Thursday, December 18, 2008

As my story of life and loss continues, I want to take a moment to thank you all for being patient with me as I share with you my heart.

It was a Wenesday, Dec. 10, 2003, to be exact. I was 35 weeks pregnant and going in for my checkup and an ultrasound. With excitement about Christmas approaching, I drove to the midwives' office simply relishing the silence. I had been able to leave my three young children at home with family, my husband would be home from a business trip the next evening, and I knew we had much of our Christmas shopping done already. I was happy.

When the midwife was able to see me, things all looked great. Abigail/Sara (we had not yet decided) was finally head down, and she was already developed enough that the midwife felt confident in saying that if she came any time from then on, they would not try to stop my labor. YAY! I put my ultrasound pictures in my purse and rushed--no, hobbled--away in excitement. I had a strong feeling that she would come soon.

Of course, there was also this other feeling. I had fought it, and I had pushed it to the back of my mind all through my pregnancy. But it was there: the gnawing feeling of something bad to come. I had woken up sweating more than a few nights, having dreamed that something terrible had happened. I never knew what it was. Anyway, I knew that being pregnant always carried with it some amount of nervousness, and that's all this was. I was nervous.

I went to church that evening and shared with everyone the pictures of my baby girl who would be born quite soon. I was certain of it.

The next morning, I had a renewed energy. I was cleaning and straightening and trying to make everything perfect for when my sweet hubby came home that evening. My mother and my brothers were there, and they kept telling me to take it easy. Loren would understand if there were a few toys still on the floor and the cabinets weren't wiped down. There was no need to mop could wait. And they were right. I was reaching up into a high cabinet to put something away, and I had a strange pain.

I figured I would sit down for a while, and it would go away and I could keep cleaning. But it kept on, so I decided to take some Tylenol and rest on the couch until my hubby showed up. The kids were all in bed asleep, and I tried to watch a little TV to get my mind off the pain.

When Loren got home, it was about 11pm, and I was still in a great deal of pain. I told him I wanted to go to the hospital, but he convinced me that I had just pulled something and needed to go to bed. About an hour or so after we went up to bed, one of the children woke up and realized that daddy must be home. Loren had missed the children and decided to go lie down in their room with them (they all three shared a bed). I finally went to sleep.

At 2am, I woke up to the feeling of having wet myself. I figured that the baby had just given me a jab to the bladder, and so I got up to go to the bathroom. There it was again: a tiny leak of fluid. Awake now, I instantly knew what it was, and went to get Loren. I was excited. I had been right...she was coming soon!

As Loren was crawling out of the bed, I said "My water just broke! We're gonna have a baby!" Then I flipped on the hallway light and looked down. To my horror, it was thick, red blood running down my legs. I quickly stepped into the bathroom, and immediately a huge gush of fluid and blood splashed out onto the floor. So much blood! This was not right. Then I suddenly realized...she wasn't moving. The baby had not moved at all since I got up. Oh, God, please let her be ok!

Loren was trying to call 911, but one of the phones had been left off the hook downstairs. He finally found it, and called to tell them that I was hemorrhaging. The dispatcher said, "She's bleeding?" Loren snapped, "Well, that's what hemorrhaging usually means! Yes!" I felt like everything was moving in slow motion. I tried to call my midwife and got the answering service, of course. When she finally called me back, I had decided that I didn't know if it was me that was bleeding or the baby. I didn't feel at all faint, and it was a lot of blood.

The midwife started in with the speech. "You know...when your water breaks, a little bit of blood can look like so much blood." I told her, "YOU know that this is my 4th baby, and I should be able to tell by now what blood looks like. And the baby is not moving!" She asked me if I could jostle the baby to see if she would respond. When I put my hand on my belly, it was as if I were grabbing a baby wrapped in a blanket. All the fluid was gone, and I could literally feel the shape of her body. I grabbed her by the shoulder and gently moved her back and forth. No response.

By then, my parents were awake (we all live together). Loren had gone into their room tearing it apart looking for the phone that was off the hook. I don't remember how we told them what was happening. I wanted to be strong for them. No, I wanted to cry and let them hold me and tell me it would be ok. Then, I wanted to be strong for our baby girl, and for our children upstairs sleeping.

I asked the midwife if there was any reason to wait for the ambulance. We could get there so much faster ourselves. She told me to come on, and so we passed our ambulance on our way out of town. I was calculating in my head. The childbirth class told us that when there is internal bleeding, you have 17 minutes to get that baby out before brain damage starts to set in. Oh, God, how long had it been? Please, God, if she is alive let me know somehow!

There it was. It was very small, but she moved. I was certain. I grabbed my husband's hand and said, "She's alive. For now." I wished we could teleport ourselves to the hospital. Twenty minutes is such a long, long drive when your child's life is hanging in the balance. If we could just make it to the hospital.

As I type this, my whole body is trembling. I've never shared our story this way before. I'm sorry to leave it here, but I will have to because my tears are clouding my view. Again, thank you for being so patient with me.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Okay, you have me hooked. I check your blog daily (sometimes more than once) to read what you have written. I know thank you are only words but I do truly thank you for sharing your story. I am sitting here with tears streaming down my cheeks. This is your story, unique to you, but we share so much of the same pain. Different circumstances, same pain.