This story is a long one. Usually when a mother sees the first signs of her baby’s delivery, she is holding her darling within hours. I, in a sense, labored for two days.
Monday, August 31, 2009
I finally had worried enough and decided to call my doctor. After hearing that I didn’t think I had felt my baby move all day, and possibly the day before, he advised me to go to Labor and Delivery, just to be sure everything was ok. Shyla was such a gentle mover from the beginning, so, I wasn’t really sure if I had not felt her or not. My mom insisted that I did not go alone, so she and Ethan, my 2 ½ year old son drove me the thirty minutes to the hospital. My husband was working and couldn’t get to his phone, but I left him a message letting him know what was going on.
As soon as I mentioned to the L&D nurse what was going on, she rushed me into a room, had me changed into a gown and was getting my vitals. There were three nurses buzzing around the bed trying to find her heartbeat with a Doppler. A sick feeling began to set in as one after another they would take their turn. “There it is! No wait, that is mine.” I thought as they kept checking. I refused to let my mind go any further. I asked that they do an ultrasound and they told me my Doctor would as soon as he got there. My husband had gotten my message and got to the hospital as soon as he could. Two minutes later, my Doctor arrived. As he entered the room, he asked that the blinds be closed. It was so dark in that room. The doctor turned on the ultrasound machine and touched the cold gel to my belly. In all honesty, as soon as her little body appeared on that screen, I knew she was gone. The once lovely “woosh woosh woosh” could not be heard and I could not see any motion in her heart. I knew. But I waited and I prayed. It only took the doctor a minute to take everything in and say, “I’m sorry, the ultrasound confirms…” I really don’t remember what was said after that moment. I began to weep uncontrollably. My husband was at my right side squeezing my hand and crying. My mother and son were at the foot of my bed. She was crying and he looked concerned. When my eyes fell on him, I tried to pull myself together enough to tell my mother to be strong for him. I asked her to take him out in the waiting area while we talked with the Doctor.
After looking over my files, my Doctor decided that I was too far along to try to induce with medication and I was showing no signs of being anywhere near going into labor on my own. (I was 28 weeks...I was seven months...I was in the last trimester.) I had a c-section with my first child and the medication used to induce increased the risk of a uterine rupture, so a repeat c-section looked like the best way to go. There was blood work that needed to be done and the doctor wanted to see me in his office the next day just to double check for any signs of labor before proceeding with the c-section. So after scheduling with the OR for Wednesday, September 2, we went home. I can’t describe the emotions in my mind as I left the hospital. I was a different person at 9:30pm that night than I was at 4:00pm that day.
On the long drive home, my husband and made a few calls to those closest to us and made arrangements with work. We would stop between calls and just cry. We went home that night and tried to sleep. I was very unsuccessful at this task. I found myself wide awake most of the night and decided to get online. I found an online support group and read stories of women who had gone through was I was beginning to go through. This is my equivalent of laboring all night. I prayed. I cried. I tried to sleep.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I went to my Doctor’s office midmorning to be checked for any signs of labor. Zero. My Doctor spent a lot of time with us. At this point, there were no indications of what went wrong. He was full of condolences and questions. I tried to answer everything to the best of my ability. He conducted an ultrasound and said she had probably been gone for a couple of days. I felt so confused. How could I not have known? The Doctor ordered a huge amount of blood work that would need to be completed at the hospital and I would have to pre-admit also. He talked with us about contacting a funeral home and planning a service. He was as kind and as gentle as I could have asked for.
After leaving his office, my husband and I ate lunch with the Pastor of our church. He prayed with us and just listened. Then we made our way to the hospital. The pre-admit process was not as pleasant. The woman behind the counter was less than congenial and made a comment about having the baby. I had to inform her that our daughter would be stillborn. She offered her condolences and was a little nicer after that. Then on to the lab for blood work. They tied up my arm and proceeded to take twenty vials of blood.
After leaving the hospital, we began calling the funeral home to plan for the service. I cannot describe the pain of this process. We then picked up our son from my mother’s house and went home. We spent the evening packing for the hospital, loving on our son and rubbing my belly. My pregnancy was drawing to an end and I knew it.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
We took our time getting ready to leave for the hospital. We were instructed to be there around noon and would hopefully be in surgery shortly after. We dropped off Ethan at my mom’s and started that drive. On the way to the hospital, the Third Day song, Tunnel, came on the radio. The lyrics comforting and this became my anthem for the day. When I arrived, they hooked me up to an IV and I began filling out paperwork for the anesthesiologist. After a while, they noticed my IV wasn’t delivering fluids properly and began to push the needle around under the skin. They must have hit a nerve because I saw stars. It hurt so much. I began to sing the lyrics from Tunnel. When all of the hospital personnel were no longer in the room, my husband and I said very little. There was a peace and calmness that I could not describe that filled the room. We had a couple of visitors while we waited. But mostly we just sat there, holding hands.
At about 1:00pm my Doctor came into the room talked with us then prayed. Then they wheeled me into the OR. I received my spinal (while again singing Tunnel) and the surgery began. It was so eerily quiet in that room. No one was talking. I began to shiver and they gave me another blanket. I felt the pressure move around in my abdomen. I knew she would be taken soon. Then the pressure released. There was no first cry or gasp for first breath. It was all over. 1:26pm is the time that was written on the bassinet card they gave me. They wrapped her in a blanket and handed her to my husband. This is when it became really real to him. I could see the pain in his eyes as he held her little body. He brought her too me and I was at such peace at that moment. Then they took her away to weigh her and dress her. That is when I began to cry.
In the recovery room, we got to spend about a hour with her. We held her and had a very good friend who just started volunteering with the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation take some photographs. I held her and tried to memorize how she looked and how the light weight of 1 pound and 11 ounces felt in my arms. Then it was time to say good-bye. The nurse gave us just another few moments alone, then took her away.
I feel I must add that after all that I experienced these three days and all I will continue to experience, I have hope. I have hope because Christ has given me hope and I cannot grieve as those who have no hope. My hope is for the future and for a time when I will hold my baby girl again.
"... we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope." 1 Thessalonians 4:13