|"That face you make when you realize there's 6 of us in this picture."|
What was supposed to be a quick check quickly became a living nightmare. The doctor started by explaining that my fears were probably unfounded and lots of things could make it difficult to feel baby movement. He started listening for the heartbeat with his Doppler, but became discouraged after a couple minutes and grabbed a hand-held ultrasound. He quickly found the baby but couldn’t see the flicker of a heart beating, so he tried with the Doppler again. It went back and forth like this for a good 20 minutes before he finally admitted that I needed a real ultrasound. My worst fear was being realized. I was sent out to the waiting room to wait for the ultrasound tech, me and my three kids. She finally called me back and started looking at my baby. I anxiously watched for the tiny flicker of a heart, I couldn’t see it. I listened closely, and couldn’t hear it. Then the tech said the words I had been dreading, “I’m so sorry.” The tears I had been holding back wouldn’t be ignored any more. The doctor came back in and explained that I had a couple options, but wasn’t very helpful or informative, then I was led to another room to wait for my mom and Lawrence. The boys played on tablets, Princess hugged me, and sat on my lap. Mom got there first, followed by my grandpa, and Lawrence. I was given a priesthood blessing, then we left. Decisions had to be made.
When a baby dies before 20 weeks gestation it is called a miscarriage. Most miscarriages happen before week 13, only about 1% of miscarriages happen after that. I was nearly 18 weeks when we found that the baby had passed. Most of the time the mother’s body realizes what has happened and takes care of business, but often in second trimester miscarriages this doesn’t happen, such was the case with me. When the body doesn’t do it’s job medical intervention is required. In first trimester losses the most common intervention is a d&c or dilation and curretage, a surgery where mom is usually put to sleep and the contents of her womb are scraped out to prevent infection. Another option is induction of labor and delivery, where drugs are given to the mother to cause contractions and the baby is born whole. In second trimester losses most babies are developed enough that they can perform tests to determine what went wrong and/or the body can be buried or cremated, so whichever option is chosen, it is done in a hospital. We chose the induction. The hospital asked me to come in around 8 Saturday night, since induction can take a long time.
We left the kids in the capable hands of Lawrence’s parents and I sobbed my way reluctantly to labor and delivery. I didn’t bother packing a bag, all I took was a stuffed elephant I had purchased earlier Friday afternoon. They put us in a room at the end of the hall, away from the mothers who would be delivering healthy babies and I had a very kind nurse. I hadn’t been able to eat anything since lunch on Friday and I was a bit dehydrated from crying, so they had a difficult time finding a vein for an iv, it hurt going in, and they did an ultrasound to confirm that baby was gone. Around 9:30 I was given four little white pills called cytotec to get my labor started. I didn’t want any pain medication or anything that would make me sleep, I wasn’t going to miss any of this. I slept on and off through the night as the contractions weren’t very painful, though I did get a minor headache and upset stomach. I received more cytotec about 1am and again around 4. After the third dose things got more uncomfortable, they offered me an epidural, but I refused. Around 6:30 I couldn’t get comfortable, I tried to sit upright, but it was too painful, so after trying a few other things I decided to lay completely flat. As I laid down I felt the urge to push, so we called the nurse. She checked and told me that I could push and be done or wait for the doctor who was about 30 minutes away. I was not ready to be done, to put this final stamp on the loss of my sweet baby, so I tried to wait. Lawrence held my hand and my sweet nurse sat quietly by my side, now an hour and a half past the time she had told me she would be ending her shift. After a while I could feel that I couldn’t wait any more, so with one gentle push my baby came. Baby came out with my bag of waters in tact. We held the baby that way until the doctor came. When the doctor arrived he opened the bag of waters, looked over baby, and informed us it was a boy. Then we got to hold him. He weighed about an ounce, and was maybe 8 inches long, head to foot. He had ten perfect fingers, ten tiny toes, itty bitty ears, nose, mouth, and eyes. By all appearances our sweet boy was perfect. It was a little after 7am. We were able to hold our sweet baby and give him a name. He is our little Thomas.
Lawrence wanted to take the kids for breakfast, as he did with the births of J and Princess. So they met him in the cafeteria. I was able to sleep for a few hours and the nurses took Thomas to the fridge to help preserve his body. A few hours later our dear friend Valery came and took pictures for us. Just as she was about to leave some women from a group for families who have lost babies, called Share, came. They gave us some more picture ideas and took molds of Thomas’s tiny hands and feet. Grandparents came to visit and Lawrence, along with his dad and mine, blessed our tiny boy’s body. We kissed our sweet boy goodbye and I was discharged.
We'd like to thank all our family and friends that have been praying, helping, and supporting us this last week. We would also like to give a special thank you to Shawn Warenski and Warenski mortuary for taking such good care of our babies, Miae's floral for the beautiful flowers, Valery Bunnell for taking pictures for us, Share Parents of Utah for being our new friends and making molds of Thomas's hands and feet, and to Herriman City and Cemetery for allowing us to keep our children together.