The answer is- we still don’t really know. We might never know. It’s a chicken and the egg scenario…. but I guess I should start from the beginning, more or less.
Tuesday morning was different. Not bad different, just different. Usually, I laze in bed until 7:30am before getting up to prepare my daughter for school. Tuesday I got up early to drive hubby to work, so I could take the car to do some errands. Everything was fine. I dropped off hubby, got the munchkin ready, and sent her to school. I sat down to check my email, and facebook, and have some breakfast. Jellybean was HONGRAY!! I took my time, threw on some laundry, played some solitaire on the computer before getting up to have my shower, and get ready to go into town to actually DO my errands. I noticed that I had more discharge than usual, nothing to really be concerned about, and made a mental note to consider getting it checked out at the walk-in since I’d be in the city anyway- probably just a yeast infection, but I should get it checked- just to be on the safe side.
I went into the city, did my errands, and popped into the walk-in clinic. Hubby called while I was there, wanting to know if I’d be back home by 2pm- seeing as how it was 1:45 and it takes about 25 minutes to get back home, and I was still waiting to see the doc, I told him that wasn’t likely. He asked what I was doing, and so I told him- however, at this point, I WAS starting to become concerned at the amount of discharge. It wasn’t gushing or anything, but I was starting to get a niggle that I wasn’t just dealing with a yeast infection, and that this might just be leaking amniotic fluid. I still wasn’t worried. I thought, even if it is, they can fix this- They will get me on an IV, and I may have to stay in hosp. on bedrest for the rest of this pregnancy- but they can fix it…
After waiting almost an hour, I finally got to see the walk-in doctor. I told her that I thought I might be leaking amniotic fluid- OR that I could just be paranoid and have a yeast infection. She performed a quick pelvic exam, and said she thought I might be right, but she would call the OB on call to get a second opinion. I was sent upstairs, and saw the OB fairly quickly. She too performed a check of my cervix, and confirmed my worst fears. I was dilating, and the membranes were bulging. She called another OB in the BIG city 2 hours away- and came back to tell me that I’d have to get out there to see him. She didn’t seem overly concerned, and even suggested that I could wait until morning to go. I thanked her, got all my paperwork together, and called my husband. We quickly made preparations to leave as soon as I got home. Hubby called his brother, who agreed to take our daughter overnight, and got overnight bags ready for everyone. I got home, and we left.
We were worried, but optimistic on the long drive to the city. I was somewhat uncomfortable due to the reclining position I was in. We arrived at the hospital, being expected, but there was no rush. Everyone was calm, cheerful, and optimistic. I was told what would likely happen. The OB who I’d been referred to would come in the morning and go over everything with me. Likely I would be getting a cerclage (stitching the cervix shut) done. My history was taken by “my” nurse, who was wonderful. I saw two male residents, who also did a brief history with me. Everyone was kind, and I was not given any indication that I should be worried. I knew that I was being taken care of, and thought that everything would be fine. Around 11pm, I was notified that the OB was in fact on his way to see me. He was not friendly or warm like everyone else, and I admit he scared me a little, however, he too was reassuring, and took me to have an u/s. Jellybean was moving, and kicking, and his heartbeat was strong. My husband even thought he saw boy parts!!! We were SOOO excited about that.
The doc let us go back up to my room. He came in a little while after, and gave us our options, and the odds of each. We were informed of the possibility that the cerclage might not work, that even with a stitch in, we would be very likely delivering a preemie baby, who could have serious complications or be “damaged”. We could have the stitch, and make it far enough to have a preemie, but late enough in term to be perfectly healthy. Because of my membranes bulging into the cervix, the surgery itself to have the cerclage put in would be risky, and they may rupture my waters, resulting in losing the baby, but the odds of the surgery being unsuccessful were low. The biggest decision at that point was to decide if we would do nothing, or to go ahead with the surgery and risk having a “damaged” baby. We knew, we didn’t CARE if we had a handicapped child- that would be better than no child at all. An amnio was scheduled for the morning. This was done, because of the risk of there being an infection of the amniotic fluid, in which case, no stitch could be put in… We thought nothing of it, and settled down to try and get some rest.
First thing in the morning, I woke up to get a bunch of needlesticks. I have HORRIBLE veins!! And shortly after went downstairs to the fetal assesment unit to have the amnio done. I was SCARED. That needle looks HUGE when it’s coming at you. But I knew it was necessary, and so I held on tight to my husband’s hand, took a deep breath and closed my eyes. We went back to our room, and waited. The cerclage had been “tentatively” scheduled for 11:30am. – in case hubby and I made the decision to NOT have the procedure performed. The doctor came up about an hour after the amnio to discuss if we wanted to go through with the procedure, and we told him that there was no question- we wanted to save this baby.
Unfortunately, it was only 5 minutes later that the preliminary amnio results were back, and they were not good. Two different types of bacteria were found in the fluid. It was too late, there was already an infection present. We recieved the bad news, and I couldn’t even cry. I was given my options- wait a few days to go into labour naturally, and risk becoming septic, and losing my own life, as well as that of my baby’s. Or, be induced and have a baby who was thought to be one week shy of viability. In my province, they won’t even TRY to resuscitate babies under 24 weeks- I was thought to be exactly 23w0d.
It was one of the hardest decisions of my life. But, faced with the reality of losing this child either way, what choice did I really have?? We chose to get it over with, and get induced. It took FOREVER for everything to be organized. I was started on IV antibiotics, and finally, at 3pm was given the medication to make contractions start. I was given medication through my IV to keep me comfortable- it was patient controlled, so I just hit that button at will. Around 3:30- I got up to use the washroom, and my water broke. I wasn’t even sure what had happened. I told my husband that I THOUGHT my water might have broken, and the nurse confirmed that it was most likely true. I went back to bed, and my husband’s parents arrived. My mom and brother also returned to the hospital- they had been there earlier, and had gone for a bite to eat. Around 5 pm the contractions were so strong and painful, the medication didn’t seem to be doing anything. I got up to use the washroom again, and when I lay back down, I had two large gushes of fluid. The nurse asked if I’d seen any bleeding, and I told her I hadn’t when I used the washroom, but I wasn’t sure if there was now, she kicked everyone else out, and came in to help me change the pad I was wearing to absorb all the fluid. I felt another gush of fluid, and then I felt my baby coming out. He was so small. Part of me wanted to hold him in- and not let go… I wanted to keep him safe inside me. But part of me elated in that I would finally get to meet my little Jellybean.
At 5:25 pm, my son was born. He weighed just 1lb1oz, and was 11 1/2 inches long. He had his daddy’s big feet, and my daughter’s chin. The tiniest bit of hair he had was dark, and looked like it might have one day been curly. The nurse asked if I wanted her to clean me up, or him first. I told her I wanted him cleaned up, so that everyone could meet him. She told me she thought he was passed already. I told her I wanted him cleaned up so everyone could see him, and say goodbye. All I wanted at that point was to hold my son. I wanted him in my arms so bad, I didn’t care about anything else. She let everyone come back in, they didn’t even realize that I’d already had my baby. I told them, and we waited for the nurse to bring him back. When she did, he was clean, and dressed in a little white knitted cap and robe. He had on the tiniest little diaper, and was wrapped in a recieving blanket. She handed him to me, and he was beautiful. He was very very tiny, but oh so beautiful to me. I unwrapped him to see him better. He had the longest fingers- and big feet. He was still warm. I let my in laws hold him when they asked, my mother and brother left. My husband held him and cried. His first child- lost to him forever. I found out later, my son was actually ALIVE when we held him. It took him four hours to pass away. My only consolation of that being, that he was not alone when he did. I was holding him close, just me and my son, me saying goodbye, and wishing, and praying that a miracle would happen. But telling him it was ok, that we all loved him soooo much, and as much as it hurt me, he didn’t have to hang on. He knows he is loved, and missed.
I feel betrayed. I feel lost, and hurt and angry. He fought for FOUR HOURS- on his own. And none of the doctors would fight for him. His “odds” weren’t good enough for the time and expense of saving him. That hurts. It hurts that the actual age he was given at birth was 23w3days. That he was only 4 days shy of them DOING something to save his life. And yet, that wasn’t enough. My heart breaks wondering what I could have done differently, if only I had noticed something wrong sooner. Wondering if something I did wrong caused this to happen. If God just hates me that much- that He would let me get THIS close to something I’ve tried for, and wanted for SOOOO long… just to take it away. I’m railing at the world, at God, at the doctors, and myself. And all for nothing. Because the ONE thing I truly want is gone. I want my son. I want to wake up in the morning and feel him kick. I want to have trouble sleeping at night, not from grief, but because my child is kicking, and alive inside of me, and making me uncomfortable. I want to feel morning sickness again, I want to be huge, and my belly to be full- I want to be ravenously hungry, because my son wants FOOD- and is growing, and healthy. I want my baby in my arms. I want my son.