Thursday, October 15, 2009

Infant Loss and Rememberance Day

I have not Lost a child, and I hope that this pain never becomes a part of our life. We do know quite a few people who have lost Babies, I personally have made some friends who have gone through miscarriage, stillbirth and even the loss of an older child. I view these parents as some of the strongest people I have ever met, be it in real life or through blogs or message boards.

I cannot imagine the pain of carrying a child even for a short time and never being able to bring that baby home with you.

From the moment Donnie and I found out we were going to be parents we were in love, we started talking about what Abby would look like, what our hopes and dreams were for baby bean Harris. I remember hoping for a girl but also that I would be happy no matter what as long as the baby was healthy and happy.

There was a day early on in the pregnancy when I was spotting, and I remember the absolute terror and fear we both felt, we were pretty early on so when I called the Doctor and the nurse said well there is nothing we can do if this is a Miscarriage. I felt hopeless, hurt, confused and angry. How could one be so insensitive, so callaous about OUR baby. Then I remembered that for them this is something that probably happens everyday, and that made me more upset. I was upset because I realized that we have no control over whether they live or Die, that it is all in God's hands and for whatever reason he decides to take some home well before their time, this is not a comforting thought especially for a control freak like me. It does not make me feel any better to say it's ok God decided he wanted our baby more. Thankfully the spotting stopped and the pregnancy continued, but it never left my mind that we could lose baby bean at anytime and that there was not a darn thing anyone could do about it, no matter how much we bargained, prayed, pleaded or cried.

Around 22 weeks I started having some very painful braxton hicks contractions and the doctor wanted to see me right away, the entire way to the doctor's office I prayed again, over and over, please Don't take her, we love her so much already, I can't imagine our lives without her in it. I was a wreck by the time Donnie met me at the OB and we sat in the cold office and waited, waited for the cold gel on my expanding belly and the beautiful thump-thump-thump of her heart. It was there and I calmed down but I still wanted to know why I was having contractions, and the Doctor said it happens sometimes, it is completely normal. Normal was not the word I would have used but again they deal with it every day and this is something they telly everyone. So I was put on bedrest for 5 days and again everything calmed down and the pregnancy went on.

The day before I was induced with Abby I had my 39 week appointment, got my weight checked, blood pressure, and belly measured. Everything looked great and I was dialated to 2-3 CM and 80% effaced, doc said it could be anytime now and I got excited thinking we could meet our little girl soon. We then listened to the heart and it popped up right away, I thought it sounded great but I noticed the Doc was taking longer than normal and she looked worried. She said she wanted to run Non Stress test and see where we were after that, so I go to the next room get hooked up to a monitor and lay there counting her kicks with a little button. All this time Donnie was at work wondering where the heck I was and he wasn't able to get ahold of me. The nurses were coming in and out, they looked concerned and no one was telling me anything.

Finally Dr. Bansore came in and said you are going to have a baby tommorow, her heart rate is high and while things look healthy I want to get her out. I went in to panic mode, I was excited that we would get to meet her but terrified that they wanted to do it so fast and that even though I was progressing into labor on my own they were going to jump start it.
I left the office and called Donnie and that is when it all hit me, what if something is wrong, what if they aren't telling me everything so I don't get worked up, what if, what if, what if.

Donnie rushed home, we put our parents on alert, and got packed to head to the hospital the next morning. The labor was long and everything was going the way it was supposed to, we joked that Abby was ready to come out so she was doing tricks to get her way. When she came out she didn't cry, and as a mother who has been laboring for over 17 hours that is the sound you wait for, they cut her cord and rushed her across the room to stimulate her, I had no idea what was happening, no one knew really, and then the Doctors started coming in, and then more nurses, and she still wasn't crying. I was trying to stay calm but all I wanted was my daughter and I couldn't get why no one was giving her to me. Hell I carried her for 10 months I think I should get to hold her finally.

Then everything got scary, and rushed, and confusing. The next thing I knew she was in my arms and then she was being run down to the NICU. now for a person who has had a "normal" pregnancy, this was confusing. I remember begging God to not take her in my head and saying over and over again to him please just let me hold her.

At the time I remember running through my head all the Horror stories you read about people delivering a stillborn, after a normal pregnancy, about babies with undetected birth defects. I remember thinking I don't want to join this club, I don't want to have an angel baby, I want to take her home, I want to show her the nursery her Daddy painted for her, put her in the crib that I slept in, rock her in the chair that Donnie and all his siblings had been in. I want to watch her grow up, please don't take my Daughter, the one we prayed for and waited for, and wanted so badly.

Walking into the NICU was the scariest experience of my life, I had no idea what I was walking into and you are never really prepared for seeing your child like that.

In all of this I felt lucky though, lucky that we decided to deliver at a hospital with one of the best NICU's in the Country, Lucky that the neonatalogists that were caring for her were the best, and that we have the technology to save her. The first night was terrifying, I remember going to bed that night and her Doctor telling us it was touch and go and only time would tell us what we were dealing with, they also told us that if anything changed they would come get us. Needless to say we did not sleep well that night and It was about 5 AM when we went back down there. The next few days showed promise and before we knew it she had moved to the Step down Side of the NICU and 3 days later we got to take her home.

Those days have forever changed my life. I am different because of that experience, it made me realize how fragile life is, and how quickly it can all change. As Abby got better I relaxed but I still was impacted not only by her but by all the babies in there with her, the nurses all joked that she was the "baby moose" of the NICU crew and people would walk past and smile at her and her big blue eyes. The other parents in there were amazing, there was a 23 weeker, a 28 weeker and a 30 weeker all in there with us, at the time I felt guilty because our journey in that ward was a short one and most of them spent months there, every day, and all night sometimes hoping for a miracle.

Sadly one of the Babies passed while we were there, it was a nice young couple and it was there first. I still think about them and wonder how they are doing, I remember when the Dad came out and apologized to all of us waiting to see our kids. Because of the circumstances they closed down the NICU whenever a baby coded, and we all had to leave, but I will never forget the look in his eyes, the pain, the confusion, and the utter grief.

We held Abby longer that night, we hugged her more tightly before we went home, and we thanked God the entire way home for saving her and letting her stay with us.

This has gotten more wordy than I intended and if you are still with me I appreciate it.
This entire post was meant to say that I admire the strength that these parents walking this path have. The fact that they still rejoice when others celebrate the birth of a child and they are left with empty arms. The strength they have to raise their other children with a hole in their heart and a piece of their family missing.

Today we honor the Babies that have gone before their parents, and the parents that are left to survive and go on.

My Family will be praying for all of you and thinking of you today.

May God surround and hold you as you walk this path.

1 comment:

Miche said...

Thank you for posting this! I pray that you never have to experience this pain.

Have a great week!