On Friday, May 14th, I was admitted to the hospital with abdominal pains that had started on Monday, got better and returned on Thursday afternoon. Dave and I were concerned and we were hoping to get an explanation and a plan to get better and to just go home and recuperate.
This was not to happen.
Upon examination by two doctors, I was told that I was dilated to 2cms and that my amniotic sac was visible. The doctor said that a miscarriage was likely and that nothing could be done to stop it. We cried in disbelief. How was this possible? Here I was, more than halfway through my second trimester and I was in danger of losing our baby. I didn't believe it. I couldn't. I imagined weeks of bedrest and emerging triumphant around the 38 week mark with a healthy baby.
This was not to happen.
Over the weekend, my pain subsided that gradually got worse. For 5 months, I avoided any kind of pain relief but in the hospital, I took drug upon drug to slow the contractions down. I got injected with steroids in the hope that if the baby came early, his/her lungs would be supported. What kept me going was hearing the baby's heart beat every 4 hours and feeling him/her kicking against my womb letting me know s/he was ok. But I could feel the baby descending. For some reason, the body was getting lower and lower in abdomen.
Early Monday morning, after suffering through the worst night of contractions, Dave was called back to the hospital (he wasn't allowed to stay with me that night) and we were given the news that I was 4 cms dilated and all my waters had gone. I was going to have our baby.
All my visions of labouring standing up or kneeling disappeared as I lay back and got high on gas and air. Breathing through the pain was so hard and I was trying not to go with it because our baby wasn't meant to be born.
I felt our baby crowing and I pushed out the head. When the next contraction came, I pushed out the rest of the body. I gave birth to a girl. She was taken away and I had to concentrate on getting the placenta out. It would not come.
They brought back our tiny baby to us. She was wearing a tiny red and white hat. She was about the length of my forearm with long arms and legs and big feet, Dave's feet. I looked at my daughter's face and told Dave that she looked like me. She was alive, gasping for air. She fought for her life. She was 23 weeks old and 1lb 1oz.
She was taken away and I had to continue to push out the placenta. I was told that I had another hour to have it come out or I'd have to go to surgery. After some time, the doctor was called in and I was told that she was going to try to pull it out. The pain was unimaginable. Though I was high, I could still feel the pain. I was screaming, but trying to relax my body so she could get it out. She couldn't. She said she was causing me too much pain and that we'd go to surgery. I begged her for one more shot. She obliged me. I sucked on the gas and air, I howled, I relaxed my legs, and she pulled it out and I cried and cried and cried. It was over.
After some time, they brought our daughter back to us. By this time, she was no longer breathing. She was now in a knitted pink dress, wrapped in a white knitted blanket with a pink and white hat on her head. She was beautiful. We cried for her and for ourselves. The midwife had taken pictures with a digicam and told us to do the same. Dave was appalled and hurt but it made sense to me. Even in my stupor, I knew I wanted something to have of her.
Though we didn't previously know the sex of our baby, we had names picked out. Isla for a girl. We knew this prior to even conceiving. So we called her Isla. And we told her her name and hugged her and kissed her. Isla.
I got cleaned up and put in a new room specifically for bereaved parents. The room of tears and broken hearts. The Snowdrop Room, I think it was called. They brought Isla to us for one final goodbye and a very nice chaplain to came to us and he blessed Isla and named her. I don't know how long we spent holding her, crying over her and talking to her. She was so beautiful and we loved her so much.
That was a week ago. We have been living in a cocoon at my in-laws place since I was released from the hospital last Wednesday. I'm afraid to go out and be around people. So we spend our days talking and crying and sleeping and grieving. Our plans down the toilet and no baby inside me. When we hug, I'm aware that we no longer have our much loved baby in between us. In fact, looking at me now, you'd have no idea I was over 5 months pregnant last week. I hate it.
I don't think I can tell this story again, not detailed like this. Dave and I know the minute details and I'm grateful we can always share with each other. I want to heal. So that's why I've posted this - to heal and to help others out there who might find this. I hope that one day, we'll be close to feeling whole again.