The few days before I delivered Andrew, I was going through what I only know to describe as the “nesting urge”. I just couldn’t get my home clean enough! I had been really sick and nauseous so I thought that I had just turned a corner and since I was in my second trimester, things were just getting easier-you know, the “honeymoon” trimester? That first night I fell into bed with satisfied exhaustion (I am a self-admitted clean freak-it really does make me happy to clean and organize). The next morning, I awoke with more energy than ever and I could barely eat breakfast because I had this incredible urge to get started.
About 9:30am, I started having some sharp pains. I stopped cleaning but the pain wasn’t going away. I didn’t want to call my doctor’s office for “nothing”, so I called my friend who is an experienced labor and delivery nurse. She advised I lay down, drink a glass of water and rest for a while. She said I probably had just pushed myself too hard and needed rest. About an hour and a half or more of this and the pain was getting worse and even coming at regular intervals. But it didn’t feel like any labor I had experienced before, so at the time I didn’t realize I was in labor. But, I knew this wasn’t right so I called my doctor’s office. The receptionist told me to take a Tylenol and get a heating pad and lay down. This isn’t my first baby, I assured her. I know this isn’t ligament pain. After much insistence, she said to call and get in for an immediate ultrasound appointment. At this point, I was worried, but in my head I assumed if I should be concerned, the nurse on the phone would have told me so. I called my husband who was coming home for lunch anyway and he said he would be right there.
After that, the pain relaxed and I was able to eat lunch-I was starving after all that cleaning! I was scheduled for the ultrasound that afternoon so I jumped into the shower, thinking how exciting it was that in a couple of hours I would be seeing my precious baby on the ultrasound screen. I was nervous and praying that everything would be okay. The hot shower felt SO good on my back and tummy. But the pain became more intense and regular. Ok, now I’m really starting to be concerned. Then, to my horror, I began to bleed in the shower. I knew then that I was in labor. I remember the anguish of that moment. An intense, primal cry rose from within me and I remember screaming “no, no, no!”
The next hour is pretty much a blur but I began to deliver the baby before I could even get dressed for the hospital. My sweet doctor (who is also a friend) decided to come to the house to check on me. My husband took the children to a friend’s house and then my doctor and husband took me to the hospital. Almost as soon as I was admitted to labor/delivery and put in a bed there, I finished delivering the baby.
He was absolutely perfect. Perfect toes, fingers, mouth. We held him and named him and cried over his perfectly made form. His hands were clasped together by his head like he was sleeping peacefully. He was beautiful. We took pictures and cried and held each other.
And then, I started to pass out. My heart started pounding and I felt dizzy and nauseous. Nurses poured into the room in response to the monitors going off. I had lost too much blood. I’m not sure what they did to stabilize me other than a dozen needle pokes and some IV’s, but then they moved us to another room.
And that’s when it began to happen again. Except this time, I couldn’t respond. I could hear everyone around me. My husband and nurses kept calling my name but I could not respond. I remember my husband kept saying “stay with me, stay with me”. I could hear the fear in his voice. I couldn’t open my eyes or lift a finger. I felt trapped. I remember praying “Jesus, please don’t take me! I have to be a mommy to my other children!”
The hemorrhaging was bad. I had a DNC because my placenta wouldn’t deliver. They put me under which was an experience all its own. It was then they took him from us then, to go to pathology and then be buried. I did not want to let him go.
I cannot even describe that feeling.
I had to have a blood transfusion. Without it, I couldn’t even lift my own arms or sit up in bed. The nurses told me they had never seen someone with hemoglobin counts so low. They said it would take weeks for me to have my physical strength back. The whole experience was beyond traumatic.
I spent the next week in bed. My husband was amazing-taking care of me and the children. When he had to work, I had a friend who is like a sister take all my children and love on them for me because I physically could not. I lay for days in exhaustion and grief thinking how am I going to make it through this? Between the pain pills and the exhaustion of the blood loss, there wasn’t much I did that first week except helplessly lay there and cry in between sleep. I remembering feeling like I just wanted to fade away.
So that’s how we lost our precious Andrew Zane at 18 weeks and 5 days gestation.