Monday, 24 May 2010

Shadows

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.

8 comments:

  1. I love you and Dave so much. It's such a tragedy but you two are so strong, and so is our family, and we'll get through it together. See you both this weekend, hugs in the meantime. Love you xxx

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  2. My sincere, sincere sympathies. Hold each other tight and... The words don't seem enough, but I only hope the best for your future.

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  3. Dear Kaki,
    I'm so sorry to hear your tragic news. Hold on to your husband and family they will get you through this.
    I hope you don't mind but I would like to share a story with you. January 2009 my fiance and I had just returned home from a fantastic new year celebration with his family. Early on the morning of 7th January the phone rang early in the morning - one of those phone calls that fills you with dread. The day before exactly 3 months before she was due my fiance's sister realised that her baby had stopped moving. Living in a very remote area she rushed with her husband to the local clinic hoping for good news. The clinic refused to give them a resolution either way but told them to head to the nearest hospital, 2 1/2 hours away through blizzard conditions. The hospital confirmed their worst fears their baby had died. The next day she gave birth to a beautiful little girl. They took photos and foot prints and hand prints and then said good bye in their own private ceremony. When they returned home they went on their favourite walk and in a secluded spot scattered her ashes. 3 months later on their due date they went back and planted wild flowers to mark the spot and laid an unmarked stone - they know where she is.
    The only medical reason the doctors could find for the loss was that the cord was slightly thinned. Life at home was really hard she worked in a local shop, in a very small community so she had to tell people over and over that the baby was gone. She has said that talking about it helped and everytime she would go to the back room and cry a little less.
    We all grieved for the life that should have been. The little girl and her pink outfits, the first steps and the ballet lessons and all the hopes and dreams that we had held for this little girl who wasn't to be.
    End of January 2010 she gave birth to my nephew a beautiful healthy boy. She was induced early just in case and carefully monitored the whole way through. One day they will show him pictures of his sister, one day they will explain that she didn't survive, one day they will explain that life is cruel. Everyday they will tell him how special he is and how loved he is. Everyday they will be grateful for being his parents.
    Life will feel at it's hardest at the moment - I can not even imagine. Embrace this time and surround yourself with love, it will get easier, it will become bearable, you will never forget her.
    Rachel

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  4. Ladies, thank you so much for your comments. You have no idea how much it means to me to read your kind words. It gives me strength now that I have none. Even when words are not enough, or when words fail, those words alone help me. So thank you for taking the time.

    Rachel, thank you for your beautiful story. I need to hear that we are not alone and I need to hear of happy endings. Dave and I feel propped up on them.

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  5. Dear Kaki,
    I am not sure how I missed this post of yours. I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter, Isla. My husband and I also lost our first child, a girl, we named Patricia...that was back in 1985. I have photos of her, a little hat that she wore and all of the cards that people sent after her stillbirth. We have two adult sons now. 23 and 20.

    I understand how you must feel. I can say that I probably felt that way too. I will be praying for and thinking of you and Dave and wish for your healing physically, emotionally and spiritually. Peace, Alida

    p.s. If you feel the need to talk to someone please let me know... I would be happy to listen. Alidasmail at gmail dot com

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  6. I am so very sorry. Our stories are somewhat similar, though I lost Caleb at little earlier. It's a terrible, horrible thing to have to go through.

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  7. Alida and Lara, thanks so much for your comments. And I'm so sorry for your losses.

    Alida, I will probably take you up on your offer to email you. I feel like I need to hear how other people have coped through something so terrible. Also, I need some hope of a happy ending.

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  8. i've just discovered your blog..through a comment you left on my blog (on my blog post big decisions)..and i am close to tears. you are so brave to share your story. i don't know what to write because nothing seems good enough...i am so very sorry for you and dave's lost. isla was so loved and that is very apparent.

    thank you for sharing your words with the world.

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