i'm not going into the background of our infertiliy treatment or how we
conceived ... i guess mischievium has filled in many of those details already.
anyway, my feelings during the pregnancy moved among several different axes:
nervous anticipation, confidence (hey, i'm a brilliant engineer, i can handle
this), lack of confidence (am i really ready to become a father?), and finally
determination (it's going to happen regardless. i better get ready!)
i had my first panic attack during the pregnancy. i never found out what
triggered it. it was as we were coming out of a childbirth class, the class
had gone well and there was no specific reason for it i can recall. maybe it
was stress at work or some of my anxiety about becoming a father working
itself through my system. it was scary, and there was another milder one
later, but somehow i think of them as isolated incidents and not something
that will happen again. but i do tend to be someone that worries about
details so maybe they will though.
J had been concerned about the baby's movements several times during the
pregnancy. i would check in on her when i got home from work and try to
reassure her that everything was normal. in fact, because our prenatal
appointments had gone so smoothly and everything was tracking normally the
thought that something might not be right hardly entered my mind. i had a
first bout of anxiety when we had our first NST. but it came out so well that
it gave me even more confidence that things were going smoothly.
during the last week of the pregnancy she was concerned again ... i think i
felt that the baby was shifting position or getting bigger or getting ready
for birth so less movement was "normal". i took her into the birth center for
the second NST and remember being surprised that the measured heart rate
(110s-120s) was a lot lower than before. but the midwive seemed okay with it,
and J seemed okay with it, so i let myself be reassured by it.
somehow i knew that J would go into labor that week ... i'm not sure why, but
i think i was mentally preparing myself for doing my part - labor support,
getting J to the birth center with everything she needed, making sure that the
last few details of our house were ready for Soren. needless to say i was
pretty distracted at work and don't even remember now what i was working on at
J began having contractions on saturday night ... we tried sleeping but i was
too anxious and J too uncomfortable. we stayed up watching movies while J
timed her contractions on her iPhone (i bought her an application that helps).
we paged our midwives on sunday morning and called our doula and got ready to
drive over (we had packed the car already).
once we got to the birth center things seemed to progress smoothly if slowly
... J was coping beautfully and i traded off with the doula offering what
support i could between naps. when it got into the evening i could tell that
J was having a harder time with the contractions and i was also fading for
lack of food and sleep. i stepped out to get a snack and when i came back J
was asking for her membranes to be ruptured. i was a little scared of this
and after i heard the midwife describe the meconium i knew that something was
wrong from what J has told be about NICU work.
the next hour was a blur ... i threw everything into the car, drove J to the
hospital, and with increasing anxiety watched the L/D nurse try to find
Soren's heart rate while J begged for an epidural. when the OB announced that
he couldn't find one with the ultrasound i was shocked ... numbed ... empty.
i don't think i was thinking very rationally for the next while. i remember
not wanting to leave J's side, but somehow needing to tell my parents what had
happened, maybe just to hear a familiar voice instead of a doctor.
i stepped outside to call them, and don't know how much time passed but the
next thing i remember is one of the other midwives telling me in a panicked
voice that J was seizing. i ran to her room and was frightened out of my
wits. she was convulsing and hyperventilating, and they were suctioning blood
out of her mouth (she had bit her tongue, but i didn't know that, i thought it
was internal bleeding). i could tell that she was not "there." the room was
flooded with nurses and doctors who struggled to start a Mg dose. my only
focus was on trying to give J something to focus on as best she could in her
state. i looked into her eyes and told her to over and over again to look at
me, that i loved her, and i was there for her. one part of my mind thought
these could be my last moments with her. i am still traumatized by this
memory and expect to be for some time.
the next thing i knew the seizure seemed to ramp down ... and she was pushing
Soren out with intense uncontrolled contractions. i think the midwife
realized before the doctors what was going on. the doctors didn't have time
to arrange the table for the delivery and had to catch the baby without
anything underneath. at this point something in my mind snapped and i became
incredibly lucid ... i told the OB that i wanted to cut the cord, as we had
planned, and they let me. i only saw Soren for a fraction of a second before
they took him away. they asked J a few questions and it was clear her memory
was impaired ... i had no idea what that meant and i was scared.
J birthed the placenta, and i asked them to not do any invasive testing
because J had wanted to bury it and plant a tree afterwards. (we later
changed our mind but J was totally out of it and i wanted her to be a part of
that decision.) they gave her a few stitches which must have been very
painful. i helped move her to the ICU and spent the night there. she
gradually regained awareness.
they brought Soren, dressed in the clothes and wrapped in the blanket we had
brought for him. we had picked two names for him but were waiting to choose
until we saw him. the moment we saw him be both knew he was Soren. the
photographer came and took pictures of him with us. i have never felt
anything so beautiful and so painful at the same time as when i was holding
him in my arms. we spent the night with him and then said our goodbyes.
at that point our stories start to re-converge. J spend the next few days in
the hospital. i stayed in the hospital with her, occasionally running errands
or taking walks, forcing down food and trying to find a decent cup of coffee
(never did). i think about a dozen different doctors came by. the nurses
were all very kind, some were simply beautiful and amazing human beings who
were a ray of light in a very dark place. i spent a long hour in the hospital
chapel praying and asking God a lot of hard questions and not getting many
answers. it's all a blur now.
this was really long, but already my memories are starting to fade a bit and i
wanted to capture as many of the important pieces as i could. looking back on
it now my optimism feels like naivete. i had no idea that new life hangs by
so thin a thread. if and when there is a next time, i have no idea how i am
going to control my anxiety. i am trying to tell myself not to jump that far
ahead yet and to take things one step at a time. i know we'll get there
because mischievium is the strongest and bravest human being i know.
as if by putting events into words, the events have a little less power over me.
You must have been so scared when you thought you were going to lose them both. I can't even imagine. I'm so very very glad you at least still have each other to hold onto in the midst of this horrible thing... hugs to you both.
Lindsay: DS#1 (06/06) DD#1 (09/07) DS#2 (10/08) DD#2 (06/09). AND A BABY DUE NOVEMBER 2013
Our little miracles are here!!
DD Born 7/15/11 DS Born 4/3/13
Keep growing healthy and strong, beautiful little fighter babies!!!
Auntie to Nell, Greta, Maggie, and Elsa!
Remembering our 3 losses
"And when our baby stirs and struggles to be born it compels humility: what we began is now its own." Margaret Mead
Wishing you & J peace & comfort as you begin your healing journey.
MDC is a good place to be amongst those who understand.
Em, married to J, Mama to K-17, H-14, S-8, her twin m/c @ 9 wks, my beautiful J.T. born still @ 38 wks due to an UCA 6-14-07 & Will born 5-7-08 - & Teddy 6-16-11 !!
proud mama of DS (April 03), DD (Oct 06), (March 09), DS (April 10), DD (Oct 12)
he gave me such gifts of security, and confidence and healing. i forgot for a minute that he lost that baby too. he was so hurt over it and i didn't know what to do. i cradled him a few nights and he cried with me and we talked and talked and talked, tried to laugh about something here and there.
you are so strong to get through this, you have been such a rock for your wife and hearing you describe what happened and how you handled her and soren is so touching and i want you to know you are doing everything right.. there is no wrong, no one should have to go through this there are no directions and there are no rules. cry when you need to, laugh when you feel you can, talk to anyone and everyone about him when you want to.. he is your son and always will be and he is so loved. i saw the pictures and he is beautiful.
if you both decide to take the leap and try again, carry soren in your hearts and have faith in the life you both will create, believe that he or she will arrive with no stress.
my best wishes to you.