I had a baby on Saturday.
And now I hurt so much that I feel like I can't breathe.
But I have to write him down, record him now right this minute before I start to forget a bit because the hurt is making me. I have to push it out and get it down because he was born. And he deserves a birth story.
I started spotting a bit. It was NOTHING, tiny, pink, benign. Derek and I had engaged in some *ahem* activities that night, and spotting after is very normal in pregnancy. I spotted in Miriam and Ezra's pregnancies without serious consequence.
A call to the midwives assured me further EVERYTHING was fine. Take it easy of course (YEAH RIGHT) but it was all okay.
A few days later, in doing my normal, daily regime of life, I hoisted a fifty pound bag of goat food a few yards, and two 40 lb bags of wood pellets around, to burn in our wood pellet stove.
Then the spotting which had almost disappeared entirely, turned a bit heavier, to blood. I panicked. What was going on? It was getting better. I thought it was almost gone, I didn't even think about NOT lifting those bags, I was just doing my normal stuff.
Another call to the midwives. "It's very normal."
"Bedrest to heal whatever blood vessels you've broken."
"It's okay to wait and see. It might be the placenta covering the cervix. We'll schedule a level II ultrasound when you come in on Thursday."
"It's all probably fine."
"What if it isn't?" I demanded.
"You can go to the ER if you're truly worried and you don't want to wait," she said kindly.
HA, We have medical insurance but unlike most people it only covers 70% of an ER visit. A place they'd charge me $1000 just to walk in the door. I wasn't bleeding much, just a bit and I'm no rookie.
So we'd wait. Fine.
And yet I didn't sleep at all that night. I kept getting up and getting ready to go, praying that if it was an emergency or that I really needed to go, Heavenly Father would tell me to GO so I'd know it was worth our tax return to have an ultrasound. It seemed ridiculous to run off to a place where people die to just have an ultrasound when I just needed to wait a few days for my appointment.
By morning nothing dramatic had happened, I'd never gotten the impression that I needed to go. Derek took off work, and I frustratedly directed traffic from the couch.
By Friday night the bleeding had slowed even more, CLEARLY going away. Oh what a relief. I'd just take it really easy until Thursday. Everything was fine. I'd been feeling little whisper kicks. Our baby was going to be fine. We'd have a baby in July.
I couldn't sleep much after 4am on Saturday morning. My stomach was hurting so badly. I tossed and turned trying to find a position that would help the pain. Finally, I gave up and just lay in a bit of agony. "That's it, it has to be the dairy!" I concluded. "No more dairy!"
Derek made breakfast burritos for the crew before basketball. I ate, hoping it would maybe ease the pain. They all dashed off to the van after ready to play ball. My stomach wasn't letting up. It hurt.
I sat on the couch explaining the pain to Derek who was concerned but agreed. Maybe it's the dairy. The kids were making the van rock back and forth with excitement.
"I'll be right out," I said. "I have to get my boots."
I felt two weird pops in my abdomen, right side, and then the pain lessened. AH. Gas pains! That explained the doubling-over sensation I was experiencing. I stood up, grateful for relief.
And immediately felt blood spilling everywhere, over every inch of my legs. I gasped in shock, surprise, panic.
"Derek!" I called in wild panic. "Derek, there is blood, everywhere! I...have to go to the ER!"
I rushed up to our bathroom, to see what in the hell was going on. It didn't make sense. It must have been one of the hematomas I knew existed. Those usually just BURST and scared you but then the drama was over. Dr. Google had said that was normal, and the baby was usually fine.
Blood. So much.
Derek stood outside the bathroom door while I gasped in horror and panic. In mere seconds I decided, to get dressed and go with Derek to basketball, The kids were waiting, Derek is the head coach, no other arrangements could be made for 10 little kids on ten minutes notice. I'd call the midwives at basketball, and then after, he could drop me off at the ER.
So, I grabbed a towel to sit on, the bleeding almost completely stopped, making me again think it had just been a hematoma that burst. Maybe I wouldn't need the ER.
By the time I got to the van though, the pain was back, worse, hurting so much I couldn't really talk through it.
"You go to basketball. I'll go to the ER in the little car. Get a babysitter after basketball. Meet me at the ER later." I demanded. And oh my poor sweet husband, fear and worry showing on his face, agreed only because I gave him the look of death, and said, "Those kids need to go to basketball. NOW." I could feel blood again, starting to gush, and did not want my kids to see.
He peeled away, and after a quick call to the midwives so they'd send the ER my records and tell them I was coming, ("You're going right now, right?" she asked. "You're already on your way?") I was off.
The closest hospital is 30 minutes away.
By the time I got to the end of our street, any hope of anything was gone. "Please Heavenly Father, just let me get there. I can not do this in a car, please oh please let me get there," I prayed over and over.
I drove and drove, each wave of pain sending more blood rushing around me. The towel would be far from enough.
It took far too long to realize I was in labor. Contractions a minute apart, lasting a minute, every time, sending blood away from me, away from my baby.
I was going to die.
But every time I thought about pulling over and calling 911, I realized it would take them so much longer to get to me than if I just kept going. I had no choice. I had to keep going.
"Please God, just let me get there. I need to just get there, and I'll be okay. I don't want to die in this car. My kids need me, please God just let me get there," I prayed over and over, breathing and bleeding and driving.
I parked in handicap parking outside the ER, bursting from my car between the painful contractions, soaked and dripping blood, panic and embarrassment over what I must look like, pushed aside, as I yelled at the security guard coming over that I needed help. "Please do not give me at ticket!" I screamed as I ran for the door.
When you show up looking like a murder victim from the waist down, begging for help, they take you right back to a room.
In the room, I was surrounded by people, "Take off your clothes, put this on, go in here, let's clean you up a bit, see what is happening," kind voices said as I bent over in pain, blood pulsing to the floor. Somehow, I'll never know how, I did all they asked, and even had time to feel embarrassed that my socks didn't match, as I stripped them off.
"How many weeks are you?"
"Fifteen. Almost sixteen!" I answered.
"You drove yourself here?"
In moments, I was in a bed, ivs were going in, multiple ones. "How much blood would you say you lost at home?" someone asked. "A cup? More?"
"A cup, sure," I nodded, as other things were stuck places, on my chest, my arms, my wrists. A doctor came in, he was nice. I don't remember his name. He was the ER doc.
Nothing but kindness came from his as he very quickly looked inside and said, "You probably already know this, but with this kind of bleeding it's going to be a miscarriage."
Oh boy did I know.
"You're going to need a transfusion," the doctor said. "We'll check, but do you know your blood type?"
"A positive," I answered. A blood transfusion? Great. I was going to die.
In another few minutes, the OB covering the ER came in, the room cleared a bit. She sat down, and looked. I don't remember her name. She was lovely though. A nurse stayed with me, people brought in more tubes, more needles, more I don't even know what.
"I'm so sorry," the doctor said, "But your baby is coming out now." She was so kind. And I knew it was over.
Time ceased. I just felt tugging and the familiar release that comes when a baby is born. No one said anything for a minute, Someone whisked the baby away, and I was still bleeding.
"Call the OR," the ob directed a nurse. "She's lost a liter."
A liter? That sounded like a lot.
Where was the baby?
"Is it a boy or a girl?" I asked the nurse. "Please tell me."
"Do you want to see it?" she asked gently. It. It? My baby?
"Yes, please," I asked.
The ob left to call the OR to tell them we were coming. The placenta was not going to detach, she theorized, "We need to do a d&c. I'll be right back." I could still feel blood pouring out of me.
The nurse with my baby showed me briefly the tiny body, but took it (IT??) away, and immediately brought HIM back to me, wrapped in a wash cloth.
"It was a boy," she said so gently I thought my heart would shatter. "Here HE is," and she laid him on my chest.
He was a boy. He was tiny, with fingers and toes, and ears and eyes, and a tiny nose. He was my son. And he was real.
He is real.
"Oh baby," I choked. "What happened, little one? What happened?"
I didn't get to hold him long because there was still so much bleeding, and prepping. Soon, I left him behind to go to the OR, the doctor assuring me that the d&c was more than necessary, and would help me avoid a blood transfusion.
I sent a hurried text to my sister, asking her to call my parents.
And I knew Derek was on his way.
The OR staff was kind and efficient. A nurse who's whole face I never saw behind her mask, held me by the shoulder and said, "I lost a baby at 20 weeks. You don't know it now, but you're going to be okay."
The anesthesiologist wished I hadn't eaten breakfast but assured me that with an intubation, and stomach pump, and a bunch more meds, the risk of my dying of aspiration was small. She was concise and clear, and
I thought, "Oh, I really don't want to do this. Dying now would be really the worst." She listed off the risks of the anesthesia quickly but patiently. I asked a couple of questions, demanded I not feel a thing, and then we went.
An OR. More drugs, more things beeping, more blood.
I was not going to die. I had to go home to my kids. I made sure they would find Derek and bring him to me when he got there. I don't remember a single thing after breathing into a plastic smelling face mask for a few minutes. The ceiling then... nothing.
"Morgan!" someone yelled from so far away. I gasped, choked, coughed, tried to find which way was up out of the water. I couldn't breathe.
"Morgan!" the voice called again. Oh! He wanted me to breathe. Well, I was trying, but I couldn't remember how.
I coughed, I wheezed, I remembered how to draw air in, and filled my lungs. Oh wow, my throat hurt.
I wasn't dead.
Thank God. I wasn't dead.
It took a bit to realize, it was over. I felt people moving around, trying to do who knows what, and my eyes were heavy. I was so tired.
Today could not be real. That's all there was to it. Today was not real.
They finally, after making sure I was awake enough, brought me Derek. My man, my rock. He was here. I could cry because he was here.
"It was a boy," I cried and we cried and I just couldn't believe it was real.
I can't sleep.
I ache so much and hurt so bad that sleeping is a nice idea in theory but terrible in practice. I wake up from an hour or two and realize it all still hurts. My body is battered, and my heart is broken, and I can't deal with it.
I miss my baby. I miss him so much I can't believe I'm still breathing.
He is real. He is our son, and he is gone.
And I don't know what to do with that.
I've miscarried twice before, I know how it goes. But this is not the same as the early losses.
This was a birth. And a death.
Our baby, our sixth child and our fifth son was born on Saturday.
February 1st, 2014
We didn't get to keep him.
And we miss him.