Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mom to Ianto
Born on February 28th, 2010 after dying on February 26th, 2010
Melbourne, Australia

Ianto's story.

19th August 2009 - exactly a month before my wedding, I took a pregnancy test. It had been sitting in my underwear drawer for a few weeks, and to be honest I only did it because I was bored while my husband Scott was at work. I'd had no symptoms of pregnancy other than the lack of a period, but they're fairly irregular with me anyway. I was astounded when that little line went pink - I didn't even have to wait the three minutes suggested on the box! I walked around the flat for what seemed a lifetime, staring at the stick. I eventually called Scott, and asked if he was sitting down. He was, and I blurted it out - "Uh... I'm pregnant." He was silent for a few seconds, then choked out "Oh my god." When he got home a few hours later, we stared at each other a few seconds, then burst into tears simultaneously and hugged each other.

20th August 2009
- Scott was at work again, and I walked to the doctors clinic to get the pregnancy confirmed. It was the same - the doctor was amazed that the test came up positive so quickly.

25th August 2009
- It was a very windy day in Melbourne, and it turned out well that our wedding dance lessons were canceled because of that. I had cramps all down one side that were worrying me. We went to the emergency department at the hospital that would become so familiar. They thought the pregnancy might be ectopic so they scheduled me in for an ultrasound the next day. That turned out well - not ectopic, and again, someone was surprised by how strong our baby was! The radiologist said it was the earliest he'd ever been able to pick up a heartbeat. We nicknamed the baby "Smudge" after what he (or she) looked like on that ultrasound.

19th September 2009
- Our wedding. The night before, we had told Scott's sister that we were expecting. The look of complete and utter joy was brilliant. Our baby would have such a doting aunty! Although she lives in Queensland she stayed in touch my entire pregnancy through facebook, always sending me messages asking how everything was going... I'd still not suffered any morning sickness or anything else commonly associated with early pregnancy. That night we broke the news to Scott's mum.

September 2009 - February 2010
- Everything was going fantastically. I had been into the ER a few times with various niggles, but each time everything was okay. I was just a hypochondriac. Smudge was developing a great little personality in my tummy. We weren't finding out the sex, so we chose to say "she" to keep from using the word "it." "She" loved AC/DC, always kicking along with the beat when I would play their music. "She" hated Robbie Williams, to my sadness, because she'd stay still or kick me in the ribs when he would play. One day, while Scott had his head on my belly listening to her, "she" kicked him hard in the face. There were bad times as well - the ultrasound place that made me angry, the doctor I never want to see again (but then had to)...

Friday 26th February 2010
, 2:00pm - I'd had a very lazy day at my parents' house. My biggest problems were that someone was tailgating me that morning and that my car still wasn't back from the mechanic. I slept a few hours, had a massive laugh with my mum and brother, then went to pick Scott up from work. I was so annoyed with him for not coming out straight away, and chose to stay in the car (in the sweltering heat) so we wouldn't miss each other in the carpark. The heat got too much for me, and suddenly Scott was at my window asking me to wake up. I'd fainted. Eventually he got me into the passenger seat and drove me back to my mum's place. I fainted again in the car on the way, and was in and out for about an hour. Everytime I'd come to, I'd ask if the baby was okay and go out again. They got me back to the car and Scott took me to the hospital. I was checked, and aside from being a bit dizzy still, I was alright. I was sent to the delivery suite so they could use the doppler to check Smudge was okay. Our biggest fear was that something was wrong and I'd have to give birth early.

4:30 - They had trouble finding a heartbeat. I wasn't too worried at that point, I knew she'd moved recently so her heart probably wasn't where they thought it might be. After a few minutes, I was starting to worry. Another doctor came in to try. Nothing. So much gel was on my tummy, it was disgusting. Another doctor. This one tried an old ultrasound machine to try to see the position - there was a tiny flicker where they thought the heart should be, but then nothing again. A better machine was brought in. Again - nothing. I had been staring at that screen so hard, I couldn't look at Scott because that made real what they were saying. I heard the doctor murmur "there's nothing there" to a midwife - not to me, to the bloody midwife, and I lost it. I choked out Scott's name, and he reached down to cuddle me. They left us for a few minutes, in which time we were both pretty much not breathing from crying so hard. They came back and gave us a little hope again - they were sending me down to Radiology to make absolutely sure there was no heartbeat. Even if they did find something, I'd have to be induced because there was obviously something wrong. I was put in the wheelchair and sat for a few minutes near the midwives' station. In a room near us was another woman in labour. I listened to her new baby's cries and grinned. I'm sure the midwives thought I was crazy, given what I was going through myself, but to me that was the best sound in the world. My world had turned black, but that woman's life was just given a rainbow.

7:00 - I was wheeled down to Radiology. I lay on that table, knowing in my heart that nothing would be found but hoping I was wrong. I wasn't. The radiologist was almost crying herself. She left us, and this time I couldn't cry - I was out of tears by that point. I was wheeled out again, and she phoned up to Delivery - the poor girl from bed 20 had definitely lost her baby. Scott went outside to call work, and I watched a bit of the Winter Olympics - the ice skating. That poor woman that lost her mum a few days before she won a bronze - how strong she was, smiling through her tears. I cried, my whole body shaking. I was wheeled back up to Delivery, eyes dry again. While I waited in that room for Scott, I cried again. It would become a pattern - since then, it's been rare for me to cry in front of anyone but him.

9:00 - I changed rooms. Bed 19. This room had a TV. It went on, and we were left again. Doctors and midwives kept coming in and out, telling and asking us various things - did I want to be induced tonight, or wait until the morning when they had the full ultrasound report (tonight, you stupid woman! I don't care if it's policy, I want this over as soon as it can be!)? Was I willing to hold the baby after he or she was born (Are you kidding me? Of course I do!)? Everything got too much for me after a while, so I lay down and napped. They came and talked with Scott, telling him they would induce me but they don't think they should. They woke me to get my consent, which I gave, and they left again. The TV was on all night.

Saturday 27th February 2010
- They put the gel in around midnight, and again at 6am when I hadn't dilated at all. In the early hours of the morning, I sneakily turned my phone on and updated my facebook status thanking those who had already heard and sent their love. I had a few visitors over the day - my parents and brothers, Scott's dad (who I didn't want to see) and aunty... There was a bunch of flowers from the rest of Scott's family in Queensland. I napped on and off, watching TV in between, and waited for the gel to start working. They put more in at 1:30pm, and this time told me I wasn't to use the toilet for an hour. I wasn't even allowed to raise my bed for half an hour. No wonder the first two lots of gel hadn't worked - I'd been to the loo within minutes of them being put in! I was a bit angry at that. I started having mild cramps around 11:30pm. They were so bad I gave in and asked for a bit of pain relief - funnily enough, I had a pethedine injection before I let them give me Panadeine and a sleeping tablet. They worked, and I slept for the longest I had since Friday.

Sunday 28th February 2010
- 3:00am - I woke up, the cramps getting worse. At 4am, I asked for another peth injection. This one knocked me out a little, but didn't take the pain away. It was coming at 5-minute intervals and getting worse. They came and checked my dilation (finally!) at 7:30, and I was fully effaced but only 3-4cm. I told them to call my mum in.

8:30am - The pain was amazing! I was grunting through what I now knew were contractions, and rolling towards Scott with each. The first time I did it, he thought I was falling off the bed, so he started pushing me back. Big mistake. I grunted at him that I needed to "grab onto you, you idiot!" and he understood - Do Not Mess With A Labouring Woman. The midwife and anesthesiologist came in (I'd consented to a morphine drip and had a cannula in already) and they started doing their thing. The drip was explained to me, so I pushed that damn button every time I could. It didn't work straight away so the gas was given to me as well. That worked a treat - I still felt the pain, but it was okay. I think I moved up the bed at some point and handed Scott the gas tube, because with one of my contractions I was yelling at him that this time I wasn't reaching for him, I was reaching for "THAT!!" Between contractions, I told him that I was never having any more kids - I couldn't do this again (I was half talking about going through labour, half saying I couldn't deal with the possibility of losing another child.) In a moment of clarity, I asked Scott whether he thought I was possibly in transition. "Nah, you wouldn't be asking if you were" he said... WRONG!

[Skip this part if you don't want to read the finer details of the birth]

8:45am - My mum still wasn't in the hospital. The midwives gave me the choice - did I want my waters broken now, or when she arrived? I wanted them done now - this would still take hours, right? (Turns out that's why mum wasn't there, she thought the same thing and had a shower before she left.) Another contraction and I was pushing. The waters were visible from the outside so they pushed back on them and waited for the contraction to subside. Mum came in as they cut. There was a tiny squirt of water. Another contraction and urge to push. POP! One of the midwives almost got hit in the face. Scott told me later that it looked like someone had burst a water balloon between my legs. Another contraction, another push... I needed a poo. That contraction felt as though it lasted forever, but I yelled I needed a poo. Everyone around me told me it was okay to go on the bed, which confused me - didn't they know I was just telling them so they could clean it up when I was done?

8:52am - It wasn't a poo. Two pushes after my waters were broken, my Smudge had been born. No-one had been expecting him, so he came out onto the bed. They asked one more time - was I sure I wanted to hold the baby? I got angry and snapped that I did - Smudge was put on my chest and I cuddled "her" while they got the cord sorted. Ohhhh that pain was almost worse than the labour - a short cord, so it was pulling at me. Scott was asked if he wanted to cut it, he did, and relief again. I was still contracting slightly and was annoyed that they were distracting me from the cuddles with my baby, so I agreed to the injection to help get the placenta out. I couldn't even tell you where they stuck it in, I was just entranced by this little baby in front of me. The placenta came out, and was the most disgusting feeling ever - so slimy!

[Okay, you can start reading again]

I was asked pretty much the stupidest question I've ever been asked - Did I want to know the sex of the baby? Of course I did. I told Scott to tell me, and after a few seconds of trying to compose himself, he told me Smudge was a boy. Ianto. We'd agreed on both boy and girl names long ago, so we didn't even discuss it. I felt something moving on my arm, and I realised the cannula had come out. It would emerge that it hadn't been put in properly to begin with, so I hadn't had any morphine at all! I'd done it with just gas (which in my original birth plan had been the most I'd been willing to have re: pain relief) I noticed the TV was still on, and quickly told someone to turn it off - there was a Johnson's baby wash ad on. So not what I needed to see when I was coming to terms with the fact my baby was gone. Gone, but right in front of me - how strange.

The rest of that day
- It was both the longest and shortest day of my life. I spent all day staring at my little baby boy. My son. My angel. My sweet, soft boy. He has my nose. Everyone said he looked like Scott, but I couldn't see it until they were together - exactly the same face, only Ianto had my nose. He had a bath, his foot and hand prints were taken. One of the most heartbreaking parts of the first day was the tiny little differences to a live birth - like they didn't need to hold him to weigh him, they just placed him on the scales and left him there while they took the information down. Unlike pretty much everyone in my immediate family, he had some hair when he was born. We cut some off and put it in the memory book the hospital had given us. We dressed him together. One of the things that really got to Scott was how Ianto's head was "clicky" - like any baby, his skull hasn't fused, so the bones were clicking together each time his head moved. Heaps more visitors that day - my family. My dad had come in at the same time as my mum, when he came into the room he just broke down. This huge strong man, just sobbing his guts out. He couldn't stay more than a minute or two. I told him it was okay, I could understand. I got a few more bunches of flowers. Midwives and nurses from all over the hospital came to speak to me, either for medical reasons or to give me some emotional support. Scott and I kept cuddling our son, only leaving him when my brothers came in (they couldn't bring themselves to come into the room and see Ianto) and when I needed the toilet or a shower. The weekend social worker came in to talk to us. I ended up sleeping with him in my bed that night. I couldn't bear the thought of leaving him. I still can't, after I already have.

Monday 1st March 2010
- Another long day. Not long after I moved Ianto to his little plastic cot so I could have a shower and change my pad, it all started again - more visitors, more people coming to talk to me and support us... I was asked when I wanted to go home. I said as late as possible and the time was set. I was going home at 7 that night. I spent the entire day in tears, aside from here and there watching TV and staring at my boy. I kept stroking his face - his soft skin. I redressed him, making sure his shirt was nice and snug. He had a new hat, a white one that was knitted for a prem baby. It was still too big for him so I fixed it as best I could to get it snug on his head. The whole day was a blur again. I spent a lot of the day taking photos of Ianto, trying to get every last detail - his nose that he got from me, his ears and lips from Scott. His nose had started to leak a little bit of fluid, so I cleaned that up. I kept fussing over him, straightening his clothes, making sure he was comfortable...

6:30pm - A knock at the door. My heart froze as I thought it was someone coming to take him away before we left. It was just the lady bringing my dinner in - another disgusting meal. I held Ianto as I ate. I don't think I put him down the whole day.

7:05pm - My heart froze again when I looked at the clock and saw it was past the time they said I was leaving. It meant they were coming soon. I started bawling again. They came in, talked to us a while, we got a few more photos, and... The hardest part of my life. I had to leave. I kissed him a million more times, took a few deep breaths, and somehow got the strength to leave the room. Leave my baby behind while I went back to my mum and dad's. I cried the entire way there, and was just dead inside. I couldn't go in for a while. There was a funny moment though, which I'm attributing to Ianto's obvious cheeky side - as I left the hospital, my pants suddenly fell down under my bathrobe. Again, I'm sure people thought I was mad because I went from hysterical crying to hysterical laughing in two seconds flat.

March 2nd, 2010 - Another long day. We went to organise Ianto's funeral in the morning. I was swinging between completely heartbroken and cracking up laughing at all the funny and strange memories we have of Ianto (almost all of which are in here.) My facebook page seemed to have exploded - so many messages of love and support. So many people updating their own statuses to feature us and our amazing little boy... We were all talking about Ianto here at mum's place, thinking of what kind of person he could have been. The general consensus is that he'd have been one of those cheeky little boys who could get away with anything (because he would go a few days without moving in my belly, then kick for a full day so I would forgive him for scaring me) and he would have been a footballer or a dancer (because his legs were so long)... He would have been a tall boy (my cousin's full-term baby was 44cm, Ianto was 43) and he'd look like his daddy (well... he did!) I keep looking at all the photos we have - the last few are the worst, simply because there's no more left. The one of me putting him in the cot so we could leave... I couldn't even look at it for weeks.

Afterword - In the end, it turned out there was no cause for Ianto's death. It was "one of those things" (I HATE those words now!) and there was nothing we could have done to save him. We were able to get a professional photographer out to his funeral - from a charity that does these kind of photos - so we have a few more that we cherish.

And... We've recently found out we're expecting a baby brother or sister for Ianto!

Tenielle blogs at A Sweet Soft Smudge
You can contact her at ltoevnetmeen@gmail.com


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