I've begun to post around a bit here and read through other people stories so I think its time I introduce myself. As so many other people have said, I never wanted to be on these boards and NEVER thought I would be. I'm devestated to have been dealt this hand.
September 21, 2008 @ 3:15pm our beautiful baby girl, Kylie Angela, was brought into this world and taken to heaven at 19 weeks, weighing 7.8 oz and 9 inches long. She was born too early into this earth and will be an angel forever. She wasn't due until Feb 16, 2009.
My entire (and very long) birth story is below.
Saturday September 20th-
I had been feeling fine all day, we were at the track for Dion’s (My Husband) race in Pueblo. We had gotten up about 2:30am, to get on the road. After making a few pit stops for ice and gas, and having me throw up breakfast (which was nothing new at this point, and immediately after I threw up I was feeling fine again).
I had felt Kylie move a lot that day, several kicks or jabs that had me giggle because I knew they were getting stronger and in no time other people would be able to feel them. We get to the track and have a very uneventful day of me lounging around in my hammock and napping on and off most of the day.
Somewhere around 3:00-3:30pm, a friend of ours comes back into the pits and asks if we can help get him ready to go back out onto the track. I sat up, got out of the hammock, walked over to his pits, knelt down to help out. When I stood up and started walking back to our pit area, I felt a “gush” of warmness between my legs, thinking to myself for ½ second, ugh…I have so much cervical mucus right now, I started walking to the vehicle to “clean up” with a few napkins before heading to the bathroom. As I was walking towards our vehicle, the warm liquid soaking my underwear and when I checked, the napkin was very wet. At this point I wasn’t sure what was going on, I wasn’t in any pain, nothing out of the ordinary had happened other than this. As I’m walking to the bathroom I can feel the liquid running down my legs and became immediately embarrassed for possibly thinking I was urinating on myself and becoming incontinent so early in my pregnancy. *although I did have the thought, that this feeling has been described when talking about other women’s water breaking and I was nervous.
I get to the bathroom, urinate normally and I have control over my flow, as I sit there for a few minutes, checking things out, I notice everything is really wet, my undies, and pants even and every few seconds I am getting a trickle of clear liquid coming out. A few minutes later when I believe it has slowed or stopped, I head back to the pits to tell Dion.
I find Dion and tell him not to freak out, but I just had a lot of leaking of a liquid. He has me come over and lay down in the hammock and try to relax for a few minutes. We’re talking over things, he’s kind of freaking out and we decide that after this race, we’ll head out to Pueblo hospital to be safe and get me checked out. Just before Dion goes to race (which he has decided he is only doing 2 laps in which, took only about 5 minutes total time) I call my doctors office and the on call doctor Dr. Winn calls me back. As Dion is out on the track we discuss what was happening. She tries to calm my nerves some and reassure me that this shouldn’t have anything to do with my amnio 9 days earlier and if complications were going to happen with it, they would have happened within the first 24-72 hours afterwards. She thinks it “could” be a very thin mucus some women get but does tell me that if it is amniotic fluid, and the leak doesn’t heal itself that at 19 weeks gestational age, the baby would have to be delivered and no amount of medical intervention would be able to save her and I would miscarry. She also doesn’t want me to go to an ER unless the leakage starts to get worse, I start to get the chills or fever or if I start cramping or bleeding. An ER is only equipped to deal with emergencies and wouldn’t have the proper equipment, specific knowledge or details of my prenatal records to be able to help me. She called the labor and delivery floor at Avista hospital (where she and my docs office is located) and they agreed to send over all my records and admit me as soon as I got there to check me out. I told her it would be about 2 hours until we could arrive and she would meet us there.
Dion is back by this time, I give him the scoop and he, a friend and his parents pack up the truck and trailer in record time, while I continue to just lay in the hammock and sip on water to try to replenish what I had lost. Within 15 minutes, we are on the road to Louisville (about a 2 hour and 15-20 minute trip from where we are at) to Avista Adventist hospital. I’m laying the passenger seat back so as to help with gravity, I try not to talk to much as when I talk I can sometime feel little spurts of fluid, Dion has mapped out every hospital on the route home, just in case we need to stop at an ER.
I know I am continuing to leak some fluid but the entire ride to the hospital it was definitely a slow leak and I kept telling myself, that I had plenty of fluid in there for Kylie and was just hoping I was making this up and was possibly urinating, as embarrassing as that would be, at least it would have been something I could fix.
We roll into Avista’s parking lot in record time, just less than 2 hours and as I get out of the car and start walking towards the main entrance, I feel another and larger than the first “gush” of fluid, its running down both legs and Dion RUNS inside and grabs a wheelchair. We head up to the 2nd floor of the hospital, Labor and Delivery. The doctor had called and told the nurses I was coming and when I rolled in, with my frantic husband pushing me in a wheelchair, I tell them if I stand up, I’m going to drip all over your floor, so they find my room, help me into the bathroom very quickly and give me pads, a gown, some new undies etc and have me lay down.
The next 5-10 minutes is very routine, they are gathering info and hooking me up to monitors, asking tons of questions. It wasn’t a panic but things moved very quickly, swiftly and efficiently. Im laying in the hospital bed and they place the fetal heart rate monitor on my belly, they finally find her heartbeat and tell me it sounds good, but I can tell its faint and not as strong as it should be even if it was beating at around 140bpm like it should because I had a Doppler at home and knew what a strong heart my little girl had. I knew something was wrong right then and that something bad was happening but did not break down.
Dr. Winn arrives and tells me what they are going to do, as she is speaking to me in a very soft, comforting tone I can somehow feel that she knows as well as I do that this is not a mucus and not urination. She begins to do the ultrasound. When they find my placenta, it looks normal and they find her I can tell right away, there isn’t anything surrounding her. In a normal ultrasound your baby is surrounded by black (which is the amniotic fluid) but this entire screen is fuzzy and grainy and there is hardly any blackness around her. In fact, she keeps pointing out, heres the profile, heres a foot etc… and I’m usually REALLY good at seeing those kinds of things even if the ultrasound is weird and I can’t make out 1 single thing, except, I can see her heart beating still. She starts a vaginal exam to see if she can see where the leak is coming from and also is going to swab me and look at the fluid on a microscope, as well as use some sort of special paper to find out what the fluid is. if the paper turns blue, its amniotic fluid, if not its something else and that’s a good thing. It hurts when she’s doing it, even a little worse than a normal pap smear and it’s taking longer also. When she does the paper test, Dion said it turned blue, all of it, the whole swab and immediately. I think this is the point when both of us knew something was wrong, although for some reason in my head I just wasn’t thinking that my baby wasn’t going to make it, I assumed in the medical age we were in that something was going to be able to help me and Kylie and that even though the remainder of my pregnancy may be tough and I might have some issues that everything would be alright. I’ve been reading about twins that had to be born at 25 weeks and they are both alive today, a girl on here has been leaking small amounts of amniotic fluid and contracting since like 16 weeks, SOMETHING will be able to save my daughter, right?!
When Dr. Winn starts to talk she tells us that Kylie looks fine for right now, she is not in distress, her heart is beating well, she’s moving around, she’s head down but that the problem is that there is only one small pocket of amniotic fluid surrounding her, she guessed around 3 oz left and typically a 19 week old would be surrounded in at least 15-20 oz and that the measurements she took, showed Kylies gestational age at only about 17 weeks, she says “I’m very sorry, I know this is the worst possible thing that could be happening” and until she said that, I kind of thought there was hope but when a doctor looks at you the way she looked at me, waiting for me to freak out, telling me (without having to tell me) that there is nothing they can do and the possibilities she had so casually mentioned on the phone earlier were happening. Dion asked what we going to do and what our options were. She said:
# 1- You may go home and while she is very large you will eventually start to contract and dilate, miscarry at home. She had to tell us this is NOT a good option for us and would definitely be against medical advice because I had some amniotic fluid pooling in my vagina and I would probably develop an infection and I could die or get sepsis if I wasn’t under watch and antibiotics.
# 2- wait and see what happens here in the hospital, wait for me to develop an infection and for my body to start the labor and delivery process on its own.
#3- induce labor, to keep me as healthy as possible and make the labor and delivery as quick and painless as possible. While monitoring me for any signs of infection.
With all the of our options resulting in nothing but the death of our little girl, Dion and I asked a million questions and finally through our sobs and to help try to keep me healthy and safe decided to induce my 19 week old pregnancy and give birth to our little girl. Knowing that when she was born, there would be nothing medically that would be or could be done to save her life and we would lose her.
Around 11:30pm that night the process started, after answering a million questions, being told things I never thought I would be asked and watching the process a hundred times on a Baby Story, I received an epidural. The numbing shot hurts, a fairly painful stinging sensation, up and down my back for about 20 seconds. After that I began to throw up, probably from nerves and being overwhelmed and being hunched over in a weird position. So the next 2-3 minutes I don’t quite remember what the epidural was like, other than just feeling some pressure and weird sensations not painful, just weird) I was more concentrated on vomiting into the cup. The epidural started to take affect first in my toes, then feet, legs and butt. It’s a constant tingling sensation, just like when you foot or leg goes to sleep and eventually I lost the ability to move my legs much without help, they felt very heavy and weak and wobbly and tingly.
Then they placed the catheter since I was being fed several bags of fluid already and would continue on through the night but are not allowed to get out of bed, I didn’t feel the catheter being inserted at all but it’s a long tube inserted into your vagina and fed all the way up to your bladder where its inflated like a balloon and will empty your bladder for you without having to urinate, obviously since I can’t feel my legs, it would be impossible to stand up and walk to a bathroom. The nurse then inserted the sepitak (or sefatak or seditak) I can’t remember the name of it exactly but it’s the medicine that will help my contractions start and will help my cervix dilate. The nurse will continue to check on my progress every 4 hours and will insert a new pill into my vagina each time until I am ready to give birth.
Sunday September 21
At around 3:30am I am checked again and told I am at 1 cm dilated and the baby is coming down. It will probably be a long road from the point to get to where I need to be. My labwork had come back now also and infection has set in. I will need to be monitored every hour for oxygen levels, blood pressure and body temperature as well as start on intravenous antibiotics. My white blood cell counts were around 20 (a healthy person’s is around 7) so obviously my body has been fighting off some infection, even if I don’t feel any signs of sickness yet. Dr. Winn and my nurses reiterate how thankful they are that I stayed in the hospital and didn’t go home to try this alone as well as not waiting until I showed signs of sickness since I have probably already been sick for some time.
Every 4 hours I am checked (temps, blood pressure oxygen and dilation, contractions, effacing etc) from this point on and given more antibiotics, Tylenol, my catheter is emptied, more sepitek is inserted and I can have a few ice chips (no food or drink). Dion is exhausted and is finally able to get a few hours of sleep here and there. For most of this night, I lay in the hospital bed, trying to feel Kylie move, exhausted and weeping most of the time. Thinking about the future that has been lost, my little girl who never will have a chance to see any of the things we have planned for her, having to tell everyone in my life the news, having to deal with normal issues, face work and laundry, holidays and other peoples pregnancies. I lay in that hospital bed for several hours, just sobbing until I was checked next. I remember being able to fall asleep for 20-30 minutes at a time, thinking I should try to rest because eventually, no matter what I would be giving birth…..giving birth and going home without my baby. I remember someone saying to my grandmother when my mom died, that a parent should never have to bury their child, I now know how true a statement that is.
Around 1:30 Sunday afternoon, I am checked as usual and still only about 2cm dilated. My doctor decides that since I have not had much change they will change my induction method to pitocin into my IV, it’s a stronger approach to help delivery come since I have been there for 18 hours and laboring for 14 hours.
At 2:00 the pitocin is started. Contraction start coming sporadically but stronger since I can feel them a bit now, like a ache in my lower back every 5-10 minutes. Dion started monitoring my contractions and could tell by the monitors that they were stronger then before. We had a false alarm about 30 minutes into it and my nurse Kathy had the doctor come in because she thought I was ready to go. I was only about 3ish cm and said sorry for the false alarm but she would come back around 4:00. I found out at that point that since Kylie would be so small they wouldn’t make me dilate all the way to 10 cm. I fell asleep and when I woke up again, it was about a half an hour later. My contractions are strong, like menstrual cramps coming every 1-3 minutes. They start in my back and then circle around to my stomach and get crampy, tight and make my stomach hard. Not painful, but they just kind of hurt and make me tense up for about 1 minute while they are happening.
Kathy (my day nurse) went to check my bleeding and said the Kylie was partially here and she would need to go get the doctor immediately. The doctor came in and looked and began preparing immediately, got dressed, washed her hands, got the tray of equipment etc. She said try to remain calm, the room was much more quiet and calm than I had imagined it would have been just Dion and I, Dr. Winn and my nurse Kathy were there. Dr. Winn asked me to give her a slight push…..then stop. Asked for one more push and I felt a very small “exiting” feeling and knew she was out. I saw Dr. Winn check for her heartbeat and then shake her head “no”. She was born at 3:15pm. She placed Kylie on my stomach in a small blanket, with Dion holding my hand and our family as one, we cried together for quite some time. She looked just like a baby, tiny little sealed eyes, teeny tiny little lips, nose and ears. She had my chin and Dion’s nose, the beginnings of eyebrows, the smallest fingers and toe nails I’ve ever seen, like lil slivers. We got to hold her for about 20-30 minutes in our arms, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. While we had her the doctor injected pitocin directly into the umbilical cord to start my uterus to try to contract. Her concern was that because i was giving birth so early in the pregnancy that my placenta wouldn’t want to detach itself from the uterin walls and if it wouldn’t then we may have to have D&C done. Which is a surgery in which they would scrape away the placenta from my uterus but it can cause some scarring and more bleeding and is a longer recovery. Thankfully, after about 6-8 minutes she asked me to push again, I pushed 6 or 7 times and she told me the placenta had come out on its own, so I was relieved about that.
Our nurse took Kylie to bathe weigh and measure her. She brought her back about 30 minutes later in a tiny pink bunting. She weighed 7.8oz and was 9 inches long, her head circumference was 6 inches. We got to spend about another 30-45 minutes with her and it was time in my life that I will never forget and cherish forever.
They took the catheter out at the time I was giving birth, then some time after I gave birth they took the epidural out and none of that hurt. I was able to eat for the first time in about 18 hours. We had my sister and boyfriend, Dion’s sister and his mom come up after I had showered and brushed my teeth and tried to gather my composure. They were all able to hold our little girl also. I think it meant a lot to me and to them. To have my sister, Kylies aunt get to hold her in her arms and cry for her. It will help me mourn and grieve knowing that other people got to see her, feel her and love her.
Monday September 22-
Before we left the nurses gave us a memory box of Kylies things. Since she didn’t take a breath or have a heartbeat at birth, we didn’t get a birth or death certificate but they created a certificate with the same info and tiny little foot prints on them. Also they created ceramic molds of her hands and feet, a little pink embroidered cross, the tiniest booties I have ever seen in which her feet were to small still to hold on, the bunting she was wrapped in, the blanket she was in, a tiny pink bear, the card that would have been placed in the nursery with all her information written on it and her hospital bands that never had to be placed on her wrists. They gave us a small teddy bear with a great history behind it to families who have to leave the hospital without a baby. I think in the future it will be comforting.
I was discharged from the hospital after they monitored my bleeding for several hours and told me it would probably continue like this for a couple weeks then start to taper off.
We will be making burial arrangements for our daughter this week and next and decided to have her cremated, it is our intention to plant a tree in the cemetery where my mom is and spread her ashes at the roots so we can watch the tree grow as our precious baby girl never got the chance to do. I think I would like to have a small memorial service but that is to be determined, I may just want it to be us and Kylie with a minister to say a prayer for her.
I am an absolute emotional disaster but I think Dion and I will try to seek out some support groups and/or counseling and he has been an amazing father and husband through this entire process and will continue to be my main support system, if anything this has made our bond and our relationship even stronger than I once imagined it could be. I make myself be very strong around family and friends to that I can tell them as much info and detail as possible to help them understand the situation but when strangers ask me anything I immediately break down. I think it may continue like this for some time. I feel lost. I don’t want to ignore what has happened or forget any of it but it is hard to dwell in the sadness and emotion constantly. I feel like I need to do some laundry, clean the house, journal etc to keep my mind off of everything and at the same time I want to mourn and grieve and cry at every waking moment, I just feel torn. My heart is broken and I am lost. As the days keep coming and nothing is getting better, how am I supposed to move on?
One thing I am not looking forward to over the coming days (besides the obvious) is that I will start to get my milk in and I may leak and even have to pump to alleviate the engorgement,. My boobs are very swollen and very painful, I’m having to contact a lactation consultant to help with my pain and issues. I will have no baby to nurse in my arms but as with everything else in this ordeal, I will be a mother…..without a child.
During my time off work (I took a week off afterwards) I created this slideshow, and although it makes me cry every time I watch it, I know in the future I will be able to remember her and smile instead of cry.
It has now been 11 days and I am back at work, things are slowly, very slowly getting back to normal here. There still hasn't been one day that I haven't cried for her during one time or another during the day and I know it may take several more weeks to get through a day without it but it is getting easier to talk about and almost makes me feel better the more people that know about her, like her life wasn't for nothing.
She taught me so much in her short time, more than anything how much I long to be a mom.
If you got through ALL of this, thank you. I hope to get to know some of you better and help support eachother through these trying times.