Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mom to Noah
September 28, 2007
Dayton, OH

Wednesday September 26, 2007
Chris, Emma and I were getting ready in the morning for our ultrasound.  We were talking to Emma about how she would get to see pictures of the “tiny baby” on the TV.  We were so excited to see the baby moving on the screen and hoping to learn his/her sex.  Because we were both going to work after our appointment, we drove separately.  Emma and I were going in my car; Chris in his.  We were running late which is usual for us in the mornings.  Emma and I were going to go straight there.  Chris was going to stop for a video tape so we could capture it all, just as we had with Emma. 
Emma and I got to the office and checked in.  Our appointment was at 9am.  We were waiting for Chris.  I was hoping that he would get there before we were called back.  He did.  We sat together for a while.  Emma was being her cute little self.  We were actually sitting in a different waiting area than usual.  This was for a different dr.  I wondered what the people were all there for.  I was there for a happy reason, to see my baby.  They were probably there because of some sort of ailment.  I remember one woman particularly fond of Emma.  I imagined us as the cute family of 3 about to become a family of 4.  Time was passing slowly.  Finally we were called. 

It was a different technician than we had seen before.  We asked if we could videotape the ultrasound, and she said that they didn’t allow it.  I was disappointed, thinking of how much we enjoyed watching Emma’s for the second half of her pregnancy.  We were at a different place this time.  Last time I was monitored as high risk.  This time I was not.  Would it have made a difference?  I don’t think so. 

I think I knew almost immediately.  I didn’t see any movement.  I was used to seeing arms and legs and a belly and a head move.  I saw nothing moving.  I almost said something, but didn’t.  I didn’t want to voice my fears.  Chris was pointing out different things to Emma as the technician scanned and measured different body parts.  I was growing more concerned.  I hadn’t yet seen the flickering heart that I was used to seeing. 

The technician eventually said that she was having a hard time getting a few measurements and was going to get another technician to help her.  I asked her about the heartbeat.  She said that was one of them.  I started bawling immediately.  I knew for sure, our baby had died.  Chris was still optimistic.  He was sitting down in a chair with Emma on his lap and told me that everything was going to be ok.  I think he really believed that too.  I knew it wasn’t. 

Our technician returned with a second technician.  Ironically, the second technician had done a quick ultrasound on us a few weeks earlier, because the baby’s heartbeat couldn’t be found in the office with the Doppler.  I remember how relieved we were that day when we saw the baby’s heartbeat on the monitor.  She said that she had only been witness to one baby that had died, until today.  Our baby had died.  She confirmed it with her actions, expressions and silence.  I was bawling throughout the entire thing.  Neither technician would confirm anything. 

I think I knew in my heart before the ultrasound that our baby had died.  I had been feeling uneasy about everything.  About a week prior I thought I had noticed less movement.  I wasn’t sure.  Whenever I would think about it, I would think that I felt the baby move.  The baby had only been moving for a couple of weeks.  There was no real pattern.  I wish I had gone to get checked as soon as I thought something was wrong.  But then I didn’t really think it was.  Or I wouldn’t let myself get that far.  It wouldn’t have made any difference anyway, the baby was too young.

It was so surreal.  I think they were in and out of the room.  The second technician asked if we wanted her to take Emma out of the room.  I said no, because I knew Emma wouldn’t want to go.  I was sobbing, so garishly that Emma actually thought I was pretending I think.  I think Chris called my mom.  We needed her to come get Emma.  Eventually, we were escorted to our doctor’s office. Luckily it was in the same building.  The same people that were admiring the happy family were now looking at us with great concern.  I could tell they all knew.  They knew our baby had died.

We were quickly taken back to an exam room.  I’m not sure if it was for our comfort or more to not frighten the other pregnant women in the waiting room.  A nurse told us the doctor would be with us shortly.  I asked for some water.  I was still bawling and Emma seemed to be getting concerned.  Chris was torn between comforting me and holding Emma.  I felt bad for her having to see me in such a state, but there was nothing I could do.  At one point I began panicking, big time.  I had a dead baby inside of me, a DEAD BABY.  I needed it out now.  I left the room and paced frantically in the hallway.  I felt like I could pass out, hyperventilate and vomit all at the same time.  I took a Xanax and anxiously waited for it to kick in.  It did and I was able to return to the exam room where Chris and Emma were waiting.  Mom arrived some time after I returned to the room.

It seemed like forever before our doctor came to speak with us.  Finally he did.  He confirmed what we already knew.  Our baby had died.  He said that nothing we did caused the baby’s death.  I kept asking, what about this or that.  He kept saying, no, nothing I did caused our baby to die.  He said that there appeared to be a tumor on the baby’s neck.  He said that these nearly always lead to death either before or after the baby was born.  I felt some comfort in that.  Something was wrong with the baby.  The baby wouldn’t have lived anyway.  I thought I could accept that. 

We asked what our options were.  He said that I could either go to an abortion clinic or go to hospital and get induced and deliver the baby.  Immediately I responded that I wanted to go to the abortion clinic.  That would be quick and easy.  I couldn’t handle labor and deliver.  The doctor went on to say that the clinic may just give me some medicine and send me home for a while.  I couldn’t handle that.  Because of my anxiety, I decided that I had to go to the hospital to deliver.  They could give me meds to keep me calm.  I asked how long it would take.  He said it could take a while, like 12 – 24 hours. 

We then drove over to Southview to be admitted.  Mom drove us all over.  The check in woman was horrible.  I don’t even remember what I said.  It was something along the lines that I was there to deliver my baby that had died.  She asked if we were sure?  Were we sure???  Someone else quickly stepped in behind her and helped to get us checked in.  Again, it felt like an eternity.  I believe Mom had called Dad to come to get Emma.  I wanted Mom to stay with us for everything.  We got to the room and waited for Dad to get there.  I didn’t want Emma to see anything.  Eventually Dad arrived and took Emma home with him.  Later Sara, my mother in law, arrived and stayed nearly the entire time. 

I think it was around 11am when they began induction.  I don’t know what the meds were, but it wasn’t Pitocin.  It was something much weaker.  The first dosage they gave me did nothing.  No cramping or anything.  I was then checked and the dosage repeated or increased every 4 hours.  I was in shock.  I couldn’t believe that this was really happening to us.  And it was taking sooooooooooo long.  We were going to be there forever.  I was going to have to deliver our dead baby.

A nurse suggested that we get a camera.  Dad brought us theirs at some point.  He brought Emma with him.  She had to see me in a hospital gown and hooked up to the machines and wasn’t very happy about it.  I felt bad for her having to see me like this.  I can’t remember when we told her that the baby had died.  I don’t know if we were even in the hospital still or if it was later at home.

My best friend Amy visited with us.  She brought sunflowers, my favorite.  Amy is a wonderful friend.

The rest of the day is a blur to me.  I was taking Ativan and Nubain.  Mom says that I slept off and on.  Chris was taking Xanax and sleeping off and on too.  Our Moms were awake and holding down the fort.

Thursday September 27, 2007
Most of the day is a blur to me.  I know that I started having and feeling the contractions more intensely and decided to get an epidural.  This was around 8pm.  I then asked for more meds I believe that I was starting to get panicky because of the numbness in my legs.  Once I got the Versed, I believe I slept for the rest of the night.  They also turned down the epidural per my request.

Friday September 28, 2007
12:10am, Noah Paterchak was born still.  I remember none of it.  So I am writing based on Chris’ and Mom’s stories.  I was asleep and Mom was rubbing my legs because they were tingly as the epidural had been turned down.  Mom saw some blood and liquid and thought my water had broken.  She woke me to page the nurse.  The nurse arrived and asked when this had happened.  Mom said that it just did.  She then got a doctor and other people came into the room to help. 

Noah had just slipped out of me without any pushing at all.  Mom said the doctor was very tender with Noah.  She picked him up and held him lovingly and wiped his little body with a towel.  She said, “we have a boy”.  Mom says that I then started to say, “Is he…?”  I must have had just a tiny bit of hope still that Noah was going to be ok.  Of course, he wasn’t.  The umbilical cord was wrapped tightly three times around his tiny neck.  I hope that he didn’t suffer.  I like to think that he was busy playing and wiggling around and just got tangled up.  I hope that he began to fall asleep and then peacefully died.

Chris, Mom and Sara were all gathered around by then I think.  I know Mom and Chris both had to step away at some point.  I was worried they were going to get sick.  Even through this, my emetephobia was interfering.  Sara stood by while the nurses and doctors did whatever they did.  I thought she was there the entire time.  She told me later that she had to step away at some point too.  It was too hard for all of them to see me going through so much pain. 

At some point, I was all patched up and they brought Noah in.  I’m not sure what time it was.  Sara had to leave already to let her dogs out.  I wish she could have held Noah.  I don’t remember holding Noah.  We have 32 pictures that were taken of me, Chris and Mom holding Noah.  I wish we had 100s more.  I wish we had video too.  Around 8:30am, a lady from the funeral home came to take Noah away.  I think I can remember her standing in the doorway.  But that is it.  I don’t remember what it felt like to hold my baby.  I don’t remember what it felt like to kiss his cheek.  I don’t remember what it felt like to hold his tiny body in my arms.  I don’t remember what it felt like to hold his tiny hand on my finger.  I hope that I am blocking it.  I hope that the memories aren’t gone because of all of the medications.

Later in the day it was determined that some of the placenta remained.  I was going to have to have a D&E to remove it.  I was very scared to hear this.  I was done.  I had a D&C earlier in the year for endometriosis.  I didn’t want another one.  I didn’t want to have general anesthesia.  I wanted to go home, but had to stay and have the surgery. 

Finally Friday late afternoon we could leave.  Mom drove us back to our car at the doctor’s office.  Then we drove home.  Emma spent the night with Mom and Dad.  Chris and I slept all evening and night.

You can contact Jen at jenpaterchak@woh.rr.com


Debbie Olivares said...

Jennifer, thank you for sharing your tragic story. I had no clue that Stillborn childbirth could take this long or be so tortuous! I could understand your fear when the realization hit that you had a dead baby inside you. I hope and pray your memory comes back but even if it doesn't, you will always remember your love for Noah. I also believe that Noah played all the way to heaven and there is no doubt in my mind! I'm happy that you have photos that will keep Noah's memory alive. Chris, Emma and your family and friends will never forget Noah. That was hard to read but it makes me understand more about your pain and what women can go through. I am once again saddened for you and your family's loss of your darling baby boy. God Bless you Jen, Debbie

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