Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Caroline Elizabeth ~ Part Two

It feels like I've been working on this post for such a long time now. Sometimes I just don't have the emotional strength to relive the worst moments of my life while I'm typing it. Sometimes I allow myself the excuse of "I've got too many other things to do" so that I don't have to sit at my computer and proof read this post and cry and grieve. Sometimes I just want to forget all of this and never cry and grieve again. But, reality smacks me in the face and I realize that I must cry and grieve and write Caroline's story if I'm ever to be ok again. And I so desperately want to be ok again. I feel as if I have just word vomited this whole story just to get it out of me. I felt, as I wrote this post, cold and as if I was floating out of my body. It's not a pretty story, its not sweet, its probably not moving or meaningful. I wish I could put a better spin on all of it complete with a happy ending filled with things that I've learned. But my blog is not a "Hollywood story" complete with ghost writer that makes everything sound perfect...

Hmmm... now lets see where did this crappy story end off last time. Oh thats right... I was on my way to the hospital to deliver our daughter early (sorry that this totally sounds like a sob story, but oh well it is).

One of the nurses from my OB's office wheeled me over in a wheelchair. A nurse came out from around the desk on the Labor and Delivery floor and showed us to a room right in front of the nurses' station. I guess she saw me crying and thought that I was in pain from labor because she didn't seem all that concerned. I could tell that she was trying to make polite cheery conversation with me and ask me how far along I was. When I told her 21 weeks her face went white and told another nurse that we shouldn't be using "this room". She had me pushed to the very end of the hallway in one of the last rooms. I remember being super pissed off at the time as I could tell that this was some special far away from the other mothers rooms. This was a room reserved for special shitty outcomes (please pardon my language but as this my blog and this situation can be described as no other way that's how I'll refer to it from now on).

Very soon after I was settled in a hospital bed two ultrasound technicians came in to check me out. I can not even begin to describe how surreal it is to see your baby with a death sentence moving around in your stomach and knowing that in couple of hours she'll be gone. Sadly or not so sadly, however you choose to look at it, she looked ok. They said that I had a very high leak in my bag of water but that even her fluid measured boarder line ok. By this point her heart rate was a little high.

The nurse on the day shift who was caring for me was wonderful. She said that she was praying for us and said that just the other day she had a mom who had made it to 29 weeks who was in a very similar situation to ours. From this point now 3 months later I can see how she was sweetly and kindly shielding us to reality so we wouldn't be too upset so soon. We had yet another ultrasound done and then another neonatologist came in to speak to us. She basically said that legally she had to confirm what our doctor was telling us to make sure we were not ending a viable life. Of course she concurred with my doctor and so we were able to start pitocin on me.

The next hours, thankfully, are somewhat a blur to me. I remember some family and some friends (only the very near and very dear on both accounts) visiting me. The anesthesiologist came in and after many tries got an epidural started for me. The whole time the doctors were saying that it wouldn't take long for her to be born and that most babies this size can be delivered at around 5 cm. They also said that if I "felt anything funny down there" that I should call a nurse right away to see if I had unknowingly delivered.

I started to notice about 30 minutes after the epidural was placed that I could feel the contractions again. The doctor tried to adjust it as much as he could until I finally had him stop when the pain from him sticking me in the back so many times was worse than the contractions.

Around 8 that evening things were still progressing very slowly but I was starting to feel just terrible. We had finally reached that crucial point where the infection in my body was beginning to overwhelm me. I became tachycardic (heart rate way too fast and irregular) and my oxygen was in the 80's  (it should be very close to 100). It was becoming very clear that I was starting to have multiple organ failure. I finally saw at that point very clearly what I could not see earlier in the day. I kept asking my doctor if I could just have massive amounts of antibiotics and save the baby and he had told me to imagine my entire body cavity filled with pus (sorry for the TMI) and it being both mine and my baby's life lost. I was so afraid at this point. Afraid of dying myself and leaving my husband and two little boys at home all alone, and afraid of what was to shortly be happening.

At 9 things reached a critical point with me and (sorry here goes TMI again) the OB doctor on call that night basically pulled her from me during what I thought was the friggin worlds worst exam to see how far dilated I was. He had said while he was "checking me" that she had turned herself sideways and wasn't coming out. A C-section was out of the question (even though I delivered both of my boys that way) because of the spread of infection if they were to open me up. I won't go into crazy details here but you can imagine a vaginal birth with no medication and the entire hand of the doctor in my lady business.

When she came out and I realized what was happening a turned my head onto my husbands arm and wouldn't look. I could not even remotely bring myself to look at her. I heard the doctor say that she looked perfect. Just stillborn. I had been wondering if she would be moving and not breathing or what but she had already passed. I never asked if the nurses or doctors knew when.

Bobby's mom and my mom were both in the room when she arrived just tucked out of sight for my modesty's sake. Right after she was born our sweet pastor came in so we could baptise her quickly. Our close family and a couple of friends that were at the hospital with us came into our room to witness it and see her for a second. We were able to hold her briefly while we waited to see what her placenta would do. After an hour we passed her back to the nurse so I could head to the OR to have the placenta removed. The doctor had said that all the infection would still be present as long as it was there and we were still trying to move quickly. Thankfully I was totally knocked out for this procedure and when a came to a little while later I was so messed up from so many meds that day that I was a complete space cadet. I see this now as a blessing in disguise. Not that I ever want to try and block out the pain or the grieving but for that night it was a great relief  from the anxiety and pain. After that they gave me an ambien to go to sleep that night . The next day the doctor said that I still was running a fever but could go home if I promised to come right back if my fever got any higher. I think that they realized that its so hard to be away from your family at the times that you need them the most.

I post this now with the unfortunate promise of the rest of the story is soon to come. Caroline's due date is now less than a month away and I have no idea how I will even begin to make it though all those long days. My husband and I pray nightly for comfort and strength to continue for the dark days that still lay ahead of us. When events like this happen it just feels like the crappy milestones just keep coming and the pain and grieving will never end.

(If you want something a little sweeter and a little more poetic you can read my sister-in-law'sblog post from that day. She was unbelievable that horrible day and even took pictures of our sweet baby. I may or may not one day post a picture but we'll see..)


m&msmommy said...

I saw your prayer request on "A Love Worth Waiting For"...I am SO sorry for your loss! I will be praying for you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Oh Hillary, I have no words. My heart broke for you that day. Please know that I think and pray for you, Bobby and sweet baby Caroline all the time. Much love, Laura

Em said...

Hillary, I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet daughter. My husband and I lost our son Ethan at 19 weeks, and our experience was rather similar to yours. The nurses put us down at the end of the hall, away from the other families, and in some ways, I'm really grateful they did because I didn't have to hear babies crying and women in labor. Reading this post brought back so many memories for me (mostly bitter, but some sweet). Thank you for sharing Caroline's story. What a precious little soul with a beautiful name and a rock solid mama. May God comfort you and hold you oh so near until you meet her again in Heaven. What a sweet, joyous reunion that will be.

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