Well, it's been 3 weeks now, and I need to write Jake's birth story before I start forgetting pieces of it. And it may come in bits and pieces anyway, as I expect to hear Austin's little feet hitting the floor as he gets up from his nap any minute now. If that happens, I will write more later.
There were 2 weird things that happened right before my water broke. Looking back, they may have been related to the fact that my water broke a few hours later, but who knows. That Sunday night before I went to bed (my water broke on Monday morning at 3:30 a.m.), I noticed that my feet AND calves were swollen. My feet had been swelling for a couple of weeks, so that wasn't unusual, but my calves had never been swollen before, and I thought that wasn't a good sign. Also, on one of my several trips to the bathroom that night after I got in bed, my stomach got hard and stayed hard, even after I lay back down in bed to go back to sleep. My stomach being hard certainly wasn't a new thing, that happened all the time. But it always relaxed when I sat down or lay down. So, I don't know if that was a contraction or not, because I don't think I could really feel "real contractions" since I had so much fluid. But that was strange.
Anyway, I had just lay back down from a bathroom trip and dozed off, when I was woken up suddenly by a "pop" and then huge gushes of water. I remember saying "ohmygosh.ohmygosh.ohmygosh" and then I finally had the wits to sit up so the fluid wouldn't go up into my chest (this was my thinking). I yelled for my DH, who was sleeping in Austin's room (Austin was sleeping with me in the king-sized bed...we have had weird sleeping arrangements in our house lately). DH jumped up and I said "my water just broke, it's everywhere!" He sprang into action, throwing stuff into bags for him and Austin. I was completely and utterly confused and numb. I didn't have a clue what to do. I just stood there in the bedroom letting the fluid gush out onto the carpet...it was everywhere...huge puddles of it. Poor Austin in his new moose pajamas...he was so confused, and he slipped and fell on some tile that was wet and he started crying...I felt so sorry for him...I didn't know how to console him, I just kept saying "I'm sorry, baby" as I was bumbling around trying to figure out what to do. I will never forget those moments...for lack of a better word, it was traumatic.
My bag was already mostly packed, so I just gathered a few more things and threw them in my bag. The relief from so much fluid being finally out of my body was instantaneous. My ribs didn't hurt for the first time in several weeks. I wasn't feeling anything as far as contractions or pain at the moment. But I was worried about what would happen next.
We finally got ready to go, and as soon as we left for the hospital, the contractions began. It took me a while to figure out that they were contractions. We were an hour from the hospital. I was timing them in the car...at first they were 5 minutes apart, then 4, then 3, then 2. We finally arrived at the hospital and I was so relieved. I didn't know what was going on, but I had a feeling that I was pretty far along dilated. I was scared that the baby would start coming out before they could get me hooked up and processed.
I finally got hooked up to an IV, and we waited for my dr. to get there. The nurse tried to check me for dilation, but she didn't go too far, because she said she felt "hands and things". So we just waited for the dr. as I continued to have hard contractions. He finally got there around 6:00 a.m. He checked me and said, "ok, she's fully dilated and ready, we need to move now!". The nurses were a bit shocked, but they tried not to show it, I think. I wasn't too surprised, I sort of had a feeling. The baby was breech (it must have been feet that the nurse felt). So we talked very briefly with the dr. (things were moving fast at this point) and it was confirmed that the c-section was the best way to go. I have seen this part on TV and heard about it, but now I can say I have experienced it. I was quickly wheeled into the operating room, got my spinal, and the surgery had begun, all in a matter of minutes. DH wasn't in there yet...he was still suiting up. I was in shock. I was scared to death...I have never had any type of surgery before (except wisdom teeth) and I was just praying that everything would be okay. DH finally got there, and I was adjusting to the fact that I couldn't feel ANYTHING from the waist down - couldn't even move my toes. That is a very strange feeling to get used to...I had to just block out the panic I felt.
The neonatologist in the room came to me as I was lying there, and said, "we are just going to clean the baby up and hand him to your husband, is that right?" She knew by then what the situation was. I said yes. The wonderful nurse anesthetist who had given me my spinal was there by my side the whole time, talking to me, telling me what they doctors were doing, she kept saying "you will get to see your baby soon". She was an angel. Finally, at 6:36 a.m., the baby was lifted out and taken to the table to be cleaned up...he never cried. I didn't see any of this, I was just updated by the nurse. I heard the dr. say that there was no way that the baby could have been delivered vaginally. His head was so large. The neonatologist came over to me and said softly, "we have found that the baby does have the condition you suspected, his heartbeat is very slow, I'm so sorry". The next thing I knew, DH was sitting by my side, holding the baby wrapped in a blanket, showing him to me. I asked him, "is he alive?" and he said, "his heart is beating very slow". DH said that he thought he was trying to move his tongue a little, and he tried to show his face to me, but I couldn't really see his whole face because of the awkward way I was laying. I just kept looking at him, as they were still working on sewing me back up. A few minutes later, I asked my DH again if he was still alive, and he whispered that he didn't think so.
I was surprised at how long it took to get everything sewed back up. DH just kept holding the baby and sort of rocking him back and forth. Finally, we were done and about to be moved into the recovery room. The nurse anesthetist held my face and told me she was so sorry, she said that she had had a daughter who lived 50 days. I felt the tears sliding down my face. DH got to carry the baby and hold him until we were back in the room. I finally got to hold him then.
My heart is broken for you. You are a very strong woman. No one should ever have to endure the pain you have. I'm so sorry for your loss, just know that my thoughts are with you and your family at this time.
Thank you for sharing your story. I'm happy you had an angel next to you, I know there were more in the room with you that you couldn't see.
I forgot to mention where Austin was during all of this. All I can say is, thank goodness for friends. Good friends you can call at 4:30 in the morning and who get up and drive 30 minutes to the hospital to pick up your child with no complaints. So Austin got to have donut holes and chocolate milk for breakfast (which he still talks about to this day ) and spend the day with my friend's 2 kids at their babysitter's playing and having fun.
So, by this time at the hospital, our wonderful minister had arrived and my parents were on their way (they live 3 1/2 hours away in another state). I was still groggy from the pain medicine and something they had given me to "relax" me. We spent some time holding Jake in the recovery room. I wanted to know how much he had weighed/measured, because to me, other than the fact that his legs and arms were, of course, very short, he seemed very close to full-term size. He was a lot heavier than we were expecting. Turns out he weighed 8.0 lbs. and was 17 1/2 inches long. I know a lot of that was weight from his head, but still, we were very surprised at how much he weighed and how big he was. The newborn outfit we had bought to dress him in was not so far off in size after all.
There were angels among us that day. There was one very kind nurse in particular who helped us so much...she lovingly put together the memory box for Jake, with his little hospital bracelet and some other things in there. She also took some pictures of Jake for us (we had completely forgotten to bring our camera - one of the things I really regret). And with tears in her eyes, she gave me a little book called "Letters to Darcy". It is about a woman who wrote letters to her unborn child who had Trisomy 18 and would not survive. She handed me the book just before we were moved to a permanent room, and she whispered to me, "You will be in my prayers." Such a wonderful person.
My parents had arrived in the meantime and got to hold Jake for a little bit. When we were ready to move, the nurses went and got a little crib for Jake and we were moved up to the Med/Surg floor into a nice big room. They turned the lights down and pretty much left us alone. I was so sleepy, I could barely keep my eyes open, but I couldn't go to sleep.
It seems like it has become the custom for DH and I to wait and name our babies after they're born. Austin didn't have a name for the first 3-4 hours, and in Jake's case, it wasn't that long, but still, we decided upon his name after he was born, in the recovery room. We had a couple of options in mind, but I decided on Jake Walker because he will always have the same initials as his daddy. It seemed right, somehow.
Later that day (the day Jake was born), the funeral home lady came to take Jake's body. We chose to go ahead and have him cremated because we had planned to bury him in my family's cemetery in my home state, and we weren't sure how soon I would be able to travel. Before the lady took him away, our minister said a beautiful prayer and then DH and I had a few minutes with Jake alone.
So, basically, those are the details of Jake's birth. I ended up having to stay in the hospital until Saturday (5 days!) because of my stupid bowels. (This is TMI, I'm pretty sure.) I'm not sure what happened, but the c-section (and the gas that gets trapped in your body from the surgery, and the prune juice they told me to drink to get the gas moving along, and the suppository they gave me) must have thrown my system for a loop. I ended up with horrible nausea/vomiting, and then severe diarrhea for 24 hours straight--running back and forth to the bathroom. So, they figured something was wrong with me, and ordered a consult with a gastro doctor and a stool sample, etc. and wouldn't let me go home. By Saturday, I was exhausted and so sick of that hospital room I could barely stand it. Luckily, my system had finally gotten somewhat back to normal (even though I still continued to have the big "d" for about a week and a half) and they let me go home. Oh, my bed was never so comfy as that first nap back home.
Austin stayed with my parents that whole week, and even though they did bring him to the hospital for short visits to see us, I was so worried that the whole experience had traumatized him. He'd only been away from me overnight 1 night in his whole life before that week. Yeah, he's a Mama's boy! He was a little squirrely when we first got back, acting kind of weird, but he soon warmed up to us again and everything was back to normal between us.
So far, I haven't interjected much emotion in here, because I wanted to just record the details before I forgot them. And I'm sure there are already a few details that I've forgotten to write down. But in the coming days and weeks, I know this journal will be a huge help to me in letting out the emotions and feelings I'm having. I am just not able to talk about my feelings any old time, I have to have the right words and it has to be the right time. Right now, I will just say that Jake was a precious soul and I'm sure he makes a beautiful angel up there in heaven.
You and your family are very much in my thoughts.
-Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)
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Bawling here So sad Kim......My Grandma passed away Christmas Eve this year and we tried to explain very simply to Mieka about Grandma going to heaven to be with Jesus. Somehow she got the baby Jesus stuff mixed in with Grandma and heaven and now, she very firmly believes Grandma is in heaven holding baby Jesus Maybe they do have all the Grandmas up there holding all the babies that go there......that's sort of a reassuring thought.
Mieka Claire 6-11-07 Henry Eli 3/30/09
I should probably rename this journal, but in a way, I guess I'm still waiting to see - and wondering - how I'll get through this time in my life. I know I will, but it's the getting there - the journey - that I'm not sure of.
Some days are better than others. I guess a more accurate way to describe it would be, some moments in the day are better than others. Daylight is the best time, I have lots of distractions and can keep my mind occupied. Nighttime is the worst, after I lay down in bed. The tears pretty much flow non-stop once I start thinking about everything. I don't try to stop them, though. It's part of healing. I remember thinking to myself a few weeks ago, "how will I know when my heart begins to heal?" And I thought about asking my aunt who lost a child many years ago. Then a few days later, I thought that I was there - that I had begun to heal. I felt a lot better about everything. But then it hit me again, the deep sadness. And I have come to realize that yes, some days will be better than others, and you will think that you have turned a corner. But then you will have a day that will not be as good, and that's okay. That's just the way it goes. No one has the same schedule for grieving. Someone told me, "you never get over it, you just learn to live with it". I guess this is all part of learning to live with it.
I can tell you even after 13 years there are still days when Brenden's death will hit me hard. Granted, they're now very few and very far in between. My greatest hope and reassurance is that my son is with Jesus all the time, and doesn't have to suffer the things of this world. But I do remember in the beginning, how hard I would cry and how much I grieved. You will never, ever, forget this moment from your life. I think the best healer for me was to finally have a baby in my arms. Not that Chase replaced Brenden, but it made the pain a lot duller.
Ryan and Rachael
Parents to Chase, Abby, Hunter, Rachel, Caleb, Hannah & Nate
~Remembering sweet baby Oliver, born to Heaven October 20, 2009, & keeping Carole in our prayers~
Thought of you with love today,
but that is nothing new.
I thought about you yesterday,
and days before that too.
I think of you in silence,
I often speak your name.
All I have are memories
and a picture in a frame.
Your memory is a keepsake,
with which I'll never part.
God has you in His keeping,
I have you in my heart.