Thursday, January 22, 2015

THE Post

I realize it has been nearly two months since my last post but it's not from lack of thinking about it. I think about it almost daily. Matt is working tonight and so the sitting and waiting for Jonah to fall asleep job has fallen upon me giving me ample time to write the post I've been avoiding but one I know needs to be written and recorded.

This post is about our two miscarriages this past year. The first one was in February at 6 weeks. We had transferred one embryo and 4 days later had a positive pregnancy test. I had cramping starting the night of the transfer but never any bleeding. I took it very easy and figured since I didn't have any bleeding it was okay. On February 15th at 6w1d I was laying in bed (because it was a Saturday and my wonderful husband got up with the kids so I could sleep in) and I felt more intense cramping. I thought to myself there was no way that can be normal. Then I felt a gush and knew what was happening. My first ultrasound was supposed to be that Monday but instead I went in that day. I was relieved to see a heartbeat but the doctor told me it was lower than it should be and that I would miscarry. I didn't bleed anymore that weekend but when I went in on Monday there was no longer a heartbeat. I miscarried a week later at home. 

We knew we would be leaving Seattle and our embryos and that if we wanted to do another transfer it would have to be soon. We had to wait for my HCG to get back to zero and then started the process for another transfer. We did another single embryo transfer and were able to have an ultrasound and see a heartbeat a few days before we moved. This time we held off telling Jonah until we had a couple of ultrasounds because he had been very upset about the first miscarriage. At the end of the first trimester we told him and shared with our family, and on here of course.

I had a doppler that I used for my pregnancy with the boys for peace of mind. Starting at 9 weeks I could sometimes find the baby's heartbeat. One day around 14 weeks I couldn't find it. I knew it was hit or miss and we had just had an ultrasound 5 days earlier where everything looked good. When I couldn't find it the next day I got worried. The next day I asked Matt to try. He tried to find it for close to an hour. We both knew what it meant but never said it out loud. I had an appointment scheduled in a couple days so we waited. The day of my appointment Matt was starting a week of nights. He stayed with the kids while I went alone. We discussed the plan of action, again without ever actually saying what we knew to be true.

I wasn't surprised when the OB couldn't find the heartbeat with the doppler and sent me for an ultrasound. I held it together and walked down the hall to the separate lab and sono room. The sonographer recognized me since I had just seen her (with 3 boys in tow) a week ago and knowing why I was there pulled me back and told the receptionist we would handle the paperwork later. It was very quick. Immediately we saw his still body and no beating heart. The doctor came in and talked about what we had to do. I had to go to the hospital to be induced. When I got home Matt was waiting for me and I didn't have to say anything. We talked for 5 minutes and made phone calls and then he had to get in the shower for work. He left for work and I made the kids dinner, put them to bed and tried to get the house picked up and ready to be gone. I kept busy doing laundry and cleaning until Joan arrived to stay with the boys and I went to the hospital to check in at 1 am on August 16th.

They started an IV and drew a ton of blood to check for anything and everything that could have caused our second loss and especially a more unusual 2nd trimester loss. Then they drew more blood because they had forgotten something. When they finally gave me the medicine to soften my cervix at 2 am they told me it usually takes 8-12 hours before delivery. By 6 am I was contracting pretty regularly but wanted to wait until Matt got there to get my epidural. Why I wanted to wait I don't know but I was so ready for it by the time he walked in the door at 8. I got my epidural and Matt tried to get some sleep on the pullout couch since he had been up all night. About 20 minutes later the doctor came in to check me and since I couldn't feel anything I was surprised when she said the baby had been delivered. Someone took him in an adjoining room and Matt woke up as the doctor was trying to get all the placenta out. After a lot of bleeding they decided to take me to the OR for a D&C. I was so thankful for the epidural and not being able to feel anything. They brought me back to my room where Matt was waiting and the doctor was talking to him. She was telling him that we had a little boy and he appeared to have a small abdominal wall defect where all of his intestines did not migrate back into his abdomen and some remained in the umbilical cord and a club foot, neither of which would explain his death but were probably accompanied by a heart defect. Actually Matt didn't tell me either of those things until later and they were so minor that I didn't even see them when I held him. I did notice his foot (left) but not in a there is something wrong with it kind of way. We decided not to have an autopsy done.

While I recovered from the anesthesia and the shaking it causes me to have we discussed what to name him. We actually already had a boy name picked out but decided we didn't want to use it. I had been thinking overnight of what we would name a boy. I knew I wanted John to be his middle name after both my grandpas but waited to discuss the first name with Matt. When I told him the two I had been thinking of Matt immediately said Benjamin.  It is a name that has been on our list since we were deciding on a name for Jonah. We held him and the nurses took pictures of him with a teddy bear and blanket we got to bring home. It was weird to see the nurses doing all the steps in bereavement care that I've done for families when their baby passes. He was 6 inches long but I couldn't find a weight anywhere and didn't think to ask at the time. His skin was too moist for footprints which makes me very sad. I plan on buying and donating the ink pads I used at work that uses the impression on the pad to make a print instead of the ink being on the baby's skin. I don't want another mom to not be able to bring home footprints of her baby. I had to stay overnight because I had lost so much blood. Another fellow took the rest of Matt's night shifts for him and Joan stayed for a couple more days as I was in no shape to take care of the boys. 

Benjamin's chromosomes came back normal and all my blood tests came back fine. Moving forward it is scary to know that since we don't know exactly what caused his death it could happen again. Matt immediately said he could not do this another time and we were not trying again. Now he has changed his tune and he is ready to try again. I'm not ready yet. It has been a couple of months since I've gotten his box of ashes and his teddy bear out of my bedside table which I think is progress in grieving. The next couple of weeks will be harder since we should have been bringing a baby home from the hospital either by scheduled c-section this week or his due date of February 6th. There have definitely been more thoughts of how this is so unfair and wondering if I'll ever get to bring another baby home or finally give Jonah the partner he has been wanting. Mostly I'm grateful for being surrounded by friends and family to help us and for 3 boys who keep me busy and remind me how blessed I am. I'm thankful that one day I will hold Benjamin again.

This was quite lengthy and I could have cut down on the detail for Benjamin's pregnancy and birth but I needed to write this for me. I am not sharing any pictures at this time and I don't know if I ever will. Right now I can't look at the pictures but I can still see him clearly in my mind as I held him.

1 comment:

Margaret said...

What a brave and sad post. You guys are both so strong, but I am so sorry for your very hard loss. Life is wonderful and awful sometimes...and often at the same time. Warm thoughts and hugs to you guys.