Sunday, March 2, 2008

How it all happened...part 1

I was up really late on Monday night (like usual). I was on the computer signing up and emailing companies to receive free samples in the mail.

I went to bed at around 2am and something felt wrong all of a sudden. I realized I hadn’t felt Caden in possibly days. I hardly felt him move at all the entire pregnancy. I thought it was because my placenta was anterior – we know now that it was because I had an abnormally huge amount of amniotic fluid and a tiny tiny baby just floating around in there – he barely touched the sides. Anyway I was lying there begging him to move for me so I knew he was ok. I was poking and prodding. I could feel his back and was pushing down on him and I could push him around in there. I felt sick. I knew something was wrong. I thought “what if he has died in there?” I wanted to wake Kim up and go to the hospital but it was the middle of the night and I really didn’t want to drag us all in there, taking Rory in again, just for them to put the monitor on and have him wake up. That’s what happened the first time we went in. I hadn’t felt him in days and then when they put the monitor on he was rolling around and kicking like crazy.

So I didn’t go in. I lay there for awhile trying to feel him and feeling worse by the second. Somehow I fell asleep.

In the morning I tried to make an appt with my GP just to have her check the heartbeat. She wasn’t working and the first appt with any other available Dr wasn’t until 10:40am. I couldn’t wait that long so I rang the shared care midwife at the hospital. All I said was that I hadn’t felt him in a few days possibly. She said “come in straight away”.

I took Rory to school and drove straight into the hospital. I figured they would take me in straight away so I parked in a 2hr park thinking “I hope they’re done in 2 hours” but I figured they would be. All they were doing was sticking the CTG monitor on me right?

Like I thought, as soon as I said my name, they whisked me back into a room and set up the CTG machine. A young midwife called Bec came in and started trying to get the heartbeat. I was getting more worried by the second when after 5 minutes she couldn’t find it. They never had to look that long before. She called in a more senior midwife, but told me that she had seen a heartbeat briefly that should be the baby’s – it was in the 170’s so highly unlikely to be mine. The senior midwife came in and started looking. She found a heartbeat so fast that as soon as I heard it I just knew it was the baby’s and the baby was fine. She felt my pulse and looked worried, said “I’m going to get a scan on you, I can’t be sure that the heartbeat I’m picking up isn’t yours.”

I couldn’t believe it – it was just too damn fast – how could it be mine?

They wheeled in the ultrasound machine. Bec was holding my hand. The Dr Joseph came in and started. I was just trying to breathe. He said “There is baby’s head, okay…there’s a lot of fluid in there…” I figured it was okay and he was getting to the heart because why would he talk about his head if he was gone? Then he says “It does appear that for some reason your baby’s heart has stopped.”

I think my heart stopped too.

I screamed. I started having what felt like a seizure. I was screaming no. I couldn’t lie down, kept sitting up then lying down, just sobbing, hyperventilating. The midwives told me to listen to the doctor. What the fuck for? They couldn’t save him, what did I care what he had to say? He said he wanted to take me upstairs for a more detailed ultrasound. I was shaking and just asking Bec “how did this happen? How does a heart just STOP?” I got up and said “I need to call my partner. I need to call Kim” I pulled out my phone but there was no reception. I was shaking so hard. They took me into an office to a phone. I rang the factory. Kaeli answered. “I need to talk to Kim right now”

Kim got on the phone. I told her I was at the hospital. They couldn’t find a heartbeat. I was sobbing and she says that she couldn’t even understand what I was saying. She kept asking where I was and I said women’s assessment.

They took me up to the ultrasound. Asked if I wanted to see. I didn’t. I held my arm over my eyes and Bec had her hand on my arm holding it there for me. It took forever. He took so many measurements.

As we walked out Kim was arriving. I walked up crying and shook my head. Hugged her. “He’s gone”.

I don’t remember walking back down except that I held Kim’s hand and Bec’s hand. They put us back in the room at women’s assessment. We sat in the chairs in shock. “I’m so sorry baby. I’m so sorry. How does this happen? How does it happen? I can’t comprehend this. I can’t even understand this. Why is this happening?”

I really cried for the first time. I wailed. She held me and just had quiet tears.

Joseph came back in.

Told us that the baby was very small. He thought 2kg (he was really only 1.5kg). There was a lot of fluid on his lungs and I think his kidneys. He said “you would think that he would have showed up small on the ultrasounds”. Kim and I both said at the same time “HE DID”. Joseph looked concerned. My ultrasound reports weren’t even in the files. He looked at my first trimester screening and said there were levels of concern. He was concerned that the baby was 5 days small at 12 weeks, 10 days small by 18 weeks – he said the ultrasound reports weren’t done properly. If we had had them done at the hospital I would have been rescanned. They would have monitored me more closely. We have since come to the conclusion that there was a reason it was never picked up. We never would have terminated anyway.

He said we would know more if we agreed to an autopsy. We agreed without even needing to think about it. He said we need to know answers so that next time they can monitor me and might be able to give me medications to stop anything bad happening.

Then he had to talk about me delivering Caden. My knee-jerk reaction was to say “I don’t want to deliver him. I want a c-section.” Joseph was adamant that they would NEVER suggest that. He said “This is NOT your last baby.” We liked that. We like that he made it okay for us to have another baby. But his point was that c-sections are a major surgery, your physical recovery is far longer and the emotional recovery was going to be bad enough. He said there are more complications. There is damage to your uterus and any subsequent pregnancies would be worse. Plus the baby was small. It would be easy to deliver. He said he understood why I wanted the c-section but they would never advocate that. We had the choice to be admitted then and there, or come back in a day or so to be induced. I chose to go home and have a few hours, then come back that night.

We walked out in shock. Went and sat in the park across the road. It was my mother’s birthday. I was supposed to meet her in an hour for lunch. Kim needed to call Amy. So we walked to the car, Kim crying, and drove home.

I rang mum when we got home and told her that I couldn’t meet her for lunch. She asked why. I told her because the baby died and we needed to go into hospital. I was crying of course and I think she was too. She wanted to come right over but I didn’t want that. I told her I needed her to be with Rory. I said I would call her later. Kim rang her parents and Amy. Amy just heard “the baby died” and said “I’m on my way” and hung up.

Kim and I lay on the bed in shock. Crying, I wailed a little, sobbed, and asked a lot of ‘whys’. We were relieved by the fact that there were so many problems with Caden. They think there may have been a chromosomal problem there from the very start. He may never have lived. We decided that there was a reason no one ever picked anything up. The choice was taken from us. The control was taken out of our hands and we never had to make any hard decisions. We didn’t have to live for months knowing he was sick and might not make it. We didn’t have to switch off life support machines or watch him go through surgery after surgery. We didn’t have to watch him be born, be whisked off to the NICU and die alone. He was never alone.

We were highly rational and calm in between the tears. Amy arrived and we were calm. I started to cry at one point, Amy left the room quietly and I wailed a bit. She came back when I was calm again. We got up and packed our things for the hospital. I kept looking at my belly in the mirror hardly understanding that he was gone. We asked Amy to pack up Caden’s things from his room and pick up the layby from the store. She took it all to her house until we are ready to have it back.

We stopped at Subway on the way into the hospital to get something to eat when we got there because I didn’t know if we would get any food in there. I was okay but dreading someone asking when I was due or how far along I was. People always ask that. As we were leaving the girl said “Have a good night”. That seemed so ironic.

We got in there and went up to the room. They put us in room 1 – as far from any other rooms as possible so I didn’t have to be near any small babies. I was numb.


Whitney said...

Hi Brooke, it's Marnie from the GLBT boards (using DW's google id)... just checking in to say hi. You three take care... lots of love and hugs,

N said...

What a powerful, harrowing story. Thank you for sharing it.

We are thinking of Caden and you and Kim and Rory.

Stacey said...

I cried right along with you. I am so sorry for your loss. I don't know what else to say but that I'm thinking of you, Kim, Rory and dear little Caden.

Carrie said...

I'm so sorry, I read your story and understand your pain. Hugs to you mama

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. You are right, he was never alone. My thoughts are with your family.

Anonymous said...

I'm so very sorry. Your son is beautiful.


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