Friday, December 31, 2010
There was one thing in the autopsy that made me smile:
"Appropriate for gestational age.
1. Weight: 319 grams (normal expected 174-452 grams)
2. Crown-Heel Length: 27 cm (normal expected 22.6-27.2 cm)
3. Crown-Rump Length: 19 cm (normal expected 16.0-20.0 cm)
4. Head Circumference: 16.5 cm
5. Foot Length: 3.4 cm (normal expected 2.7-3.9 cm)"
My boy was big and tall! He would have been a big, little guy.
Below this was the placenta pathology. It said: "Large blood clot, 6 cm in largest dimension, adherent to maternal surface."
6cm! I was appalled when I read that. This seems huge. I actually got out a ruler and looked at this measurement. That thing must have been about the size of a baseball. I was angry. How was something that large not seen on the ultrasound two days before? It seems impossible that something that large could grow in the short amount of time between the ultrasound on Thursday and the abruption on Saturday.
I have, the support group leader, Robin's words ringing in my ears. I spoke to her the day after the support group and I asked her more about her thoughts on Dr. H. She's a labor and delivery nurse and works with Dr. H regularly. She said she wasn't sure he was a liar really but that he had so many patients and always seemed in a hurry and maybe cut some corners. I couldn't get that phrase out of my head today. "cut some corners"
I was so alarmed and upset that I called Robin back today and told her about this 6cm clot. I also emailed my aunt, who is a nurse. They both said the same thing. A clot this large really could grow in a very short amount of time. My aunt said it could have been formed in minutes. My aunt said there is no way to know which happened first. The abruption causing the clot, or the clot formed first and caused the placenta to start separating. Robin said that even a full term baby would have struggled to survive this even if it happened in the hospital and was delivered immediately since the placenta tearing away would have taken the baby's oxygen supply.
I told Robin that her words were nagging at me. She apologized and said she should not have said that. That Dr. H. was a good doctor. That his medicine is solid but that she did think he rushed sometimes. She assured me that if he had seen something on the ultrasound he definitely would have done something. I wonder if she said that just to ease my mind. I doubt what everyone says now.
I know I'm desperately looking for some answers and probably seeing trouble where there is none. Could he have rushed through looking at our ultrasound and missed something? This thought haunts me.
I want to believe Dr. H is a good doctor and that there wasn't a thing he or I could have done to save Greyson.
I have to believe that.
I want to believe that this was all out of our hands. I loved my baby so much and did the best I could to care for him. I wish it had been enough or that the doctor had seen something or that it just wasn't part of our story.
2010 ended with the 4 worst weeks of my life. I never knew there could be this much pain in one person's heart. I'm not sure how I survived it and sometimes wonder how I will continue survive it.
But 2010 also gave me the 20 happiest weeks of my life.
I became a mother.
My fairytale really did come true in 2010,
only it was far too brief
and there is no happy ending for me.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
It was a mini-walk through hell within the bigger walk through hell my life has become. First of all, after I signed in the bouncy little girl at the desk asked if I was there for an ultrasound. I said, "No, I lost my baby 3 weeks ago." To which she responded, "Oh, I'm sorry. Did they still want you to have an ultrasound?" Umm...really? The physician's assistant who called me the week after it happened said she would take care of switching my folder. Further, I can't believe they don't train these children better. My GOD, what a thing to have to deal with. And the waiting...it was horrible. I nearly lost it several times but knew that if I did I wouldn't be able to listen or learn anything. I texted with MB and kept thinking...Stay focused, focused like a laser beam and learn as much as you can. The nurse, who I consider my nurse, did seem upset for me when she called me back for blood pressure and weight.
Dr. Hottie was genuinely kind and I might even say had a loving attitude toward me during our time together. In a doctorly way, not a creepy way. Intermingled with the medical stuff, he acknowledged everything I'm feeling. He said he knew how hard it was to come in there today and that it was a tough time of year to have something like this happen. He admitted up front that he doesn't really have the answers or know everything and that what he tells me today is his best guess. He took his time answering my questions, and was with me for over an hour.
He talked about how nothing could have been done by either of us to save the pregnancy or the baby. This is just something that sometimes happens. He was adamant that it was nothing I did that caused it. That there was no way I could have known an hour before when I felt the weird pressure what was happening and that even if I had called him when I felt the pressure it would not have changed the outcome. I asked him if he knew when I called him that it was over or soon to be over. He said he was very worried when I told him what had happened considering the amount of fluid and blood and that I was in the 20th week of pregnancy. He said he wanted me to have copies of everything related to the loss because he knew I was intelligent and a reader and researcher.
At one point, I commented that I was holding it together pretty well for our appointment. He said he was wondering about that. That he hadn't seen me show much emotion in the hospital and that had him very concerned and was why he had the assistant call to check on me the next week. I assured him that I wasn't doing very well with the emotional side of things at all but that I was a private cryer (In my head I'm thinking, he wasn't there the whole time in the hospital, what does he know about it). Later, I as I talked to my mom about the appointment she said she had been worried about the same thing, that I was so still in my body and my face was like granite in the hospital and I couldn't or wouldn't let go with emotions. I'm still not sure myself what was going on there. I think the idea of what was happening was so big and terrifying that I just couldn't get my head around it or maybe I was holding it in so tightly I was afraid of what letting loose would feel like.
We talked about antidepressants and I told him I thought I needed to be feeling what I'm feeling right now but how do I know when grief turns to depression? He said when it keeps you from functioning in your daily life. He said it was ok to cry everyday, I told him I cry a lot every day and he said that was to be expected. I told him there wasn't much I enjoyed, he said it was totally normal to feel like that after something like this. Later, I told him I was still bleeding lightly and he asked if it was ok for him to examine me in two weeks and we could revisit antidepressants then. I told him I'd probably have two more pages of questions for him by then. He said to bring them on, he'd answer anything he could.
I left feeling a tiny bit less tight in the chest, if that makes any sense. I still have some niggling worries and would perhaps want to change doctors in the future. This whole experience of losing Greyson has left me so unsure of everything, everything in the world.
Let the overanalyzing of every word the doctor says begin.
Questions for Doctor:
What exactly is what happened to us called: preterm labor, ruptured amniotic sac, PPROM? He walked in saying he thought it was an abruption so I didn't ask this one.
Death certificate says “abruption”? What is this and why wasn’t it seen on ultrasound? He walked in saying that he doesn’t really know, but his best guess is that it was an abruption. A clot or a vascular weak spot formed somewhere along the area where the placenta is attached to the uterine wall causing the placenta to detach. Once it detached the sac ruptured causing preterm labor. But really there is no way to know what happened.
Causes: None of these had anything to do with the abruption.
Age and weight? It was a donor egg so age was not a factor. I have no medical problems with weight such as diabetes or high blood pressure so that was probably not a factor.
Viral or bacterial infection? Gardnerella? Test? We were tested for these and it was negative.
Donor egg/Donor sperm? This is a more risky situation but probably did not cause the abruption.
Laptop use daily, sometimes actually over my abdomen? Not a cause.
Strenuous and long day a few days before and an activity where I had to reach up many times?
Not a cause.
My female donor has no knowledge of her father, could something in his background have led to this? Most likely not a cause but can't say for sure because we don't know what information we're missing.
Two days before at our 20 week ultrasound, you said you couldn’t see the bottom
of the heart and wanted us to have another ultrasound. Could this have something to do with it? Not a cause.
Greyson’s autopsy? The baby was totally normal. And all my blood tests came back normal as well.
I had a large gush of bleeding 12 hours after my four week internal ultrasound with Dr. A. They said it was caused by cervical irritation, old blood pooling at the bottom of the uterus and looking for a way out. Could this somehow be related? This could be related. There could have been a very small abruption at this time and then it healed itself but continued as a weak spot as the placenta and uterus grew. Again no way to know for sure. There was a lot of medical mumbo jumbo about blood in the uterus. He stated that any bleeding at all was considered not normal.
Is there something wrong with my uterus or cervix that it can’t hold things in? My uterus and cervix seem fine. On my 4 and 6 week ultrasounds with Dr. A my cervix was “long and closed”. Everything looked normal. I’ve read about something called “incompetent cervix” How do you know? Same answer as above.
Was there anything at all on the ultrasound indicating a problem of any kind? No, the ultrasound looked completely normal. It could have been on the ultrasound but they are in grayscale and you can’t always tell because even these days the quality of the picture is not good or sometimes the area with the abruption isn’t shown during that particular ultrasound.
I know the first gush of clear fluid was amniotic fluid, where did the blood come from?
A lot of medical mumbo jumbo on this one. What he said I think boils down to when the placenta pulled away from the uterine wall, some blood vessels tore loose with it, my and the placenta's? blood vessels are intertwined at this point. It could have been part my blood, part baby’s.
I was usually able to feel him move while still in bed in the mornings but I didn’t feel him the morning of the 4th. Was something already happening then? It is possible, the abruption could have already been pulling away or it could have been just one of those days he didn’t move. There is no way to tell.
If I had gotten to the hospital when I’d first felt the odd pressure an hour or so before, could something have been done? No, it was an acute case early in fetal development and happened very quickly, nothing could have been done even at this point.
Why was no medication given to stop labor when I got to the hospital? More medical mumbo jumbo. Something about it only being the 20th week and if labor did stop he probably wouldn’t have been able to keep the baby inside for as long as needed to become viable. And something about even if he could have miraculously kept him inside for that long, there would have been a high probability of the abruption causing a serious infection which could be dangerous or fatal to the baby and to me.
If I can gather my shattered soul for another try, when would be the soonest? Physically six months, only if I’m emotionally ready.
Is there a scan or test to tell if my insides are ok to try again? An internal ultrasound.
In, January you removed a polyp from my uterus, is there a chance that could have grown back by now? Yes, an internal ultrasound can see if there are polyps.
Do you think my periods will come back normally? Can’t be sure. Pregnancy sometimes causes periods to come back regularly for people who’ve had irregular ones before. (I've never had irregular periods.)
Considering that Dr. A. diagnosed me with diminished ovarian reserve a year ago…what does this mean concerning my periods and early menopause? It could be a concern, we'll wait and see what happens and take care of any problems as they arise.
What does this mean for trying again? My uterus is healthy and fine so pregnancy is possible with donor egg. A similar hormone protocol would probably be used to simulate a cycle. With medical protocal, technically a 100 year old woman could theoretically get pregnant if the uterus was healthy. I told him I feel 100.
What are the chances something like this happens again? Donor egg and IVF in general is more risky. No one can say what the chances are but it is fortunately something that this doesn’t happen very often. I told him it wasn’t fortunate for ME.
Is it MORE likely to happen again? Not more likely, probably less likely but can’t say for sure.
What are the chances I can survive it if it happens again? Didn’t ask it.
Are there precautions to take if I’m lucky enough to get pregnant again? Early and more frequent ultrasounds and consults with perinatologist/high risk OB.
How can you help me manage anxiety if I get pregnant again? Medication only if needed.
Would you be willing to see me as often as I need to reassure me of a safe pregnancy? Yes, he’d see me every day if I wanted. He has an “open door” policy and I could drop in any time for reassurance. He was sure to tell me not all places are like that.
What is the difference between you and a high risk OB/perinatologist? Perinataologist has more knowledge of high risk cases and the statistically odd things that can go wrong. While Dr. H. reads and researches only gyno and ob stuff, Periguy reads and studies only high risk research and articles and sees only high risk patients.
It is my understanding a high risk OB would work with you, do you think I need one? Dr. H would work with the periguy on a consultation basis. Dr. H would still be my OB and deliver baby. Yes, seeing a perinatologist would be a good precaution to take. Then he talked on about some doctors at SLU who would be the best to see.
Would I see the perinatologist before trying to become pregnant again? Yes, a prepregnancy consult would be advised. Sometimes the specialist can see things that might have been wrong that the regular OB can’t see. (I'm wondering why I wasn't sent there with this pregnancy although I know it probably wouldn't have changed things.)
Dr. A put two embryos in me, would this have happened earlier if there had been two? No way to tell, twins sometimes grow from the same placenta, sometimes they each have their own.
Should I have two put in if I try again? Yes, that is standard practice and very much increases the chances of getting pregnant.
Less chance of getting pregnant with frozen embryos, right? No, he thought it was still about the same with frozen embryos considering the newer technology and quick freezing.
Records of pregnancy and loss sent to Dr. A. Yes, they will be sent and a copy given to me as well.
Anxiety attacks? Normal to have these and will get better with time, he prescribed Xanax.
Raging headaches when I wake up? Again normal, probably stress related and will get better with time.
How do you know I don’t have PCOS?
--heavy esp. on top, infertility, weird hair growth, you removed some cysts 5-6 years ago during a D & C.
He thought I did have a very mild form of it but that I didn’t have the metabolic portion of PCOS that would affect pregnancy. (I don't remember hearing of this before.)
I've already begun a new list including:
Why wasn't I sent to the periguy to begin with?
Would you have been able to see the abruption with a 3-D ultrasound?
How do I know if I'm emotionally ready to try again?
Would it have changed things if I didn't have the 6 week internal ultrasound?
Should I have internal ultrasounds in the future?
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Let me know if I've missed any....
Questions for Doctor Hottie:
What exactly is what happened to us called: preterm labor, ruptured amniotic sac, PPROM?
Death certificate says “abruption”? What is this and why wasn’t it seen on ultrasound? Why the discrepancy with what I was told in the hospital?
Miscarriage or stillbirth?
Greyson's autopsy results?
Age and weight?
Viral or bacterial infection? Test?
Donor egg/Donor sperm?
Laptop use daily, sometimes actually over my abdomen?
Strenuous and long day a few days before and an activity where I had to reach up many times?
My female donor has no knowledge of her father, could something in his background have led to this?
Two days before at our 20 week ultrasound, you said you couldn’t see the bottom
of the heart and wanted us to have another ultrasound. Could this have something to do with it?
I had a large gush of bleeding 12 hours after my four week internal ultrasound with Dr. AA. They said it was caused by cervical irritation, old blood pooling at the bottom of the uterus and looking for a way out. Could this somehow be related? Is there something wrong with my uterus or cervix that it can’t hold things in? I’ve read about something called “incompetent cervix” How do you know?
Was there anything at all on the ultrasound indicating a problem of any kind?
I know the first gush of clear fluid was amniotic fluid, where did the blood come from?
I was usually able to feel him move while still in bed in the mornings but I didn’t feel him the morning of the 4th. Was something already happening then?
If I had gotten to the hospital when I’d first felt the odd pressure an hour or so before, could something have been done?
Why was no medication given to stop labor when I got to the hospital?
If I can gather my shattered soul for another try, when would be the soonest?
Is there a scan or test to tell if my insides are ok to try again?
In, January you removed a polyp from my uterus, is there a chance that could have grown back by now?
Do you think my periods will come back normally? Considering that Dr. AA diagnosed me with diminished ovarian reserve a year ago…what does this mean concerning my periods and early menopause? What does this mean for trying again?
What are the chances something like this happens again? Is it MORE likely to happen again?
What are the chances I can survive it if it happens again?
Are there precautions to take if I’m lucky enough to get pregnant?
Would you be willing to see me as often as I need to reassure me of a safe pregnancy?
What is the difference between you and a high risk OB?
It is my understanding a high risk OB would work with you, do you think I need one?
Dr. AA put two embryos in me, would this have happened earlier if there had been two?
Should I have two put in if I try again?
Less chance of getting pregnant with frozen embryos, right?
How do you know I don’t have PCOS?
--heavy esp. on top, infertility, weird hair growth, you removed some cysts 5-6 years ago during a D & C.
And here is the wild and crazy version where each year we pose as a holiday related item. I'm not really sure how this tradition got started but sadly it was not as a result of imbibing holiday cocktails. This is just how crazy and silly we are normally. I love us:
So many laughs and silliness with my girls today and inside jokes that wouldn't be understood even if I tried to explain them here. As well as sharing the good and bad stuff that is going on in our lives during "circle time" (Ovaltine! to any of my girls if you're reading). It was like having a few hours sweet relief from the exhaustion of grieving my pregnancy and my Greyson. How many things make me laugh these days, genuinely laugh? Not many but these girls can do it.
I was thinking about them on the drive home, while the pain came crashing back. How many things do I really enjoy now. I thought about things I used to do and enjoy before losing my baby and not many of them appeal to me now. I do stuff, I pass the time. But very few things can I really say distract me or that I really enjoy now.
Being with these girls is something I can say I really do look forward to and enjoy in these dark times. Thank you, Yas!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
What struck me about these women was how they cherished their stillborn children. I could hear the love in their voices as they reminisced about Christmas ornaments or memorial gardens. They were able to actually joke about odd little things that would still make them cry. They acknowledged that they were forever changed after losing a child. They talked of their children without reservation or worrying that it would make somebody uncomfortable. This was a place where it was ok to say my child's name or the words "dead baby".
They said it would get easier and I could see that it had somehow gotten easier for them over time.
During the conversation, I had made some comments about my doctor and the two veterans had said things about theirs' too. We came to the conclusion that we all had the same doctor, but that both of them had switched to his partner after their losses. They both thought that the partner was wonderful and much better with the emotional side of things. Apparently, he has experienced infertility and prenatal loss with his wife. The leader, who is a nurse in labor and delivery as well as a prenatal loss veteran, implied that she thinks Dr. Hottie is a liar but I never caught exactly why. I know this conversation could be considered highly unprofessional but it was all said with such kindness and concern and only after I kept asking questions. Technically it was all said after the official meeting.
Good conversation because I know I'm not alone in these feelings about Dr. Hottie and not the first person to switch. The leader even said she would talk to the partner about me switching. Not that it really matters unless I get pregnant again.
Bad conversation because we know I'm harboring much resentment toward Dr. Hottie (Who else is there to take it?) and had been wondering if he's a liar by my own experience and thinking about switching doctors. I know it's an emotional thought, I have no proof of lies. I think liar is a harsh word but I'm wondering if he sometimes says what you want to hear to calm you down, give you hope, etc.
Going into this appointment on Thursday with these thoughts in my head is probably not a good thing. I'm very anxious about going and am hoping that I'm able to hold it together emotionally so I can think straight and get as much information as I can.
Monday, December 27, 2010
My grandparents built this home in 1969, when my parents got married and took over the farm and farmhouse. My grandfather did quite a bit of the building and I liked seeing what I know to be his touches. Pieces of a yardstick used as shims, pieces of plaster patched together behind the soffit because nothing must be wasted, five different types of screws because they came from the collection he kept in a jar.
Clearly Grandpa didn't think the wall should ever or would ever come down. Dad and E had quite a time getting the wall out. Not as easy as it looks on HGTV. It was kind of frightening the way chunks of plaster and giant wooden splinters went flying clear across the room and yet the wall didn't budge. Someone could have put an eye out. So I didn't get to swing the sledge after all. My job was to carry out the larger pieces of plaster and wood and to constantly sweep up the smaller ones. Dust, dust, dust. Everywhere, fine, fine dust. It's still in the air now.
I had anxiety attack after anxiety attack during the first hour or two. I just kept thinking it was all for my Sweet Pea. A beautiful, new kitchen with a dishwasher to sanitize those baby bottles and with plenty of space for sippy cups and baby food jars. Especially with Dad and E working so hard and having trouble. E kept making snarky comments and I know he wasn't wild about the idea of him and Dad doing the work from the start. And I think he's frustrated that I'm not excited or wanting this anymore. At one point when they had most of the wall down, he jokingly (I think) asked me if I wanted them to quit. I wish it had been practical for me to say what I really felt. "Yes, just quit, I don't care anymore." But I just tried to laugh.
Clara kept me up most of the night last night with a restless little whine. I don't think she's in pain but she may be having some discomfort or just couldn't find a comfortable position. The fentanyl pain patch only lasts 3-5 days. The vet prescribed a stronger oral pain medication so I hope she gets some relief and I get some sleep.
Kitchen looks like a war zone, boxes storing kitchen stuff everywhere, microwave and toaster oven in the living room, Christmas tree half up and half down, a gimpy dog and don't forget soul sucking grief. I don't want to think about any of it anymore. I think I'm going to take a very hot shower, wash all this dust out of my hair and go to bed.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
We celebrated Christmas with Dad's family, my aunt, uncle and two of their three girls, with their families. I love my cousins and even today enjoyed catching up with them. We only see each other a few times a year. Everyone was kind, no one really mentioned what happened to us. My pregnant cousin did ask how I was doing and how great it was I had friends supporting me. Yes, but MY BABY IS DEAD and I'm in a black hole of sadness is how I wanted to answer.
I fought small anxiety attacks all day and teared up more than once.
I just don't understand how some people can be so happy and have such perfect lives and it's all so easy for them. All three of my cousins are thin, blonde, married their college sweethearts and are able to be stay at home moms. For the love of god, they each have one little boy and one little girl. It's all just too damn perfect.
I saw the liveliness, the children all playing, the laughter, the craziness today and I choked with sad guilt thinking that this is what our family should be like too. E's family and what should be mine together and happy like my aunt's family. But instead my life is in a hole and my whole family is affected, especially my mom. The minute they all left, we looked at each other with relief and after tidying up a bit, started crying. It's not right that my family should be in pain because of my choices and my pathetic life. I can't bear it and I don't know how to make it better.
I feel like I've tried and tried to be happy but I always mess everything up or it somehow gets messed up. I worked hard at getting pregnant. Having a family was my chance at real happiness and now it's wrecked.
I don't understand. I don't understand at all.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
I'm so very glad I have these children in my life:
Their joy and excitement is what it's all about. Mom and Dad had gotten them a trampoline and Stretch was super excited, jumping around and screaming. Dollface didn't seem to understand and sort of wandered off singing Rudolph.
E and I usually enjoy watching A Christmas Story together and laughing our butts off but somehow that didn't happen this year. While he and C were watching it I was helping the girls decorate the misfit cookies from yesterday. I watched it later while Dad fell asleep. Not as funny without E there.
There were some tough moments to be sure and my heart's been aching very badly thinking about what should have been the happiest Christmas of my life only to be superseded by next Christmas, Baby's First.
I was joking around, suggesting that they set up the trampoline next to the pool. C said she wanted her children to survive their childhood, haha. I had a hard time but I think I kept my face calm. She was joking, I know. She didn't even realize what she'd said. I wanted my child to survive his birth and childhood too.
Tomorrow we celebrate with my aunt and her family. I'm dreading it. I haven't seen my uncle or cousins since well before it happened. More awkwardness. My cousin is pregnant and due about 2 months before I was. They actually offered to skip it this year but I thought we should still get together. If I'm having a tough time, I can slip out. I'm anxious for all the celebrating to be over.
I'm worried about Clara. She's doing ok with the leg but she hasn't gone pee in over 24 hours. She went when we got home from the vet and yesterday a few times but nothing since 2pm yesterday. I thought she might be going in the house somewhere but I can't find any spots and don't smell anything.
Bonus photo of Greyson's necklace from Kim and Libby...thanks again, girls. I don't know if you chose the clear crystal in the middle but his birthstone would have been a diamond if he'd stayed with me full term.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Now I'm unbelievably melancholy.
Lonely but couldn't bear to be around anyone.
It's UNTHINKABLE to celebrate the birth of His son while mine is in a grave.
Wondering what the hell He's doing with my life and if he's even out there.
And what the hell is there to celebrate.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Here she is lovin' that cone collar:
Frankendog with her 20 staples: (Hope this pic isn't too graphic to put on here.)
Xrays showing the plate, screws and 20 staples that now hold my dog's bionic knee together:
A FAKE bone showing what the veterinarian did:
It's going to be a long recovery I'm afraid. While she was on the leash and hobbling gently around the yard with a sling under her back end she looked so longingly at the pasture that surrounds our house.
In the afternoon, I helped Mom wrap gifts. This was one of my holiday jobs as a kid, one year I even wrapped gifts that were for me. She's tried several times over the years to teach me her patented technique of cutting wrapping paper using a butcher knife. This really does make the straightest, cleanest and fastest cuts.
First you use the butcher knife to poke a hole in the spot where you want to make the cut:
Then you fold the paper using the little cut as a guide:
Make sure it's a good, crisp crease and straight!
Use the butcher knife to cut along the crease. And viola! A perfect, straightly cut piece of paper ready to create the perfect package.
This is usually what happens when I try it:
In the evening, I went with E's family to look at Christmas lights. This is something I love to do but rarely have anyone to do it with and I was holding it together pretty well today so I was glad they invited me. Dollface had written a get well note to Clara and she was surprised when Clara wrote back. She pointed out that Clara couldn't write, and I told her that Clara had told me what to write down. So sweet.
She also gave me a picture she'd drawn of our family at Christmas. All of us on a Christmas background and me with a baby in my arms and standing in front of a black hole. "Because your baby died." C apologized, I didn't cry and nothing more was said. I had thought that the children were basically unscathed by all of this. I don't know what they have been told, very hard for a 5 year old to understand.
Or a 39 year old.
Once again I'm hating that my situation has brought awfulness to my family.
The mail is now full of emotional bombs on a daily basis. Formula coupons, a hospital bill, a flyer for an infant loss support group. But I knew something more horrible than any of those has been on it's way and I knew would break me into pieces and it came today.
Greyson's death certificate.
But I didn't break into pieces. Probably because something else also came in the mail today. Something that eased the blow and distracted me. Something so thoughtful and kind from someone I don't even know IRL. Kim from The ART of Baby Making and her sweet friend Libby sent me a beautiful little necklace. I just love looking at Greyson's name on the inside. (pics coming tomorrow because my crappy camera can't take pics of sweet little things in my dim house at night without too much flash...grr)
Kim and your sweet friend Libby-- I'm not even sure what to say to thank you for this kind-hearted gift. How did you know when to send it so that it came just when I needed it? Thank you for your thoughtfulness and for your impeccable timing. Thank you for being part of my blogworld and helping me to survive. xoxoPaige
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
When I told my Yayas I was pregnant, I was so excited and very, very happy. Without a doubt, the happiest I've ever been in my life. I remember saying to MC that if it all ended right then, I wouldn't regret it because it had been the happiest 10 weeks of my life. She said it was about damn time I had some happiness. Now it's ended and I have no regrets at all about becoming pregnant but I wish I hadn't thought or said that. I didn't want it to end. I didn't. I wanted my pregnancy to end in the 40th week with a healthy baby. I wanted to keep being happy.
This next one is really, really bad:
After the horrible preacher meeting during which he'd said I'd committed a mortal sin by becoming pregnant in the manner I did, I was so upset. I want to be clear that I DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT believe ANYTHING that jackass said but in the day or so that followed, I'm ashamed to admit that I had the thought that if it's a mortal sin, I want it out. I didn't want it out. I really didn't want that at all. I didn't. I wanted my baby to live.
I can't survive this guilt, this pain.
It's choking me and I can't breathe.
I can't escape these thoughts.
I just want my baby back.
I'm so sorry I ever had these bad thoughts.
I won't have any more bad thoughts ever again.
Please, please, please give me my baby back.
Except the dog, none of it matters. I tried hard to get excited about the cabinets but just couldn't. I tried to joke with the delivery man about getting a new kitchen for Christmas but it felt fake. I'm trying....
Where is the how-to manual for this grief, this pain, for moving on, past, beyond? "What To Expect When You've Had A Still Birth" When I was ttc and then pregnant and reading ttc/pregnancy blogs it seemed that I had many things in common with a lot of people. Now, it seems that although there are a lot of miscarriage/still birth blogs out there, I'm alone in my particular club.
I wanted to thank the people who are still reading and commenting. I can read them now and I'm grateful that you all care and take time to comment. I'm not sure I could do the same if I were in your shoes. Seems this blog has just become a dumping ground for pain and I'm sure it gets old reading about it over and over. How many ways can I write about my destroyed heart, soul, world? But somehow I need to.
I am back to reading a few blogs. I try to comment but can't seem to yet. Soon, maybe....
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
My dad actually suggested having her put down. After which I began to cry. So insensitive.
The house sure is empty without her.
SC and I go to the same counselor. I haven't been to counseling for 3 years and I couldn't get an appointment until January 10. SC had an appointment for tonight and she generously gave it to me. She pretty much insisted I take it. This is one of the nicest things anyone has done for me through all of this.
Not sure what to say about counseling. In the past, I always walked out of there feeling stronger. Not this time. I feel only broken and exhausted. We seemed to cover a lot but it just didn't seem to help at all.
I told her one of my big worries. I made it clear that I'm not going to harm myself but I think a lot about being with my baby and it seems such a long life to live without him. I told her all about wanting to put the casket in my purse and having the crazy thought of myself running down the street with it under my coat. And wishing everyday that he was with me or I was with him. She didn't bat an eyelash.....but she didn't really say it wasn't crazy either.
She asked about what happened in the hospital, what it took to get pregnant, if I held him and what he looked like and if I named him. She asked about the funeral. She asked what I have to remember him by. She asked how the crying was going. I almost told her to just read this blog.
She asked how much in love I was with my baby.
She asked about trying again.
She told me one in three pregnancies end in miscarriage.
She said many of the things everyone else has said. It takes time, the hurt will never go completely away, etc. She seemed pleased that I write so much and that I'm planning on going to a support group.
I wish I could say I felt stronger or felt some sort of comfort, but I don't.
Monday, December 20, 2010
I returned the funeral man's message, he just wanted me to know he was dropping the death certificate in the mail unless I needed it quickly, then I could come get it. Still hard to believe that there is a death certificate with my son's name on it. It just can't be.
I feel as though my world is gone. Just dropped out from under me.
I'm able to be distracted and can even laugh and smile but when the distraction is over, my world is still gone.
For weeks my dog, Clara, has been limping and even after I took her to the vet and got pain medication for her it seemed to get worse. She's very timid and her look of betrayal when I left her at the vet's for x-rays today was about more than I could handle. The x-rays showed that she has snapped a ligament in her knee. I have to take her to a specialist tomorrow who will probably want to do surgery. I can't stand that she's in pain and that I've let it go on for any amount of time. I wonder what she thinks is going on around here. Strangers showing up all the time, me making weird howling noises and no happiness in the house anymore.
Yas invaded me tonight. They brought dinner and themselves which is good for my soul. A lot of laughs. I haven't laughed hard like that (and meant it) since before. We were laughing a lot about what we saw here: http://www.awkwardfamilyphotos.com/. Also, about a story my aunt, who was a visiting nurse at the time, tells about an elderly teacher who had lost her mind and could only say the words, "piece of paper". We're mostly teachers so we could all picture ourselves in this situation. With them here I could be normal, for a while anyway.
What can I say about these women? My friends. From that first day home from the hospital, they showed up and showed me how strong friendship can be. They kept showing up. They've stared down my pain and didn't look away even at the ugliest of times when it would have been easy to stay away and avoid seeing the broken woman I've become. Other than Mom, no one else has had the strength to hold me, be with me, listen to me cry and keep me from sliding over the edge. They remind me there is still life out there. They are strong for me when I can't be, breathe for me when I can't and get me to laugh even when I think I can't. If you're reading, girls, I love you all and I'll never forget that you showed up and didn't look away.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Dad seems to be pretty much over the death of his grandson or at least that is the face I see. He is still supporting me and makes it a point of checking on me everyday. He'll use some little excuse to call but I know he's really calling to make sure I'm ok. Mom is having a very difficult time with the aftermath. I'm really worried about her. In many ways, I think this has been harder on her than on me. She has either called or seen me daily since it happened but doesn't camouflage why she's calling.
They were invited to a Christmas party shortly after I came home from the hospital. Nearly immediately Dad was on Mom about going. Part of the difficulty is that very few of Mom's friends have reached out to her at all and she's mad about it. Not to mention, she, like me, just does not feel like celebrating. Dad has a different view, he thinks that because they got two sympathy cards and a holiday party invitation that Mom should feel fully supported and be moving on with life.
The party was last night. He had no problem going to the party and celebrating with their friends. Mom has complained daily for a week that she doesn't understand how he can go and that it's highly inappropriate for him to go but she won't stop him from going. She told Dad not to talk about her at the party and she stayed home last night.
I've had to hear both sides of this story multiple times over the last week. I don't understand how Dad can go on as though nothing has happened either but I do understand that we all handle crap like this in our own way. I feel terrible that Mom doesn't seem to have any comfort other than me and I know I've been in such pain myself that I've done an awful job of it. I've tried to talk to her about seeing a counselor but I doubt she'll ever go.
I had hoped that since the party is over, I wouldn't have to hear about it anymore but this morning Dad called to "see if I wanted to go out to brunch." I was in a crapass mood when he called. These mornings at home are difficult. Anyway, he brought up the party and said he'd had such a good time and he wished Mom would have gone. I'm pretty sure he was feeling guilty about going and wanted me to make him feel better about it. I think he said it wasn't true that her friends aren't reaching out to her. I just said, "Well, Dad, her grandson died two weeks ago, maybe she didn't feel like going to a party." He didn't say too much about it after that.
Later my brother even brought it up asking if I thought that is was very inappropriate for him to go. I just said I couldn't have gone, but that we all handle things like this differently and that I was concerned for Mom because she was taking all of this very hard.
I wish my kid hadn't died and that my situation wasn't putting us all in this crapfest.
My nieces came over to help me decorate the Christmas tree. It was so good to be around their liveliness. To them everything is just normal and I almost felt normal being around them. I even put on some Christmas music and actually enjoyed it. There were some very difficult moments like when Dollface started playing with the toy nativity set I have or when we unwrapped the ornaments the girls have made over the years and I choked up thinking that my boy will never play with the set or make ornaments.
I think today will be the first day that I haven't cried really hard.
I have cried, just not big, gut wretching sobs.
This seems wrong.
I did cry really hard today after all.
Shortly after I posted, thinking about the funeral and the hell my family is going through.
Crying seems just as wrong as not crying.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
I love looking at my son's name in print:
His angel on the hospital wall:
When I write it on a foggy window:
And I love reading it when you mention him in your comments to me on this blog.
I thought everyday while I was pregnant about what to name my child but I hadn't really cut down the list at all. After I compiled all my favorite names and my friends voted for fun, I'd let the decision just lay there and simmer. Cutting the list in half when I found out he was a boy was about as much as I'd thought about it. I'd foolishly thought I still had plenty of time to make such an important decision.
He was still (and always will be) Sweet Pea to me.
Greyson was on my list of favorite names and I liked it but if he had lived that probably wouldn't have been his name. There were other names I liked better. In the hospital, wondering how I'd survive and thinking a million other heartbroken thoughts, I knew I could not send him away with only Baby Boy as a name. I considered naming him after my dad and/or my brother but it didn't seem right to put those names in the ground with such sorrow. To be honest, Greyson was the only name from my list that came to me during that time in the hospital. I just couldn't remember any others. The name Greyson had won the vote for the boy names on FB and at school. I didn't recall that until I'd been home for a while but that is probably why it came to mind when I had to choose the name my son would carry into his grave.
I couldn't think of a middle name so I gave him the middle initial P. Because we called him Sweet Pea and because P. is my initial too.
Now I love his name and it seems right for him.
I would really prefer to forget the whole kitchen project. It was all for the baby anyway. I just couldn't see having a baby with such a small kitchen and no dishwasher so in the middle of my pregnancy I charged headfirst into the excitement of a serious remodel. I had just ordered the cabinets the week before and paid for them the day I found out he was a boy. The designer I had been working with at the Hardware Megamart was so very excited for us.
Now I just can't fathom having a fabulous new kitchen with no baby.
I don't want the kitchen anymore.
Take the kitchen and give me my baby.
But the nonreturnable cabinets are ordered and arriving Wednesday. Mom needs to know I'm ok and wants to help with all the design choices. Dad is desperate for projects and has said a few times that he's excited to get started. So onward we go...
I'm thinking the wall that's coming down has my name on it along with a sledgehammer.
Friday, December 17, 2010
I hate that I'm uncomfortable to be around.
I hate that my coworkers can laugh and have fun when my only child is in the ground.
I hate watching that other teacher walk around with her baby bump.
I hate witnessing some people just popping out babies one after another and they don't even seem to cherish them.
I want to quit immediately. My local Subway is hiring.
Now, let me talk about how I hate all this damn jolliness that is around. I hate being asked if my shopping's done. I hate having to actually do the shopping and I really hate that of the three ideas I have for my mother's gift, none of them can be here until after Christmas. I previously loved Christmas music, now hate it. I hate that I'm only putting up a tree because my nieces want to come and help me decorate it. I hate that I have a row of sympathy cards where a row of Christmas cards should be.
I hate that there is all this crap I have to do to "celebrate" the birth of Baby Jesus.
None of it matters, I want to scream, because my baby is dead.
And I hate FB, way too much happiness on there.
I hate the exclamation marks that someone uses on their FB comments to me.
"Love you, Paige!!"
What is there to shout or be excited about?
What do they think this is? A damn party?
I hate that people say it's so nice that I'm off for 2 damn weeks. I hate that there are endless hours of "vacation" in front of me that I have to fill up with meaningless activity to distract myself from this grief that is crushing me.
I hate that every activity is now meaningless.
I also hate that I'm still bleeding.
I hate that squirty bottle I have to use after I go to the bathroom.
I hate that there are no answers and never will be.
And I hate Dr. Hottie.
I hate that no matter how hard I try, I don't act or sound normal.
I hate all this unstoppable crying.
I hate that I'm crying less and less each day.
I hate that I'm still breathing and he is not.
Most of all, I hate that this is all about me, not about my beautiful baby boy.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I won't be ok for a very long time, if ever.
The nurse practitioner, Monica, from Dr. H's office calls to follow up with me. I'm not ok, I want to scream. And even though I've been asked how I am many times and have answered. This time I'm silent for a second before saying I'm learning to breathe again. She says sympathetic things, she says they do not have the baby's test results yet. She asks if I'm coming in for a check up. I ask her to change my appointment on the 30th from an OB appointment to a check up appointment. In my head, I say "Dead Baby Appointment". I tell her I have a lot of questions for the doctor. She says of course I do and she'll see me on the 30th. Try to have a nice Christmas she says.
It is exhausting me trying to convince people I'm ok. There was an ice storm last night so no school today. Dad called up and wanted me to come to the warehouse for burgers. I didn't really want to go. I really wanted to go back to bed and nurse this almighty pain. But I made myself go. Dad's employee and our family friend, R was there. I had a hard time holding up my end of conversation and there were silences.
My parents are grieving the loss themselves and they are very worried about me and I can't stand that. This situation has aged them. The pain and worry on their faces is almost more than I can bear. My brother and SIL don't really talk to me but ask Mom about me often.
I have to show them all I'm ok, no matter if I'm am or not.
I'M NOT OK.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Everyone went out to lunch. Jae had brought her lunch and stayed with me at school. I told her I feel like I'll be a crabass for the rest of my life. She said, you will feel like a crabass until you don't anymore.
I feel sorry for the people who have to be around me.
District wide professional development in the afternoon. I feel like I've been dodging and weaving in uncertain territory. Not sure who will speak to me of what happened, who knows and is ignoring it or who doesn't know. I sat next to our school social worker all afternoon and I don't think she knows what happened to us. She didn't say anything about it and acted so totally normal. I couldn't really turn to her and say, "Hey, did you hear my baby died?" I'm just waiting to run into the first person who doesn't know I've lost him and says something to me about pregnancy or due date or something. What wretched milestones I have yet to experience.
The school nurse came up to me and told me she'd had three miscarriages. I can't believe how many people are walking around with this kind of pain and they appear completely normal. I feel like I appear damaged and that I'll forever be damaged goods.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I was really unsure what to expect. Mostly people tried to pretend things were normal but with great discomfort and sadness in their eyes. Lots of hugs and shoulder pats. I was surprised no one said the words, "I'm sorry for your loss." or anything about the baby at all. Mostly people asked me how I was or just patted me on the shoulder. LP bounced up to me with a smile on her face and hugged me. I didn't get that but whatever. KG offered to help me do quarterly testing even though she's terribly busy with the Holiday Program. Mrs. W came into my classroom while the kids were there and kissed me on the cheek. KO was very kind and talked to me of when she lost her mother, how she couldn't remember very much of the following year. Talking to her was the one time I choked up. Jae didn't offer sympathy on the phone last week or in person. I guess she tried to act normal, still offering to do anything for me and taking my recess duty so I could test kids. The other (now only) pregnant woman in the building did stop by at the end of the day to see me. She stood at the door as I complained to her about the substitute who left things in a bit of a mess for me. She was kind and I know she must understand how awful it will be to be around her for a while.
The most difficult part of the day was the Holiday Program practice. I guess the sub didn't take the kids to music last week and so they have no idea what to do during their song. Sort of a Mexican circle dance. I could hardly bear the cheerful music and when I realized I had to get in there and dance along with them to show them what to do, it was hard to hold it together. Very difficult to face all this damn jolliness when nothing seems jolly to me right now.
The best part of the day was seeing the smiles on my kids' faces and getting their hugs. It had been a rough week for them without me. I could see them relaxing into our routine like it was an old bathrobe. We worked hard, trying to make up what fell through the cracks with the sub and doing quarterly testing which we are far behind in.
I wish I could say it felt like some sort of triumph but I feel like I'm at the end of a marathon while somehow having just taken the first step. Not that I know what running a marathon feels like.
When I got home, my professor called me and asked couldn't I please work on and turn in the final exam tonight. I tried to explain that I hadn't even started on it, that I had looked at it over the weekend but couldn't make myself focus. I even started to break down. She pretty much insisted that I do it. When I got off the phone with her, I cried hard for the first time today. Here I make it through the day and this comes crashing down on me.
I did finish the final and had just mailed it when she called me back. She was so nice, explaining that the real teacher (she's subbing for a sabbatical) had been standing right there while we were on the phone before and had insisted that it was university policy that if a student didn't turn in a final, they had to get an incomplete. She told me to just write something down, anything, a sentence or two and send it. She would cover for me. I do think she was glad to hear I'd written it and sent it though. She was so kind. She had had a loss herself in the 15th week many years ago. She was so complimentary saying that she'd be glad to have me as a coworker.
Glad this day is over.
Monday, December 13, 2010
I've heard very little from any of my coworkers, people I thought I was so close with. People who just the day before had shared our ultrasound on the Smartboard and rejoiced with me. I did get many comments and messages on FB and flowers but it's not the same as human contact. I'm imagining that when I go back I'll be sort of a pariah.
On Thursday last week I did call Jae and was not able to hold it together very well. Talking to her was so hard because she was Sweet Pea's best "school auntie". I had never seen a nurturing side of her until I got pregnant. She gave me a granola bar everyday "for the baby" and she tried to look out for us. She swore Sweet Pea was a boy from the start and vowed to teach him about sports. She adored him from the start.
She said everyone was just shocked and asked her everyday if she'd heard anything from me. And she said my kids missed me.
I sent her this letter which she distributed to my coworkers for me:
I want you all to know that you’ve shared the happiest 20 weeks of my life. On Friday when I showed everyone our ultrasound DVD, I really felt your joy too. I thought that my baby was a little bit all of yours’ too. Thank you for being excited with me and caring so much for someone who was so important to me.
I know you may have been thinking of me and wondering what happened. On Saturday, I rushed to the hospital after a gush of fluid and blood. They told me my baby had very little amniotic fluid around him, the amniotic sac could not be repaired and the only thing I could do would be to lie on my back very still and hope the fluid would rebuild. It did not and my poor baby couldn’t survive without the fluid around him. I came home Sunday evening and had to start planning how to put my sweet Greyson into the ground. This has been a very hellish nightmare and it’s not over for me, nor can I imagine it will ever be over.
I’m planning on attempting to come back to school on Monday. I’m still very fragile but it will be good to be around “normal” (those of you who are…lol). I know I’m a not an easy person to be around right now and I understand that you may not know what to say when you see me and that is ok. If you would like to offer a few words of sympathy or a hug, I’ll be glad to accept them. If you aren’t able to approach me or speak to me of my loss, I understand and please don’t feel you must. I know you are all thinking of me, whether you say anything or not.
As we know, writing is my release and I just wanted everyone to know that whatever their reaction, it was ok. I've certainly felt that way about people before, not knowing what to say, etc. I wanted to make first contact. I imagine there will be a lot of deep pity, dumb things said and uncomfortable moments. I'm worried I won't be able to hold it together. I'm dreading it. As though this staggering sorrow isn't enough.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
It's hard to believe but I'm still worried about work. I don't feel able to call anyone and I can't just not show up with no explanation. I email Jae and tell her in one sentence what has happened and ask for help calling the principal and my teammates. I email my professor. And I post on this blog. It's all painful and I realize afterward that I'm exhausted but relieved.
Jamie asks me a few times to eat something. I finally have her order a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because I'm afraid they won't let me go home if I don't eat. Mom goes home and says she and Dad will be back at suppertime to bring me home. Part of me is desperate to be home, but a large part wants to stay in the hospital forever. I know going home will be agonizing and I just can't imagine life going on. Jamie brings in the death certificate and I'm unbelieving. Do I really have to write my son's name on a death certificate? It all seems so terribly unreal.
She spends quite some time with me, taking out the epidural and catheter and helping me to the bathroom for the first time. I'm concerned because my legs don't seem to be able to work properly especially the right side but later the feeling comes back to them. During this time, I ask questions about my baby, Is there a way to tell what color his eyes would have been? No, the eyelids are fused at this stage. Can you tell how big he would have been at full term? No, no way to tell. So many, many questions with no answers.
Finally, she gives a last dose of antibiotics and takes out the IV. She tells me she thinks I ought to stay in the hospital overnight. She asks a few times if someone will be staying with me. I assure her someone will but I'm not sure who yet. I only say this to get her to stop asking. Alone in the room, I manage going to the bathroom on my own and get dressed. Room service calls and I order a turkey sandwich only because I have to show them I'm doing ok so they'll let me go home.
Later she brings in his memory box and shows me what is inside. So little to remember the most important person in my life. The box smells strongly of varnish. Inside are the blankets he was wrapped in, a card with his measurements, a card with his tiny footprints, the tape they used to measure him and the hospital bracelet I would have worn that matched his which had to go with him. That is all there is to show there ever was a Greyson P. on earth.
The last thing Jamie brings in are discharge instructions. She rattles on about prescriptions for pain medication and how to go to the bathroom. She says I might get milk. I choke up when she says this and wonder if I can bear that. Milk to feed a baby who is dead. It just seems impossibly cruel. To my relief, milk never showed up.
I eat a few bites of sandwich and then sit and wait for my parents to come, I try very hard to control my emotions. I'm still and silent until they walk in. When I see Dad, the floodgates open and I can't seem to stop. Hysterical sobs tear from me and I can barely breathe. Mom holds me tight, Dad holds my hand. I say over and over that I can't bear it. My Dad says I'm stronger than that, I say I wasn't strong enough to keep him safe and I'm not strong enough to live without him. This is something I think constantly and say over and over again in the coming days. They say things but I don't remember what. I feel my mother's tears fall on my face.
I have no idea how long this went on but eventually I gather myself, and they bring in the wheelchair. Jamie had asked me previously if I would like an angel on the wall for Greyson. For a few moments, she leaves us in the hallway to get something from a closet. Dad goes to get the car. I hear what sounds to me like a heartbeat from a fetal monitor. I can hardly breathe. I ask Mom if she hears that, that heartbeat and I barely keep from becoming hysterical again. A nurse walks by with tears in her eyes and says she's sorry for my loss. They roll me around a corner and stamp an angel on the wall for my Greyson. A different nurse writes his name and date of birth/death.
At the car door, Jamie says to let her know if I need anything at all. Barely able to speak, I thank her for taking care of me and tell her I'll never forget her. I get into my car with Dad. Mom drives her car.
On the drive home, I cry hard on and off. Dad says a lot of the right things but also says things like, "Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life." To which I sob, "Nonono it's the end." He says I'm a strong kid. That when I began this he wasn't hopeful, that the science of it just didn't seem possible but I was determined and made it happen. Multiple times he says he hopes I'll try again. I say I'm sorry for messing up his birthday. He says not to worry about my birthday. I tell him I wanted to make him something and he says I'll have many, many days to make him things. He talks about when I was away at college and said I wouldn't let anything stop me from getting a degree and now look I have more than one. Even in my grief I wonder how this story could be relevant. I tell him I don't believe in God, he says I've got the wrong idea and I'll change my mind.
We get home and I have to smile when Mom immediately begins to wash dishes and Dad takes my car to get gas and then keeps it to do some work on it in the morning. They want so badly to help me but just don't know what to do or say. In the shower, I notice my flabby tummy and I cry hard and deep. Although I feel like I cried a lot in the hospital, Mom tells me I didn't really let loose until I was alone in the shower.
I send Mom home and go to bed. I'm more exhausted than I've ever been before. I drop right to sleep. I wake at 11 and wander around the house for a while before going back to sleep. I wake again at 3am, post "barely breathing" on FB and on this blog. I email my horrible news to the Yas.
And I cry.
December 4 - 5
I lay there having steady but mild cramps. Mom stares at me when she's not fussing around the room or stepping out for a cigarette or to call Dad. I cry for a few minutes at a time with an intensity and pain I've never felt before. Only for a few minutes, though, because I'm terrified of what really letting loose will be like. Mom attempts to comfort me while crying on and off herself. Somewhere in there, Mom wraps herself in hospital blankets and dozes in a recliner.
I'm not asleep, my eyes are open. I see Aunt Alys very clearly. She's standing near where my mother sleeps and she looks beautiful. She has my baby in her arms. My grandma is by her side and I think she's looking at the baby, later I think she must have been looking at her baby, my mother. The baby looks so pretty and big. No hair and blue eyes and he's not crying at all. Aunt Alys puts the baby over her shoulder and waves to me. Then she turns and takes my baby away from me.
In days to come, I revisit this vision constantly. Sometimes I actually smile while thinking about what my darling boy looked like. And I cry and cry because even though I know Aunt Alys will take the best of care of him, I want her to bring him back. I tell my mother and she says dreams like that can be a comfort. I talk to her about it again and again. I know I was not dreaming. My eyes were open, it was real. If Mom had opened her eyes and looked up, she would have seen them too. In a few days when I tell Pastor Jackie about it, she says sometimes we create things like this to protect ourselves. I tell her, real or not it's all I have to hang onto right now.
Jamie puts in the second grim dose. At this point the order of things that happened gets hazy. Mom is up and down during this time, folding blankets, checking monitors and stepping out. It doesn't feel as though I slept but Mom says I did. In the early hours, Jamie checks me and says there is a piece of the cord sticking out. She's a small woman but uses force to check my cervix. I tell her she has muscles for a little thing. She discovers I'm 3cm and thinned out. At some point mom asks if I mind if she goes home for a while, she's freezing and has no headache medicine with her. I've tried a few times to get her to go so I'm glad she's finally taking a break. She says she doesn't want to miss the "end". I tell her it doesn't seem to me like it will be anytime soon. She says she'll bring me some clean clothes, what do I want. I say I don't care. I've been worrying about the grad assignment I wasn't able to finish and letting them know I won't be at school, I'm unsure I'll be able to talk to someone so I ask Mom to bring my computer.
Mom comes back, I roll onto my side and really do sleep. I wake to hear the doctor's voice talking to Mom. She says this is taking so long, does it ever not work? He says no, it always works. I decide at that moment that he's a liar and I hate him. Shortly after this, the cramps I've felt all night worsen and I ask for pain medication. They give me the stuff that lasts an hour and it's an emotional relief when the dizzy, high feeling comes. I comment on it to the nurse, she says to just close my eyes. When it wears off I ask for an epidural and more pain medication while we wait for the epidural. Looking back, the physical pain wasn't really that bad and I wonder if I could have gone without the epidural. I was just so scared the pain would very quickly accelerate and it would be too late for an epidural or they couldn't get it to me in time.
I look up to find the nurse looking at the IV machine. I tell her she looks different. Mom says it's a different nurse. Her name is Jamie too. Actually, she's one of the nurses who was there while I was in the first room. She talks on and on. Too much. She seems to have a hard time holding back tears. I want to tell her to keep it together, I should be the one falling apart, not her. She asks if I want to hold the baby right after it comes. I tell her no. She seems surprised at this and asks if I'm sure. I say no again. She asks if I want to see their chaplain, I vehemently tell her no. I don't believe in God anymore, but I don't say it out loud to her. At some point she comes in and says they are seeing more contractions. She checks me and says she thinks she feels the head and that it may be happening soon. If I feel "different", pressure or something I should call her.
I feel "different" a few times and call her to check. She warns me that it will probably be very soon and that one of these times I feel "different" I'll have delivered my baby. I have the hope that he never comes because I want to keep him with me.
Through the epidural, I feel a warm wetness and I know the awful truth. My poor dead baby has come out of me. I call the nurse and say it's happened. She raises the covers and an earthy, bloody but lovely odor rises. She says very quietly, yes, you've delivered your baby and takes him away. I cry gut wrenching sobs and when the onslaught is over, I become very quiet and whisper that I wish I were dead. This sends Mom into hysterics and she tells me I have to survive for her and to never say or think that again.
The doctor comes in with the nurse. He is sure to tell me he was here to see me before but I was having a nice rest and he didn't want to disturb me. He begins to deliver the placenta. Mom asks me if it's ok that she steps out. He asks for something called a ring clamp and although I have an epidural the metal clamping down goes straight through my spine. This, along with his fingers create horrid pressure. It feels like he's pulling out my soul. Although I do not feel cold, I begin shaking very badly. I mention something about it and the doctor says it's hormones and that my body has been working hard.
Afterward, I say I'm not sure I'll survive this one. He says something about using my support, having support around me and even asking support to leave if I need to. He says people do survive. I ask the doctor something I've been thinking about all night. Did the baby suffer? I keep thinking it must have been like pulling a fish out of water or being smothered with a wet blanket. He immediately says no, it was just like going to sleep. But I know he's a liar now so I'm unsure of what he says. He talks to me of holding the baby. How it will help emotionally and he blathers on and on. I just stare at him. I ask if the baby looks normal. He hasn't seen him yet, but says yes and then Jamie, who has seen him and already cleaned him up says yes, he's fully formed and normal looking.
The doctor leaves to look at the baby. He comes back shortly and tells me the baby looks normal and yammers on and on about the baby going to Wash U. for the autopsy. He asks how I'm doing emotionally. This is the second or third time he's asked. I just look at him. I want to ask the motherfucker how he thinks I'm doing. He tells me to make an appointment for a check up in 2 weeks. I say I had an appointment on the 30th, can I just come then. He tells me that would work but to be aware that while he will remember what happened the office staff might be unaware and the folder will still be a yellow OB folder. They don't mean to be insensitive but they might proceed like it's a normal OB appointment, asking me how the baby is, etc. I apologize to him for having him call all those crazy numbers. He says he thinks something is wrong with his pager. Something about the pager being ten minutes behind and calling Mom first. My mom pipes up that he confused her by saying something about paging his number and my name is Paige so it was unclear what he wanted. He says it's a pretty name. Then he lectures about taking care of myself, I thank him for taking care of me and he idiotically tells me to try and have a nice Christmas and he'll see me on the 30th.
Jamie bustles back in and out taking care of me and talking of footprints and the photographer that is coming to take pictures of my son. I wonder what I'm supposed to do with pictures. She talks about a memory box like it's a big prize. She comes in with a list of mortuaries that do free services for babies and Mom says something about our local funeral man. It only sinks in this minute what I'm facing. This is real. I'll have to bury my only child. I guess up until that moment, even though they talked of the baby being normally formed, I thought it would be indistinct tissue going to a lab, not a child I'd have to bury and grieve. I just wanted it all to go away, the decisions, the paperwork, the unimaginable emotions. The hell I'm going through. Jamie asks if I have a name for the paperwork. I say no. She asks if I want to see and hold the baby. I nod my head.
I brace myself for what it might be like to hold this child that I still love with all my heart but who is motionless and cold, but it doesn't prepare me. When she puts him into my hands, I'm only able to hold him for a few seconds before going into hysterics. She quickly takes him away.
Jamie comes and goes with paper work and caring for my physical needs, talking the whole time. Eventually, she says they are getting ready to take him away for good, it will be the last chance I have to hold him. Do I want to? I say that I do. I'm very calm this time. I want to take in every detail.
When she puts him into my hands, she says she'll give us privacy but I tell her not to go anywhere. I'm afraid I'll become hysterical again. My little boy is wrinkled and very red. He's so small. So small. He fits into my two hands. I tell Mom he was big when he was in Aunt Alys' arms.
There is a ridge in his scalp and his features look sort of like they've been squeezed. His eyes are closed and his little mouth is open. Jamie talks about how everything is soft during this stage of development and that his ears are a little off set which could be an indicator of a genetic problem. I tell her I had the quad screening and everything was normal. She says, then it's just the stage of development. She chatters on about the volunteers that make the blankets he's wrapped in. I'm grateful for her voice keeping me on earth.
She had said something previously about his 10 fingers and 10 toes. Mom helps me untie the ribbons and we look at the tiny perfect hands and feet, with the tiniest, perfect nails. I use a gentle finger to lift a foot. I want to stroke his head but the skin looks shiny and wet. I ask Jamie if the skin is wet, she says no but the skin is so thin it breaks apart easily and seeps. For a minute more, I take in the sight of my perfect little boy.
Then I look at his open mouth and for an insane second want to make it talk, like he's a puppet or something. I feel myself sliding toward the edge and I know it's time to let him go. I really want to put him in my purse and take him home. Jamie takes him away and I'm still completely calm. I say for the 100th time to my mother that I wish he had stayed. I tell her I think he would have liked me. She cries and cries.
After awhile, Mom leaves to call Dad and I lie there thinking of the most random things. How will I tell the Yas? I think about waiting until after the burial. What about school this week? What about my grad class? What will this wretched week be like? Where is God? I think about how I really wish I were dead but can never say that out loud again.
I live inside my vision of Aunt Alys with my baby.
And I think nonstop about my little son.
It occurs to me that I can't bear for him to go away with only Baby Boy as a name and the name Greyson comes to me, one of the favorites from the list. I give him the middle initial P because we called him Sweet Pea and because it is my initial and what else do I have to give him?
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Saturday, December 4:
When I woke up I didn't feel Sweet Pea moving, a little unusual but not unheard of these days. My dad's birthday. We weren't really planning anything special but I wanted to make him some of his favorite caramel corn. Before I could get started on it, Dad called wanting to change the oil in my car. I went over there and stood around keeping my dad company as he worked. E came and I asked him to help me get our ultrasound pictures from disc to hard drive as there was some sort of glitch. As I was sitting there I began to feel an odd pressure. I've never been pregnant before, I thought the baby had just moved into a weird position or something. I sat for a while more chatting with Mom about the plans for my kitchen remodel.
I arrive home and go to the bathroom. I feel a slight pop and a gush of something that is not pee goes into the toilet. Something is definitely wrong. I peek into the toilet and see only clear fluid. When I wipe, there is blood. When I stand up, there is a big gush of blood. I immediately start shaking, pull up my pants and dripping blood, run for the phone which is in my car. I'm shaking very badly and can hardly dial the phone. When I call the doctor's pager, I mistakenly put in my parents' phone number, hang up, call again and leave my home number. I very quickly clean myself up and change clothes. The doctor still hasn't called back so I try again and give my cell number. I get into the car and drive as fast as I dare toward the hospital.
The doctor finally calls back and I tell him what happened and that I'm on the way to the hospital. He asks about the amount of fluid, tells me he will call ahead to the hospital and that the nurses will know what to do. He won't be able to tell what is going on until we have an ultrasound. I apologize for disturbing his Saturday. My mom calls wondering what's going on because Dr. H. called her first.
I arrive at the hospital. When I get out of the car another gush of blood comes. I go into the emergency room. I try not to cry while explaining what happened and that the doctor said to come there and he was going to call ahead. The woman acts like she doesn't know what I'm talking about and starts making calls to the Women's Pavilion. I'm taken to a little room, where I explain again and say I'm bleeding and don't want to mess up their chair. Another woman takes my blood pressure and temperature while a wheel chair pulls up and I'm taken to the Women's Pavilion. It's a long ride and absurdly the woman pushing me asks me how I'm doing.
I'm rolled into a room and two nurses there tell me to put on a gown and start asking me questions. They put a monitor on my belly and immediately find the baby's heartbeat. Strong at 140 or so. For the first time, I cry. They tell me the best way to stop the bleeding is to lay on my back very still. I start cramping and although I tell them this, they do nothing. They tell me they've ordered the ultrasound and will send it to the doctor.
I call my mother and tell her I'm either in preterm labor or have a ruptured amniotic sac. Somewhere along the line I had been told this. I tell her either way it doesn't look too good. She asks if she should come. Although, I'm scared out of my mind, I say no, we don't really know anything, there's nothing to be done and that I'm in good hands. I keep worrying about the report I was going to work on for my grad class. It was due that day. I call my brother thinking he can get into my email and send a message to my professor, but he doesn't answer the phone.
12:30 or 1:00
The ultrasound tech finally comes and moves the wand over my belly for what seems a long time. I ask her if she can say what is going on. She says no but that it's stat and will go immediately to the radiologist, then the doctor. Looking back on it, the tone in her voice should have told me that things are looking grim.
Mom comes and I update her on what has happened so far. She settles in for the duration and somehow with her staring at me, time seems to stop. We try to make idle small talk for a while but are mostly silent.
I lay very still and cry off and on. At some point a nurse tells me that there is only 1.5 cm of fluid around the baby but that sometimes, if the tear is small, it mends itself and the fluid builds back up or that if there wasn't much fluid to begin with the baby might be ok. She tells me the doctor has some things to do but will come at 5 or 6 and talk to me about it. I'm told all I can do is lay on my back very still. The nurses check on me once in a while. I'm very thirsty but only drink a few sips of the water I'm brought. I tell the nurse I'm scared that if I drink more, I'll be up down to the bathroom and didn't think that would be good. She tells me to go ahead and drink, it won't matter. I keep track of my cramps and they are happening every 5-10 minutes. I am out of my mind worried and scared for my baby. I feel helpless.
The nurses try to find the baby's heartbeat for a long time with the Doppler and another monitor but they cannot. They push hard on my belly looking. I ask them if all the pushing can push out some of the fluid. They say there is really very little fluid to push out. I begin to cry and panic. They tell me that sometimes the baby moves into a place where they can't find the heartbeat. He could be hiding. They say maybe the doctor can find it on the ultrasound.
I have a very strong thought that Aunt Alys is there and my baby is in her arms.
The doctor wanders in and tries for a long time to find the heartbeat with the ultrasound. I never take my eyes off the screen. Sweet Pea is on the screen, still as a stone. From the first moment I see him, I know. The doctor keeps pointing to the chest cavity saying we should see something in this area. We do not. He examines me and says I'm 1cm.
It takes me several minutes to realize what he is saying. He never actually says the words and I cannot remember how he phrased it. Something about it being "a cruel thing" and they only see about one of these situations a year. That I'll want to know why and that he'll turn every stone but there is usually no answer. It's nothing I did to cause it. I ask if it's a problem with the baby or me. He says there's no way of knowing but everything will be sent to the lab. I ask if garderella has anything to do with it or the violent cough I had last week. He says no, there probably is no reason, these things just sometimes happen. He says we had to wait and make sure there was no heartbeat because there's nothing they can do with a 20 week baby. He tells me I can either wait for a while and see if the cervix opens and things happen naturally or he can give medication to make it happen faster.
I ask if it's going to hurt a lot and he says they will give me an epidural or morphine pump, whatever I need to be comfortable. I ask him if he has anything for a broken heart. My mother starts to cry. He says no, only sympathy. I ask him when I'll be able to go home and he says we have to watch the bleeding for 6-8 hours afterward but if it looks ok, then I can go home. I insanely ask him about going to work next week. He says it depends on how I feel but that he'll give me any amount of time I need, a few days or a few weeks, that I should be sure to take time mentally as well.
My mom asks can't he just do a D and C, he says it would come out piecemeal that way and they want it intact for an autopsy. I say I'll do whatever he recommends. He yammers some more saying something about do I want to rest for a while and do it tomorrow or if not he's fine to go ahead tonight. I say it would be better to get it over with and ask Mom what she thinks. He tells me and Mom to talk it over and he'll be back. Before the door closes behind them, I hear them resume a conversation they had obviously started before, something about the doctor's daughter, in medical school. Like it's just a normal workday for them.
We do not talk. I begin to cry in earnest and I think Mom did too. I tell Mom I'd like to know where God is now and ask why He would only give me half a pregnancy. I ask if some lives are meant to be miserable. I say it's like I'm only allowed so much happiness. Mom, of course, has no answers but takes the onslaught as best she can.
The doctor comes back and says if I'm ready to go ahead, they'll take me to a room in Labor & Delivery. Will I be ok there? he asks. I might hear babies crying. Mom gasps when he says this. I say I've heard them crying from this room, let's just go ahead. At this point, it still hasn't occurred to me what is actually happening. My baby is dead inside me and they are telling me I have to deliver it. I think I was in shock at this point. He talks about how it might go, it takes time for the medicine to work but sometimes when the time comes it happens suddenly before the nurse can even get there but that he would come and deliver the placenta. I think he said something about checking on me in a while.
A slip of a girl comes with a small wheelchair that is cold when I squeeze into it. I'm unsure the little gal will be able to push me but she does. Past all the blue and pink footprints on the wall, past the rooms where all the real mothers have their living babies down to the very end of the hallway where there are no other patients.
A new nurse, Jamie, comes in and asks me all kinds of questions. At one point she asks Mom to leave the room so that she can ask if I have various STDs or if I've been kicked, slapped, punched or beaten in the last year. I wonder what type of people they get in there. She sticks me twice trying to put in the IV, then asks another nurse to try. I tell them about the last time I had blood drawn when after 6 sticks they still couldn't get it and I had to come back the next day. Finally, the anesthesiologist comes in and says he will put in the IV, I wish him the best of luck. After looking carefully and using a small needle he gets it in on his first try. Shortly after they take 10 tubes of blood from the other hand.
We cry off and on as we wait and wait for this horrid medicine that will bring on dilation and the birth of my dead son. At about 8:00 Mom says it's ridiculous and huffs out of the room. I know she's going to do her version of Shirley McLaine in Terms of Endearment. She's told it will be about 30 more minutes, they have to wait for the pharmacy to send it down. This makes me worry that the pain medication won't be readily available and that by the time I ask for it and wait for it, it will be agonizing. I'm terrified that this will be physically excruciating.
Jamie brings in the medicine and I'm shocked to realize it will be inserted vaginally to sit against my cervix. This Jamie is a small woman but she uses force to insert the appalling capsule making me gasp. She tells me there will be another dose in 4 hours. I'm unbelieving. Another dose? Four hours? 4 hours!? I ask her. She says there will probably be a second and maybe third dose. I take a deep breath and try to steel myself for what will be an all night ordeal. I try to send Mom home. Looking back, I can't believe this happened. I just can't believe they let people lay around all night with babies dead inside them. The nightmare is spiralling into hellish proportions and I don't see it stopping anytime soon.