Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mom to Kennedy Leigh
Learned to fly on August 8th, 2010
Manistique, MI 

My boyfriend & I found out I was pregnant at 4-5 weeks, and we were ecstatic. And every day I worried I was going to have a miscarriage. I read up on miscarriages that happen very early on, and miscarriages that happen without you even knowing it. Every day I wondered, and when I finally hit 12 weeks it was the biggest relief of my life. The day I had my first ultrasound I was so scared the baby wasn't going to be in there, or that it wouldn't have a heartbeat. She was too small at her first ultrasound, so we could only see the flutter of her heartbeat. One month later was when we heard it for the first time and it's a day that I will never forget. One week later I was scheduled to have a colposcopy done, because my pap smear at my first appointment had shown abnormal cells. From what I could understand, there was a chance they were high risk and could lead to cervical cancer, and so at my colposcopy they had also taken a biopsy (a tiny piece of my cervix). I was scheduled to come in September 7th to find out the results. After the procedure, I started having a little cramping and spotting but it wasn't alot and everyone that I had spoken to, doctors included, had told me I was probably just dehydrated and my "cramping" was most likely round ligament pains from my stomach growing to make room for the baby.
I'm not stupid. I know what pain is, and the "cramping" that I had been having shouldn't have been so bad that I couldn't stay still. It was so painful I had to curl up in a ball or cry because nothing would make it feel any better. I couldn't sleep at night because they kept me awake. They would come about every five minutes, and last about twenty seconds. I was 4 days away from being 5 months pregnant, and this being my first pregnancy, obviously contractions and pre-term labor weren't on my mind.

Finally one day they got so bad that I had started feeling the pain in my lower back. I had read somewhere that sometimes you get back pain if you have a UTI, and UTI's are very common in pregnant women so I thought maybe that was it. I drove myself to the hospital that night with the intention of getting some type of medication to lessen the pain. After a doctor looked me over, he had concluded that my cervix looked dilated and they were going to rush me to the hospital in Marquette. This was at 1:30 in the morning, and rushing me in an ambulance, lights flashing, just seemed so ridiculous to me after being assured that my baby was fine.

The doctor who looked me over was the same doctor who had let us hear Kennedy's heartbeat for the first time. His conclusion was that he didn't believe I was having contractions and he didn't believe I was in pre-term labor, and that my cramping and bleeding was the result of having sex after the colposcopy and that my cervix was most likely irritated and the pain and bleeding would go away in a few days. His words were, "Could you be having a miscarriage? Yes, but it's so uncommon at this point in a pregnancy that I highly doubt that that's what it is. Could you be in pre-term labor? Yes, but I highly doubt that that's what's going on right now." He did an ultrasound on the baby and we saw her kicking like crazy and moving around, he also listened to her heartbeat and said everything looked great and that whatever was going on with me it seemed had nothing to do with the baby.

Steve and I left the hospital at 5am, holding hands and we felt good knowing that Kennedy was okay. I was still having some cramping, but I had an IV in me the whole time I was there and I think that's why they didn't hurt so bad once I left. We were told to stay in Marquette for at least 12 hours "just in case". We went back to my mom's and went to sleep for a few hours and I woke up around 9:30 because I was having cramping again. And again, they would come and go it seemed at a timed pace. I remember calling my sister because I thought maybe I was just really constipated and maybe if I could just get unconstipated the cramping wouldn't be so bad. I tried going to the bathroom more than once, and there was nothing.

I was laying on the bathroom floor crying because I couldn't understand why the cramping hurt so bad, and if I really had to go to the bathroom, why wasn't anything coming out? All at once it was like the cramping and back pain had intensified in a way that I can't even explain, and the second I got on the toilet I gave birth to my daughter. I'm pretty sure my water broke seconds before. Part of me didn't want to look down, and the other part of me didn't know what the hell to do. Steve was sleeping in the next room and I didn't want to get him because I didn't want to think that I had actually miscarried my baby. The placenta had never come out of me, and the cord was half in me, half out and I literally had to pinch it off and get up and all I could say to Steve was "I think I just miscarried, I think I lost the baby" and all he could say was "No, no, no". I wasn't crying, I was shaking. We left for the hospital immediately, and there was still blood coming out of me so fast it was dripping down my leg.

When we got to the hospital Steve parked the truck and I went inside and had to wait for a nurse. Steve came in about 5 minutes later and I could tell he had been crying. He had called my mom to come to the hospital. The nurse finally came and she wrapped her arms around me and told me how sorry she was. I couldn't even cry. I didn't understand what had just happened, I don't think I felt anything at that point. I had to change into a gown and my mom came in and we had to wait for the doctor, who was currently performing a C-section . My mom had gotten Kennedy out of the toilet and brought her back to the hospital in a bucket. Once I had delivered her, it was like my cramping had gone away instantly. I knew I hadn't passed the placenta yet, but the doctors wouldn't let me go to the bathroom. I waited and waited and the cramping started back up again and I knew I couldn't wait so my mom came to the bathroom with me and that was when I passed the placenta. It was then that I first started crying, and it was then when it had finally hit me : I lost my baby girl.

The nurses had asked me if I wanted to hold her, and told me if I wanted to take pictures I could. I looked at them like they were insane. Why do I want pictures of my dead baby? How morbid can you be? Those were all the thoughts going through my head, and as the minutes passed on it was then that I realized that if I didn't hold her, I would regret it for the rest of my life. The moment they brought her in, after they had cleaned her up and bundled her in a knit blanket and a knitted hat, was the moment I started bawling. I had been so afraid of what I was going to see, and when I finally saw her I saw that she wasn't some mangled mess. She was a baby. She looked like a tiny baby. Ten fingers, ten toes, my nose, and Steve's ears. I couldn't believe it. She was so little, yet she seemed so big.  She was truly beautiful, and it just wasn't fair.

My grandma took pictures, and I told her not to take any with me in them but she did without me knowing and I am thankful everyday that she did. I can look back and remember that I held her and I loved her even if she was only with me, physically, for a short amount of time. My grandma had told me that there was room on their plot so if we wanted to have a ceremony for Kennedy, we would have a place for her. I hadn't really ever thought about it, but it seemed like the right thing to do.

Her ceremony was going to be the week after, appropriately, on a Sunday. The only people invited were the people who I trusted enough to be there, and the people who had been there the most for Steven and I. My mom had bought a grave marker, which was a baby curled up in a pair of big angel wings. We couldn't find an outfit small enough to fit her, and it made me break down in the middle of the store. The first time I get to shop for my daughter, and it's to find an outfit to bury her in. What a messed up thing to have to do. Since we couldn't find anything, my grandma had made everything for her. She made a diaper, a bonnet to put on her head, and a dress. Everyone had brought flowers. The pastor we had chosen to do the prayer ceremony was so kind, and he knew that we loved Kennedy more than life itself. He knew that this day wasn't a day of sorrow or a day of sadness and crying. My goal for that day was for Kennedy to make her way to Heaven knowing that Steven and I, and our friends and family loved her so much. It was to show her that her life with us would have been amazing, but even if she isn't here with us today, she will NEVER be forgotten. You don't just forget something that had been growing inside of you for five months, a baby that you made plans for. You pick a name, and you think about what the baby will be like as it grows up, what school it will go to. I always thought about her first day of school or when she would start riding a bike without training wheels.

I know Steven and I would have been amazing parents, and although some people might not agree, we are parents. We love Kennedy more than some people love the kids they were lucky enough to be blessed with to be living right now. We won't be able to give Kennedy a Christmas, or a birthday, and that was why we let 11 balloons go after her ceremony. She is truly a miracle, and even though it's hard to find a silver lining in why she was taken from us, I see a change in so many things. The love that Steven and I have for each other is stronger then ever, and I look at him everyday and appreciate how lucky I am to be with someone who is with me through thick and thin, through the good and the bad. We are with each other because we love each other, and we want to continue on and try to have more babies. I am so thankful for our family and our friends who have been here for us, who have treated us right.

At our follow-up appointment, the doctor told Steve & I that my miscarriage was due to a placental infection. There's no rhyme or reason why these things happen, apparently. Our baby was healthy, from what they could see, there was just a severe infection in the placenta and when our bodies have something inside of us that will make us sick it does whatever it can to get rid of the infection, and it rejected our daughter. If my body hadn't rejected the placenta, my daughter may have been able to survive in me for a couple more weeks, but no doubt I still would have gone into pre-term labor and there was a very high chance she would have a lot of things wrong with her if she were to try and survive outside the womb. I don't know if I ever felt her kick, I may have, but the contractions had most likely stopped me from feeling anything but pain. It hurts thinking about it. According to the doctor, this will most likely never happen again, but I wish it never would have happened. Losing a baby at close to (19 weeks & 3 days) 5 months of pregnancy just seems so cruel and unfair. We were halfway there, making plans and changes, and it was all gone in an instant.

 We are looking forward to the day we find out I am pregnant again. I am sad, and I don't think that what happened is fair, but I'm not depressed and I refuse to be so sad and angry that I drag anyone down with me. I smile and I laugh because I deserve to, and I know Kennedy would want Steven and I to continue on with our lives with her in our hearts and our memories and to have more babies so she can watch over her little brothers and sisters someday. I have faith that she is being taken care of until we meet her again in Heaven. I have faith that she is watching over us and making sure we live our life with love in our hearts.

You can contact Alycia at alyciagrange@gmail.com


Shannon Renfro said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. I can't imagine your pain, but I also lost my daughter. She was stillborn at 40 weeks and 3 days. If I have learned anything from this tragedy, it is that no one is safe and to cherish each and every moment that you have with the ones that you love. Your story is beautiful, but you are a beautiful person. I absolutely ADORE the name Kennedy too!

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