Sunday, July 18, 2010


Andrea
Mom to Oliver Thomas
Delivered on May 12th, 2010 at 19 weeks
Austin, TX


I had my 19 week ultrasound on Tuesday, May 11th and was so excited that I had been able to push it up a few weeks and find out a little early if we were expecting a boy or girl. I had been feeling fine and everything was going well. My 16 week appointment was fine and the baby had a strong heartbeat. Afterall this pregnancy had been uneventful, just like when I was pregnant with Natalie.

We got to the doctor's office 30 minutes early and patiently waited to find out the news. They took us back a little late and the ultrasound tech asked us if we wanted to find out the sex of the baby. We said yes and she told us most of the babies had been uncooperative that day. I wish that had been the worst thing of our day. She started out showing us a few 3d photos of the baby and we saw his little face. I remember thinking the baby looked a little smaller than Natalie had looked. She asked if we had an appointment that day - first bad sign. I told her 'no.' I saw she stopped the DVD and was taking some measurements on her screen, but we could only see the DVD initializing on our screen. I knew something was wrong and I got a quick glimpse of what looked like her looking at the heartbeat and I just saw a flat line. I didn't panic at this point, but knew something was not right. She excused herself to go to the restroom - second bad sign. I told my husband, something is wrong, but he reassured me that everything was fine. She came back and my doctor was behind her - third bad sign. I asked if something was wrong and she said she just wanted to take a look at the baby. They looked at the ultrasound for what seemed like hours and then asked me to sit up. I said, 'There is no heartbeat.' They said yes and that's when I broke down. Even though the last half hour had led up to that and I knew something was wrong, I still didn't expect that especially when I was 19 weeks pregnant and past the high risk stage.

She gave Scott and I some time to cry and talk and then we had to start making decisions about the next step. We decided to go see a high risk specialist to get a second opinion to see if she saw anything else on the ultrasound. I knew that the baby wasn't going to miraculously have a heartbeat, but they said she may have some suggestions in next steps in terms of blood work for me and possibly seeing something else on the ultrasound. I found out from my doctor that this is very uncommon in the second trimester and she usually only sees about 2 a year. From that first ultrasound the Dr. said she didn't see anything that was abnormal, only that the baby had stopped growing at about 16.5 weeks. She also told me I would have to be induced and deliver the baby and that the process would take 12-48 hours. My jaw dropped as I thought, now I have to go through this long torturous procedure which will result in nothing but heartache and pain.

The high risk specialist didn't really have anymore to say, but that she wanted me tested for blood clotting disorders and a few autoimmune diseases, just to rule those out. She said they would get the most information from looking at the baby and testing him when he was born. I got my blood drawn and finally after hours at the doctor's office we went home. We had to be back at the hospital at 4pm that night to begin the induction process. We sat at home and had some lunch and really just tried to process everything that had happened that morning. We obviously were in shock and what should have been our happy day turned into a nightmare. The morning was filled with more tears than I have ever cried and I knew I still had a long journey ahead.

We scrambled to try and find people to watch Natalie and my sister, Sarah, graciously offered to fly down and stay for the week. She was a complete life saver and I don't know what I would have done without her. We got to the hospital and got situated in our labor and delivery room. It was strange to be back there in less than a year and even harder knowing we wouldn't be leaving with a little bundle of joy. They started giving me cytotec and inserted it every 4 hours. I had to stay in bed the first 2 hours of each dose. I knew it was going to be a very long night.

I started getting contractions in the early morning and they were pretty much like the early contractions I had with Natalie. I was able to sleep a little bit, but obviously had a lot on my mind. I felt slightly comforted in the morning, because as I would drift off to sleep I kept having these visualizations of a little boy. They were so real and intense and the same flash of him was there every time I closed my eyes. He was about 4 and had light brown hair. He told me he was ok. Every time I saw him, I was overcome with emotion and I just knew that that was our baby. I don't consider myself a religious person, but I do believe that your soul continues on and I completely believe that I did get a glimpse of him. When I got up that morning, I just knew that it was a boy and was more sure of that then I had ever been throughout my pregnancy.

The contractions continued and I got a dose of stadol and later morphine to take the edge off. It helped, but I still felt helpless waiting in the hospital bed for the inevitable. The nurse told me I would get intense pressure, similar to a regular delivery, right before the baby would be delivered. They also said it would happen very fast since the baby is so small. Around noon I got up to go to the bathroom and kept feeling a strange sensation, but different then pressure. As I was walking back to the bed, I noticed something was starting to happen. I quickly got back into bed and my husband called the nurse to tell her it was starting. I was delivering the bag of waters and I knew everything would follow without me having to do much. I was just trying not to move so the Dr. could get there before I delivered. We had told them we didn't want to see the baby at that time because I thought it would be more traumatic then healing. The doctor came in and I pushed twice and the baby was delivered at 12:35. It wasn't painful at all, not compared to my delivery with Natalie, but so difficult knowing the circumstances. I'm so happy I had been through a happy delivery experience because this was still delivery and there was no way to be outside of the experience. It was emotionally the most difficult thing I have ever been through.

The placenta didn't deliver with the baby and the Dr. said they would wait to see if I would deliver naturally. They gave me pitocin to try to help with contractions. They said if the placenta wasn't delivered I would need a D&C. I thought, great, after all of this I may still need a surgical procedure. It was hard not to feel completely defeated. Sarah and Natalie got to the hospital just as I was delivering the baby and they came up after all of that. It was so great to see Sarah and I had missed Natalie terribly. It was the longest I had been away from her.

The surgical tech came in after a couple hours and told us that the baby was all swaddled and we could see him if we wanted to. We really weren't prepared for her to just come in and tell us all of this information. She kept saying 'he' is ready and my husband and I looked at each other knowing that we had a son. We wanted to know the sex of the baby because we thought it would help with the healing process. I think every thought about your son or daughter rushes through your head, when you hear 'it's a boy' or 'it's a girl.' That happened that split second for us and it was devastating to hear knowing there would be no memories to build with our son. We chose not to see him because he was so underdeveloped and I didn't want those visions of him to be all that I saw. I had already 'seen him' and wanted those visions to live on. I felt a lot of guilt when we left the hospital about not seeing him, but they gave us photos of him to look at when we wanted to. We looked at them when we got home from the hospital and while they were very difficult to look at, when I looked at them I knew that his body had failed and it wasn't his physical self that I would know, but his spirit.

We were discharged around 8pm, after I was cleared because I had very little bleeding. The Dr. was finally able to manually force out the placenta, so I was spared a D&C. We were given a small box of little things they put together that our son had worn. Included was a little knit hat, a little blanket that he was swaddled in and the photos in an envelope. It was heart wrenching to walk out of the hospital with just our paperwork and little box in hand.

A few weeks later we received the autopsy report and found out our son was prefect. It was the hardest thing to hear. I first tested a low positive for Anticardiolipin Antibodies which usually is in association with Antiphospholipid Syndrome, a rare blood clotting disorder. However, they retested and my antibodies were normal 6 weeks later. After numerous tests, I am still in the 'we don't know why this happened' category.

We named our son, Oliver Thomas, as that was the name we had picked out for the last couple of years. It is hard to understand why this happened and I know that I will always miss him. This experience has taught me that there truly is a thin line between life and death and that we are never immune from such pain.

Andrea blogs at I wish you love
You can contact her at iwishyouloveblog@gmail.com

4 comments:

bir said...

Andrea, I'm sorry for your loss of Oliver but thankyou for sharing his story. I wish you gentle days..

www.allthelittleponies.blogspot.com

Lucid Anne said...

Andrea, I am heartbroken for your loss. I also live in Austin- I would love to keep in touch with you if that is ok (email, FB, whatever... cup of coffee. : ))- you can find me on FB Annette Benavides. <3

Stephanie said...

Andrea, there are no words for what you have had to endure...I have been there, having to give birth to Amelia after she died. My story is a bit different, we had time to prepare. But the shock of expecting a heartbeat and not having one...well, that devastation is the same...even with preparation.

I used to live in Austin and I have an Oliver (he is almost 6 now) so I am struck by that name that I so rarely hear. I so wish your Oliver were with you and that you never knew this terrible pain.

I am thinking of you, and I won't ever forget Oliver.

Jenn said...

Andrea, what a heartbreaking story. I'm so very sorry this happened to you. When we lost our baby at 10 weeks, for years that is all I wished people would say, "I'm so sorry this happened to you." Oliver was delivered on my birthday.

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