Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mom to Alana Elizabeth
November 16th, 2008 - December 26th, 2008
Tampa, Florida

On April 6th, 2008, at 15, I found out I was pregnant and my entire life changed. I moved in with my mom and enjoyed every second of my pregnancy. 
At 27 weeks I had a pre-term labor scare but they managed to stop my labor and stall it with medication. On Friday, November 14th, 2008 I went to my OB for a regular check up at 34 weeks. My blood pressure was 171/116 and I had over 500mg of protein in my urine. I was rushed to the hospital and immediately admitted for a 24hour urine test for pre-eclampsia and given Magnesium intravenously. 
After 24 hours, I was diagnosed and induced with Pitocin. After more than 12 hours, I had made no progress so the put a balloon in my cervix that inflated with every contraction. After I reached 4cm, the balloon came out and, when I reached 5cm, I got an epidural and passed out. 
After a total of 27 hours of labor, I was woken up to the news that the baby's heart was dropping and that I was going to receive an emergency C-section. So.. at 3:40pm on November 16th, 2008 I gave birth to a perfectly healthy but premature baby girl I named Alana Elizbeth who weighed 5lbs 14oz and was 18.5in long. I breastfed like a trooper till I was told by her pediatrician that I needed to supplement her but I still breast fed. She was beautiful and amazing and thriving. 
Then, the morning after Christmas at around 9:30am, ironically enough, I woke up to my worst nightmare. I found my daughter not breathing with blood coming out of her nose and mouth. My mother grabbed her and took her in the kitchen where I laid her on the counter and performed CPR. With every exhale into her, I could hear the blood gurgling in her lungs and the sound haunts me until this day. I went with her in the ambulance when they arrived and was shoved into a cold, damp, dim room for an hour without a word from anyone. When my parents and sister finally showed up, I was silent. Emotionless. When the first doctor entered the room, I remember tears taunting my ducts while my heart fluttered with anxiety and hope. Such strong hope. However.. When I saw the 2nd and 3rd and 4th doctor enter, my tears hurled themselves down my cheeks in a, seemingly endless, river of sorrow and emptiness. Without a word, I knew what they were saying. They were saying it with their eyes. She was gone. My little girl, my  angel, my everything, would never stare into my eyes or coo or giggle ever again.

Although I was still a mess, I was resolved in my decision to see her one last time; a decision I'm not yet sure if I regret or not. When I walked in, the one thing that still sticks out in my mind is just how small her tiny swaddle body was on the hospital bed. I remember making a mental note of her diaper and blood stained onesie at the end of the hospital bed before stepping up to it. I was given a moment alone with her and I crumbled. I scooped her up in my arms and hugged her tight but gently as if it still mattered. It still haunts me how pale and lifeless her flesh was. What sticks with me the most is when I kissed her forehead. She was as cold as ice and I just remember rubbing her back as if would have helped warm her up. When I laid her down and walked out I felt my heart die. I walked outside and sat under a tree by some bushes and just sobbed about everything I was going to both miss and miss out on while my mother called my father to tell him what happened. Once everything was done at the hospital, they took me to McDonald's because it was nearly 1pm and none of us had eaten. My mother ordered me chicken nuggets because I wasn't talking to anyone for any reasons. I just stared at my food until my mother forced me to eat something and, even then, I ate slow and painfully. For the next 3 weeks I laid in our living room recliner and cried and stared at the wall. I didn't do anything or talk to anyone. I was empty.

I blamed myself for a lot of reasons. A main one being that I was Co-sleeping with her but when I asked the medical doctor handling the autopsy if I had killed my daughter but he reassured me there were no signs of suffocation. SIDS was the final diagnosis. The main thing that I went over in my head repeatedly to date is that I was only doing 5 compressions instead of the 30 necessary for infant CPR. Could I have saved her?

I had my 2nd daughter, Koi McKenna, November 9th, 2010 and I'm slowly starting to forgive myself. I'm just terrified that she won't make it past her 40th day. I've learned to cope with regret and guilt but I'm just now facing the fear and anxiety that accompanies the worry that I'll lose her too. How do I cope with that?


Anonymous said...

I lost my son, David, in November of last year. The one and only time my boyfriend ever let David sleep in the bed with him, he stopped breathing. He didn't survive.His death was ruled as accidental. My boyfriend lives with that guilt every day.

We're pregnant again now, and I am so terrified of losing another child. I don't know how to cope, either. I, too, wondered whether or not if I could have saved my son's life if I had done CPR the right way.

There is nothing that I or anyone could ever say to people like us who've lost a child. This site has so many stories, and reading them makes my very soul ache to it's core.

You aren't alone.

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