Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Day 2 of the BFN (Big Fucking Nightmare), Thursday

This is the second part of my recounting of how we lost our baby at 23 weeks. This took place last December, 2006.

I remembered that during the first night in the hospital and the next morning, my contractions were constantly being monitored. At first I thought they didn’t really think my contractions were real. The nurse would come in every now and then and glance through the pile of paper that the machine spit out. Nobody seemed to care about the contractions. I didn’t think much of them either.

At some point during the first night in the hospital, they started noticing them. They gave me medicine to slow or stop the contractions. I had an IV in me from the get-go so all the drugs went in through there, although I swallowed plenty of pills as well.

At one point they gave me a serious drug to stop the contractions. I don’t know what it was but they said it might burn my arm a little. A little?? There were only a few times during the four days in the hospital that I actually burst into tears from the pain. That was one of them. It burned like the inside of my arm was on fire. An icepack helped a little but man I remember how much that hurt. Looking back I guess my uterus was trying to save itself by forcing the baby out.

During the interminable wait to find out if I had an infection in my uterus, I don’t really know what we did. We called a few friends. Mostly I laid in bed. I don’t think I got out of that bed once from when they admitted me until after LC had been delivered. I had a catheter put in at some point and I had an IV the whole time so I didn’t eat anything.

While I waited, I was lying down watching the door open to see whose shoes would appear under the curtain. I was anxiously and dreadfully awaiting one of my doctors to show up. I didn’t watch TV. I certainly couldn’t read. I cried. We speculated. We waited.

After what seemed like forever and what was actually probably six or seven hours, my ob/gyn came in. She had that look on our face and I knew right away. I don’t remember what she said.
The look on her face spoke volumes and I knew it was bad news.

Fancy doc was also there. I remember what he said. After they broke the news and told me what would happen, he leaned over and put his hand on me and said, “I’m sorry for your loss.”

I’m sorry for your loss.

My loss wasn’t even dead yet. She was still kicking and thumping around in there.

I HATE “I’m sorry for your loss.” Since then I really, really hate it. I know that people meanwell but to me it feels so sterile and impersonal and devoid of feeling.

My loss? My baby girl that wasn’t even dead yet?

While the doctors were horrifying me with the bad news, there was a baby being born across the hallway. I was on the maternity ward so life was going on around me.

The baby was literally crying its first cries while I was hearing that mine was going to die. This definitely added to the horror of the experience but I do recall that when I heard that baby cry, I felt that I knew with utter and absolute certainty that I would one day hear my newborn baby cry. I don’t really believe in God the bearded man in the white robe but if I did, I would believe that it was the grace of god that brought me that certainty.

I kept hearing the Live song, Lightning Crashes.

Lightning crashes,
a new mother cries,
her placenta falls to the floor
the angel opens her eyes
the confusion sets in
before the doctor can even close the door
lightning crashes, an old mother dies
her intentions fall to the floor
the angel closes her eyes
the confusion that was hers
belongs now, to the baby down the hall
oh now feel it comin' back again
like a rollin' thunder chasing the wind
forces pullin' from the center of the earth again
I can feel it.
lightning crashes, a new mother cries
this moment she's been waiting for
the angel opens her eyes
pale blue colored iris,
presents the circle
and puts the glory out to hide, hide.

The certainty that my moment would come, again, has abandoned me at times but I remember that feeling. It was also strange that in the outside world it had been pouring rain for days and that waters were rising for the worst flood in 25 years. Landslides, thousands of lost homes and businesses, downtowns under 4 ½ feet of water, $110 million dollars of damage in our county; it was an epoch disaster in the outside world as well.

The horrid reality of the situation was overwhelming. Oh yeah and I was going to deliver her vaginally. Both my living children were delivered by scheduled C-sections. I had a large fibroid removed from the wall of my uterus, back in ’99, so after that my ob recommended scheduled c-sections to eliminate the 10% chance of uterine rupture. So I was never supposed to have a vaginal delivery at all. I wanted to and I wished that I could. I used to care about that a lot more than I do now.

When they told me that I would have to deliver LC and that it would be vaginally it was like salt in a gaping wound.

I would have to deliver my baby at 23 weeks, knowing that she would have no chance of survival. And I would be having the vaginal delivery that I always longed for. I was going to go into labor and push out a baby and my doctor would hand her right to me.

But then I would have to watch her die.

Isn’t it ironic?

Isn’t it so much more ironic than “10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife?” That’s not fucking ironic. That’s inconvenient.

“No smoking sign on your cigarette break?” Ironic? No. Bummer? Yes.

I do love Alannis but I have always thought she could have dug a little deeper for those lyrics. I digress.

During this nightmare that I wasn’t waking up from, I was having godawful convulsive fits and then spiking fevers that went higher and higher. 103, 104. They always told us the temperature in centigrade so we didn’t always do the math. The fevers were high and my doctors were freaked out.

They originally thought that the infection in my amniotic fluid was e.coli.

Oh yeah and how could I forget this? How did I get e. friggin’ coli in my placenta, you ask? More irony. From my own goddamn ass.

E. coli is present in the colon, rectum, stool, etc. and is also a major cause of your garden variety bladder infection. It is often found in the vagina which I learned is actually a pretty filthy place on a microbial level. The bacteria that I had turned out not to be e.coli but rather proteus mirabilus which was even nastier than e.coli.

The bacteria found its way from my colon or whatever into the vagina and then through the comprised and stitched up cervix and across the friggin’ placenta where it could no longer be treated with antibiotics. I had been taking all kinds of antibiotics since I walked in the door of the hospital the night before but none of it could help save the baby. Apparently, an infection in the amniotic fluid is untreatable when the placenta is intact. By the time you know you have one it is too late.

The baby needed to come out as soon as possible because the infection was a deadly one. It could easily get a foothold in my bloodstream and cause septic shock, coma, and death.

Now on Thursday afternoon the tide had turned and instead of trying to stop the contractions, gears were shifted and labor was going to be induced. But first the cerclage had to come out.

During the day we had called my parents and told them what was going to happen. My mother, whose emotional dysfunction is legendary, was in hysterics. She wanted to come for the delivery. Now this is a woman that I had a hard time seeing on my wedding day. Not in a million fucking years would I want her present at the birth of a viable baby even. For her to be there when I delivered LC was NEVER EVER an option that’s for damn sure and I told her in very clear terms, “Do not come to the hospital.” When she said she just had to jump in the car, I said, “DO NOT GET IN THAT CAR.” She’s so wacked out on xanax that I didn’t want her driving our car anyway and endangering her life or the lives of innocent motorists. Nice that I had to deal with her self-centered infantile bullshit at such a horrible time.

I also called my dear friend and she was going to jump into her car, at my request, and drive two hours to help me through the delivery. I think we all expected that the baby would be delivered shortly after the cerclage came out.

The next thing that I remember was being wheeled out of my room towards the OR so the cerclage could be taken out. As the nurse wheeled me out the door, she paused in the hallway and started crying. She said that she had a baby at home and was just so sad for us. We all cried in the hallway. We were really touched by this nurse.

I didn’t look up on the way to the OR for fear of passing brand-new families.

That’s it for today. Writing this has been harder than I thought.

I appreciate the comments. I know that it is hard to think of something to say. I have trouble thinking of what to say when I read the horror stories.

I do encourage anybody reading this to say something especially lurkers. I kind of feel that if I can say all of this and you are reading it, you can say something. Just please don’t say “I’m sorry for your loss.” Curse words are encouraged. Questions are welcome and encouraged. Interaction is good. Just say what you think or feel.

Please don’t feel like you have to comment now that I’ve said this. I don’t want to shame you into it. I just encourage readers to speak freely and react and respond.

Sitemeter shows that over 400 people have checked my site since I posted the first part of the story and 10 of you left a comment. It feels like my divulgence and sharing has fallen into a vacuum of sorts. You know like when you share something really personal and awful and nobody says anything. That is not to say that I don’t appreciate the thoughtful and heartfelt comments. I really really do.

Okay. Think I beat that dead horse long enough. I'm off to see fancy doc today to see how my cervix is holding up. As usual I have a feeling that the other shoe is going to drop. But it hasn't yet.

22 weeks on Thursday.

34 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How heartwrenching!! My husband and I also lost our first daughter to a premature birth. She was born at 23 weeks after I PPROMED at 21 weeks. What sucked the most was having to listen to 5 babies being born while in my room on the maternity ward when I knew my baby was going to die. It'so unfreakin' fair.
As hard as it is, stay strong.. Love on this baby...I believe with all my heart that you will be bringing her home with you.
Lots of love,
one of the "lurkers" :)

11:45 AM  
Blogger whatthef*ck said...

what is PPROMED? that's one of haven't heard of yet. obviously bad. thanks for coming out. sounds like another daughter has been born since-that's good but obviously the disaster sucks no less because of a subseqent birth.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous J-Le said...

ok, i'll comment. i don't know if i have anything useful to say. but i do understand what you're saying about your huge personal divulgence being met by silence.
i guess my reaction to your story is fear. my partner too - she has stopped reading for a little while because it makes her afraid for our pregnancy. but i keep reading because i know it's real and i know that babies can die (my brother died as a baby, my mum had more than one miscarriage) and i don't want to travel through all of pregnancy and motherhood in la-la-land thinking none of this could happen to me.
just take care of yourself as you re-live the trauma through writing about it.

11:49 AM  
Blogger whatthef*ck said...

just googled PPROMED. premature rupture of membrane essentially. ugh.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

I don't comment. I can't. I can't find any words. I didn't watch my boys die, but I know the words "bacteria" and "virus" all too well. Your story just makes me cry. No...your story makes me sob. I wish I could comment...but I just can't.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Aurelia said...

I don't know what to say...except I relate to your story even though my son didn't die from an infection. He had a chromosomal disorder and my daughters died of blood clots to the placenta. and yes, we've been able to 2 living boys in there, but not easily.
Can I say I'm sorry for your loss, if I say "I'm so damn sorry for your loss, it sucks that this happened!"

12:23 PM  
Blogger ladybug said...

WTF,

your story is heart-wrenching but i am grateful you are sharing it... and as for the cusswords, sometimes i feel like life is simply TOO UNFUCKINGFAIR! (how was that?) i have watched family members go thru years and years of trials to have a baby, only to have her body betray her and not be able to hold onto a pregnancy for more than 8wks. my cousin in a lovely woman and she and her hubby are awesome, and even tho they have 'gotten past' wanting that (somehow i doubt that) i still imagine there is some gaping hole in her heart wishing she could have had a baby of her own.

i love the nurse that cried with you in the hallway. love that she wasnt so sterile and clinical and "professional" that she would not allow herself to grieve a bit with you... i can only imagine how that helped a bit for you all. i pray i am a nurse that can express my human heart side, as well, as being a good clinical know-my-stuff nurse.

thank you for sharing, again...
(((((hugs)))))

12:32 PM  
Blogger Trista said...

I'm one of those readers. Your posts on the BFN have me in tears at my desk. My silence is the silence of reverence and deep thought and emotion.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous amy said...

just awful! i've been pregnant once and had a beautiful baby girl and was petrified throughout the pregnancy. i'd like to do it again but am convinced that with one healthy, i am doomed for something terrible. all i can do is hope for the best for us all!

12:38 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Gosh I have to agree with Catherine. I don't even know what to say. Thank you SO much for sharing your story. I hope over hope that it has brought you some peace to share it. BTW, I'm watching your blog regularly, the ticker in particular. I can't thank you enough for the wonderful ticker idea about doing it one step at a time.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Jackie said...

This is one of the most tragic stories I have ever read and my heart goes out to you and your family. The fact that the infection couldn't be identified until it was too late is just...so cruel. So unfair.

I hope that writing it down brings you closer to peace.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous bri said...

You are on my mind a whole hell of a lot right now. I am grateful that you are writing this down and you should know that someone else out there will be grateful because they will go through something similar and will need to see their experience reflected.

I have to agree with the commenter who said they don't want to go through their pregnancy in la-la land. Sometimes I shudder to think how much I know about the myriad things that can go wrong. But then I see those women in my "August Due Date" group who like to post "Who else isn't getting any testing whatsoever, not even a first trimester screen?" And then all the women who like to keep their heads in a hole come out and say, "Me! Me! I don't want to know! Better that I just live in happy denial and pretend nothing could possibly go wrong!" And then I want to puke on them.

Things go wrong. Things go hideously, horribly, heartbreakingly wrong.

And the people who have been through the wrongest of wrong shit, like you, deserve to have their stories heard and read and respected and honored and supported.

Thanks.

12:47 PM  
Blogger BethGo said...

The whole thing just sucks. Sucks ass!
For some reason, your telling this makes Evil Shadow Pregnancy appear even more sinister.
That woman knew all of this and STILL felt compelled to say the things she did to you?
Not cool, man.
Not cool at all.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I am so sorry that you had to go through the hell that you've described.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous j said...

I haven't commented because...I don't know, I feel like 1) there isn't anything I can say, and 2) The absolute horribleness of your tale and the fact that you're talking about it makes you about a zillion times stronger than I think I can be, and I feel...I don't know how to put that into words, but...I just feel that I can't say anything that would be worth contributing.

I have two words, thank you - for sharing this with us, for being braver than I can imagine, and for being strong enough to tell the world your story.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't even know what to say to you. You are very strong for telling your story.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous kari said...

i'm a lurker (sorry) and i just wanna say, this is so fucked up, there are no words. i've been reading you for a while, and i'm going to admit that i secretly thought that losing my baby girl at 38 wks was more fucked up than you losing yours at 23. (sorry again. that's horrible of me, i know) ... but that's until i read this. i don't know how you survived the horror and grief of your baby still moving and kicking and alive and being forced to deliver her, knowing she would die. your story is so awful, it's hard to read. you are strong to have survived this at all, much less to be going through another pregnancy!

4:42 PM  
Blogger lagiulia said...

I have kept up with your blog and am really routing for you. I guess I don't always know what to say and would never want to upset you by saying the wrong thing. You are right though. You deserve to get comments and to have support. You have been through so much, I just can't even begin to imagine your reality. I have had reason to be afraid for my child's life, but to have your child's life definitively taken away from you and not have her anymore is a whole other thing. I very sincerely wish you the very best as you continue through this pregnancy and beyond, and I am so very sorry that you and your family have experienced this hell. Thank you for sharing your story. It matters for so many reasons.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Round is Funny said...

It must be hard to tell this story. Thanks for putting it out there. I'm pulling for you.

6:46 PM  
Blogger B said...

My God, what happened to you was awful. IS awful. Will always be awful. For what it's worth, please know that you have a stranger in Indiana praying for you and your family. I look forward to reading the rest of your story; it's heartbreakingly compelling, and I appreciate you sharing it.

7:49 PM  
Blogger BasilBean said...

Hi, I just found your blog...I lost my son at 22 weeks as well. I admire that you are writing about the time in the hospital...what you went through. I haven't summoned up the courage to write out my story yet, but I know that I will eventually. I went into ptl because I have an incompetent cervix...of course I didn't know that at the time, otherwise we would have most likely been able to prevent it. When you wrote about feeling your baby move inside of you it rocked me to the core. My son died because my body couldn't hold onto him, and he was alive while I labored. We are ttc now, and I am so afraid. I know that I will be counting down the days and weeks until viability as well.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Meri-ann said...

I, too, have to agree with Catherine... it's hard- but I'm here on the sidelines with you every step of the way... x

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinking of you- I wish you all the happiness in the world!

1:27 AM  
Anonymous steph said...

I'm still thinking about you every day. You are so strong to be able to get up and go every day and take care of your wonderful living children. I can't imagine feeling LC moving around and hearing that she would never be part of your living life. It is unspeakably horrible and cruel and there is no logical explanation for why that happened to you.

I'm glad you wrote about the nurse that cried. I once cried in the bathroom afer talking to a patient whose 30 year old daughter had been hit by a car and killed while waiting on the sidewalk to get into a restaurant. The daughter had a baby and a toddler at home. I felt so unprofessional and fought myself to regain control of my emotions. I guess it is ok to show compassion after all.

6:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a lurker too. I'm 6 weeks pregnant, miscarried last spring, very nervous. I appreciate you sharing such raw emotion with us strangers. It is desperately sad and depressing to hear your story, and amazing to see you still standing after everything. I truly admire your strength and pray for your current pregnancy and continued path towards healing.

8:09 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

Delurking here, not sure what to say other than I admire your strength to be able to retell this nightmare you endured.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

delurking - I'm a friend of Bri's who has been following your blog for awhile. You are so honest and amazing. It's horrible and fucked up that you went through this. I am really rooting for you and the baby inside you right now.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Brandy said...

I can't even begin to imagine the nightmare you went through. I am so sorry for your loss.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Delurking...

...I have some family friends who lost a baby girl at 24 weeks in 1981 - also to a amniotic fluid infection (I think hers caused a premature rupture of membranes - she had no choice but to deliver, as well). It's always stuck with me - I think of how we would have grown up together (I am a year older) and been good friends, and how she would possibly be today - even though I didn't even know of her until I was six. I can't imagine the heartbreak her parents went through. Their sons are both marrying this year, and I always think of their little girl, and how she should have been there. I know they do too.

So I read this for them - to learn some of what they went through, some of their sadness and the story that now, 25 years later, they still don't tell much. I am so thankful you are telling it for them, and for yourself.

I am just so sorry that anyone has to go through this.

12:16 PM  
Blogger three minute palaver said...

I am so sorry this happened to you. I didn't watch my baby die, so I don't know what that feels like, but I did lose a baby at the same stage as you and I do know that hurts a f.uck of a lot. I hope you never have to experience anything like this again.

6:05 PM  
Blogger delphi said...

It's all so impossible. Do you know what I mean? Nothing I can say will change anything or make anything better. Instead, i will say how proud I am of you for having the courage to delve into the whole story here. It can only help to tell the story, IMHO.

Hugs.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Truck Driver Wife said...

My heart is hurting and my eyes are crying.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11:56 AM  
Anonymous Liza said...

I just stumbled across your blog, I forget how, and have been reading through your archives. I don't even know if Blogger will give you the comments on old posts the way Typepad does, but hell, woman, you want comments? That I can do. I had three high-risk pregnancies that resulted in three live births, but I know what it's like to be on bedrest and counting the days, weighing the statistics, analyzing every pull and twinge. I'm hoping the best for you, and will certainly be keeping track so that I can congratulate you when you deliver your healthy #3! I know, I know, that positive bullshit is irritating sometimes, but you're already at 31 weeks so even another month would be not-bad...

2:17 PM  

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