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.
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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.