Well as promised, here I am with the remainder of my little hero's story. I decided to finish his story a year from the date we were told the heart breaking news rather than on his birthday. I want his birthday blog to be a happy one. As happy as it can be with him being up there and all of us down here.
So after hearing my options which were to be 1) admitted right there and then since we were already in labor & delivery, 2) go to my scheduled c-section date of August 18, or 3) go home, and return on Monday. Well there was no way I wanted to be admitted right there and then. That wasn't in the plan. Then again, neither was this, but I wasn't thinking that at the time. All I knew was I didn't want to be in the hospital anymore - at least anymore that day. That day - July 27, 2011 at 3PM was supposed to be a happy afternoon, but instead it became a continuous nightmare. Plus we had 2 little ones with us too. That meant having them sleep in the hospital with us or have my husband and them go home while I as alone in the hospital. I know I did NOT want that either. Our plan was to have our friend/doula be there with us on the day that AJ was supposed to arrive so that my husband could be in the operating room with me and the kids were with someone they knew. Again... that WAS the plan. Silly things plans are. (I will post about that another time).
I knew I didn't want to wait until my scheduled date either, because that just didn't seem safe to me or logical. Doing so would just give me the false hope that they were all WRONG and that AJ was alive. But when they told me there was fluid around major organs already, I knew they weren't wrong. That's the drawback to being the child of physicians. Being able to understand the body language of the doctors and the whispering about certain things not being where they are supposed to be. I knew that option was not a viable one for me because I may be "okay" now, but who is to say that my body won't turn on me again. After all it already turned against my son, so what was to stop it from going the next step?
That leads us to the option I did take, but with a slight modification. Since the 27th was a Wednesday and the weekend was approaching, the on call OB thought it would be best I come back on Monday. However, I decided that wasn't going to work for me either because it is just a shortened version of option 2. I decided (with much prompting from my parents) to return on Friday, July 29. So with that, I was discharged and my family and I left the hospital in tears and I was completely numb. All while they told me this news, I was also still in school finishing my Master's program, so I had that weighing on me too. But I will digress from that for the moment.
I remember my husband driving as I was in no condition to be behind the wheel. We didn't go home immediately. Instead we went for a long drive just crying and thinking maybe they are wrong, but that can't be since they used four different machines. We ended up at the Poulsbo Waterfront Park - a favorite of ours since the kids love playing in the gazebo. I just sat in the car crying and I sent a text messages to my best friend from high school and another friend - both of whom had losses. I also sent a message to our friend J, who was going to be there on the scheduled date in August and I had to ask if she could be there earlier than planned. Again... with the plan. I don't recall much of the conversations with my three friends, but what I do remember is just saying to the two who have had losses "I completely understand now." And with that they knew.
Telling friends was one thing, but how were we going to tell our parents? We decided to tell them the next day. So Thursday, was the day of all the dreaded phone calls. First I called Nurse K who has been with me through all three pregnancies and scheduled to come in Friday morning to speak with her about getting me on the c-section schedule for Friday. Then I called my parents who are in South Dakota. I called my mom first (I think). I know she was alone in her factory. I really didn't know how to tell her other than they couldn't find a heartbeat and that he had passed. At that point, I can envision my mom slumping in a chair completely shocked. No one outside of my husband, our doctors, myself, and our friend knew we were having another boy. I don't remember much of that call either other than her asking if I had told my father yet. I said no and he was my next call. And so I called my father at his office. He knew I had a check up the day before, so he asked about that and I said the only thing I could think of - they couldn't find a heartbeat. As soon as I said that, my dad went into what I would call his bedside manner for a practicing physician who has to deliver bad news to a patient. Again, I am drawing a blank at the conversation. I just remember calling or emailing my sister next. Strangely enough I don't even remember doing that. I think I was on autopilot after being so numb.
I then emailed my instructor for the class I was taking at the time and letting him know what had happened. He was very understanding and said for me not to worry about any of the deadlines anymore and to just turn in the work by the end of the term and I wouldn't be docked for being late. He also said to not work on the group project anymore as I was dealing with more than enough. I am thankful for having an instructor who had compassion for the issue at hand. I apparently passed the class, but don't recall how since I don't recall turning anything in, but I must have. Plus my husband who finished the same program earlier in 2011, did my online homework for me. LOL.
Okay... (sorry this is long, but I don't want to forget any of the details I do remember, so forgive me if I babble through or get off on a tangent). I know we did other things that Thursday afternoon, but I can only see snippets of it. I recall my husband dropping me off to meet with our friend J for dinner and to make the arrangements for the next day and he took our other two kids to the park to play. Eventually Friday came rolling around and we headed to the hospital.
We first met with our friend who took over watching the kids while my husband and I met with Nurse K to just talk and cry. She then asked if we would like to have the chaplain from Bangor to visit with us. I said yes. Father C arrived and sat with us for as long as he could. He prayed for AJ and us. Then I asked if it was okay to be furious with God for doing such a horrendous act. Father C said who better to place your anger upon than God. He can handle it. Oh and believe me I was ANGRY with HIM for a LONG LONG LONG time. (That will be another post).
Then it came time to admit me to labor and delivery and get all the paperwork rolling on that. It was probably about noon when I was put in a room and started filling out all the papers that were supposed to be filled at the next check up. But since that didn't happen, I was doing it all before they wheeled me in to the operating room,. The anesthesiologist offered me a medication that would wipe out my short term memory and I thought how cruel is that. Why would I want to do that? Of course I rejected that and off to the OR we went. When in the OR, they administered the anesthesia and hooked up all the machines to me. It took them quite some time to put the catheter in so the medication's time clock was ticking away and they had not even begun to operate yet. While that was happening I recall joking around with the anesthesiologist. He asked where I was from and I told him a combination of NYC and South Dakota. He then asked what was in South Dakota, and I said "Cows. Maybe a few pigs." That lightened up the mood temporarily. Then I remember "arguing" with the same anesthesiologist about having the announcement bell made to say "Baby Boy Arriving." I am not sure of the terminology, but I know it is a Naval thing. Anyway, they told me that they usually don't do that in times like this out of respect for the grieving family, but I said no. I told them he is still arriving. Albeit not the way we wanted, but he was still arriving, so they agreed to do that and I am glad because I remember hearing it. :)
Finally, the doctor who was going to perform my c-section, Dr. C came in and began. Somehow I still kept expecting that all of them were wrong and that I would hear a cry when AJ was born. I knew that wasn't a possibility, but stranger things have been known to happen in the medical world. As Dr. C was performing the surgery, he said that I already had a rupture. So then I thought not only am I going to have a stillborn child, but they are also going to have to do a hysterectomy now too. As if things weren't bad enough. But thankfully after another OB/GYN came in to look at what Dr. C had seen, they determined they didn't have to go to that extreme.
At 3:32 in the afternoon of July 29,2011, our Angel AJ was born. He may not have been born the way we wanted him to be, but he was there. He was/is beautiful. He is perfect - a mini version of his big brother. He was 5 pounds 8 ounces and 19.75 inches long at 35.6 weeks old.
After he was born and the closing process began, I recall the medication starting to wear off to the point of being able to feel Dr. C doing whatever it was he was doing to close me up and getting the sensation back in my right leg enough that I could wiggle my leg and touch the nurses. They eventually did something after I couldn't take the pain anymore and the next thing I knew I was back in the room with my husband and he was holding his son. The hospital sent someone to take pictures, which I am so thankful for. Granted they are tough to look at, but I am grateful for them.
Eventually our friend J had to go home because she had three of her own to take care of. At that time, my husband went home with our kids and I had time with AJ. Father C returned to perform a special blessing for AJ. To this day I wish that blessing was to make him alive again, but sadly it was not. The next day Dr. C came to check on me and explained a little more about the rupture he had seen when he was delivering AJ. He said it was about a 2 inch gash and on a uterus that has gone through three pregnancies in 2.5 years, that is a significant gash. He then asked if I had felt any pain, cramping, spotting, or bleeding or any of the things that are associated with a uterine rupture. I said no, but should I have? I mean, if I did, then perhaps AJ would be here right now. He said he was shocked I did not feel anything, but wasn't totally surprised because of how AJ was presenting himself on the table. Apparently, the reason I didn't feel any of the usual symptoms was because AJ had lodge the right side of his head in that gash. Dr. C said a gash like that with a uterus as thin as I had would normally be catastrophic on the mom as well, but for me to have survived is somewhat of a miracle.
AJ is truly my hero. He saved my life. He knew what he had to do to save me so that I could be here for his daddy, big sister, and big brother. He knew I would be sad for a long time, but he knew we would meet again. He knew he served his purpose in that brief time. He knew he would always be loved by us and God and that he will NEVER be forgotten. What a smart little boy he is. I can only hope I make my heavenly and earthly angels proud.
So there you have it... My hero's 35.6 week life story.