospital, she went back to sleep.
"I wish I would have done things differently. I wish I would have just listened to my gut telling me something was wrong," she said.
Instead, Kristal decided to go to the hospital later that evening - when she was in so much pain that she could barely move.
"I started crying, I knew in my heart this was not normal, something was wrong with my Ian Max," she said.
"I was full-blown bawling and terrified of what could be happening to my baby."
'I COMPLETELY LOST IT'
Even once she made it to hospital, Kristal ended up waiting hours to find out what was wrong.
At first, nurses were reassured that baby Ian seemed to be moving.
It wasn't until later that a doctor noticed Kristal was leaking amniotic fluid.
They told her there was an infection causing Kristal's body to fight the pregnancy - her baby was unlikely to survive the birth.
"How did I go from being so excited to turn 21 weeks and see my baby growing in my belly to knowing I would not leave the hospital with him?" she asked
"I didn't want to do anything, I wanted this to be a nightmare I'd wake up from.
"I was really losing my baby - that is when I completely lost it."
'I'M SO SORRY, I NEVER PREDICTED THIS'
Kristal remembers pushing while seeing her heartbreak reflected on the faces of her family around her.
When Ian came into the world he was perfect - it didn't seem possible that anything was wrong with him.
All Kristal wanted was to hold him and never let go.
"I'm so sorry, I never predicted this," Kristal remembered her obstetrician telling her.
"She told me I had an incompetent cervix - and my placenta was covered in bacteria, and my body chose me over my pregnancy.
"At that moment I felt a little peace knowing I had an answer.
"Many women experience miscarriages and never get an answer, I at least had that."
'MY HEART WOULD BREAK ALL OVER AGAIN'
But as Kristal would come to realise, having an answer didn't make it any easier to say goodbye to Ian.
Kristal and Diego spent two days in the hospital with him as a countless family and friends visited to say goodbye.
"The lady that came in to bless him said she had never seen so many visitors for a baby his size," Kristal said.
"I couldn't believe I would be leaving the hospital empty-handed.
"While we were packing up our things, the little song would play whenever a baby was born and my heart would break all over again because I knew those people would be going home with their newborns and I wasn't.
"I know Ian knows how much I love and miss him, I know he is in my heart and that gives me comfort.
"This is my story, real and raw."
If you or someone you love needs support after losing a child contact SANDS National Support Line 1300 072 637 or visit their website.
This article originally appeared on Kidspot and was reproduced with permission