It hasn’t been long since we began this journey, but I feel it necessary to fill in some of the holes left in the big picture. Xavier passed away, and I’d like to share how.
Throughout my pregnancy, I had stellar blood pressure. Coming into my third trimester, my blood pressure began to rise. I was concerned, and expressed it to my OB. She said it was fine. Nothing to worry about.
Those who don’t know a typical OB appointment, it goes like this- pee on a stick to check for proteins in your urine. Have the baby’s heart rate checked with a doppler. Measure your belly. Check your blood pressure. Discuss any thing that's bothering you. Book your next appointment.
Fast forward to the beginning of October. Everything seemed to be wrong. Higher than normal blood pressure, swollen face, hands and feet, protein in my urine during my now weekly OB appointment. I felt uncomfortable and yucky. Up until October 6th I had gained 26 lbs. On my Oct 6th appointment, the secretary informed me that I gained 4 lbs in one week. A RED FLAG! But my Doctor told me everything was fine. Baby’s heart rate was fine.
So to recap on the 6th of October:
I was retaining enough water to have put on 4lbs in 7 days
Protein in my urine.
Swollen hands, feet and face
Pregnancy induced carpal tunnel
General feeling of yuckiness
High blood pressure
I was worried about pre-eclampsia.Dr. KP was NOT.
So I went home. I performed kick counts every day. Everything was OK, until Sunday morning 10.10.10.
I woke up feeling like something was wrong. There was no fetal movement. And then I felt a wee kick. We left for my dads house in Ajax to celebrate Thanksgiving. On the ride there I felt 2 more kicks, but I was also feeling cramping. Could it be today was the day? Maybe, but I wasn’t feeling excited like when my other two came. I was scared. Something was wrong.
We arrived at my dads, and I said I wanted to go to the hospital.
What happened next is part my own memory and part what the nurses and D have told me.
D got a wheel chair and rolled me into L&D. They brought me into a room. I hopped up onto the bed where they tried to find the baby’s heart beat on the monitor. D went to get the car and move it out of the Emergency loop.The nurse tried for 2-3 minutes with no luck. I have little recollection after this. From what I have been told I had a seizure, and the nurses immediately called for an emergency c-section.
Within 20 minutes I was prepped and waiting for the OB to arrive. When Dr. ET arrived there was still no fetal heart beat.
She immediately began the c-section. I wasn’t frozen yet. I am sure my screams could be heard in the next town.
She stopped and asked me if she could continue, that the baby was in distress and that she had to get him out. I agreed, and had another two seizures.
Xavier was born not breathing and it took the pediatric team 8 minutes to get his heart going. I was told this wasn’t so unusual, that 10 minutes is still in the normal range.
I was rushed to the ICU. I was suffering from the effects of pre-eclampsia. I would require a blood transfusion and many other medications to regulate my blood pressure.
Xavier was taken to Sick Kids and admitted to the NICU. He was assessed there over night by a team of doctors. D stayed with Xavier, watching him through the night. He suffered several seizures throughout the night, even on anti-seizure medication. In the morning D waited patiently for “rounds”. He was brought into a room with the Neonatal Doctor that had been assessing Xavier. The news was not good. I received a conference call at the Ajax hospital from D and this Doctor (I can’t remember her name) at Sick Kids.
Xavier had gone without oxygen for too long. He had no brain function. They offered him a life of mental retardation and wheel chairs. Our sweet, sweet baby would never learn and grow. Our decision was immediate. My heart aches as I write this. Not because I think we choose wrong, but because, for us, there was no other choice.
They told us Xavier would be low functioning. I couldn’t allow that life for him. We had to let him go. So D signed the papers. They told him Xavier would probably pass within the hour after the ventilator was removed.
His body was strong. They transported him back to Ajax and I finally had my baby in my arms. Xavier stayed with us for 13 1/2 hours after his ventilation was removed. He received last rites at Sick Kids, but I insisted he be baptized while he was with us all in the hospital. The priest also confirmed him.
We held him. We kissed him. We cuddled him. We listened to his heart slowly wind down. He never moved. His hands never clasped for my finger. His toes never wiggled when I rubbed his soles. I held him while he died.
There were 14 of us in my hospital room at 12:45 am on October 12. Surrounding him with all of our love. D Jr., M, D and I held him, and each one of our family kissed him good bye.
Sadness is not a fierce enough emotion to convey how I feel. How I felt. It feels like nothing I can explain. Guilt, anger & sadness balled into a lump in my heart. Even that sounds tame compared to how I feel.
Xavier died of a preventable disease called pre-eclampsia. There was a full placental abruption, and he had no oxygen. My doctor did not listen to me when I said there was something wrong with my blood pressure during the last three weeks of my pregnancy.
Dr. KP almost killed 2 people that day. Our little Xavier has suffered the full extent of medical incompetency, and D, D Jr., M and I (and everyone that loved him and was waiting for his arrival) will be left with a pain and a hole in our hearts forever.