as it happened…

I’ve been feeling pretty reflective these days, with my grief welling up as it does, especially around significant dates. I’m remembering how I felt two years ago when I lost my baby boy and I wanted to honor his memory here. Rather than try to re-tell the whole sad story, I thought I’d re-create some of my journal entries from then, as it happened. WARNING: If you do not wish to re-visit that painful time with me, please do NOT read on. Seriously, I will not be offended. I am reluctant to do this too. (To anyone left, please know comments are not necessary. This is LONG and for me more than anything…) 

I journaled a lot during that time, many entries are written in past tense. I wanted to make sense of it, to chronicle what happened, as if I’d ever forget. It was two long weeks from the first complications to the day he died. Initially there was fear. Then there was hope. Then prayer for a miracle. And inevitable despair. From the instant we were given the first fatal prognosis, time stopped, ceased to exist. Our lives spun out of control. Those days were our hell on earth.

First some background. In December 2006, I was finally pregnant at 36 after about a year and a half of trying, wishing and longing. I knew it could be difficult, since I had a history of fibroids and major surgery in 2002 that left me scarred with a risk of recurrence, infertility, miscarriage, or pre-term labor. But I was pregnant! I was in the second trimester. We began to believe we would bring our baby boy home in June. We felt pure bliss. When I go back and read my journal from that time, elation leaps off the page. After all the doubt, fears and tears, we were so excited, so hopeful. We believed that all of life’s challenges had prepared us for this moment. Our dream to become parents was within reach at last. While we embraced our joy with cautious reserve, we were filled with awe and gratitude…

December 20, 2005 
To see your heart flutter, to hear it beat, brought so much joy to my heart. 
You are every wish, every hope, every prayer, every dream~ 
You are all we have ever wanted. 
Until I saw you with my own eyes, 
I could not believe you had found your way to us, at last.
I hope you can feel the love flowing to you 
with every breath, every heartbeat, with all my love.
(baby book entry after 15 wk ultrasound)

Everything changed suddenly on a cold sunny day in mid-January, when I started spotting red just past 18 weeks. I was put on moderate bedrest, and it subsided. Days later my level II ultrasound showed a healthy baby boy, no visible problems. (We saw a small-ish protruding fibroid that had grown, but everyone agreed it should not cause concern.) I declined an amnio. Just before 20 weeks, I woke up in a pool of wet. Not blood, but wet. A trip to my ob/gyn for tests confirmed the worst. I could tell by the look in her eyes it was bad. Amniotic fluid. Lots of it. Somehow I had suffered P-PROM (pre-term premature rupture of the membrane). The rupture was too substantial to treat in any way. If it didn’t heal on its own, my baby boy would die. He would not be able to grow or develop, his lungs would not function, other development would be severely impaired. Life was not yet viable outside my womb. He could not live inside. Our only hope was to wait and see…

January 27, 2006
The day our hearts sank. For days I laid in fear, afraid to move, bend, sit or cough. Afraid to do anything except drink drink drink water, and hope and pray to this little baby to last just a little while longer, a couple of months, a few more weeks. But I was still leaking fluid. And spotting again. One moment at a time. Yet all I could think was if he could only survive long enough, just to 24 weeks, what a blessed miracle that would be, what an incredible gift. There would be a chance. I drank water constantly in the hope that the sac would heal and replenish. But the ultrasound showed so little fluid, just small pockets. And still a tiny little heartbeat, destined and doomed for failure. [My doctor] consulted with several experts. We could wait for a miracle. But already she knew what were facing. The worst news ever. It was only a matter of time. She was so very sorry. She hugged me hard and I saw her eyes well up.

My heart sank to my feet, my gut came up to my throat, my eyes swelled with tears. I had to get out of there.

We left in a daze through the waiting room filled with bellies and babies and headed to [an expert’s] office in SF. He was even more blunt. Once he saw the labs, he didn’t need a picture to tell him, to tell us, the prognosis was not good, that our baby would not make it, that “this pregnancy” had very little if any chance of survival. What words to hear. Our baby boy, our son. This little being inside of me, still alive but would die soon, somehow, in some horrible way. There was no good way. There was no way in the world to change this cold irrefutable hateful fact, this horrible cruel twist of fate, of life, of death.

The next few days were torture. May we never again have to experience that pain and fear in our lives.

My heart was breaking, my insides were aching. Every moment, every breath, every twinge. With each drop of blood I felt my life — my baby’s life — slipping away. And nothing could be done. Nothing anyone could do. but hope. pray. and grieve. I hoped, wished, prayed, dreamed, begged, sobbed, feared, mourned. I ached. I could do nothing else for this baby I was losing with each passing moment. There was no good. There was no god. There was no hope. Powerless. Out of control. Primal pain. Like no thing I have ever imagined.

As our last hope, I went on strict bedrest. We spent the next few days curled up in a cocoon, embracing each other, crying and praying for a chance to beat the odds, awaiting the inevitable. We found comfort in each others arms through our pain. It was mostly a slow, surreal blur. With few lucid moments in between acres of deep unimaginable sorrow, all I could feel was loss — loss of everything we ever wanted and dreamed, loss of control, of joy, our blissful moment in time, loss of all that is pure and good. All that was left was pain and sorrow. An empty shell.

While we held out hope for a miracle, we were waiting for our baby to die. Our son. Our first and only child. I was trying to find a way to say goodbye. How is this possible? I wanted to say I’m sorry. I’m so sorry I failed you baby. I’m sorry I could not sustain you, I could not nurture you, that I could not keep you safe for just a little while longer…

My body failed us, it failed me and it failed our baby. My love was stronger than my body, but it was not enough. I’d been betrayed. I felt defeated. I was lost and falling…

As I continued to bleed, I knew there was no hope, no looking back, no dream of renewal or redemption. This was it. We were nearing the end. […] These are the thoughts that kept me up at night, that I woke to in tears. These are the thoughts that plagued me, that made my heart heavy with ache and tore me up inside. This is what I thought as I rubbed my belly and sobbed. And said goodbye. I ached to my core. I was inconsolable. I could barely speak. To anyone. I was stuck in my own cruel little world. And it sucked. It was unfair and it was awful and it just fucking sucked.

January 31, 2006
The last ultrasound. While I held the dimmest hope that there would be enough fluid to keep us going, I knew with the blood I was losing it would not be long. I would go into labor soon, any time now. They could see immediately. There was no fluid, no hope. We waited for yet another expert to tell us what we already knew. Everyone was sorry.

I had to get out of there.  I was numb. […]

We drove to a park on the bay and sat there under a tree, searching for some kind of peace. We sat and held each other tight. And we wept… […]

February 3, 2006
He is gone. At 21 weeks. He is gone from this world. And I will never be the same. I will never know him. I will never again rub my belly and feel him. I will never hear his cry or his laugh. I will never hear his voice or see his smile. He will never live and love and learn. He will never know how we love and cherish him. He’s just a dream now. And this has been the worst nightmare of my life.

Making him was the most wonderful thing I have ever done. Losing him is the hardest most devastating thing I’ve ever faced. 

We caught a glimpse into beauty we had never known. He gave us a vision of the life we had dreamed of. And it was taken. He was gone. May he find his way home again.

February 4, 2006
[…] I cannot think about or look towards the future. I can only see what is here and now. I cannot remove myself from the physical pain, the connection, the emptiness. I cannot see ahead, there is no horizon. I understand the need to look towards the future. I want to see the light at the end of this darkness. But I can’t see past now. There is no way out of here. There is no way around this. I can only feel my way through and I don’t know the way out. There is no way out. It just is.  

February 5, 2006
What kind of cruel joke does nature play when my breasts fill and harden with milk with no baby to feed? Only pain, anguish, tears. My dream of nurturing my child with my own body has been stolen, taken. I am left with icepacks and cold cabbage to dry the flow. I stay in bed and try to sleep to ward off the tears, the dark thoughts. The could have and should have beens. To sleep through the pain. My breasts are aching to give life. The rest is an empty shell. When will it ever end? Will this ever end? Life is so cruel…

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~ by luna on January 25, 2008.

10 Responses to “as it happened…”

  1. You are so brave to share this with us, and so strong to have come through it. Your son’s passing — and worse, knowing that he would die days before it actually happened and feeling powerless to do anything about it — is one of the saddest, most unfair things that can happen to a person. I don’t know how I could ever deal with something like this, but I would like to think I would show some of the grace that you have here.

  2. *sniffle* I didn’t have PPROM, but I know that feeling of gradual dawning that all is not well, & desperate hope that a miracle will happen. I am so sorry. 😦

  3. I’m so sorry. I can feel the pain in every word. Loss and tragedy makes us all introspective and reflective. It helps move us through.

    I hope this helps you in some small way.

  4. I hope writing this has helped you find a little peace. It is so awful. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with any of this.

  5. I don’t know why it makes me feel better to cry over your loss, but it does. I hope the grief starts waning again soon, and you can find some peace. Maybe in the spring (spring comes in March here in DC), when the bulbs start to come up and everything is green again?

  6. There are no words. I’m sorry seems almost an insult to what you’ve been through. And yet I am sorry and wish with all of my heart that you will know that happiness again.

  7. Powerful and so very real. Thanks for sharing such an intimate look at such a difficult time. Wishing you peace and strength as always.

  8. Thank you for sharing your most intimate memories of your precious angel. Talking about him, although painful keeps his memory alive. As the anniversary of his passing draws closer- may you find solace when you think of the happy times you shared with your sweet boy and find strength in your heart when you look at the progress that you have made in the ways that you have honored yourself and your beautiful baby’s memory- I wish you peace and love today and always- please know that your angel is with you always

  9. […] it is not only those dark days before and after that I remember — the week of fear, a week of hell, and then inevitable despair. I think […]

  10. So many of your words say exactly what I was thinking and feeling the night they told me I was completely dilated at only 19w6d and there was nothing they could do to save our pprecious daughter Cadynce. Thank you for sharing this post again. Thinking of you.

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