We found out in September that we were expecting our fifth child. In July I had a positive pregnancy test, only to find out 2 weeks later that it had been a “chemical pregnancy” and I wasn’t pregnant anymore. In August, the doctor said that we could keep trying to have another baby, but that it might take a while. Late September we were ecstatic that we were pregnant yet again. At 6 weeks, we went to the doctor and got blood tests, and they confirmed that I was in fact, pregnant. At 8 weeks, we went to the doctor and saw his perfect little heartbeat and were told everything looked great. At 12 weeks, we went to the doctor and had a very in-depth ultrasound. The doctor said he looked absolutely perfect and gushed on and on with the nurse about how beautiful he was! Yes, the doctor said that she thought she saw a little boy part, and was relatively sure that we were having another son. We also did some testing to see if he was growing okay or had any genetic abnormalities. We got some of the most amazing ultrasound pictures I’ve ever seen. Technology has really improved since we had our first son (in 2000).
On December 21st, we went in for our 16 week appointment. The physician assistant did an ultrasound, but her equipment wasn’t as high tech as the doctor’s was. She was able to see a healthy heartbeat (150 bpm) and everything appeared to be growing as expected. They also took a blood sample to do some more routine tests. Everything appeared to be going great. On Monday, December 27th, the nurse called and asked to speak with me. Once she got me, she handed the phone over to the doctor. She informed me that she was very surprised to see that my latest test reports showed very high numbers for a neural tube defect. She wanted to get me into a specialist as soon as possible, but she was pretty sure that it was probably just a fluke, since she had done the nuchal fold test and sonogram at 12 weeks, and she didn’t see anything wrong. She told me she would call me in the morning as soon as she could get my appointment set.
Here is how December 28th went for us:
9:30 am – Doctor calls and says they were able to get an appointment with the specialist at 1:30. We arrange to have the kids go to an hourly daycare during our appointment
12:00 – Lunch with the kiddos before our appointment. Nick and I are so nervous we can barely eat.
1:00 – Drop off the kiddos at the drop in daycare…they were very excited.
1:30 – Arrive at specialist’s office. Fill out paperwork and wait…
1:50 – Get ready to have ultrasound at the specialist’s office
1:55 – Specialist “Okay, the first thing I see here is that your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat.” What? “This is his head and this is his neck.” What? Did he just say that my baby didn’t have a heartbeat, because a week ago he was perfect? Why is he showing me other parts of him and measuring him, if he doesn’t have a heartbeat? Next thing you know he ends the ultrasound, says he’s sorry the baby doesn’t have a heartbeat, and we need to call the doctor and see what we need to do. I think my heart has stopped by this time as well. I know at this point, I will never be the same again, not ever.
2:00 – The doctor’s office is right next to the specialist’s office, so we walk in to see if we can talk to anyone. The doctor is in surgery, but her nurse takes us in her office, hugs us, and talks to us. She is as sweet as can be and keeps saying that she is sorry. She says to go home and wait for the doctor to call.
2:30 – We go and pick up the kids. We are in total shock. This part is such a blur. We cancel our oldest daughter’s dance lesson so the kids know something is wrong. We tell the kids that the baby has gotten sick, that he didn’t make it, and I will have to go to the hospital so the baby could still be delivered. They are sad, but seem to take the news okay. We take them to a frozen yogurt place our oldest son had been wanting to try…just looking for some normalcy to distract us. Nick calls his parents, and asks if they can drive up.
3:00 – The nurse calls and says I need to come back, so the doctor can do another ultrasound, and then they will probably admit me to the hospital. She says I need to bring a bag with me because I will likely be staying a couple nights.
4:00 – Nick’s aunt comes over and stays with the kids until their grandparents can make it. We leave for the doctor’s office.
4:30 – We arrive at the doctor’s office. We are called right in, despite the large number of people in the waiting room. The doctor comes in and starts the ultrasound. I am sure that the specialist’s ultrasound machine will be proven wrong. The doctor starts the ultrasound and there is no heartbeat. She shows us where it should be and there is no little pulse where we have become used to seeing it. She also says he doesn’t have much fluid in his sac, which hadn’t been the case a week ago. My heart just stops. So it was true after all. My baby has gone to be with Jesus. But why and when? She says that it looks as though he passed a couple days earlier, and that once he’s delivered she will probably be able to see some genetic abnormalities, which may explain why he passed. We wait for someone to take us over to the hospital so I can be admitted.
5:30 – Joy walks us over to the hospital to begin the admitting procedure. After an uncomfortable reunion with my former doctor, (of all the doctors to be at the desk at that very moment), Nancy takes us to my room. She is very sweet and helpful.
6:00 – My nurse Fatma comes in and introduces herself. She starts asking me tons of questions. I have to relive the whole thing, but she is very sweet and understanding. They give me an IV , which is one of the few I’ve had at this hospital that didn’t hurt. They also show us an angel for the door, so anyone entering the room will be more sensitive.
6:45 – Fatma applies Cytotec, which is painful. She says it will start thinning the cervix and hopefully dilating it. She says my next dose will be at 10:45, and that the first dose probably won’t do anything.
7:00 – Time for Fatma to get off work and my new nurse (Benil) comes in and introduces herself. Yet another round of questions follow. I’m told I’m allowed to have clear liquids, and since I haven’t eaten since lunch, I have some chicken broth and apple juice.
7:00-10:00 – Nick tries to distract me and we try to play a couple games on the iPad. The cramping starts, but it isn’t really that bad. Benil keeps telling me that the doctor has ordered any pain medicine that I need, but the pain isn’t overwhelming yet. I’m still able to get up and move around during this time. Margey, one of the hospital chaplains comes in and prays with us and tells us about the Garden of Hope. We won’t know if our baby will be eligible for this until we find out his birth weight.
10:00 – I decide that I am ready for some pain medicine. The cramps and contractions are really starting to hurt. Benil goes to get the pain medicine and my next dosage of Cytotec. She puts the pain medicine in my IV. Within minutes, I start to feel loopy, but still feel the contractions. Benil decides to check me to see if I have started to dilate and starts to get ready to apply my next dose. She then says that I am fully dilated and just need to wait for my bag of water to break. She is shocked because usually people need several doses of medicine to get labor started.
10:45 – Nick asks for my epidural. Benil is worried that my water will break or the baby will be delivered during the epidural, but we go ahead, because it’s either now or never with the epidural. At this point, I am feeling like I’m in a dream, but can still feel the contractions.
10:50 – The anesthesiologist comes in to give me my epidural. He is no nonsense and kind of looks like Bruce Willis, without the personality. Okay, epidurals hurt and this doctor is not very gentle. I never seem to remember that first part, but this time I’m writing it down so I will remember next time. Luckily, he gets it right the first time, unlike when I had one (or three) with our youngest son.
11:30-12:00 – It feels as though I am slipping in and out of a dream state. I’m afraid that if I allow myself to fall asleep, I won’t wake up. The nurses try to get the doctor on the phone to see if I need to wait for her to come back. My legs feel like marshmallows and I have no control over them. The nurse mentions my water has broken.
12:00-12:15 – The nurse says that the doctor won’t be coming back for the delivery. They say that I need to go ahead with the delivery, and the doctor will be back at 6 in the morning for a follow up. He looked perfect-just extremely tiny. I saw his tiny little head and his perfect little fingers. His name is Collin, and although he was with us very briefly, he will forever be in our hearts.