Monday, October 13, 2008

The hardest day of my life. . .

I should have done this weeks ago. I was afraid that I couldn't figure it out. I'm not very technical when it comes to computers and internet.

Anyhow, I wanted a place for people to go, so they could read about my husband's (Todd) and my angel son. I know some of our friends and family have questions, and some don't want to ask, so I will put it all here. I think it will help me in the healing process.

Last spring (April 2008) my husband and I decided it was time to add to our family. This time I got pregnant the first month we tried. We were excited but cautious. I had problems with two other pregnancies, they ended in m/c at 6 weeks and 5 weeks, prior to our beautiful daughter.
the end of April arrives with a me very tired. To the point I can hardly make myself get out of bed. We are supposed to go to a friend's wedding, and I plan on having a few drinks. My period isn't due for a couple of days, but the fatigue is all to familiar. I decide to take a home pregnancy test. I figured it would be a big fat negative, but wanted to be sure. I pee on the stick and set it down. I leave the bathroom for a couple of minutes, and come back. I nearly passed out, there are two lines. I am in shock, it took 4-6 months of trying before any of our other pregancies. Of course I am beyond happy. I wait a couple of weeks and set up the first appointment. I purposely schedule it for a little past 7 weeks, as I am pretty sure I will have an u/s, and I want to be past the previous two loss time frames. I am excited about our first appointment. It seems to take forever for the appointment to come. Todd and I go to the first appointment, and I do indeed get an u/s. There is our little one, hanging out and you can see the flash on the screen. I breath a sigh, there is a heartbeat. This is good. We are past the previous loss dates. I feel better.
The next appointment is at 11 weeks. The doctor gets out the doppler. It takes awhile, but we hear a heart beating and all is good. I breath another sigh of relief as we are almost to twelve weeks. After all, twelve weeks is the magic number right?? The next appointment is at 15 weeks. The doctor gets the doppler out again. Again it takes a little bit to find the heartbeat, and we laugh because "if this baby is this active now, just wait until you really feel it move." We are assured that the heartbeat is good and strong. So I really relax. What could go wrong now?
I had felt flutters occasionally and only for a short time but I was not worried because it was still early. We thought we were in the clear. We anxiously awaited the midpoint u/s, which was at 19 weeks. We decided that if the u/s tech was able to determine the sex, we wanted to know if the baby was a boy or a girl.
I was unprepared for what happened once the u/s started. The baby was just lying there, and did not look to be in a very comfortable position. The tech moved the wand, and still the baby just layed there, motionless. The tech measured a thigh. She then measured the head. The u/s tech then said "I think I will go get the Dr., I am having a hard time getting the measurements I need, and I would like him to see this in real time." I just new at that moment that something was wrong. I started to cry, but tried to stay positive. While the tech was trying to take measurements, we couldn't see the screen very well. I turned the screen towards us and pointed to the measurements. I told Todd something is wrong, look the measurements are only around 16 weeks, the baby should be 19 1/2 weeks. I also said that the baby hasn't moved the entire time. We tried to stay positive. The Dr. came in and asked how we were. He said you probably aren't very good right now. He then asked if I had any spotting or cramping. I stated no. He then said they could not detect a heart beat, and it looks as though the baby had died 2-3 weeks before the u/s. I had no signs, no cramping, no spotting, nothing to prepare me for this.
We were left alone in the room for "as long we needed". When we finally gathered ourselves, we were taken back to a room on the Dr.'s side of the building. The doctor came in and gave us our options. I could have D&C done, but he "didn't like to do them when babies are that big". I could go to the hospital and have an induction to deliver the baby, or I could let it happen naturally. Todd was supposed to work the next day, and of course wanted to be there, so we had to go home and make some arrangements. Part of our decision was based on that Dr. was going to be out of town that weekend (he said it typically took about 24 hours. We were also waiting to hear back from Todd's job, to find out if his shift could be covered. We didn't hear back from Todd's job until late that evening, so we decided to wait for Monday. I guess a small part of me was hoping that my body would recognize the baby had died and it would do what it was supposed to.
The weekend was terrible. I didn't want to go anywhere, because I didn't know if my body would realize the baby had died. I didn't know what to expect. I had so much to think about; I had alot to do at work, and was not anticipating being gone. We had to make arrangements for Brenna. My younger sister was in town. My baby had died, and I was walking around with a dead baby in my belly.
Monday morning came. We checked into the hospital and were sent up to Labor and Delivery. We were led back to a room. I stopped just outside and started crying. I was finally able to muster up the strength to go in the room. We went in the room and started the process. The nurse put in a hep-lock and we waited for the Dr. He came in and gave me a dose of Cytotec in suppository form. He came back at 1, and not much had changed. He had me take the Cytotec orally. He came back after 5pm. I had started having "cramps" but not much else had changed. These 36 hours were the worst of my life. For some reason, I thought this would all be easier once the baby was delivered and out of me. I just wanted the medicine to work and all of this to be over. I had another dose orally later that night. As the medicine began to work, the pain worsened and finally at around 9 pm, I asked for pain meds. When the Nusre J. brought in the meds, she asked if someone explained what would happen. No one really had yet. She explained that once everything started it would happen very quickly, and she would probably be the one to "deliver" the baby as the doctor would not have time to get there. She also asked if we wanted pictures of the baby. Did we want to see the baby? WHAT?? I didn't even know any of this was an option. I thought I would want to see the baby. Todd said he did not want to see the baby. I didn't know about pictures. Nurse J. said they could take pictures and put them in an envelope and we could look at them when we were ready. By morning nothing had progressed. I became very sick from the pain meds and started vomitting. I finally quit vomitting at noon. I took another dose of the medication orally. I had to have another dose at around 5 pm. The "cramps" were like labor. They came more frequently and continued to intensify. I asked for pain medication again. This time I had a reaction to the medication. The Dr. ordered demoral instead. I had two doses of demoral, and when the time passed and I could have had another dose, I didn't have time to get another dose. Everything happened so quickly. Finally it was over, our son entered the world sleeping at 8:27 pm Tuesday August 26th. We chose to see him. He had a perfect little nose, 10 fingers, 10 toes. He was very skinny and very red colored, but perfect in every way. The vision of him laying there lifeless is burned into my memory forever. Nurse J. could not tell if the baby was a boy or girl, but when the doctor looked at him, he said it looks like he was a little boy.
I had an overwhelming need to have him blessed, so the nurse called the Pastor on call. When the Pastor arrived, the nurse brought Will back in, and gave him to me to hold. She had wrapped a hand made blue afghan around him. Before the blessing the Pastor asked if we were going to have a service. I stated I wasn't sure because we didn't know we would even be able to have him blessed. The Pastor said he would find out and got a nurse. A nurse that we hadn't seen yet came in. She said that she would take the baby after the blessing was over. So the Pastor started the blessing, I don't remember most of it, I was crying so hard. I just kept wishing this were a bad dream I could wake up from. I do remember all of us, even Nurse J. saying the Lord's Prayer at the end. Then they took Will. The Dr. came back in the room and he visited with us, but again I don't remember much of what he said, except to make an appointment for a few days. We left that night. We did not know we could have the baby cremated or if we could take him to have him burried. We didn't know if we should have a memorial. I guess I hadn't thought that far ahead. I wanted to go home so badly, I didn't ask anything else.
There didn't seem to be any closure, the baby's gestational age was not far enough for him to have a death certificate, but I couldn't just let him go with nothing, no name, no memory. Todd and I decided to name him Will.
The next day was extremely hard. I cried to the point that I didn't think I could cry anymore. I never knew until that day that you can cry so hard and so much. My heart was broken, my abdomen was still slightly big, but EMPTY. It felt like someone had reached into my chest and ripped my heart out. Again, I just wanted it all to be a bad dream that I could wake up from. When I slept, I dreamt the events over and over again.
Nurse J. was with us both nights we were in the hospital, and I could never thank her enough for being so thoughtful, understanding, patient and simply wonderful. I don't think we would have got through everything without her help. She took pictures of Will's hands and feet. She weighed him and measured him and put everything, including the afghan, into a memory box.
That Thursday night (August 28), I had a huge meltdown, I really didn't think it could get worse, but it could. I panicked over where the baby went and what happened to his little body. I couldn't imagine his body being tossed out with the other bio-hazard materials. After my sister did some digging, by Friday afternoon I had located Will's body. The lab also gave me the information for a local funeral home that would cremate the baby, and they didn't charge for babies. Not that I was worried about the cost, I would have paid anything to have him back with us. The lab person I talked to even called the funeral home and made the arrangements. I felt somewhat better when we were able to bring Will home. His ashes are in an acorn shaped urn.
The next couple of weeks were a blurr. I don't remember how I managed to do anything. I went through the motions and I know I cried alot. I would go on walks/runs because the burning from running made me feel better. I managed to take Brenna to daycare, I figured she would get more from being there than staying home with me, watching me cry. This was very hard on her too. She was just understanding that there was a baby in my belly. She apologizes when I cry. I tell her she is not the reason mommy is crying, I am sad that Will went to be with Jesus.
I couldn't see pregnant people or newborn babies. I would have a panick attack and have to leave before I broke down.
I went back to work after two weeks. It was ok the first week, I had a lot to keep me busy. By the second week back to work, I was struggling. I could only focus on the baby being gone. I didn't care about the obligations at work I was not meeting. I was in a funk at home, snapping at Todd and Brennafor the littlest things. I would cry at the drop of a hat. It was worse when Todd was on night shift, I felt alone after Brenna went to bed. I also couldn't sleep, my dreams were always about the u/s when we found out Will was gone, about the hospital and seeing Will laying there lifeless.
We had some of the baby's tissue sent for testing. I was anxiously awaiting the results. After 4 weeks the Dr. called back. They were unable to get any results from the tissue. So we still do not know if something was chromosomally wrong or not. So Todd and I had chromosomal tests done, and spent time with a genetic counselor to rule out unbalanced chromosomes. We are also having a slew of other tests done to rule out other things. It will be a couple more weeks before we get those results back.