I realized that I have never ever written out the entirety of my son's birth story (or any of the kids', for that matter). Seeing how today is the day he was born, I thought I would do so.
His story actually starts on June 30th, the day we were supposed to find out the sex at the "big" ultrasound. It was a really shitty day, weather wise...pouring down rain, and kinda cold. I had to go into Fairview Hospital for the ultrasound because Dr. Gingo makes me get Level II ultrasounds because he always disagrees with me on my due dates (and for the record, I am always right...) Charles and I dropped Alexis off at the daycare, then headed out.
We get to the hospital, and get ourselves checked in. I had to drink the 12 gallons of water that they make you drink and of course had to pee. We get called back to the room, and they ask if we can have a student observe. Sure; why not? That student sure got a lesson that day, poor girl...
They put the gel on my belly and start. Here, Charles said that he immediately knew something was wrong. There was no flickering heartbeat on the screen. I was just smiling at seeing my baby. The technician starts to take measurements. The head is around 15 weeks. I say, "No, I am about 20 weeks." I start to get worried. Is there something wrong with my baby? They measure the arms. 17 weeks, 3 days. OK, a little better...maybe I am wrong on my dates. They they try to get the baby to move so they can get better measurements. Pushing, poking and prodding on my stomach does nothing. The baby is just lying there. They make me go pee because my bladder is about to explode. Nothing.
The doctor comes in. At this time, I am mildly alarmed because I knew from experience that the doc does not come in till the end. Dr. Moodley (the specialist I had to see) looks and frowns at the screen. Then he turns on the fetal heart rate monitor. Silence.
He turns to me and says, "I am afraid that there is no heartbeat. The baby is very small and has died. I am very sorry."
I ask if I will have to deliver. He says yes. It seems like torture to me.
Someone called Dr. Gingo's office. We are told to go immediately there. I am sobbing at this point. I had texted everyone who was waiting eagerly to hear the news. I leave the hospital and get in the car. I call my mom. I make Charles call Matt to tell Elizabeth.
We get to Dr. Gingo's. They set up an induction for the next day. At the time, again, it seemed like torture. What I did not realize at the time, and what I will forever be eternally grateful to Dr. Gingo for, is that waiting that one day put me at 20 weeks exactly. I got a death certificate for my son becuase of that one day. Otherwise, his birth could have been considered a miscarriage and it would have been a royal pain to get him cremated.
I called Elizabeth. Besides from when I had to tell her that her beloved Papa, my father, had died, that was the hardest thing I ever had to do. She had been so excited, and had just bought him a t-shirt. In fact, that shirt is currently on the Build-a Bear that my sister had bought for us. Gabe's death also prompted her to text me for the very first time, and earned him the nickname of "The Gabe".
That night, I got online and started to research. Part of me is wondering what my son will look like. If you ever want to torture yourself, look up "macerated fetus". On second thought, don't. There are some things people should not have to see. I stumble across the statute that explains the whole death certificate thing. I finally go to bed, and I completely lose it. I just remember begging my husband to not let me lose my mind. I was convinced that I was going to, because at that moment I was out of my mind with grief.
I slept some. The next morning comes. I don't want to get out of bed. I do; we drop Alexis off at the in-laws and go to the hospital. When we get to the maternity ward, the first thing I hear is an infant crying. I almost lose it as I check in. The nurses at the hospital were fantastic. As soon as they realized who I was, I was immediately whisked into a room. There were two doors to this room. I requested to have them both shut. I did not want to hear those babies when I would never hear my own.
Dr. Gingo popped in and explained that the on call doctor would be monitoring me that day. I was given another ultrasound. The doctor explained to me very gently that this was just to "make sure". I looked right at her and said, "There better not be a heartbeat, cause there is surely something horribly wrong then cause there definitely was not one yesterday." There is none, and she confirms that the baby is really small. They start me on the meds, some kind of vaginal suppository to start labor. The ones that I had always been told to avoid because of the risk of still birth. Guess it did not matter at this point. I was told that I could get an epidural whenever I wanted. I almost asked for it right there, but I wanted to be able to move if I wanted for as long as I could. Then we waited.
I went into the hospital at 8 AM on July 1, and did not deliver until 2:45 AM on July 2. I got the epidural at some point. I had started to have some mild discomfort in my back, and asked for pain meds. I expected to be given Motrin; they offered the epidural instead. I sat and read my book, a marital therapy one by John Gottman. I was still in school for my master's at that point. We looked at the funeral information that had been discretely provided to us. We called the first place listed and made arrangements for the cremation. I got several more shots for my epidural, and then finally a pump. The epidural made my blood pressure bottom out (got as low as 50/24 at one point). My sister brought Charles lunch. I got Jello and ginger ale. Dinner came and went; my mom brought Charles dinner at some point too. I slept a bit. During this sleep, I saw my dad with my son and was comforted somewhat. I told Charles about this; he visibly relaxed too.
At about 2:30 AM, I shifted slightly and felt something between my legs. I had started to bleed a little bit, so I thought nothing of it. I sat up at 2:45 and delivered my son. It was literally that quick. At the time, I did not know that; I just knew that something had come out. Charles got the nurse, who got the doc. She picked the baby up. He was born in the caul, and I delivered everything at once. I was lucky...I did not have to have a D&C after. They allowed me to hold him briefly, then took him away and cleaned him up. They brought him to me again, on a tiny pillow. He was wrapped in a blue crocheted blanket and had a tiny cap on. I can fit three fingers inside that cap, that is how small he was. I remember his tiny little finger nails, and that the way that his chest meets his arms is exactly the way that Alexis's was as a baby. He had big cheeks and looked just like Charles. One of my regrets of that day is that I did not take pictures of him. I was not aware of organizations such as Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep then. I had the camera; I just did not get it out. We just have a really crappy one the hospital gave us. It does not do him justice. He did not look as bad as I feared. In fact, he was perfect.