Saturday, December 8, 2007

Bringing Siodhachan Home

We picked up little Siodhachan’s ashes yesterday afternoon. We got 3 silver etched heart necklaces which hold some of Siodhachan’s ashes, 1 for each of us and 1 to display. The rest of his ashes went into a beautiful little black and gold brass urn.

As strange as it might sound, this was the most comforting part of all for me. Getting to bring our son home. Though it is not in the way we had hoped, but the only way we could. It is nice to have him here with us physically, in some form at least, as well as mentally and spiritually.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Birth Story

Saturday, December 1

We checked into the hospital around 4pm or so. Got all settled in, answered all the necessary questions, and I got changed in to my gown and robe. The rooms were nice and comfortable, very home-like, and I was at ease being there despite the situation.

My midwife came in at 6:00pm to give me my first dose of cytotec in my cervix. I was to have a dose every 4 hours until I was ready. I felt it pretty quickly, within the hour. It wasn’t bad though, like menstrual cramping and a slight back ache. I got my second dose at 10:00, no dilation at that point but my cervix was softening. Cramps stayed the same. Carl and I had some dinner, I took a bath, and we just stayed in bed together watching TV and talking. Third dose at 2:00am, and after that I decided I would try and get some rest. I fell asleep around 2:45 or so and woke up suddenly at 4:00. I put my hand between my legs for some reason and felt it was a little damp. I started to sit up to check if I was bleeding and my water broke. I called the nurse to let her know my water had broke. My midwife came in and checked me, but I was hardly dilated yet so they figured it would be a while before anything happened. Apparently this sort of thing *usually* takes about 24 hours minimum, but probably more like 48. Well, that's what the doctor on call told me. But everyone else told me it could go very fast, so be prepared for that.

I think at this point my midwife put another dose of cytotec in, because I had “flushed” the other out, but it’s a little fuzzy. At this point it was becoming all too real for me. I remember telling Carl that the water breaking should be a happy moment, it meant the baby was coming! Except for us, our baby was coming far too early :(

I ended up sleeping a little from around 7-8, at which point a nurse and a lovely woman, Tammy, from grief services who had also suffered a loss :( came in to discuss what we wanted done when the baby was born. Did we want to see the baby, hold it… what it might look like, if we wanted Tammy to be there for support during the birth, etc. Then they said that it was about time for my midwife to check me and see what was happening, and I got up to pee first.

As I went to the bathroom I started passing some clots. I wiped, stood up and felt something larger slide into my birth canal. I had a feeling that it was the baby, so I tightened up my muscles and waddled back to the bed and I had Carl get the nurse. She came in, took a peek, assuming it was a clot, and said something along the lines of “oh my God, I am going to get Janet (my midwife) it IS the baby”. My midwife came in, I wanted Tammy to come back in, and after that it was all very, very fast. They eased the baby out the rest of the way, clamped and cut his tiny cord. My baby was born at 8:35am. I was too afraid to watch him be delivered because I didn’t know what condition he would be in, as I was warned that he might be fragile and his skin could tear, but he was in perfect condition.

They took him out of the room to clean him up. A few moments later Tammy brought the baby back in, told me HE was a boy and beautiful, and I just broke down. My baby boy who I had known in my heart was a boy the whole time, even when everyone else swore up and down it was a girl.

She gave the baby to us, and he was the most amazing little thing that I had ever seen! He was tiny, a little over 5 inches and 1.5 ounces, but perfectly formed. The sweetest little nose and lips, and a cleft in his chin just like his daddy! Perfect feet and toes, hands and fingers. He was so beautiful.

We spent quite a while with him, just touching him and marveling over him and taking pictures. He was wearing this tiny handmade robe, and a tiny wool hat, and a knit blanket. We held his hand, and touched his feet and face. I wish we could have stayed in that moment forever.

We named him Siodhachan (shee-an) meaning peaceful little one, Silas.

When they did finally take him, I was at peace. Originally I didn’t know if I would be able to see him and especially touch him, but in the end I am so incredibly grateful for the time we got to spend with our son. It was so healing in such a terrible situation. I got to say goodbye to my son, in person, and it meant the world.

After that I had to deliver the placenta. I tried to deliver while still in bed, then with some gravity, and then on the toilet into the “hat” but it just didn’t come. But luckily, my midwife was able to “clean me out” manually, and the placenta (so tiny) was intact, so I was able to avoid having a D&C. My bleeding tapered off very quickly and I was able to leave around 7.

We left with a lovely keepsake box with a teddy bear that they took pictures of him with , the tiny outfit that he wore, his blanket, a “birth certificate” complete with the perfect footprints that they were able to get, the tape he was measured with, and some other things.

All in all, of course with the exception of not getting to bring our baby home, the labor and delivery was perfect. I could not have asked for a better experience and more supportive people around, and I am so thankful for that. Everyone was so wonderful and caring, they cried with me and not once did it seem like just some medical procedure. It made all the difference. Instead of being a sorrowful event it was healing and just what I needed.

The begining of the end

Friday, November 30-

I had my monthly visit with my midwife at 1:00pm. Arrived, same routine as always. Check in, pee in cup, blood pressure, ask questions have questions answered. Then up on the table to hear the baby’s heartbeat, except at this visit my midwife could not find the baby’s heartbeat. The month before the moment she touched my belly with the doppler, there bean was, heart beating strong and healthy.

“Baby must be hiding today” she said. My heart sank. Because I knew that the baby was not hiding, I knew that the baby was gone. :( I had a feeling the entire pregnancy that things were not meant to be, but I pushed it out of my mind the best I could because I so wanted to just be able to chalk it all up to normal pregnancy anxiety.

Anyway, she continued to search my belly for a couple of minutes trying to find that beautiful sound, but there was nothing…

She went to get an ultrasound machine. I remember so clearly being there on that table, staring up at the ceiling and knowing what was coming next. I just wanted time to stand still, just for a while. I just wanted to pretend everything was ok for a little while longer.

When she came back into the room, she warned me that the machine was old and it might not show what we wanted to see, but hopefully it would. She put the jelly on my stomach, then the ultrasound wand, and immediately there was my sweet baby on the screen, completely still. I saw the chest, no little flicker of a heartbeat like I knew there should be. She continued to look, but I know she knew, and I knew, my baby was gone. I said “it isn’t good, is it?” She started tearing up and said that she just wasn’t seeing anything, but she wanted to send me to radiology where they could check with the newer machines. I so wanted to believe that there was some hope that she was right about the machine being old, maybe it just wasn’t strong enough to see, maybe my baby was so still because he was taking a nap, but I knew better.

It gets a little blurry at this point. There was shock, and crying; mine and theirs. I called Carl to tell him he needed to come to the hospital because they couldn’t find a heartbeat. When he arrived we went to radiology together and had the ultrasound. Nobody said much, and I couldn’t bring myself to look at the screen again. I just could not bear to see my baby floating there so still again. Done, ultrasound tech left the room without saying much.

We went back upstairs to meet with my midwife. She told us that the baby did not have a heartbeat, and was measuring around 15 weeks. My baby had been gone for 2 weeks.

After that is blurry again. Lots of crying and trying comfort me, then discussing my options. I needed to choose between going to a hospital about 45 minutes away to have a D&E, which would be a procedure to “remove” my pregnancy, or check in to the birthing center, have labor induced and give birth to my baby. Immediately my heart told me that I wanted to be able to give birth, but we went home to think it over.

The next day, after about 2 ½ hours of broken sleep, I called my midwife and told her I had decided I wanted to come in and be induced. She asked me what time I would like to come in, I said around 4, and then we waited…

Siodhachan Silas

December 02, 2007

Born sleeping at 17 weeks.

Our tiny, beautiful boy who fit in our hands so perfectly it is as if he were meant to stay there forever.

I hope you are safe, protected, and happy where you are, and know that we love and miss you so much and you are in our hearts forever!