Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mom to Catriana "Catti" Quinn
Born Still on January 30, 2007
Rochester, New York

January 29, 2007 at 2:03 PM: How do you say words that no mother should ever have to say? Catti died this morning. Our hearts are breaking. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

January 31, 2007 at 10:59 PM: Well, I think these have been the longest few days of my life, to say the least. Where to start...who even knows. I don't mind sharing any and all info, because I know so many people have been so concerned for us and believe me when I say that we have felt and been strengthened by the love, thoughts and prayers we have literally felt emanating towards us in what have been the darkest hours of our lives. But it's just like there is SO much and somehow trying to sum it up for a blog, email, message board seems so very inadequate and overwhelming for me, as well. 
We went for our weekly non stress test on Monday. I was 41w. I actually woke up early with the horrible backache and pretty regular contractions, and I kinda knew today was the day. But I figured I'd go to the non stress test, because it's right at the hospital and all. So off we went for the NST. It started off as every other NST I've had since November, but the tech grew concerned and was going to send me for an ultrasound. 
They then decided to do an u/s right there, as opposed to sending me to the other side of the hospital. It was at that point, during the u/s, that they couldn't find Catti's heartbeat. I don't know how to describe that moment, other than that one definable moment that changes your life forever, in ways you won't even know for days, months and even years to come. I grabbed the doctor and was shaking so hard and honestly, it's all such a blur-so many more details and still words seem so inadequate to measure the despair we felt in those first few moments without Catti. I was begging for a c-section and they told me no. What! The one time in my life that I WANT a c-section, and I am denied. They told me I was already in pretty active labor and with my heart issues and for future children, a vaginal childbirth was the best way to go. At this point in time, they also told us Catti had died right then, pretty much, or within the past 10-15 minutes, I think that was one of the hardest parts. We later found out this was not the case, she had passed away sometime the day before. 
One nurse took Mairi out of the room, to let me and Keith talk and have some time to focus on our plans. We decided that we would go home and get our bags and my aunt would come and get Mairi. We had to hurry b/c my contractions were really pretty bad at that point and regular-probably under 10 minutes apart or so I'd say, although I obviously wasn't timing them. We went home, and got our stuff and sent Mairi on her way-I updated a few people via email and IM and such. Almost as soon as I was able to calm down and register everything, I just wanted to call Stephanie, one of my best friends, her 2nd daughter was stillborn in 2000. I needed to talk to her, I needed her to tell me what to expect and just, I don't know how to explain it other than that was the first thing I did when I got home, was to call her. I talked to her on the phone and it just filled me with this peace. Then we went back to the hospital. 
Our wonderful, amazing doula was already there waiting for us. She is my angel, without a doubt. As much as I said I couldn't have made it through Mairi's birth w/o her, I that much more could NEVER have made it through Catti's birth without her. About five minutes after getting to the hospital, my water broke. I actually was sitting on the toilet, which was really a very good thing. When I stood up, it was very scary to see my water-it was a dark, dark brown and not normal or what my water looked like with Mairi. We first thought meconium, which would also be an explanation for what could have happened, but really it wasn't the focus at that moment either. This was about 4:30 I think that my water broke. The contractions were just really hard, and really close together, and I had already decided to get the epidural. 
With the emotional pain of the delivery ahead, I knew that I couldn't and didn't need to deal with the physical pain of childbirth-the reasons for wanting a drug-free childbirth simply weren't there any longer. So I got the epidural and it made things so much better. I was able to rest and doze even though my contractions were only 2-3 minutes apart and a minute or more in length. 
When they first checked me, right after my water broke, I was already 5cm. Shortly thereafter I was 7cm. Also after I got the epidural and I wasn't in pain, we were able to discuss a lot of things-a lot of things with the doctors, between Keith and I and our doula. I felt a lot of peace and I was doing OK. One doctor came in and said that I wasn't progressing enough, and was still 7cm...and that she thought Catti was too big for me to deliver vaginally-she told me my pelvis was too small to deliver a baby bigger than 10lbs at the most. This I would find highly amusing later on, for obvious reasons... I told her, listen I wanted a c-section hours ago, I've come this far, I'm not going to just have a c-section after all this work. She said she'd check me in another little bit and we'd go from there. A little while later I was between 8-9cm. Also, at no point in my labor did I ever have an induction meds. The irony of it all was how badly I wanted to avoid induction...and I actually did. Every bit of my labor was 100% my body. 
Finally they told me I could start pushing a bit after 11pm. So after only 6.5 hours of active labor, i was ready to push. Such a difference from my labor with Mairi. The pushing was horrible. It only lasted 45 minutes-which is also pretty amazing in terms of Catti's size and the situation in general. I will admit to feeling very, very proud of myself and my body-doing things that I never EVER thought I'd be able to do, and live through and yet...here I am. But regardless, the pushing was brutal. I was just so exhausted, even though I had a very short labor-emotionally i was just drained and it took a toll on what I could do physically. My doula and Keith never let me give up, and I knew that I WOULD do this for my daughter.

At 12:08am on Tuesday January 30th, Catriana Quinn Moore was born. She was 12lbs, 8oz and 25 inches. When they told me this, I just started laughing b/c I can't believe I did that, vaginally, and the doctor had told me earlier I wouldn't be physically able to birth anything bigger than a 10 pound baby. We had decided before hand that we wanted her to be cleaned up and dressed before we saw her. Additionally I ended up with severe tearing (4th degree) and needed to be taken to the operating room for surgery basically, it was that bad. Keith opted to not go into the OR with me-he was needing a chance to clear his head and my doula came in with me, and that was more than fine. I opted to get numbing meds and not get the IV sedation, even though I really wanted the IV sedation b/c apparently it wipes out your memory (though doesn't knock you out actually) for like 8 hours. I just figured that as much as I might not want to remember the hours to come, I probably needed to remember. It was pretty painful, and took about an hour and a half. 
One thing that was so amazing to me, was the support we had surrounding us in the hospital (and so many more outside too!) When we came back to the hospital in the afternoon, my aunts and gram were already there, as well as our pastors and Keith's mom. All of them stayed over 12 hours-praying, loving and being there for us. The worship leader from our church also came later, as her son was stillborn and she didn't even know til he was born-at least I had a little bit of time to prepare myself, I can't IMAGINE the devastation of going through labor to find out the news. Additionally, the hospital has been absolutely amazing on so many levels-they put all of our visitors in a private room next door, and catered them food and beverages all through the afternoon/evening. After I was done in the OR, most everyone had left and it was really, really late. Keith's mom decided to spend the night and they let her stay in the room next door. We decided to wait until the morning to spend time with Catti, as both Keith and I just were exhausted beyond belief. We had picked out an outfit for her to wear-it was the first hat Mairi wore, along with one of Mairi's first outfits. 
Keith and I ended up getting about 2 hours of sleep, before we were woken up for more testing, poking, checking, etc for me. Also at that point, my aunt brought Mairi in and it was just what I needed, to hear her little voice yell with utter joy "MAMA MAMA". 
Also one of my friends passed along information about this fabulous organization of professional photographers who volunteer and come to the hospital to take pictures with your baby when stuff like this happens. They aren't as stark and hard to look at, as pics sometimes are that you take yourself. They can edit them and soften them and all that. So the amazing photographer Amanda came and spent some time taking pics of just Mairi, in the other room with my gram and MIL, while Keith and I spent time with our Catti. Then Mairi came in, and met her little sister. We felt it was really important to make Mairi a part of this, as Catti was part of her life for almost the past year. Amanda came and took many beautiful photos of all of us as a family. Mairi was very excited to meet Catti, even when we explained very simply that Catti was with Jesus and God and not going home with us. Then my gram and MIL had pics taken with Catti as well. 
Tuesday was a very busy day, and so many people visiting and caring for us, and very tiring for me as well. I was so humbled by all the visitors we had-not only the loving and caring from those in our lives, but the loving and caring of people that have been virtual strangers! The 3 nurses who have been doing my NSTs since November all came over from the Fetal Monitering dept, as they told us that as a family we have touched their lives and hearts so much there. And not that it is ever easy to see a loss, but they have been so brokenhearted for us because they have seen us come to every appointment as a family and just felt our love and excitement for Catti
Additionally the head peri at the hospital, who was actually the one who told us Catti had died, came over. She shared with me her story of loss, which was that 3 months ago, her only child, who was 2.5yrs old, died suddenly of sepsis. She was sharing this to comfort me, which just blew my mind. I mean, never wanting to minimize anyones loss, much less my own, but Oh my! I cannot imagine her loss, her pain-I started crying for HER...and she was crying for me, that humbled me beyond belief. I can't imagine losing Mairi. I would never make it through something like that. And this woman goes home to an empty house-tonight I came home to my house filled with Choofiness and that's a balm for my soul that I can never describe. 
Anyway, the best part of the day Tuesday was when everyone left, and it was just me, Mairi and Keith. There was such a peace with just being with my family. If I have Keith and Mairi, I can get through anything. We ended up spending more time with Catti, just the four of us, as a complete family, for the last time. It was so wonderful, and peaceful, and healing. We spent the whole time praying and just loving on each other. Mairi spent the night, and slept in my bed, cuddled up with me, and I needed that. 
In terms of what went wrong, we don't know, we may never know. Part of me wants to know, part of me doesn't, and at this point we are just trusting that God's wisdom will prevail, be it for us to have the answers or not, we trust that whatever is best for us is what we will find out. At this point, there is still a lot of speculation, but actually they don't think anymore that she died on Monday right @ my appointment. Which in a weird way makes me feel better. They said that they think they actually were listening to my heartbeat the whole time on the NST. Also, what originally was thought to be meconium in my water, may really have been infection. Some other indications were that time of death was earlier than Monday, and the autopsy may or may not be helpful in a more specific time of death. Catti's cord was also around her neck-which happens in 50% of the time and again, could have nothing to do with her death or it could be the cause. So many unknowns still. 
Autopsy results showed that Catti was a very sick little girl-my OB told me “I will be blunt with you, because I know you can handle it, this is why miscarriages usually happen, because there is just too much wrong to be compatible with life. Catti was so strong she held on til 41 weeks.” 
Physically, I have been sore beyond belief not so much my girly bits, though everyone is very concerned for them. I am so achy for HOURS, literally, not even kidding. My knees were by my ears, from pushing to the surgery in the OR, and my hips ache like they were run over by a mack truck, I can barely walk. My biceps, pecs, and back also ache so badly I can barely move, can't even pick up Mairi! It's so painful to walk, to move really, and even to breathe! But today is better than yesterday, and they have me on all sorts of pain meds and drugs and if I am in this much pain WITH the meds.
Emotionally, I am peaceful, and filled with hope. It really doesn't make sense, how peaceful I feel, but it truly is the peace that passes all understanding. I told Keith during the early part of my labor, I don't want this to be all about being sad. Catti brought us so much joy and love and happiness in the time she was a part of our lives, I didn't want my labor to be this big depressing thing...so we laughed, we made memories, many hard, sad memories to be sure, but some funny happy memories at the same time. And the same goes for the healing and recovery. 
I can't and won't focus on the what if's and why not's and why me's. I am focusing on all that I still have to be so incredibly thankful for, both my beautiful daughters, who have both touched my life in different ways and changed me forever by birthing them and being their mama no matter for how long. My wonderful, strong husband, whose strength has been the foundation for our family. The love and support and caring of people from literally around the world-I am so humbled, so amazed, so blessed, to be so loved and cared for by so many, I don't deserve it! 
I feel so happy, so humbled that Catti has touched so many people's lives, even though most never got the chance to hold her or see her chubby face and head of black hair (yes it's true! I gave birth to a child with HAIR!!!!!)
Jen blogs at www.choofymama.com
and can be contacted at choofymama@gmail.com


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