Mom to Elliot Alexander
August 13th, 2010
I always thought getting pregnant would be easy, and I was so excited when my husband and I decided to try to start our family in December 2008. After six months with no success, I made an appointment with my doctor because I knew something was off. The doctor prescribed Clomid for me in late October 2009. I was really discouraged after we didn't have success with my first Clomid cycle. In late November, I started my second Clomid cycle. On December 20, 2009, I woke up excited that I hadn't started my period. I took a pregnancy test and waited, expecting a negative result. I was shocked when the second line appeared! I woke my husband up and we were both so happy, although I was also absolutely terrified!
We told my immediate family on Christmas - I bought an "Aunt" card for my sister, and a "Grandparents" card for my mom and dad. I loved seeing the looks on their faces as they read the cards and it registered! I swore them to secrecy until I was at the end of my first trimester because I was worried about things going wrong.
Shortly after Christmas, the morning sickness hit, except it was more of an all-day sickness. I felt horrible all day long, but it suddenly went away after about two weeks. This worried me, but everything seemed fine. As I progressed through my first trimester, I was excited to see my belly start to grow. When it came time for the NT scan, everything looked great with the baby, and we even got a shot of one of the hands waving at us! I asked the doctor to guess, and he predicted that we were having a boy! We were thrilled! As I counted down the weeks until the gender ultrasound, I wondered if the doctor was right. When I was 17.5 weeks, it was confirmed! We were going to have a son.
As the weeks passed, I was feeling movement regularly. I loved feeling our baby kick and roll around, and the movements got stronger and more frequent as time passed. Although everything was progressing fine, I still had an uneasy feeling in the back of my mind. I bought a few baby clothes here and there, but I kept the tags on. I just had this feeling that I would not get to use them.
By the third trimester, I started to get pretty uncomfortable. I had terrible rib pain and it was also difficult to walk for very long. I was thankful for every minute of that time though. Overall, I was pretty healthy and everything seemed fine with our son. When I hit 35 weeks, I noticed some decreases in movement, but the nurses reassured me that it was normal as he was growing in size and running out of room. I always had no problem with kick counts, so I assumed they were right. By 36 weeks, it was finally starting to set in that I was going to be a mom in a month. I had actually started to believe this was real.
On Wednesday morning, August 11, 2010, I was 37 weeks pregnant. I woke up and noticed that the baby didn't move. He usually moved within a few minutes of me waking up. I ate some cereal and still felt nothing. I figured he was sleeping, so I waited about 30 minutes to see if he would wake up. When I still wasn't feeling movement, I called the advice nurse. She paged the midwife, who told me to come to the hospital for monitoring. As I headed out the door, I just knew that the baby would start kicking when I was driving, and I would look stupid for coming in. I said a quick prayer that my baby would be ok. I kept waiting for kicks, but there were none. By the time I got to the hospital, I started to worry.
When I arrived at the hospital, I was whisked away into a triage room. I waited for what seemed like an eternity for a nurse to come. Finally, she came in and got the doppler. She put it on my belly and there was dead silence. She moved it around a few times, and then started moving it more and more. At that point, I knew something was seriously wrong. It had never been a problem to find his heartbeat, and we always heard it in the same place. She finally found something, but she said she couldn't tell if it was my pulse or the baby's. She went to get the ultrasound machine and paged the midwife on call. They called the doctor, who did an ultrasound. My whole world shattered when I saw my beautiful baby boy, lying there, without a heartbeat. I don't remember much after that point, except screaming over and over again, and then sobbing. Somehow, I was able to tell them my mom's and my husband's phone numbers so the hospital staff could get a hold of them. My mom came over right away, but we could not get a hold of my husband. He finally called, and I had to tell him that our son had died. I was taken into a room, and the doctor came in. I had some decisions to make. Although I begged for a c-section, that was not one of my choices. I could either go home and come back later to be induced, or begin the induction right away. I did not want to go home with my dead son inside of me, so I started the induction. I took my first Cytotec pill at about 12:45 pm on August 11. The next few days were a blur. I got an epidural on the night of the 11. I didn't want to feel. Somehow, I made it through the rest of Wednesday night and then Thursday. Things were progressing very slowly, which really added insult to injury - not only did my son die, but I was in my second day of labor. By 4 am on August 13, the decision was made to break my water to speed things up. At 9:00 that morning, the nurse and midwife came in to check me and said that it was time. I began pushing at about 9:30, and at 9:45, Eliott Alexander was born.
The nurses prepared me ahead of time regarding what he would look like, so I wouldn't be afraid to hold him. He was big - 7 pounds, 5 oz, and 21 inches long. He had a small amount of light brown hair, big puffy cheeks, and the cutest little nose and chin. It looked and felt like he was asleep - he was still warm. My husband cut the cord, and we both spent time holding him. Our families had been waiting in the waiting room, so after some time alone, we invited them in and they got to hold him too. My pastor came in, and we baptized him and had a funeral for him at the same time. Then, everyone left and we were alone again. I held my beautiful baby boy and tried to memorize his face. A photographer came and took pictures for us, so we would have something to remember him by when our memories fade. After that, I knew it was time to say goodbye to my son. I kissed his forehead for the first and last time, and the nurse came and took him away. That was the last time I will see my baby on this earth. The rest of the day was spent making final arrangements. No mother should have to say hello and goodbye to her child at the same time. I left the hospital the next day. I am left now with less than I started with. I got 37 weeks as a mother, only to miss out on the chance to raise my son. It devastates me that I will never know the color of his eyes, hear him laugh, see him smile, and watch him grow up. I never knew it was possible to survive after a part of you dies.
We still don't have answers, although I was diagnosed with MTHFR in September. This could have contributed to my loss. It hurts to think that if our loss was a result of MTHFR, it could have been prevented with blood thinners. I miss my son terribly, but find some comfort in knowing that I will see him again.