Told by: Tara
born 2-28-12 at 6:07 pm
weighed 3.2 oz
length 16 cm or 6 1/4 inches
Died at 15w3d, born at 16w6d
This is my fourth loss. This is also my second loss in the 2nd trimester. I have my own doppler to check for a heartbeat at home for this very reason. It sure brings reassurance when you find it, but it also brings a sense of familiar dread when you don’t.
It was Valentine’s Day and I had just spent the weekend being very sick. This worried me to some degree because when we lost our Adam in 2008, a similar thing happened with a similar illness. I checked for a heartbeat and found it loud and strong. Sweet relief! After a few days, I decided to “check in” again and make sure it was there. This time I couldn’t find it. After almost an hour of searching, I started to get that sick pit in my stomach. I convinced myself that its normal to not find it sometimes (which it is). After all, I’m not a professional, I carry more than a few extra pounds, and the placenta could be in the way. There are so many reasons it would be hard to find. Only by the next day, and the day after, I still couldn’t find it. Ok…it shouldn’t be THIS hard! I called my OB to come in for an ultrasound. When I got there my blood pressure was 164/98. Not exactly good, but I just knew in my heart I wouldn’t be getting good news that day. He started the scan and I watched his gentle face intently for any indication of life, that I had perhaps overreacted. Then he turned the screen toward me and showed us the head and the spine, and pointed to where the heartbeat should be seen. I scanned that spot, searching, hoping…I didn’t see anything. He said “I’m so sorry.” He sent me to fetal testing to “confirm.” They were lovely, and got as many nice pictures for us as they could. They searched for an answer, based on what they could see, and couldn’t find a reason to explain the death. I went back down to my OB’s to take the next step. We decided to wait a bit to process, but wanted an induction as soon as we could for the best chance at getting healthy cells for testing. (Adams testing was inconclusive due to decomposition)
February 27th we went back for a follow up. I hadn’t had any bleeding or cramping and I just needed to grieve. I couldn’t grieve until it was over. I came in the next morning for an induction. I was filling out paperwork when my doula, Cindy showed up. She’s lovely…attended my last healthy birth and has had 2 losses herself. One at 12, and the other at 20 weeks. She had walked this path and was such a comfort to us. The medication is inserted against the cervix, and it has to melt for 2 hours. After that I get 2 hours to get up and move around until the next dose is given. Not much happened after the 1st dose. They gave the 2nd dose at 2:15 pm. After my 2 hours I got up and my hubby and I did some laps in labor and delivery. There we met a newborn nurse I knew who was a Christian and also had 2 losses in the last 8 months. She prayed with us, hugged us, and was such a heartwarming gift! I really wanted to get on the birth ball because my hips were really sore. I was sitting there rocking for a while and I started to really cramp. I decided I should get up on the bed so I didn’t give birth to this baby while sitting on him. I got on my hands and knees and my doula rubbed my aching hips and back. I was really feeling some pressure all of a sudden. It all happened quickly. I was feeling some intense cervical stretching and it required me to breathe and consciously stay loose, instead of trying to resist it. I decided I needed to be upright, knowing I was getting pretty close. I sat up with the soles of my feet touching so I could keep my pelvis open and use gravity to help.
The pain lessened, but I was still slightly crampy. I started to feel my vagina fill and knew something was coming out. I assumed it was a blood clot, but after about 2 seconds, I knew it was bigger and most likely the baby. I lifted my hips up to give some room, gave a little gentle push, and out slid my baby, complete in an intact sac with the placenta! I slid back on the bed so I could see, and oh what an amazing sight! I could see my baby’s form curled up in his safe haven…I wanted to much to explore him, but we had a bereavement photographer coming and my pastor wasn’t there yet. Another way God’s wisdom prevails…to maintain my baby’s shape so he was fresh when we all greeted him. Once the sac is opened, the baby loses their shape pretty quickly because their bones haven’t hardened completely. In the meantime, my OB gathered some amniotic fluid to send for testing and examined the placenta. There was some calcification, which she said was a sign of infection…my illness perhaps? Since then I’ve googled and haven’t found much info. That was sent for testing too.
Once my pastor and photographer arrived, it was time to greet our baby. I asked if I could cut the sac open myself and lift my baby out, and they were fine with this. It was important to me because when Adam was born, the nurse presented him to me and told us he was a boy. I never held him skin to skin out of fear, and I regretted it. Presenting myself with my baby, and finding the sex out myself, was very important. They gave me the tools to open the sac and directed me as I cut the layers away from our baby. I reached in and lifted his body out with my hands and cradled him perfectly, and smiled. He was lovely! So peaceful, and looked like he had fallen asleep. We took photos of his little feet, my husband cut the cord, and my pastor anointed the 3 of us with oil. His legs were folded over so we still didn’t know what he was. I opened them to reveal his little manhood, and we laughed through tears at our 5th son. I really thought he was going to be a girl!
He was weighed and measured, footprints taken, and molds made to pour into a seashell. We cried, we laughed. What an exhausting day. As I write this, I am 2 weeks out from saying goodbye. Physically I feel great. My emotions have made a journey. I started out at peace, then became very hostile for a few days. Once I got some stuff out with my husband and reconnected with him so we could grieve together, I felt more at peace again. Not sure what tomorrow brings, but I know my Lord will see us through. It really is a journey. I thought having done this before would make it easier. In a way it is…we can skip over some of those initial shocking thoughts and some blame, but in other ways, it is harder, and so much different. Unique.
I’m thankful for the time we had with him. I’m coming to a place where I can be thankful for our loss, instead of angry and bitter. I heard a sermon recently that went like this (paraphrased): “Motherhood is the ultimate sacrificial love. You sacrifice your body, to create a little soul you will not get to meet on earth, and send that little soul right back to our heavenly Father, for His glory. I challenge you to find something more significant you can offer.” Thank you Father for choosing me to be the vessel that carried our son Home.
If you want to read my other stories, see Ariel under Blighted Ovum and Addison under 8 weeks and Adam‘s story is here too.
If you would like to view Aemon’s photo, you can click here.