Friday, April 14, 2006

Nate's Birth

Edited to Add: At the bottom of my post is a picture of my son. I hope that it isn't upsetting to anyone, but I felt that I wanted to include it. He was still alive in this picture.

Okay, I'm probably going to have to write this in chunks. Just thinking about this wrings me out.

So, like I said, I woke up at about 1 am on the 31st of January and I was feeling really sick, needing to use the bathroom. [Since this happened, I've read about other women who abupted at home, and they also had an overwhelming need to suddenly use the bathroom.] For some reason, I went to the downstairs bathroom instead of the one in our bedroom, I guess because I didn't want to wake up my husband. Or because, just being married about 7 months, I still didn't like making gross noises around him. Who knows. When I got to the bathroom, I began throwing up in the wastebasket and started to feel extremely faint. Not just an overheated faint, an eyes rolling back in my head faint. I was trying so hard to stay conscious--but even with all of this, I still took the time to rinse out the wastebasket. God forbid anyone find pukey residue.

I'm so thankful that I made it back upstairs somehow. I've said it before, but I don't believe God willed this--I believe he was with me. I didn't know it at the time, but I was fighting so hard to stay conscious because I was bleeding into my uterus--a lot and fast. Had I passed out downstairs, I would have bled to death and it terrifies me to think that my husband would have woken up to that scene the next morning.

I crawled up the stairs and I saying "Honey" over and over again. I got to the bedroom and for some reason the smell of our newly varnished nightstands was so strong to me. [The first time I came back to my bedroom after it happened, I wanted to throw them out the window. Why would I even notice them, or remember this? Strange.] I turned on the bedside lamp to wake Tom up, and I must have looked terrible. He jumped out of bed and went to the bathroom to brush my teeth--I had puke breath. Why did I take the time to brush my teeth and rinse out the barf bucket? That is so stupid--but I just didn't realize how serious things were. As I was standing on our white bathroom rug brushing my teeth in front of the sink, I felt a a muffled "pop" inside. My water broke. I had wondered for nine months what it would feel like when my water broke, and this was it. My baby would be here soon, and everything was going to be okay. But why did I feel so horrible? I remember how hot my waters felt when they were running down my leg. I looked down, and my pink pajama pants turned red. Blood was dropping onto the white bathroom rug. I started shrieking, "Noooooo! Nooooo! That's not right! That's not right!" Tom moved fast. He got me into a pair of shoes, down the stairs, into a coat and into the car in just a few seconds. We got to the hospital in less than five minutes. [We live very close to the hospital. While I hate to pass that place almost every day, I'm thankful that we lived so close at the time.]

I started to feel better in the car. I started to feel like maybe everything was going to be okay--I had no clue what was going on, but my baby was going to be fine. When when arrived at the hospital, Tom put me in a wheelchair and ran me into Labor and Delivery. The girl at the front desk seemed so fucking slow --what's your name, when's your due date, sign this form. I'm nine months pregnant, wearing pajama pants that are soaked from the front and down both legs with blood. Hurry Up!! Once I was in triage, things moved faster. They had me change into a gown, and I remember after changing and walking to the bed, I had left a trail of bloody footprints. I just couldn't get my brain around where all this blood was coming from!

The nurse checked my cervix, and I was still dialated a fingertip--just like I had been at my last OB visit on Friday. She said, "You have placenta previa, " and left to get the ultrasound machine. What? No one told me that! Isn't that something that they tell you beforehand? When the ultrasound arrived, they took a look and Nate's heartbeat had dropped to 42 beats a minute. Oh Jesus. Oh please, please, please.

They took me to the O.R. fast. [I didn't find out until later that my poor husband was left alone in that room with all that mess, and no clue as to what was going on. A little later, a nurse came in to keep him company, and I'm so thankful to her.] It seemed like forever before the doctor on call arrived. I lay on my back on the table, and the sensation of Nate inside me without the cushion of amniotic fluid was almost unbearable. I just shocked and kept saying, "No one told me I had placenta previa." The nurses looked at me funny--they knew what was going on, and the nurse in triage was wrong. They knew that I had abrupted--and when they finally got in, they found that my placenta had completely sheared away from the sides of my uterus. I don't remember the doctor arriving, maybe I was already knocked out, but what seemed like ages since I arrived at the hospital, wasn't. The time I arrived to the time that they got Nate out, was seventeen minutes.

When I woke up in recovery, Tom was there. Our moms were there, too--how long had I been out? Tom must have called them as soon as they took me away. What I don't understand is why wasn't I more concerned about my baby? I remember being so calm, why? Why wasn't I screaming for my baby--that's why I was there, wasn't it? I just felt like everything was fine. Doctors fix everything. They fixed me, they fixed my baby--everything was cool. Our moms came to my bedside--they both just looked stricken. What the fuck? What was everyone so upset?! A man from what I think must have been the pastoral team came to check on me. He was such a nice man and wish that I remembered what he said to me. He did ask me, though, if I would like to see a picture of my baby. Oh, Yeah! My Baby! Sure!

I had spent so many months dreaming of what my son would look like. In fact, I had spent years wondering what my children would look like. I think that girls just do that. But when I was pregnant, I would go to sleep thinking about the moment that I would meet my son. The doctor would put him in my arms, and we would look at each other. I would feed him immediately, and the bonding process would begin. My sweet baby. Mine, mine, mine. I had watched this so many times on the Discovery Health channel and cried. I couldn't wait until it was my turn. I didn't meet my son like that. I met my son in the form of a fuzzy, color image printed out on computer paper. I didn't have him in my arms like I had dreamed, I held him between my fingers on a piece of paper. I looked at this child for the first time. The picture was a close up of his face, his eyes were closed. It just wasn't registering to me that this was my child. I mean, I thought he was a cute kid, but it just wasn't registering. I spent the next week in the hospital, getting to know Nathaniel as much as possible before we had to let him go. I'll write about that stay in the hospital and the day we buried our son later. In the meantime, here's sweet Nate (in the little apple hat that I knitted for him)--


11 comments:

delphi said...

He is gorgeous. God, your story is familiar...though I don't know you, and my experience was quite a bit different, you could be describing my emotions...

Sarah said...

I had a similar feeling of calm. Of not freaking out. I think its the shock you went through, the drugs from the surgery, and a self defense mechanism.

Nate is beautiful. Thanks for writing.

Shannon said...

My heartfelt prayers are with you.

Anam Cara said...

Thank you for sharing your story and for sharing Nate's picture. He is beautiful and I am so sorry and sad and angry that he is not with you right now as he should be. (((hugs)))

sillyhummingbird said...

Oh, Laura--he is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing his precious picture. If only things could be different...

(((hugs)))

Catherine said...

He is so beautiful. I am so so sorry he isn't with you.

kate said...

((((((((hugs)))))) Nate is just beautiful, just gorgeous. And i love the hat. I am so so sorry it is like this....

Sherry said...

Laura, Nate's just beautiful and perfect.

I wish so terribly much that you, too, didn't know this kind of pain. It's just so unfair ... (((HUGS)))

MB said...

What an absolute doll. He's just beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story.

msfitzita said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. He was absolutely beautiful, Laura. He takes my breath away.

The little hat you made was adorable - perfect, just like him.

(((((((((((HUGS))))))))))

the ockers said...

Hi Laura. I just found your blog through MsFitzia and Aman Cara's blogs. I am so very sorry for your loss. It's awful. and it's just not fair. Nate's photo is so beautiful. What a lovely boy he is. I am so very sad for you that he didn't make it. You story is harrowing. I am glad you survived. I also had an abruption (with my daughter, who spent time in NICU but is alive and fine) and I lost a son at 25 weeks one year ago. I don't know if it gets any easier but I did discover a community of grieving internet mums that helped. Thankyou for sharing Nate's photo and story. You're in my thoughts.
Clare