Last week... I emailed a BLM friend. It was Thursday April 18th. Sometimes when I'm all alone in my compose box, with a specific person in mind that I'm talking to... my train of thought flows better.
I've made several trips to triage in the 3rd trimester... but mainly because I was bothered by the fact that you can just never be too sure.... but never had I been confronted with the very real reality that this baby probably died.
My emotions were flying high the other day, and I didn't plan on getting into a very "down" aspect of the up's and down's of pregnancy after loss. But I did. And I wrote this:
Written Thursday April 18, 2013.
I had so many intentions to blog weekly after my doctors appointments... documents/vent about the ups and downs of this pregnancy... but mentally and emotionally, work really drained me. And I was somewhat ok with that. Because the days just flew by. And my random days off, I'd either have a doctors appointment, or it'd be a Sunday where Daniel and I would window shop for home decor ideas, and then visit his parents then call it a day with a movie and dinner at home. I just never got my ass on the lap top and blogged.
And every week was so UP... and then SO DOWN. And everything in between with my emotional state was so bloody exhausting that by the time I was ready to sit down and spill... something else had come up - be it family things, work things, a trip to triage - that I could never properly focus my writing abilities to get it all out.
Right after putting up that post last week... things felt like they were taking a turn.
And just recently, I was so sure this baby had died... or was dying (he didn't, and wasn't). It was Tuesday night (Apr 16)... he was a bouncing ball of energy, with lots of turns and pokes.. and I fell asleep on the couch around 9pm after dinner. (That is a pretty normal thing as of late). At around 10:30, Daniel turned all electronics/sports/lights off, and dragged me up to bed. I brushed my teeth.. drank water.. and waited for the baby to give me a few settling down movements. And there was nothing. I tried to assure myself that once I completely settle again for the night, that he will do his thing, and thump around a bit while I fall back asleep in the bed... and tomorrow will be another day of normal. I got in bed... found my position, and there was nothing. I changed sides... shook at my belly, and waited. Did I feel a shift from him? Or was that me? There are still high amounts of fluid, and he is a big baby at this point, so a little jiggle makes his entire back bob back and forth against the wall of my uterus. But there was no tone coming back from him.
"WTF baby, be alive already..."
I looked at the clock, it was now close to 11:30pm. It had been about an hour with no movements. Or at least nothing big enough that I could feel. (with the fluid, there have been times where I see this baby moving on ultrasound - hands and head turns - and I don't feel it because of the fluid separating him from my uterus). I sat up... told Daniel that he wasn't giving me anything. I started shaking. Our room was cold, and I was only in a tank top... and had thrown the covers off of me to make sure I was only focusing on baby's movements. Daniel told me to stop shaking so he could feel. I got up, turned on the space heater... laid on my left side facing Daniel.. and I lost it. First just cried, and felt my body shake with the sobs... but then, when even my sobbing didn't bring this little baby back to his active self with a kick or a twitch.. I went over the edge a bit, and turned hysterical. I cried, and shrieked, "I can't do this again if he died. I can't be pregnant again with a dead baby. He cant die! I cant do this if he dies!!"
... just a mess.
Daniel held me, while his hands were somehow still on my belly, and asked if I wanted to go in... I cried and cried, "I cant go in and have them tell me he's dead! I cant do it again!!". I threw the pillows from between my legs off of me, and screamed, "WE HAVE TO GO THOUGH! He's NOT MOVING!" The time was now close midnight... and I was hit with the very real scenario that on the night of Feb 26, 2012, the EXACT same thing happened. THE EXACT SAME THING.
My bowels instantly liquefied, and I needed to use the washroom (the same thing happened in the hospital last year when we went in with Alexander already dead, and the first round of nurses couldn't find his heartbeat - I was in the washroom with boarder line diarrhea while we waited for the ultrasound). I went into the washroom, and stripped down, and sat on the toilet. I was crying... but planned on taking a shower (I hadn't washed my hair in like... 3 days), and get ready to spend the night in the hospital because I knew I'd be induced..and probably with a dead baby. I heard Daniel start crying in the bedroom. He tried his best to not be loud, but he couldn't help it. I heard him going through the dresser, and get dressed, and head downstairs. I was going to ask him to pack me a bag... and tell him I was going to shower... but it hit me. Maybe this one wasn't dead. Maybe he's dying, and we have a chance to get him out via c-sections..or something... and packing a bag, or showering would be using precious minutes of his life.
I finished up in the washroom (full of frustration that my body reacts this way to situations of panic and anxiety. Toilet bound) and got dressed, rushed downstairs... grabbed my phone charger, and camera and we sped downtown to our hospital.
In the car... Daniel asked me how this was different from the other nights that we made a trip to triage. (He was trying not to lose it himself, and get his mind away from the certainty that this baby had indeed died, too) I told him because even after getting in the car... going from sitting to standing multiple times... I felt nothing. In the past 3-4 late night trips to triage...I felt something. Something weak and not reassuring... but it was something. This time... there was nothing. I cried the entire time driving down. It was now almost 12:30AM... and the time was almost synchronized with our trip on Feb 26th. We drove to the hospital that February night, and the clock in the car read 1 something. I cried more. When we were approaching the ramp for the downtown exit, I called triage. I don't know how I managed.. but I told them I wanted to give them a heads up that Veronica - patient of Dr. W - was coming in shortly. "What are you experiencing?" In the lowest, sternest voice I could muster, in hopes to not fall apart into a high pitched crying mess.. I said, "decreased fetal movement. A lot of decreased fetal movement". The nurse softly said, "ok, we'll see you soon", and I clicked END. As we made our way through the empty downtown streets... hitting a lot of red lights... I thought this was it. There was no maybe's or we'll see's or let's hope... it was it...this dead baby...was it. I realized there was no reassuring thought to hold on to, Because Dead is Dead. Because after you've been in a spot where you are hoping things are ok, and making your way to the hospital - doing the right thing - and ready to face anything that might be wrong with your baby...and your baby is already dead...? Already dead after normal activity just a few hours before..? After making it past term, and playing the waiting game because everyone told you everything was fine? And he's dead? Just dead? Well, there is no hope to hold on to.
We parked, and made our way to the 7th floor. I said to Daniel in the elevator that if the baby is dead, I don't want to stay. I want to go back home and get my things, and come back later. I don't know what I was thinking... but I didn't want to face a bunch of nurses and puzzled doctors. If he was dead, I wanted to go home, and be alone. We walked down the empty hallway to triage, and I told Daniel that he had to do all the talking. I handed him my hospital cards, and we both stood at the counter. A nurse was on the phone with another patient. She was the only one in sight. Daniel told me to sit down, and he'll tell her. I sat down ... and felt a thump. Did I imagine it? Did he move? I looked up at the clock. Almost 1AM. 1 movement in 3 hours isn't a good thing...
I sat, and listened to the nurse on the phone. I heard every word she said, but I had no focus for the life of me - and have no idea what scenario the woman on the other end was dealing with. As soon as she was done on the phone... Daniel was going to introduce us...and give her an update regarding why we were here... but she came around the desk, "Veronica?" and I stood and nodded... and she walked us to an empty room. I realized this is the "decreased fetal movement" room. As I said before, we'd been to triage before (3 or 4 times?) but we didn't ever call ahead... we just showed up, and said we wanted to get assessed. "Why?" "I don't feel the baby enough". And they would pick any room... any free room... and strap me up right away, and there he was. But this time... they were ready for me. This room was at the back of triage... across from the registration room, and a bathroom... no other assessment rooms beside. I went in, took my coat and scarf off...and the nurse asked me, nicely, gently, "What's going on tonight guys...?" I looked at her... probably looking like something from a horror movie - red eyes, and no hope - and asked if she had read my file. She told me that in the amount of time from my phone call, she hasn't had a chance. I sat on the bed, and lifted my shirt... and said, "Well, let's just see if there's a heartbeat.." and started to cry some more.
She quickly got the belts all in place... and I put my hands on my face, fingers tucked under my glasses. I was losing it. And she flicked on the volume...
whooka, whooka, whooka, whooka...
I cried and cried. And so did Daniel. Like weeping, sobbing messes we were. The nurse said, again gently and softly "ok, I'll keep that on nice and loud for you guys to have a listen, and I'm going to catch myself up on your file." Daniel was at the foot of the bed, looking at the monitor that was to my upper left... and I asked, "What's it at? Is it normal?" In my state... I couldn't tell if what I was hearing was too fast, or too slow.. or both alternating speeds... but Daniel told me it was normal. "It's in the 140's" he said. I nodded and kept crying.
While hooked up, for about 20 min... I only felt him move 2 or 3 times. I wasn't completely reassured by his heartbeat. Alive, ok. But will he keep living? Is he going to die tomorrow? Why isn't he moving?
They showed us that the strip for the NST was completely normal, and even with the movements they picked up from baby, there were no decelerations.. and the beat was nice and strong. They were going to do an ultrasound anyway. An ultrasound on that little mini machine that can detect very little... but it would give them a little mini BPP. The resident OB that was on that night was a complete moron. She was "very very sure" that everything was fine. The lovely nurse informed her that we had a stillbirth at 41 weeks last year... and this idiot looked at me, and said, "how? I mean.. was the baby alive at birth?" I swear, I don't know how some "doctors" get where they get. She was still a resident.. but my god, holy fuck. The nurse was oh so kind to fill this jackass in.. and the resident still asked me, "but how?" And I said, pretty pissed off.."WELL, he didn't have a heartbeat, and I gave birth to him anyway. That's how". "Yes, ok, I see... but how did this happen? Do you know why the baby died? Was it labour?" (She was an Indian women - so I'm doing my best Indian accent right now as I retell the story). I told her it was probably the overdue factor... and maybe GBS has something to do with it. "Yes, I see. But GBS doesn't make babies die... maybe an infection, but it doesn't kill..". I tried to get all the facts out.. but this doc was an idiot. No real world experience, no big losses yet in her career... so if the text book didn't tell it to her, than it was up for fucking debate. Regardless of the fact that THIS REALLY HAPPENED, she was still debating the possibilities in her dialogue because of what is supposed to and no supposed to happen when it comes to pregnancy, labour, babies, a growing fetus... etc. I was ready to say, "you're a fucking genius, he SHOULD NOT HAVE died... and on that note, let me just to get him in his stroller, and put this current pregnancy away!!" but didn't. I boiled it down for her. "supply and demand" I said. "a 41 week old placenta cant support a perfectly, healthy, demanding growing baby... so he died."
We moved forward with the ultrasound... and there baby was. Lazy and still. What a bum! It was now officially the middle fo the night, so I assumed that this was in fact a very deep sleep he was in. His bpm was now in the mid 130ies... and Daniel said it looks like a resting heart rate because on all other previous scans where he's been a jumping jelly bean, his heart rate fluctuated between 145-160 and settling down to 140something when the show was over. So he came to the conclusion that 130bpm was sleeping. Daniel went down the hall, and got me ice water (in the mean time, the res OB was telling us all the reasons why babies don't move as much... mom not eating, taking sedatives, mom is not paying attention, sleep patterns, etc. I nicely, but not so nicely said, "not helping. Thanks".)
The OB said she'd stay on him until we started to see some movement because all we were staring at now was a flickering little heart. After about 7 min... his whole body started to move. I don't know how to explain it... but it was like his silhouette started crawling with bugs. I asked if they were practice breathes.. and she said no.. it was just his "body waking up". She moved the wand over to this face/hands. And he was just floating there. Daniel said, "he's never done this... or... we've never seen him like this". Res OB - "he's just sleeping". For 3 fucking hours? Quite the nap on the inside! We waited another 10 minutes, and his body kept showing signs of waking up... but no turning, or moving... just those weird squishy things moving around his body. (His circulation picking up? I really don't know. My OB would have been able to tell me what the hell we were looking at, but this NKOTB had no clue).
The OB would get excited (again, best attempt at her accent), "look see, this is very very reassuring to me.. as I am not moving the wand, and you can clearly see there is movement. Very very reassuring.". Daniel kinda cut her up a bit... "see, this is the first time you are scanning him, so you can feel reassured... but trust me, we've seen him on all different kinds of ultrasounds at all different times during the day, and THIS isn't reassuring. And us telling you that should somehow allow you to re asses your judgement". And I don't know if it was Daniel's stern voice, or if it was just coincidence... but the kid moved. He shifted. And the OB was all, "Now, you see! you must have seen that!" I said, "I don't need to see it, I felt it." She said, "yes yes, as I said.. he is waking up".
She wrapped up the U/S machine, and I saw in her notes that she assessed the mini BPP as an 8/8. She didn't write that he was a lazy baby for the first 15 min of the scan... w/e. I got the feeling that she just wanted everything to be ok... so she made it sound so in her notes.
We waited for them to send the report off to the REAL OB who was on call that night... and then gave us the go ahead to go home. I went home feeling him wake up more... lots of tone, and pressure and jabs in the car. By the time we got ourselves back into bed, he was an active gem once again, and I could fall asleep easily.
It's all we could do, right? It's all they could do too. Run an NST, check his heart, make sure he moves to their satisfaction (6-10 movements per hour or 2). And go home. And such was our Night of April 16th.
The night after that was hard too. We didn't go back to triage.. but it was a very awake night for me. This kid is definitely running out of room, and is moving less at night.
For weeks now, I'd get up to go pee... 3-5 times a night, and every trip to the the bathroom, I'd feel him move... either while peeing, or while getting settled back into bed. Some nights it'd be a lot, and I would wonder if he was moving a lot before I woke, and maybe he was the very reason I woke up. And other nights, it'd be little plunks and kicks as I drifted back to sleep. But this past week (week of Apr 15), ever since hitting 36 weeks last week... it's been hell at night. I lay and wait... sometimes drift off forgetting that my baby died last year and no movements were an indication of his demise. And I'd wake back up, and turn back and forth in bed until I felt something I was SURE was his tone, and activity, and not my probing. Last night, I woke at 12AM, went pee... and he gave me a turn or two. I woke again, at 2... and went pee... and as I laid back down, I couldn't remember if I felt him move while sitting on the toilet, or if that was the 12AM trip. I felt disoriented. So I woke fully, and waited. My mind wandered, and I thought about Alexander not moving the night he died.. and how leading up to his death there were so many opportunities to get him out... and then my mind went right back to the present. NOW. This baby. MOVE! And it was around 3AM I woke Daniel because I told him I couldn't get a reassuring response. I told him to talk to my belly. I needed his stern voice to wake this baby again. Half asleep... he got up, and said he'd get me ice water. I didn't want to go all the way downstairs... make noise... get myself all awake... and in turn, wake the cats, and then have them keep me up thereafter. But Daniel didn't care. I drake the ice water down... and sat up in bed, and Daniel hugged against my belly, had a little conversation with the baby - told me to stop talking, lol, because he couldn't feel him right! - and we waited. I told Daniel that this baby was so different from Alexander. When I used to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night in the later part of the third trimester last year... I'd HOPE NOT to wake the baby up! Because as soon he'd be up.. he'd kick so hard, and move so much that I couldn't fall back asleep. I used to "rock" my belly after 10 or 15 minutes of constant movement to try to settle him down, and have him fall back into a sleep... so I could sleep. And this routine went on for weeks leading up to my due date! Now, with this kid... he's turning into such a bum. He's acting typical and showing signs of normal fetal behaviour and slowing down his movements I guess due to lack of space. He's still a crazy mover during the day (like right now, typing. There's some sort of babynastics happening on the inside), but he's not active as he once was during the wee hours of the night.
After I drank the water, and Daniel talked a bit... this baby started moving. I let out a sigh of relief... I told Daniel I didn't think he was dead or dying as I had the night before.. but I just cant deal with a still belly. I cant fall asleep and know that things will be normal tomorrow. All I need to do is get some rest, and it will all be ok. Nu-uh, there are none of those fairy tale thoughts running through my head this time around.
I laid back down, and he was all over the place, and was probably thinking "what the fuck will it take to get a good night's rest in here!" but sorry kiddo... I'm gonna bug the shit out of you until you're out.
I can happily say that this baby has ramped up his activity again in the wee hours of the night
and omg please don't stop now because I will lose my mind if I have do have another night of the 16th. We had a scan on Friday the 19th, and he was once again a super star, perfect baby.
36w6d April 17, 2013
This weekend was stressful... I worked on Saturday (MY LAST DAY!) and was on my feet for about 7 hours... busy busy busy... and I don't know if it shocked this baby out of his lazy bum habits, but it feels like he has been racing around in my belly on all four cylinders every since.
I finally caved this weekend, and unpacked all the baby stuff we've been
reluctantly... halfheartedly ... heavyheartedly carefully purchasing for the past 2-3 weeks. We ran a wash last night that included crib sheets and new clothes. So, I almost feel like there's no going back. Not that I WANT to go back... but I wasn't ready to remove tags, and throw away packaging... and have all this money be a FINAL SALE when there just wasn't a baby here to properly spend it on. Don't get me wrong.. I'd buy the world if it meant that I'd have a baby at home to use it on. But we made a few big purchases about a month back. Crib and car seat mainly. And we opened, assembled and installed them knowing that win, lose or draw, we owned those items officially. We borrowed a lot of things last year when expecting Alexander... and in turn, returned all of them to their original owners when he died. I couldn't do that again this year. NO WAY. I didn't want anyone involved in preparing for this baby as I just couldn't bear the thought to have to undo my house again with anyone in mind.
But we finally tackled the small things. I was 100% ready to scramble after this baby made it home, and wash it all, and attempt to organize. But Daniel convinced me over the weekend that we are so damn close... so who cares. Who cares about returning a few $20 crib sheets. If this baby dies too ... then whatever. We'll figure it out on our own... and sheets and onsies in a refundable state are the last of our worries.
(The Crib Mattress is still in it's bags - in returnable condition - in the den downstairs. We'll see if we prepare the final touches before our induction date).
I am 37 weeks and 4 days today. I was told I would be induced before or on 38 weeks. With my doctor out of town... I've been playing the waiting game for a final date. It hasn't felt good. Hence the stress this weekend.
EVERYONE IS ASKING "when are you due... or being induced.. or are they the same thing? When's the baby coming?!". I wanted to answer: I DON'T KNOW. I ALSO DON'T KNOW IF HE WILL BE BORN ALIVE.
I really hope so.
I really hope he will be.
And remains so.
For as long as I live.