Monday, November 1, 2010

Angel #1 Stillborn at 20 weeks on November 18th, 2009
Angel #2 Late miscarriage at 14 weeks on October 14th, 2010
Draper, Utah

November 15, 2009...     That was the last day of my life that I could truly say I've been given an easy hand at life with only minor mishaps and nothing really bad has ever happened to me.

My husband and I met for the official ultrasound the morning of November 16th. So excited to know the gender of our baby. Wondering if our streak of same gender luck was going to change. Honestly, I didn't really care all that much. The ultrasound tech started looking at the baby and said "I'd like to see some movement here" and she shook her ultrasound wand shaking my tummy. Very quickly she went for the heartbeat. I just stared at the screen with a blank look on my face. I knew exactly what I was seeing, or wasn't seeing I should say... the absence of a heartbeat. I was too numb to even cry but I was so glad the ultrasound tech was upfront with us and told us straight out the baby was no longer alive. I've heard many horror stories of ultrasound techs keeping this from the mom and getting the doctor while the mom waits in horror. We were in shock and advised to check into Labor and Delivery that evening to get labor underway. 

We left to gather our girls at the sitter's house and told them each individually that the baby in Mommy's tummy had died and it was okay to be sad. Each was heartbroken, although our 2 yr old kind of did a cheer - oh well. 

I checked into Labor and Delivery and started taking cytotec. That was a long night, day and night. 30 hours later I delivered our sweet, perfect baby girl. We held her for 30 minutes -  3 hours. I really couldn't tell you as time stood still. I spent a couple days recovering and one week later set off to see family in another state for Thanksgiving. This was a highly anticipated trip by my girls and I felt I couldn't tell them we weren't going this year. When we pulled up to the house Thanksgiving morning with all my husband's family inside, I realized that my heart was still too raw from being broken and I spent the next 2 hours crying on the guest room floor while 50 cousins, aunts, uncles, kids all ate the Thanksgiving feast. 

The soon to follow Christmas season was a painful experience. Every family and company party left me feeling completely empty. My bleeding had not slowed and my doctor had me take methergine on Christmas Eve. This drug made me cramp very badly and I tried to keep on a happy face for my girls while I was in pain. By Christmas morning, I was puking my guts out and just felt horrible! I sat on the couch all day watching my girls play with their new toys and inside I felt like dying. The bleeding still persisted. I was so anemic and by January was passing golfball sized blood clots. I counted 50 in one week. I finally got my doc to listen, something was wrong with me. He finally agreed and 2 months after I delivered our baby, I was in surgery for a D&C which finally got me on track with normal cycles.

For the 8 months following the loss of our little baby girl I was kept up at night with the dilemma of do we try again? We decided we needed to try one more time and conceived on our first try, something I hadn't expected. It felt like a miracle to us. Our next baby even had the same due date as the one before. I felt that God had given me this gift, a second chance and my heart felt very well healed. Everything seemed like it was going to be alright. I started measuring my tummy on my own at about 12 weeks to look for small increases in size. Sure enough, I knew that baby was growing. I encouraged my husband to come to my 14 week appointment. I told him, "I know this baby is alive this time. Come hear the heartbeat and have a good experience unlike the last time he was at my doctor's office when we found out our baby had died the previous year." When it was our turn to see the doc, we did all our Q&A and then we listened for the heartbeat on doppler. I looked over at my husband as the doctor searched. I was dumbfounded, we couldn't find the heartbeat. We went across the hall to the ultrasound machine. Sure enough, a sight I knew too well, a baby with no heartbeat. My doctor told me the baby measured 14w-1d, I was exactly 14 weeks along and we believe the baby died possibly just that very morning. 

The fetus was too big for a D&C, and I told my doc I didn't want to check into the hospital this time. I was sent home with the cytotec. I told my husband I needed some mega maxi pads and being the control freak that I am, I wanted to pick them out. We piled the girls into the car and my hubby drove me to the grocery store. I had already started the inducing drugs 6 hours earlier. I picked out some huge pads and as I was walking in the store, my water broke. I looked around and grabbed the pads and high tailed it into the bathroom to clean up. I then bought this open bag of pads in self checkout and hoped no one would notice. We went to bed not knowing when the baby would come. At 12:30 that night, I went to the bathroom with heavy, but not too painful cramps and had the catch bowl my nurse gave me sitting in the toilet. I pushed the baby out into the bowl, but couldn't get the placenta to come out. I cut the umbilical cord with hair cutting scissors and placed the baby in a zip-lock baggie. I went back to the bathroom every 45 minutes hoping the placenta would come out. No luck. 

By 4:30 am I had lost so much blood, I passed out on the toilet. My husband heard my faint call-out in his dreams before I passed out and the next thing I knew he was shaking me to wake up. I was so weak and we went to the ER. My blood pressure was 75/35 on arrival and they double IV'd me with two bags dripping into each arm. My doctor's partner was already at the hospital and came to try to scrape the placenta out, but it was cemented in. I had no painkillers and oh it hurt. They got me into surgery for a D&C and I was released by noon. It was such an ordeal. It looked like someone was murdered in my bathroom. We took the fetus to the ER with us since they needed to run tests and I realized 4 days later that I wanted the fetus back to cremate, but I was sure I was too late. I thought the pathology lab would for sure have disposed of it by then. I had my nurse make some calls and by luck, the fetus was still in pathology and all their testing was done. I was able to have him/her cremated. I felt so relieved. I wanted to tell my baby, "Mommy took care of you, and laid you to rest in a respectable manner, like I did your sister before you. You've received equal treatment, the best I could give you" I sat out in the hospital parking lot and rubbed the toes of my little baby before taking it to the funeral home. It sounds morbid, but I felt comfort spending those moments with the baby in such an odd location. My nurse was sure to tell me, most women don't come back for the fetuses. Definitely don't look at it, it will be too disturbing. I ignored all her orders.
I am in shock that I have had 2 second trimester losses in the last year. I keep hearing my doctor's voice, after the first loss "Don't worry, this is not likely to happen again!" Still, I know I will heal. Losing the first baby taught me many things about myself but also that time does help heal a broken heart, I just know I can't cheat the grieving process as much as I'd like to. I don't know what's next, but I suspect I'll have many sleepless nights trying to figure what we'll do next. All tests have come back negative. No problems or red flags were found in my blood tests, and both babies were found to be otherwise healthy. We just don't know why I lost my two sweet babies, but the best guess is maybe blood clots got into the umbilical cord. I'm afraid to take daily anti-blood-clotting injections, not because of the shots, but what if I lose a baby again mid pregnancy and hemorrhage due to my blood's inability to clot. Do I owe it to my girls to not put myself in that position? It's hard not having any answers and it's hard being told nothing was found wrong with either baby.

I do however know my babies are in a beautiful place and that someday I will see them and be with them again. My religious beliefs are that I will also have the opportunity to raise them. I felt one baby moving inside me and the other I saw kicking around on an ultrasound so there's no doubt in my mind that they were alive with both a body and a spirit. They will still be given a chance at life in the future. Until that day of our reunion I will hold them both in my heart.


Anonymous said...

I hate that you had to go through this twice. I have no idea how you were able to handle delivering the baby by yourself. I love my son in my second trimester. I went in for my 26wk check and there was no heartbeat. As much as I hate that it happened to you it is comforting to me to know that you have two healthy girls and that there was no apparent reason that it happened. We don't know why our son died. As far as we know it just happened. Every story I read of a loss usually entails an obvious problem. Yours is the first that I have read that does not and in an odd way it is comforting. Atleast I know that I'm not that only one.

Trina said...

You're strength and faith is inspirational. What an incredible loss and I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that. You are an amazing mother and someone I look up to and admire so much. I think it's very brave of you to be willing to share your story in such a candid way. Lot's of love to you and your family.

Bryson Bunch said...

I love your story and appreciate you sharing. It has strengthened me. We are currently living the nightmare of losing a baby at 20 weeks just short 2 weeks ago. I have been reading the stories here, but yours is the first I have responded to. I believe you are of the same faith as I am (your location and testimony at the end were clues), and it gives me the courage to keep going. We are waiting on an autopsy but they say at this point they don't think there was anything wrong. Hopefully I'll be able to share here someday, but for now I've posted it to my blog. Thanks again!

becki said...

katie, you recently wrote a post on my faceofloss blog, and I wanted to read your story. I am so sorry for both of your losses. I dont know how you did it at home, that takes a lot of strength and courage. Im honestly surprised the Dr allowed it. Were they not able to tell you the sex of the second baby? We found out the sex (12 weeks) because they ran genetic tests. Im happy you got to see both of your babies, i wish I would have asked to. You're in my thought and prayers.

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