January 18, 2016 5 minute read
20 months ago we lost our little girl. It feels so far away now, but I still think about those months daily. I have so many beautiful memories from my pregnancy with her: telling my husband and my parents being the highlights. My dad had been suffering with ALS for 4 years and he was so excited at the thought of becoming a grandfather. But I also have many frightening memories from that pregnancy. I had problems all throughout and was in and out of the hospital 6 times during the last month. Those were some of the most difficult times of our lives.
At our 12 week NT ultrasound we discovered that our baby had a nuchal translucency of 6.1mm. Around 2.8mm is normal and anything above may indicate a genetic problem such as Down’s Syndrome. It was terrifying to think that there may be something wrong with our baby, but we were prepared to do whatever it took to find out what the problem was. My husband and I both underwent genetic testing to see if we were carriers of any conditions and we scheduled a CVS (biopsy of the placenta) for the following week. To our surprise, everything came back negative. We were beyond relieved. It was also then that we were thrilled to learn that we were expecting a baby girl!
About 2 weeks later we were in Miami, hours away from getting on a weeklong cruise (planned pre-pregnancy) when I became very ill and we decided to cancel at the last minute. After two 911 calls, an ambulance ride, and 3 hospital visits, we flew home to see the genetic doctor. We saw him the very next day and were told that our baby girl wasn’t going to survive. The doctor was shocked she had made it this far. He also said they may never know what caused it – it was just “one of those things.” It was devastating, but in my gut I already knew the end was coming. I had had a fever for almost a week at this point and had been bleeding for days. I just knew. I think my husband was more shocked than I was, as he had been so positive throughout all the ups and downs we’d endured up until this point. I think he truly believed our baby would be ok.
I hid at home for almost two weeks while I waited for nature to take its course. It was awful. Then finally, at 17 weeks and 4 days, I started having contractions. My mom was supposed to fly out that day to be with us, but my dad was hospitalized the same day so she had to stay with him. My husband ended up calling the ambulance because I could barely move from the pain. I remember being in the back of the ambulance screaming at the paramedic to take me to MY hospital, which wasn’t the closest one to our house. I think he was a little taken aback by my insistence and finally agreed. I ended up delivering our baby girl in the emergency room about 3 hours later. She had passed away a few days prior, but my body had held on until then.
Unfortunately, my placenta didn’t detach. The doctor explained that it had to come out, and the best way was to induce me. I remember asking if that meant I was going to have contractions. Obviously, the answer was yes. So I had just delivered my dead baby and now they wanted to induce me? I was upset, angry, scared, and exhausted. I was admitted, hooked up to pitocin, and given a “patient controlled analgesia,” which I could control with a little button. I don’t know what I would have done without those drugs – being semi-conscious for the next 24 hours was what I needed to get through it.
The doctor came in the next day and told us that since the pitocin wasn’t working the only option now was surgery. This was my worst nightmare. Thank god for the drugs. I just pushed the little button, released more medication, and was gone.
Before I left the hospital I was given a small teddy bear from a project a mother had started a few years earlier when she lost both her twins. She didn’t want anyone else to have to leave the hospital empty handed. That teddy bear made everything seem so real. I didn’t have a baby anymore, I wasn’t pregnant, she was gone. I sobbed into the bear and held on tight.
Six weeks later my dad passed away. An emotional roller coaster doesn’t even begin to describe what we went through during those months. I felt numb. Friends were nervous around me and no one really mentioned our baby. Anyone who did talk to me about it usually just said, “it’s really common, a lot of women have miscarriages.” But that was the last thing I wanted to hear. This wasn’t “really common” to me. I carried our baby to 18 weeks and it didn’t feel like a miscarriage. I felt like that word didn’t do what we went through justice. It made me angry. I still find it incredibly difficulty to talk about what happened without breaking down, which I guess is why I don’t. I feel terribly guilty for not talking about her more, but I think about her daily. I always will.
Two months after my dad passed away we found out I was pregnant again. We now have a happy, healthy 8.5 month old baby boy. I can’t begin to describe the love I have for him. Am I devastated by what we went through? Absolutely. Do I wish it never happened? I don’t know, because we wouldn’t have our sweet baby boy if it didn’t.