#30 of All the Things- Part 2 of Gabriel’s Story

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Tomorrow is Gabriel’s due date so I thought I would share more of his story with you today.  To read the first part of his story, read #18 of All the Things.

After the Ultrasound

The weekend after we received the news that the baby I was carrying had Anencephaly, I cried a lot. I devoured the book they gave me, A Time to Decide, A Time to Heal; For parents making difficult decisions about babies they love. I read about all of my choices and what others did in my position.  My heart broke over and over again as I read each sad story.  Little did I know at the time that I was truly lucky to have all the choices I had.  In some countries and even in some states, parents don’t have all the same options. Sometimes they are forced to make a decision not their own.

I read about parents that decided to continue with the pregnancy and about parents that decided to interrupt it. I learned about those that decided to have a D&C and those that decided to induce. I never judged any of them in their decisions because I knew that this was probably the hardest decision they’ve ever made and I know that it was not taken lightly. I learned how you can make the most of the little time you have, taking pictures and making memories.

On Monday morning I took a deep breath, picked up the cordless phone and called the clinic. “Hi. I’m…”  I stumbled along, suddenly not knowing what to say.  “I’m supposed to call because I had an ultrasound on Friday and found out that my baby has” I paused, I still wasn’t used to saying the term Anencephaly.  Later, it would roll off my tongue.

“Is this Marcie?” She asked.

“Yes” I said surprised.  How does she know it’s me? I thought to myself.

“We know about your situation and were expecting your call.  I’m so sorry.”  She said tenderly.

“Thank you.”  My voice cracked as I was trying to keep it together, but failing.  “We’ve decided that we want to induce.”

“Okay, when would you like to do it?” she asked kindly.

“As soon as possible.”  I said.

We made an appointment for that afternoon to start the process.  We went in for a short visit and then they sent me home.  They told me I should call in the morning to make sure they had a bed available and the next morning they did.  It was all going according to plan.  The new plan was falling into place.

As Jeffrey drove me to Fairview Riverside in Minneapolis, the morning of December 5th, I asked him “Do you want to listen to music or anything?”

He said “You can listen to whatever you want.”

I turned on the radio and just then I heard the song “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King.

Tears sprang to my eyes and Jeff said misty eyed “How very appropriate.”  He grabbed my hand and we held on tight.

At the hospital we were given a room and we began the inducement at 9:00 am.  I met the on-call midwife.  She explained things to us as we went and she was so sweet and kind.

Our families and friends came that day while we were waiting for things to progress.  I knew this was the only chance they had to meet him.  It was now or never. Plus, I’m the kind of person that feels best when surrounded by a room full of people.  They kept me company and we alternated between being sad and laughing.  We told stories and spent a lot of good time together.

When evening came, our families left.  It was all taking much more time than I had thought it would.  I told my mom that she should go, and that I’d call her when it was getting closer to the time.  I know how badly her heart hurt to see me like this.  My mother-in-law ended up staying with me and Jeffrey.  She was a natural at nursing and did a great job of taking care of me.

The process was very long and I wasn’t prepared in the least for the amount of pain I would have to endure.  The baby was smaller than he should be so I didn’t think labor would be as big of deal.   But contractions hurt no matter how small the baby is.  My mother-in-law kept telling the midwife that I needed something for the pain but she said she couldn’t give me anything unless I consented.  Medication often affects me in a weird way and I was very concerned that if I took something, I wouldn’t remember much and I knew this was the only time I would have with him.  So I suffered through. They decided that I should try to sleep but I was suffering so much by that point I couldn’t.  Sometime in the wee hours of the very early morning I gave in.  My body and my heart felt as if they were being beaten black and blue and I needed some relief. I thought hopelessly, This is all for nothing.

I don’t remember what they gave me first but every time I closed my eyes I saw a kaleidoscope of colors and I didn’t enjoy it at all. It also didn’t help the pain.

At last, we decided I needed something else. They gave me an intrathecal injection into my spine.  I had to sit on the edge of the bed and lean forward until I felt like I was going to fall off the bed.  The midwife was in front of me and she held me up.

“I love your necklace.” she said to me. It was made of blue and white beads and the center was a creamy white stone that had a figure of a woman on it.

“Jeffrey made it for me.”  I told her.  I paused as I felt another contraction start to build.  I blew out a long breath and braced myself as the contraction peaked and gripped me hard and strong from the inside and made it impossible to talk. Finally it eased. “My sign is a Virgo.” I finished weakly.

“It’s really pretty” she said.   She was keeping me distracted until the anesthesiologist was finished and even though I knew that was what she was doing, I was grateful.

Soon after I felt much better, physically at least.  I was hoping to finally be able to sleep.  I started to drift off, as I rubbed my thumb on the creamy white stone.  I needed the rest.  I was about to do the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, give birth, and leave the hospital without my baby.

To be continued…

Here is the video of the “Circle of Life” if you’d like to watch it:

 

 

I’ll be back on Wednesday with a compelling and thought provoking TED Talk.

Thanks for visiting.  Please subscribe on the bottom of the page if you’d like an email when I post. Comments are like gold to a blogger and shares are like diamonds.   A growing blog makes a blogger happy.    New here?  Check out my About page to see what this blog is all about and to learn more about me. Click to follow me on FACEBOOK.  Click to follow me on TWITTER.

All the best,

Marcie

Question of the day.  Have you lost a child?  I’d love to hear your story.  I’d like to make a page dedicated to angels.  If you want to add yours, let me know.

 

 

 

 

Nomination – Getting to Know Me

I was nominated by Crystal at Living Through Our Loss for the Getting to Know Me Award. Crystal has a beautiful site where she shares her story of losing Averie and raising her rainbow baby, Isabella.

It’s the first time anybody has nominated me for anything like this so here goes!

Who are you named after?

I was named after my grandmother (my mom’s mom) and my full name is Marcie even though she was Marcella.

Do you like your handwriting?

No, it’s pretty awful.  I wish it was pretty.  My mom had the best handwriting but I did not inherit that gift.

What is your favorite lunch meat?

Turkey.

Longest relationship?

I’ve been married to Jeff for almost 16 years!  We were together for 4 years before that.

Do you still have your tonsils?

Yep.

Would you bungee jump?

I think so.  Maybe.

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

Nope.

Favorite ice cream?

Mint chip.

What is the first thing you notice about people?

Sometimes I’m pretty oblivious to my surroundings and I can’t think of any particular thing that always stands out for me.   I’ve had many conversations with my husband that go like this:

Me: We saw this cute dog today.

Him: What kind of dog?

Me: Um, a brown one? I can’t really remember.

Him: Big dog, little dog?

Me: Sort of big, maybe?

Him: *Eye Rolling.

Football or baseball?

Football.  Go Vikes!  But really, I only really like to watch live.  Or if it’s a really big game.  I get too distracted.  I did take the time once to learn how the game is played though.

What color pants are you wearing?

Blue jeans.  I get to wear jeans to work everyday.  I’m so lucky.

Last thing you ate?

Strawberry shortcake for dessert last night.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

Probably pink.  I wear a lot of pink.

Favorite smell?

Lilacs.

Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

My oldest daughter, Ali.

Hair color?

Brown with a natural blond birthmark or two plus a lot of gray.

Eye color?

Green/Hazel.

Favorite foods to eat?

My grandmother’s chicken and dumplings.

Scary movies or happy endings?

Happy endings.

Last movie you watched?

Moana.  It was really good.  The soundtrack is good, too.

Favorite holiday?

Probably Christmas.

Beer or wine?

Neither, I’m not much of a drinker but when I do drink I prefer vodka and juice or flavored vodka and lemonade and shots like grape apes and such.  Fruity stuff.

Night owl or early bird?

I hate getting up in the morning but once I’m up I’m at my most productive.  I’ve been getting up early most days to work on the blog.  It still amazes me when I don’t push the snooze button at 5:00 am.

Favorite day of the week?

Saturday.  I usually get to sleep in.  And often get to nap.

Favorite quote?

“Stop spending money like you’re in congress.”  Dave Ramsey

Nominations?

I would like to nominate Gabe at (Almost) Unsalvageable for the Getting to Know Me Award.  He may have already done this before, but he’s a great commenter on my site and his blog is really interesting.  Great stories and great art.  Plus, he’s part of the #bloggesstribe.  (We love that about each other!)

#18 of All the Things- Gabriel’s Story Part 1

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I really wanted to write about this song because it means so much to me.  It’s a sweet song about pregnancy but the last few words hit home.  I’m dedicating this song and this post to all of my friends that have lost a baby and to all of those I’ve never met.  Below is part one of my story.   If you are friends with me, you’ve heard this story before and I thank you for listening when I talk about Gabriel.  It’s means so much to me to know that he is not forgotten.

This is Small Bump by Ed Sheeran:

 

The Ultrasound

Cold winds blew in Minneapolis on the first day of December in 2000. My fiancé Jeffrey and I were warm with excitement though, as we hurried to the exam room.  The typical hospital smells of alcohol mixed with medicine and a touch of sickness didn’t bother me today.

“My mom wants us to come over after and show her the ultrasound pics.”  I told Jeffrey.  “She can’t wait to start buying tiny pink or blue footy pajamas.”  I said, looking forward to that myself.  I grabbed his hand and looked up at him.  I was still amazed that this was happening to us.

In the exam room, I laid back on the hospital bed and pulled my light blue and white striped maternity shirt up to expose the khaki pouch on the belly of my new maternity pants. Under that was my very small baby bump.  I was just starting to wear maternity clothes- mostly in excited anticipation of watching my belly get big and fat.  I couldn’t wait for the day when I’d be waddling around like a penguin.

The technician turned the lights down and stood to my right with all of the ultrasound equipment. Jeffrey sat to my left and he watched the screen with eager anticipation.   She squeezed some cold blue goo on my belly and placed the ultrasound wand on my stomach “Let’s get started.” she said happily.

She began to move the wand around while looking up at the screen. I didn’t really know what I was looking at exactly.  I was waiting to hear something like “So here is the head, and this is the baby’s heart.” But she didn’t say any of those things. She was completely silent.  A few long minutes crept by.  I looked at Jeff nervously and he grabbed my hand.  Finally, she stopped and said “I’m going to go get the doctor.”  I raised my brows in question at her but she quickly left the room.

“Oh my God, Jeffrey.  Something is wrong.” I said desperately.

He looked nervous but tried to reassure me “It’s okay, let’s just wait and see.” He held my hand tighter.

The technician came back with the doctor.  They got right down to business continuing with the ultrasound, both of them looking at the screen and conversing with each other, but in whispers, too quiet for us to hear.  It seemed to take forever for them to be finished.  I tried not to imagine all the little things that can go wrong, all the things that might cause problems in a growing baby. Finally, they stopped and the doctor turned on the lights and it was a shock to my senses and made my eyes water.

“There are some problems” he said.  I braced myself for the bad news.  He continued “The baby has Anencephaly.  It’s a neural tube disorder and is incompatible with life.”

My stomach dropped.  I felt all the blood leave my face.  I’m not sure what I thought he might say but it wasn’t that.  This was more than just bad news.  This was the worst possible scenario.  The one I hadn’t even considered.    I’m not sure I had ever heard the term “incompatible with life” before that.  I knew what it meant, though. I thought to myself my baby is going to die.

On the outside I was amazingly calm and I asked a lot of questions as I turned into “information seeker.”   The doctor explained everything to us. “He literally has a hole in the top of his head.” The doctor was saying, as he gestured to the top of his own head in demonstration.

I interrupted him then.   “It’s a boy?” I asked shakily.

“Yes.” the doctor confirmed nodding his head.

My baby boy is going to die. I thought.

I surprised myself by asking in a strong voice “So, now what?”

He seemed surprised yet pleased at my direct approach.  He took a deep breath as if to steady himself and began, “You have three options.  You can attempt to carry to term. If the baby makes it that far, you’ll likely have to induce because Anencephalic babies don’t trigger labor on their own.  Your second option is to have a D&C, where the baby might not come out whole.”  He paused then to let that sink in. And it did.

“The third option” he continued “is to induce early.”

I imagined myself then, late in my pregnancy, waddling around with a fat belly and middle aged ladies coming up to me exclaiming “Oh! Look at you!  When are you due? Is this your first baby?” They would be all excited and totally oblivious.

And I’d lie, and say with a fake smile, “He’s coming mid-April!”

Then I imaged myself getting tired of the lie and from my mouth a comment would come tumbling out like “Thanks, but actually the baby isn’t going to make it.” And then it would be all awkward and sad and I’d have to console them, saying “Oh, its okay, there was no way you could have known.”  And I’d reassure them it would all be okay, somehow.

They would pat my shoulder solemnly and say stuff like “God has a plan, you know.”

I knew right then that I couldn’t go through that.  I had already decided what I wanted to do, but I agreed to think about it over the weekend and to discuss it with Jeffrey.  We left the hospital in stunned silence carrying ultrasound pictures of our baby boy with a crooked head, and a book called A Time to Decide, A Time to Heal.   We drove the short distance to my mom’s house to tell the first of many, our very sad news.

Later, I cried.

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I will post more about my story on a future blog post.

Thanks for visiting.  Please subscribe on the bottom of the page if you’d like an email when I post. Comments are like gold to a blogger and shares are like diamonds.   A growing blog makes a blogger happy.    New here?  Check out my About page to see what this blog is all about and to learn more about me. Click to follow me on FACEBOOK.  Click to follow me on TWITTER.

See you back here on Wednesday when I will tell you about a funny podcast about depression.

All the best,

Marcie

Question of the day:  Have you suffered the loss of a child?  Do you want to share your story on a memorial page?  I’m creating one and am looking for stories to share.