Monday, January 31, 2011

Mom to Linus Michel
October 15th, 2010
American living in Germany

My name is Tiffany. I am an American living in Germany, have two sons, and have just had my 5th angel baby.  Previous pregnancies have all ended around the 8 week mark, except for one previously that ended at 14 weeks as a missed miscarriage. My husband and I have gotten through so much in the past 5 years, that it doesn't even seem real at some points.  I would like to share my story with my most recent loss, my angel Linus Michel.

In May 2010, I had been experiencing a bit of stomach pains. Thinking that it was my period coming, I thought nothing of it. I even forgot... till I saw a movie that had reminded me "Hey, maybe I should go take a test".
My husband was at work, and always seemed to find out before I did when I got pregnant before, so this was very exciting to me to have a positive pregnancy test and be able to tell him first!!!! I called him up, told him that we were going out to dinner that night and wanted to tell him something. I maybe shouldn't have even said the last part, because he then said "Oh! You are pregnant! I knew it!" ...something about my husband...

The next day I did all the normal calls. Called the Midwife, OBGYN, and the Diabetes specialist (I had Gestational diabetes with my last pregnancy, my youngest son.) I decided to get checked out really early this time. Turns out I was diagnosed with GD at 8 weeks this time around. I was to use insulin, but only at night as my morning numbers were too high.

I had my appointment with my OBGYN and was full of questions. I wanted to know if I could do a VBAC this time around. My 2 sons were born though c-section, and wanted this pregnancy to go my much better than those had. I have always been a high risk with the diabetes, Hyperemesis Gravidum, Gall Bladder Attacks, Labor starting at 6 months... she told me straight out, "No". I was on the search for a new OBGYN.
I am so glad I did. I was blessed (after meeting with 5 different doctors) that she was willing to try with me, but she wanted me to have a higher level ultrasound done at the 20 week mark first to make sure that there were no heart or brain defects that it would be wise for me not to try a vaginal birth. I was confused why she thought this was necessary. She told me that it wasn't unusual for women with diabetes in the pregnancy that had been diagnosed so early on to have a baby with a defect like that.

At the 20 week appointment, we had to drive 2 hours to the University hospital to get checked out. We had it confirmed that we were having a boy! Sitting in the waiting room for the paper work to be drawn up for my OBGYN we kept making jokes about having the 3 Musketeers, or how to tell the family, deciding to play the "My 3 sons" theme to them. And the doctor told us to come back into the room. She had told us that the only thing she found was in the right side of the heart. That it wasn't "optimal" but it should clear itself up within the next 4 weeks.

At 24 weeks, I was feeling so great. It was the first pregnancy where I had virtually no problems. We started telling more people in the previous weeks that I was indeed pregnant (You could tell from my belly since I was around 14 weeks, but I didn't want to tell "just in case" till the 20th week for sure.) We started buying things, picking out names, talking to our boys about their baby brother...

Then, one Wednesday night, October 13th, I got a horrible feeling. I can't even describe it. I just got the feeling that something wasn't quite right. I had tried to remember the last time I felt kicks. I hadn't really started doing kick counts, but knew that at that time of night, I definately had been feeling some kicks for the past few weeks. Something wasn't right. I called my husband. He was visiting a friend. Told him I was going to call the midwife. She told me to come into her office in a few hours after her classes were over, and she would do a check up. I didn't really let myself get too nervous, and called a friend to watch over the boys since they were already in bed. My husband came, picked me up, and we were off to the midwife.

At the midwife's office, she hooked me up to a fetal heart monitor. She looked around for a while and didn't really find anything. She found a low heartrate around 90 something... I started to get really nervous, but still didn't let it overtake me. She sat there, looked me in the eye, and told me that we should head to the hospital, where there was a doctor on call to do an ultrasound. She told us not to worry, but she just wanted to know for sure that everything was alright.
I knew right at that moment, that things were not okay.

I called my mother in law to pick our boys up and to have them stay the night there. I thought that even if everything were okay, I would definitely need a good night's rest after something like that.

We got to the hospital, and there was no wait. I got right in to see the doctor. The on call midwife got all my papers ready while the doctor examined me. She had the monitor facing away from me, but my husband who was standing at my feet, could see everything. He had such a blank stare on his face, and I even saw the doctor go a little pale. She looked around for 10 minutes in silence. She turned the monitor to me. "See this. This is your baby... I'm sorry, but he isn't moving and has no heartbeat." I felt like I floated out of my body for a moment, and fell right back, lost my breath, and started to cry very hard.

They let me go home for the night and told me that they would induce me in the morning. I was so confused that they would induce me after having had 2 c sections! They said it would be perfectly safe, and I trusted them.
In the morning, we returned to the hospital, having had no sleep, but made all the phone calls, and packing everything we needed.  My labor progressed, but I had such a strange feeling. Feeling almost guilty for getting the vaginal birth I had wanted, but not my baby. I went through so many phases that day.  I passed the time by knitting my little man a hat, so I could do at least one thing for him. It turned out beautiful, and I even got it done before he was born.  My labor progressed through the night. The nurses kept telling me to take the pain meds, that I didn't need to feel pain this time. I didn't listen and made it quite a long time without. At around 3AM on the 15th, I decided to go ahead and get a PDA. I was so happy that I was still able to move. I labored on my knees and switched positions quite a bit.

Then it hit me. October 15th. That was the day to remember our lost babies. I told all the nurses on the station, and they even got me a candle to light for my babies. I was so touched. They were so caring. In such a small town, this kind of thing doesn't happen often, and they were all so great.  October 15th was also the due date to the third miscarriage I had at 14 weeks. This date holds so much for me.

After laboring for 28 hours, I felt the urge to push. I had even made it to 10cm (which they told me they didn't expect to happen, that I would probably only dialate to 7 or 8cm!) I felt the urge to push, and pushed... for 2 hours. My husband and Mother in Law by my side, I gave birth to my tiniest, little man. I held my breath for such a long time, waiting for him to open his eyes and prove everyone wrong, but he never did.  

I cut his umbillical cord and started to cry. They gave him to me to hold, and my sons and father in law came in to see us.

We gave him the name Linus Michel. We really liked the name Linus, but were iffy since the meaning is "The one who mourns" So we weren't sure on giving him this name, until the day he was born.

Linus stayed with us the whole day. They were very supportive about letting us take photos and having the day with him.
The Godparents we had chosen came to visit, as did another family friend who also had a stillborn baby at 40 weeks a few years ago. They have been great support to us, and I thank God that we have met them.

Linus was buried the following Tuesday in a beautiful cemetary with a wonderful view of the Alps. It is a place that I love to go to look at the mountains, and he has a peaceful spot under a tree. He was buried with a blanket, of course.


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