Sunday, October 21, 2007

Her Story Part II

See Her Story Part I below.

Today, seven years ago...

I open my eyes to see a nurse putting something on my door. She leaves and I ask my husband what it was. He tells me that its a mourning leaf and that it will let them know before entering the room that there is or will be a death. The contractions are long, hard and painful.

I wake up again and ask what day it is. I can't believe that it's only the 21st. The nurse tells me that I need to push and have the baby. She said I'll only get worse and that the baby hasn't had a heartbeat since yesterday. I ignore her. I wake up again to see my mom, my brother-in-law and my best friend in the room with us. Besides a saline I.V. and antibiotics I don't let them give me anything else. Since I'm not on any pain medication I don't understand why I can't stay awake.

My mom has cold towels on my head and whispers that I'll get through this and I'll be okay. I didn't know there was a question. It was my baby that was in need not me. My husband comes over and everyone else leaves. He tells me that he knows what I'm doing and that it won't work. That she can't be put back and that because of this my infection is getting worse. He said that was why I was slipping in and out of consciousness. He said he was sad too but that he couldn't lose us both. As I drifted back to sleep I thought that he was overreacting and should be more concerned and focused on the baby not on me.

I spoke to people here and there but didn't remember much, until...I overheard the Doctor (not mine, another from our HMO who had the next shift) talking to my husband as I was waking up.

Doctor, "She's getting worse. The antibiotics aren't working as well as we hoped they would."

Husband, "What are you saying?"

Doctor, "I don't think she's going to make it much longer. If she keeps the baby inside I'm afraid you're going to lose them both."

Husband, "I've already spoken to her and she doesn't want to..."

Doctor, "There is one thing. Because she has been going in and out of consciousness you can make the decision for her."

Husband, "I can't make her push."

Doctor, "No, but you can give us permission to sedate her and take the baby. Then she'll at least be able to recover. You don't want to lose them both do you?"

Long pause.

Husband, "Okay get me the paperwork."

Me, "Wait a minute, I'm ready."

I figured that if my baby was going to enter this world alive or not, I wasn't going to be knocked out. I was not missing the birth of my own baby. I wanted to give her more time but the choice was no longer mine. My mom was brought back into the room and I began to push. The Doctor warned me that she had probably died the night before and that I should prepare myself.

My beautiful baby girl was born at 10:10 a.m. She was 21 weeks and six days gestation. She was 9 3/4 inches long and weighed 13 oz. She was breech. She cried. Then she was immediately given to me.

The Doctor explained to me that she was too young to survive. I begged the Doctor to help her. She said that they could stick a tube down her throat to make her breathe a little longer. She said that it would be painful and traumatic and that she had absolutely no chance of survival. I loved this tiny baby and I didn't want to cause her any more suffering. Not if she had NO chance of life. Not after my own body that was supposed to protect her had just betrayed her with this abrupt eviction. I didn't argue.

Two nurses asked for my daughter to clean her up and...NO. I didn't know how long she would be alive. She could take her last breath at any time. They looked to the Doctor for instructions. She told them that they were to "Do whatever I wanted." Turning to me she said, "Keep her as long as you want. Do whatever you want. Call if you need anything." Then she walked out.

The nurses brought me warm blankets for her and cried every time they came in to replace them. From that point on the staff was more supportive than I had ever experienced. Nurses frequently checked on me.

She was perfect. My heart was so filled with love that I was afraid it would burst. I had never experienced this instant complete unconditional love before. I felt very blessed. I knew my baby would die (though my heart secretly hoped they were wrong and she would miraculously live) but I was grateful for this time however short it may be. I was grateful for having experienced pregnancy, giving birth and this love that made me feel at peace. I felt a oneness with her, with God, with the universe. I stared in awe as I cradled her in my arms.

It's now about 1:40 p.m. and I notice that her breathes are slowing. As I continue watching, the seconds between her exhales and inhales seem like hours. At 1:55 p.m. she exhaled for the last time. I waited. I begged. I cried...and still she wouldn't take even one more breath. I cried hysterically. My husband held her and prayed. And cried. He gave her to a nurse. I told her to give her back. I needed to hold her to keep her. I screamed for her. I pleaded and cried. She cried too, apologized and left the room with her. (I feel that I needed/wanted more time with her BUT my husband did what he thought was in my best interest and I understand.)

A nurse came in and asked if they could take pictures of her. I was appalled (inexperienced as I was). How could they photograph a dead baby? Mine? I said no (A decision I have always regretted.) She brought me a heart shaped box. What is this? She explained that it was made for these situations. I opened it to find a tiny (it would have fit her perfectly) dress, booties, a hat and a little blanket. This was beautiful and thoughtful and I still treasure it.

I was forever changed by her. She made me complete. I learned to love unconditionally. To feel intensely. To cry until I'm empty. To control my emotions better. I learned who my real friends were.

That day my heart was more full of love and joy than ever before. That day my heart was broken and crushed like never before. She will forever be a part of me. She is remembered by the people closest to me. I will be with her again in the resurrection.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Her Story Part I

It was seven years ago today...

I put myself on bed rest today. I feel like there is something wrong but I don't know what. In the last two weeks I've gone into my OB's office and said, "Please check me something seems wrong" about five times. I was checked the first time. As she showed me my bouncing (actually I think she was doing cartwheels) baby on the screen she assured me that all was well and that I had the first time mommy jitters. After the first time I was quietly ushered out by her nurse and told that the Doctor was very busy and said that everything was fine I should stop worrying. Thanks Doc.

Last night, upon receiving some bad news in a very stressful situation I began to feel some lower abdomen pain. A few hours later It was worse and was in my back too. I called my Doctor's office and though she wasn't available a nurse asked me a few questions. She reached the conclusion that I was just having some pregnancy constipation problems and should take something for it. Whew, I'm glad it wasn't serious. So I took something for it.

About an hour or two after I went to bed I was awakened by cramping and an urgent need to go. I try but nothing. ten minutes later same thing. An hour goes by, now it's every few (two to five) minutes. I can't sleep and wonder why what I took wasn't working. *{Of course I know now but at the time was in complete ignorance of these signs}* Still no blood, everything MUST be fine. Though I was completely unaware at the time, I lost my mucus plug early this morning. Finally I could sleep for an hour.

When I woke up I told my husband what had happened and he said I should call my Doctor again. I did. She wasn't available so I left a message. I called again two hours later. Same response. An hour later. Still, no response. I was getting nervous here. My husband said, "I don't care what she (Dr.) said, I'm taking you in!" I was glad to be going and find what was wrong but...I couldn't help feeling a little reluctant too. I mean how many times can you be ushered out as a silly, overly-worried-for-no-reason-nuisance before you feel shame at even thinking of going in and bothering them with, ummm...doing their job!

I went in to the local E.R. and because I was just over that 20 week mark was immediately sent up to L&D to get checked out. Ahhh, now we're getting somewhere. The Dr. on shift from our HMO was...of course, mine. That would be why she wasn't available to return my calls. Thanks Doc.

A nurse came in and strapped on all needed monitoring equipment. Her heart rate was staying in the 151 b.p.m. area. Good. Contractions were picked up. Must be some incredibly strong Braxton Hicks. All looks great for an entire hour with the small exception of having lost her heart beat after she moved at the end. She really moved. Not to be found.

Nurse, "All looks good, here's the discharge paperwork you need to sign. Follow the instructions and if you have any questions..."

Husband, "Wait a minute! Your sending us home just like that? She said something is wrong! And why was there no cervical exam done? Isn't that routine?!"

Nurse, "Of course, that's always done first. The first (as this was the second) Nurse did that."

Husband, "No she didn't."

Nurse, "Yes, I'm sure she did."

Husband, "No, I've been here the entire time and it was never done!"

Me, "It was never done."

Nurse, "That's odd. Give me that paperwork, I'll be right back."

First nurse comes in and begins then stops and without a word scurries out.

Us, "Wha..."

In comes another nurse, does the exam...ouch. She looks up at me, does it again and leaves the room. Not a word spoken. I ask my husband to gather my things since it was done and I was being discharged and...In march two orderly-nurses-something. They quickly unplug all machines lift bed rails and roll me out through the hall.

Me, "What are you doing?"

Orderly #1, "We're taking you to your room."

Me, "There must be some mistake, I'm being discharged."

Orderly #2, "No, you've just been admitted."

Me, "What, why!?"

Orderly#1 to Orderly #2, "No one told her?"

Me, reaching out and grabbing hold of a doorway, "I'm not going anywhere until someone tells me what's going on."

Orderly #2, "You're right I'm sorry, I thought you knew. I'll go get someone."

Here comes the last nurse. She has a poker face and speaks right through me.

Nurse, "You are being admitted. You are fully dilated and the baby is half way down the birth canal."

Me (with a blank look of shock on my face), "I'm only 21 weeks and 5 days, it's too early. What can be done?"

Nurse, "You will give birth and it will die. Nothing can be done."She turns and walks away.

I'm completely shocked.

Orderly #1 & #2 apologize for her rudeness.

While in my room they can't find a heartbeat and I am informed that the baby may have already died. They didn't know how long she had been half out and said that there was infection.
I had a plan. I had to hold on to my baby to give her every chance at life. I thought that if I kept her in me just a few more weeks she would have a chance. When the contractions came, when the urge to push came, I resisted. Floods of people came that night but I only remember a few. I was concentrating on keeping this baby. No matter what they said.

As it got later my fever worsened. I've waited sixteen years to give birth, lost a baby at seven weeks, gone through infertility drugs, injections, IUI's and fallen completely in love with this child. I will be sick yes but I will keep this baby safe...


Monday, October 15, 2007

Friday, October 05, 2007

Haiku Friday

He's grumpy and warm,
Shouldn't mommies know this stuff?
His molars are in!

These empty arms ache...
baby girl and her grandma,
can't feel their hugs now.

Flowers bloom in her
memory garden, and I...
remember and smile.

Haiku Friday

My friend S is going through a very difficult time right now. S, I just want you to know that I would be there if I could and you're always in my thoughts and prayers. Your not alone! Love you.

This hug is for you and...anyone else who needs one.

Some people like to get hugs, it makes them feel loved or protected or at least cared about. Others don't, it infringes on their personal space or they don't like the physical contact.

How about you? Do you like hugs and why?