I awoke around 5 A.M. It was A Saturday. My nurses were switching shifts and I was about to meet the most wonderful nurse in the world! She would be with me all day. Upon meeting Christine for the first time she introduced herself, offered her condolences, then went on to share her own story. Christine is a mama of six. Her last baby just a year previous was born a child of demise at 24 weeks. Christine knew all too well what I was going through and admitted that she would lose her professionalism at points and cry with me. Her bed side manner was to not be compared with anyone I've ever come across...she was a blessing from above and I hope one day she will know what an impact she had on my life!
Every eight hours I was to be given more contraction medicine to induce labor. I was due for more medicine at 6:30! I had so many questions. I still couldn't believe I was in the hospital to deliver my baby. I was filled with so much disbelief and sadness I didn't even know how to act. Outside hospital room 231 there was a card placed near the door. This card was to inform any staff entering the room that the patient had endured a loss. Every time house keeping, food service, lab technician, nurses, or doctors entered their faces showed heart break. This was always a sad reminder of why I was there.
I was given another dose of my medicine to speed up labor and then was advised to order some breakfast so they could then give me medication for pain. I ordered my hospital cafeteria breakfast that was just that...hospital cafeteria food. Each bite was more and more difficult to swallow with the huge lump that had taken residence in my throat from the previous day forward. Once I finished eating I called my husband to find out the status of when he was going to be able to join me. I found out he would be joining me soon, his mom was almost in town to care for our other children. As I sat in my room the nurses would come and communicate with me about my wishes. "Do you want to hold your baby when it comes out?" "Will there be anyone here with you?" " do you have a funeral home picked out?" In Arizona the state law requires babies born at or after 20 weeks and weighing x amount of weight it's the parents responsibility to take care of burial. "Do you want a baptism performed?" I didn't have the answers! I had no idea what to say...I really did not know! I felt alone and being alone with your thoughts is sometimes too much to bear. I have never been someone who was a fan of pills or medication and the feeling they give your body. In this situation, I just wanted to escape this cruel world and sleep as much as possible. Living and thinking was too difficult. I pushed the nurse button on my bed and told her I needed something for pain...I was not in pain. I just wanted out! Out of the situation I was in, out of my own thoughts, out of the questions that were playing merry go round in my brain, I just wanted to sleep and escape from it all!
I awoke with the creak of my hospital room door. As I looked across the room my heart became warm. My husband had made it! I wanted to jump out of my bed and hold onto him and never let go! He has always been my rock, my support, my best friend, and my love for over 21 years. He is what I was going to need to get through this! I immediately gave him all the updates of what had been happening. We shared our concerns, our questions, and tried to wrap our heads around all the events of the last 24 hours.
As I sat in the hospital bed there was a window across the room that overlooked the freeway. The walls of my room were sad. As I looked around it was just a sad reminder of why I was there. I often gazed out the window to escape the misery I had found myself in. At one point I saw some brown smoke. I thought with the monsoon season upon us, a dust storm had rolled in. I pointed it out to my husband and upon his further investigation found it to be a wildfire! Now not only was I in the hospital to delivery my baby with no heart beat there were huge flames, fire trucks, and emergency personnel outside my window. I couldn't believe our luck or lack there of at this point. I wondered if we would be evacuated? Doctors and nurses rushed out to get a better look or to move their cars out of the nearby parking lot. At this moment I felt like I was in Hell!! We watched closely as the fire fighters worked on the flames, and we watched the wind sock that perched outside my window for the direction of the wind. They finally got a hold of it and just as quickly as it started it was then out...
It was nearing dinner time so my husband decided to go get something to eat and drop off some dinner for his mom and our other children back home. I told him he better go now before anything happens. After he left I was introduced to my overnight nurse and I said goodbye to Christine. They gave me another dose of contraction medicine and some medicine for pain. They examined me and said I was now dilated at a four and to watch for the loss of my mucus plug. Within ten minutes of my last dose of medicine I started going into full labor! I called my husband and told him to get back quickly because things were happening! The contractions were coming every minute now and I was in horrible Labor pain. I was not aware it would hurt as bad as a full term baby....but I was wrong!! I called the nurse in and I started crying. I couldn't take the pain any longer! I asked if I was allowed an epidural with this procedure and she said yes. She then asked if I would like to wait and I replied, "no I think I need one now!" The nurse hooked up a new bag of IV fluids and said I needed to get a bag in me for the epidural then she would call and order it. As the fluids pumped into my veins at lightning speed I instantly had to pee. I thought I better get up and use the restroom before the anesthesiologist came in and I was no longer allowed out of bed. Inside the restroom I lost the mucus plug and all I could think was I needed that epidural and I needed it fast!
I was trying to hold the baby in until I could have an epidural and until my husband was back. I came out of the restroom the same time my husband walked in. I told him the baby was coming! The nurse walked in behind my husband, I let her know I had lost my mucus plug and I don't think the anesthesiologist was going to make it! She decided to examine me again and told the other nurse to get the doctor in right away and to cancel the epidural. I was ready! I hear the other nurse say the doctor was in another delivery. They were on their own...
The next contraction they told me to go ahead and push. The contraction came and I couldn't get myself to push. I didn't want to see my baby's limp body. My baby I dreamed about and pictured in my head day after day crawling around and playing with his siblings. I knew as soon as he was out, this was the end. I would no longer be pregnant. I would no longer be a mommy-to-be. I would no longer have my baby. As soon as I push this baby is going to be whisked away and I am going to be left with burial arrangements. It was not fair! The next contraction came and it became obvious it was coming whether I pushed or not. I could not stop this situation I was in. I was no longer in control of my own fate. I was no longer able to make everything OK for my family. It was time to deliver.
I pushed and felt the head escape my body. I cupped my hands over my eyes as if I were a frightened young child. I hear them say "push a little more" and then I feel the rest of my angel escape my body. There was no cry... I kept my eyes covered. I was afraid to look. I listened carefully at the sounds going around the room. I heard the nurses feet walk across to the little bassinet they rolled in just a few minutes earlier. It was safe to look, my eyes scanned the room. There was no happiness, the nurse carefully wrapped the baby in a small robe and blanket then asked if I would like to see him. I responded,"yes." She walked over and everything was in slow motion. she reached my bed and lowered my baby down to me. There he was! He was lifeless. He was not fully developed being only 20 weeks. It is an image that will forever haunt my brain and an ache that will forever be in my heart. He was no longer with us, but he was beautiful! I was instantly in love and saddened by his appearance. I just wanted to make him better!
I told Scott to get his phone and take pictures. He took some pictures and then held our angel baby. My husband looked over him, took every little memory he could in then gently placed him back in the bassinet for the nurses to wheel away...This is the last time we would see our baby...