Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mom to Matthew James Phillips
Born June 30th, 2010 at 21 weeks, 1 day
Columbus, Georgia

After taking 5 pregnancy tests and seeing positive results on each February 28th 2010, the shock finally started to tamper off.  I started bleeding on March 10th and panic set in.  My sister endured a loss at 20 weeks with twins and another at 26 weeks with a girl, and I was so scared I would endure the same fate.  I didn’t think I could handle it. 

After spending a whole day with my husband at the ER, the doctor labeled it as a “threatened miscarriage” and said everything seemed okay; they couldn’t explain the bleeding.  The bleeding stopped about nine days later.  I couldn’t go to an OB until I had insurance so my first ultrasound ended up being on April 15th.  I instantly fell in love with the little image moving around on the screen.  My baby was very active, and I was so relieved to see him.  My midwife put me on baby Aspirin because I have Lupus, but other than that, everything seemed alright.  She called him a “miracle baby” because of the Lupus.  Also, I had terrible morning sickness from March right up to delivery, and that was supposedly a great sign.  I really regret ever complaining about it because Matthew was definitely worth every minute of it. 

At the 20 week ultrasound, we found out we were having a boy, but I kind of knew that all along.  They saw something weird around his heart and an echogenic bowel, so they sent me to a high-risk doctor the Friday of that same week.  Since we had opted out of all the early testing, I was worried about what could be going on with my baby.  She saw nothing wrong with his heart.  I was so relieved.  She said she wasn’t too concerned about the spot in his bowel, but wanted to see me in four weeks to follow up on it.  I got to see my baby suck his thumb that day.  He was so cute.  My little boy was very active, and everything still seemed to be going well.

I started having cramps and bleeding around 9am on the following Tuesday, June 29th.  I called my midwife, who told me to stay on bedrest that day and she would see me the next morning.  However, as the day progressed, the pain and bleeding worsened.  I called my midwife again at 3:30pm and told her that pain was too intense; she told me to go the ER.  My husband’s mom had to come over and drive me, and Daniel, my husband, met us there since he had to leave work.  The nurse checked my bleeding then checked my baby's heartbeat.  His heartbeat was still strong.  She put me on a machine to check for contractions, and I was having a lot of contractions.  She checked my cervix, but it wasn't there.  I was in labor all day and didn't know it.  My midwife arrived and double-checked the cervix.  With a grave look, she explained that there was nothing they could do to stop the baby from coming this early and he was too little to make it.  I already knew that, though.  

I had a low-grade fever and a tender abdomen, which she said were classic signs of an infection.  The infection had crossed the placenta and was causing me to deliver the baby.  I asked for pain medication that evening, but it didn't help.  I broke down and asked for an epidural around 3am.  I fell asleep for a bit, but a nurse woke me up because she thought my water had broken.  My midwife stayed the night at the hospital, so they woke her up.  She came in the room and checked me out; she said the water had not broken but something was definitely different.  She said she could feel the sac and the baby was "right there."  She thought I was ready to push.  Because of the epidural, I couldn't feel my legs to move them.  So, a nurse held one leg while my husband held the other leg.  My midwife told me when to push, and finally, my baby was delivered.  No crying.  No life.  Even though I knew that would be the case, I was still heartbroken.  My white blood cell count spiked after that, which was evidence of the infection.

It was a total nightmare.  I asked Daniel to sleep in the hospital bed with me that night, and he did.  I didn't sleep well because they kept giving me medicine every hour or so. My fever was virtually non-existent now.  I was so happy to be released the next day. I thought I was handling it okay.  I had balled my eyes out when the baby was born, but after that, I seemed okay.  That night, Daniel prayed before we went to bed, and I just broke down.  I felt so bitter, but I couldn't tell him that. 

Monday, I broke down in front of him.  We were talking about the funeral, and I just lost it.  I don't know why.  The day we buried him, I was actually okay getting ready.  We picked up some flowers to put on his grave.  I had written a letter to him and scrounged up a necklace that I would put with him in the casket.  When I put the items in his casket, I looked at him and started crying once again.  I sat down on the couch and recollected myself while apologizing to Daniel.  He just held me.  The casket was white and tiny, but it was still too big for Matthew.  It was pretty, though.  I cried on the way out, but when we got in the car, I pulled it together.  When we went to the burial site, we put the flowers on his grave.  It had a temporary marker with "Infant Daniel Phillips."  We're going to save up for a real one.  I didn't cry that time...I think I felt a little bit of closure. 

I know he is with God in a better place, but I selfishly still want him here with me.  I miss his little kicks and seeing him on the ultrasound screen.  I wanted to raise him and had so many plans for him.  I know that time is the only thing that can ease this feeling, but I can't wait until the day that I can hold my son again.

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