My son is dead.
I wake up every morning to that thought. It is my mantra.
I know that, that is not the way I should think of him, but for me, right now, it is all I can think of.
March 1st, the happiest day of my life.
I was a week and a half late, and after almost 8 months of trying, I was cautiously optimistic.
I pee’d on that stick, anxiously, excitedly, hopefully.
It was positive, immediately.
I have never been happier, everything in my life had led up to that moment.
I yelled out to A that I was pregnant, tears of joy flowing down my face.
We were so happy.
I had all of the pregnancy symptoms, I pee’d every 5 minutes, my boobs hurt, I was nauseous all the time. I even knew in my gut that it was a boy. I always knew. We told our family and a few close friends, we never really made it public. I think in my heart, I was always scared that something could happen but up until about 8 weeks everything was perfect.
On March 22, I started bleeding not a lot but enough to be scared, it started out brown and turned red, so off we went to the urgent care ER. Everything the Doctor could see said that I was still pregnant, my cervix was closed, my hormones and blood levels were high, but the sonographer wasn’t there and my insurance hadn’t kicked in yet. So began the wait to see the doctor. I thought that would be the scariest wait of my life. I was wrong.
I spotted brown for 10 days after that. when it stopped I was so relieved. I had hope and felt positive.
At my 10 week appointment we were so nervous, my husband kept us positive he has been so strong in all of this.
my wonderful doctor was amazing she told me that everything looked great and seemed to be going right along with where we were supposed to be. She even got us in for an early sonogram.
When I laid down on that table I was terrified.
She squirted the goo and as soon as she placed the wand on my belly, there he was, our tiny baby, dancing around on the screen, doing flips, moving all over the place . The relief I felt was unexplainable. It couldn’t get better, and then she pointed out the heartbeat. It was perfect. I realized then that I had two hearts in me. My own and my child’s, if there had ever been a reason to live, this was it.
Leaving the office that day, we were so happy and so relieved. Everything really was perfect.
We started planning everything, picking out names and nursery colors.
The normal things you do.
For a few short weeks there was no fear.
Monday, April 22nd at 13 weeks, my best friend and I went to an appointment that I called in for, I wasn’t to concerned, I thought I might have some kind of infection, nothing serious, I just wanted to get it checked out. you can never be to safe.
The first thing the doctor did was take out the Doppler, We were going to get to hear my second heart beat, and it was miraculous.
So strong, and fast but perfect to me in every way, we recorded it and I played it over and over again. I was so excited to play it for A. who was of course over the moon.
Everything really seemed to be going exactly as planned.
Little did I know that that was the beginning of the end.
The next day I started spotting brown. “Normal” I thought, the doctor told me that there could be some spotting after having an exam. So I did my best to not worry, and to stay positive. I stayed off of my feet. I tried to relax, but it didn’t get better.
On Friday, I spotted bright red. Terrified again and in tears, I called my doctor, she wanted me to go in for an emergency ultrasound, I called A and told him what I was doing, I got in my car drove to the building, all the time not knowing what was going to happen, what I was going to see. I wasn’t thinking the worst at that point… I just figured something was wrong but we would figure it out and everything would be okay. As I laid down on that table again, I held my breath and prayed, and there he was again, perfect. moving around waving, he had grown so much. My second heart beating so strong. The relief washed over me again. I asked in vain if she could see what he was, but it was too soon, even though I knew what he was, I was still so excited to see. She continue with the sonogram, checking everything looking for any problem that she could see, but there was nothing, His placenta was perfect, my cervix was closed, there was no physical sign that anything was wrong. Relieved and happy but still I had this nagging worry.
The red bleeding stopped and went back to brown until Saturday night. We were over my best friend’s for dinner everything was okay just doing the same, I felt a little crampy but I figured it was just growing pains, I was staying off of my feet and trying to be positive, I went back over to our house for something we had forgotten and when I got there I went to the bath room. Another gush of red blood, scared again but I tried to keep my cool, I showed my best friend who was equally as shocked and concerned as I was, we called her mom who was a labor and delivery nurse, she put my mind at ease some, but I still wanted to talk to the doctor, so I called again. “Keep an eye on it” they said, if it gets any worse go to the hospital. It seemed like it was lightening up a little so I tried to relax and just enjoy the rest of our night. When we got home though, it continued, it got worse. So off to the ER we went, another night of waiting and hoping, but again they tested my blood levels and they did another sonogram, and everything was perfect. She told me that unless I was passing large clots or bleeding through pads, that I didn’t need to be concerned, her explanation was that some women just bleed, and that the majority of pregnancies that had bleeding went on to be healthy. I was discharged with instructions to be on bed rest and to call my doctor on Monday.
Sunday happened with out much event, I was still bleeding but not to badly. I stayed in bed and tried to relax.
I woke up in the middle of the night that night to go to the bathroom as I had been doing , and there it was again more blood, it was more that time then it had been through all of this but still not enough to warrant another trip to the hospital, I laid awake all night after that, scared but resolute that I would call the doctor in the morning and that he had been fine up until this point and that he would be fine still. I called the doctor that morning and told them what had been going on, we scheduled an appointment for Tuesday.
As I sat there in the waiting room on Tuesday morning, I was so tired, scared, nervous. At this point I had faith in the strength of my son, he had already gone through so much. I had to believe that he would be okay. I went back and she looked again, there he was, my second heart, moving and dancing as strong as ever. She looked and looked, my placenta still looked perfect, he still looked perfect. She did see some haziness in his sac that she was mildly concerned about so she asked me to go see a specialist. She did tell me the same thing though, that sometimes women just bleed, and that unfortunately there was nothing we could do to stop it, but that in most cases, the bleeding resolves itself and you continue on to have a healthy pregnancy.
Still no answers.
I saw a perinatal specialist the next day I was 14 weeks and at that point the bleeding had started to subside and I was starting to feel hopeful again. I laid down on the table again and the goo was squirted and there he was, perfect, we got to see every little part of him, all four chambers of my second heart, every toe, and every finger, even his little brain. There was no sign of the haziness my doctor had seen the day before, they found nothing, no tears, no clots, no problems anywhere. The perinatal specialist diagnosed it as a “Threatened Miscarriage” . She told us that there was a 70% chance that the baby would survive and that the issue would resolve itself.
At this point now it was a watch and wait.
I began to pray, I prayed to god, and gods that I don’t even believe in. I prayed that the bleeding would stop, that he would be okay.
With every prayer, I was inching closer to the end.
The rest of Wednesday and Thursday were actually good, the bleeding seemed to slow, and even stopped for a bit.
Late Thursday night was a different story, I started bleeding again. but this time it was accompanied by cramps, they came in waves, it started out as nothing but as the night progressed they just got more painful, and I kept feeling pressure… so much pressure. When I finally woke up A it was around 3:30 in the morning, I knew he had to work in a few hours but I couldn’t endure it alone, he sat with me for the next 2 hours trying to keep me comfortable until he had to get ready for work. He got up and started his day. As I laid there I felt the need to use the bathroom, so I got up to go. When I sat down I immediately felt something come out of me, I let out a cry and A jumped out of the shower, when I looked in the toilet I expected the worst, It wasn’t what I thought it would be, it was a blood clot the size of my fist. This was the first time I truly felt like it was the end, I cried all the way to the hospital. I just knew that this was it, they were going to look inside and see that our baby was dying or dead. We were both scared and in tears, when they rolled me into the sonogram room, I knew my biggest fear was going to be confirmed. The sonogram tech told me that the baby was still there, and when I asked about the heart beat all she said was that she hadn’t gotten that far yet. She didn’t say anything else during the rest of the ultrasound, I just knew it was over. When she called A in, I knew that it was it, everything in me told me it was done, but when she turned the screen to us, there he was again, my second heart still beating strong. Defying all odds our son was still alive, we both broke into tears. Bewildered and amazed at the strength of our son. But again there was no answer, no source of the bleeding, and again the doctors told us there was nothing we could do so we were discharged again.
I called the doctor again and by 1 we had another appointment to meet with her. When she walked in the room she looked so defeated, I could see that she was frustrated and so concerned. She checked me again, and looked at him again. Still we could find nothing no source no problem. We were given a 50/50 chance of survival this time. I was put on strict bed rest and we were left to watch and wait.
By this time I thought he could withstand anything. He had gone through so much already and against all of the odds he was surviving.
I stayed in bed all day Saturday, I was still bleeding and the cramps started again, but I just tried to keep my mind occupied, it helped that it was Kentucky Derby Day. Watching the horses run kept my brain busy. Then I felt it again that pressure and then a gush, by the time I got to the bathroom, there was at least a cup of blood in the toilet, More blood than I had ever seen. Frustrated and scared, we went back to the hospital again, my worry now was not just his life but mine. They gave me fluids and meds again and took me back for the sonogram, and once again he was there, heart beating and dancing, and still no answers. This time my response was different, I was bleeding and passing clots consistently, terrified by the possibility of hemorrhaging, I fought to stay longer. When the doctor finally came in and explained my loss of blood and the risk of infection I had from staying in the hospital, I felt a little more comfortable in leaving. Even though we were still scared, confused and without answers, we left the hospital.
The bleeding slowed again, I was still passing small clots, and still scared but I did my best to stay calm.
Sunday morning passed. I stayed in bed, but around noon I started to feel cramps again, but this time they were different. They still came in waves but they made my stomach feel hard, they started out just a little painful but by 7: 30 they were extremely painful, and by 11 I was in the worst pain of my life, screaming on the bathroom floor, there was nothing left to do. I checked my cervix, knowing what I would find because The pressure was unmeasurable and the pain was unbearable. My cervix was dilating. I was in labor. We called the doctor again, and all they could tell us there was nothing to do, that the only thing the ER could do was make me comfortable. At that point I couldn’t handle it anymore, between the pain and the realization that I was losing our baby. I lost it. I could hardly make it to the car, I screamed and cried the whole way there.
When we got to the ER the waiting room was full still screaming and doubled over in pain they took me to triage immediately, but there were no rooms for me, so back to the waiting room we went. As I sat there I felt the pain start to subside, but the pressure was still so bad. I asked A to take me to the bathroom, and when I sat down on the toilet, there was a gush, and instant relief. I knew then that I had passed the baby. I jumped off of the toilet and dove my hand into the water, not caring about what I was touching, and just as I grabbed him, the toilet flushed. Instant fear, to go through all of this just to lose him this way, but we didn’t. I sat there on the bathroom floor clutching our baby, completely enclosed in his sac. My water never broke. My placenta completely detached from my uterus and there was nothing I could do. A ran for the nurses while I sat there with him in my hand. It felt like an eternity. I could feel him through the sac, I knew it was over. I cried and cried. When they finally got there they took him away, I wailed as they rolled me into the room.
They checked me to make sure I was okay, which physically I was. Since I passed the baby naturally, I didn’t have to have a D&C. I guess that was the only part of all of this that I could be thankful for. After they checked me they took me up to labor and delivery. They kept me there and tried to keep me comfortable, they gave me meds to dull the physical and emotional pain.
The midwife came in around 3 am and told us that the baby was a boy, I had been right all along.
She asked if we wanted to see him, which of course we did.
She brought him in wrapped in a knit blanket. He was so tiny, his little hand rested on his head, it looked like he was just sleeping.
As hard as it was, I’m glad we got to hold him.
We named him Graeme Lee.
When it was too much she took him away for a little bit.
We cried and we rested.
They brought him back to us one more time, we told him how much we loved him and we said our goodbyes.
At 15 weeks on May 6, 2013 my father’s birthday around 1 am we lost our son.
My heart was breaking and my second heart was gone.
I lost all of my faith that day.
In all of this the only peace I have is that he fought to the very end, I don’t feel like he died in me. Though I don’t know for sure and I don’t really want to know, I am choosing to believe that he lived until the very end.
Its all I have.
His strength is my strength.
My husbands strength is my strength.
He has been my constant, my rock through all of this.
As fucked up as this all has been, I wouldn’t have wanted to go through it with anyone but him.
Our love is stronger now than it ever has been.
Our story isn’t over, this is only the middle. As we wait the results of the tests and we hope for the answers that we haven’t gotten. I will continue to write and I will continue to fight.
Its been one week and one day since Graeme left us, and even though the tears are slowing, the pain is still there. I don’t think it will ever really go away. I will miss our son every day. I love him more than I ever thought possible.
This is cruel and devastating, but at least I can say that he was part of me even if only for a little while.
My second heart.