This story begins on September 18, 2010 when I took a pregnancy test and it was positive! After the loss of our first pregnancy this was the healing we were looking for. We went to the doctor's office just a couple weeks later (5 weeks pregnant) and saw our little grain of rice-sized baby on the ultrasound. The little heart was just beating away as strong as it could be. We went again for ultrasounds at 7 and 9 weeks. We breathed a small sigh of relief to have made it further along than we had with baby #1. We though this was going to be the one!
We went once a month to our doctor for checkups and to hear the baby's heart, which was always super strong! I couldn't help but be excited every time I heard that amazing sound! We scheduled our 20 week appointment, this is the appointment where they do another ultrasound to check on development and if the parents want to know the gender that information is available as long as the baby cooperates! We were so excited to see our baby again, it had been 11 weeks since we had seen the little peanut! We invited my mom to this appointment and she was just as anxious to see the baby!
We got into the ultrasound room that day (January 19, 2011). The doctor came in and asked all the "how are you feeling" kind of questions and then asked if we were ready to see our little baby! I immediately saw the heart just pounding away....and was so happy. We got a perfect profile picture of the baby's face...
We were so excited and happy, until I heard the words in a tone of voice from the doctor that I will never forget "I am glad you have your husband and your mom here today because I have some bad news"!! I instantly felt the urge to vomit and I saw Aaron's head drop! We had heard this before from her. My mom quickly rushed over and grabbed my feet and held them. She continued "It appears as if this baby's intestines are floating outside his body". I was terrified, I didn't know what this meant for the life of our baby. She encouraged me by saying that all we would need to do is be monitored more closely and I would have to deliver by c-section and the baby would go directly to Children's Hospital to undergo surgery to put his intestines back where they belong. I was so scared and couldn't stop crying. She sent us immediately to a high risk OB to get a better picture of the baby's belly.
The drive over to the other doctor office was filled with stress and words of encouragement from my mom. We waited for an eternity to see this doctor and we went in I got back up on the table and the ultrasound technician got right to work taking a billion pictures and measurements of our baby. She left the room and said the doctor would be in after he looked over the pictures. Then a lady came in and escorted us to the doctor's private office, which in retrospect, is never a good thing...this is not where good news is usually given. He walked in, closed the door, and gave me a look that will be forever engraved in my mind. I knew this was bad, but how bad?
He told us that our baby was suffering for a condition known as a body stalk anomaly and it is fatal. He cannot and will not survive outside my womb. He gave us a few choices, 1. get a second opinion through a fetal MRI at Children's Hospital and speak with a pediatric surgeon afterward, 2. induce labor and deliver our baby now since it will not live anyway, or 3. carry the baby to term or until it passes on its own in-utero, whichever happens first.
Wow! These options sucked! We left the hospital in silence, I couldn't even cry, scream, yell, or be mad....I was in shock! My mom had been with us all day and when we got back home, she decided to head home to tell my dad and the rest of our family. She hugged me so tight and left. Aaron went for a walk with the dog and I headed upstairs to change clothes and call my best friend. As I was hanging up with Holly, Aaron walked into the bedroom and said that we needed to talk. We decided that we didn't want to continue with this pregnancy knowing that the baby wouldn't survive and might even suffer pain and agony. But we needed more evidence of the baby's condition, we opted for the second opinion before making plans to induce labor.
2 days later we were in the imaging department at Children's Hospital having an MRI. This machine is so loud and tight that I was a little nervous, lucky for me they let Aaron come in and stand right behind my head to talk me through the whole ordeal. The loud beeps, rings, and buzzers caused the baby to go crazy kicking and bouncing around. This was an amazing feeling and offered a glimmer of hope every time I felt it, how could the baby be moving and the heart be beating so strong with such a catastrophic birth defect that is fatal?
We waited for a little over an hour for our meeting with the pediatric surgeon. He was a kind man, and he told us as sympathetically as a person could, that the diagnosis was correct and in fact, he estimated that the baby's lungs had stopped developing a week or so prior. He also mentioned that it appeared as if the baby had a cleft lip. We knew that the news would probably be bad so only a few tears were shed at this appointment, we knew what we had to do now. We scheduled our induction day. Unfortunately we had to wait nearly 2 weeks for the induction as the doctor performing the procedure was backed up and since our situation wasn't life threatening we had to wait.
During these 2 weeks I didn't feel the need to leave the house much. We went back to our hometown to make arrangements at our local funeral home to cremate the baby. We also got to spend time with our niece who, because of the way she arrived and the struggle her parents went through to have her, was a ray of hope and light for us and I cried just holding her! I struggled during this time, because every time I ate or moved around too much the baby would kick, and I struggled emotionally with this. I wished, for my sake, the baby would just stop kicking me...it was too hard on me! In the same thought though I wanted to feel the kicks and movement, I didn't know if I would ever have this feeling again.
The Friday before my induction, I had to meet with the doctor performing the procedure to go over all the technicalities. She was a nice lady, but I was in a place of my grief where I was angry and I took some of that out on her. She told me that there was a 1 in 10,000 chance that they could accidentally puncture my uterus and have to do a hysterectomy right away. I had somehow lost the thought filter in my brain that day because I said without hesitation: "this (pointing to my belly) is a 1 in 10,000 pregnancy occurrence, so I am not feeling great about the odds in this case, so how about you do what you were trained to do and be careful not to let that happen"!! I instantly felt remorse for spewing out those ugly and mean words to a lady who was not at fault in the situation. I later apologized. At this same appointment, I expressed our need to have the baby blessed before the funeral home came and picked the baby up and I wanted handprints and footprints made so I could keep. I also wanted to know the sex of the baby, no doctor had been able to see in any ultrasounds because of the birth defect.
The day before my induction I had to undergo a procedure to dilate my cervix. She said this would be uncomfortable and I should take some Advil before I came that day. I thought "uncomfortable? I can handle uncomfortable after passing kidney stones this ought to be a piece of cake"....not so much! Aaron had to practically hold me down to the bed as she was doing the procedure and she had to quit because I was in so much pain. I left the hospital and went home to sleep and relax for the rest of the day. The next day we went to the hospital and waited around to head down for my induction. My mom, sister, brother, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law came that day to be with me and sit with Aaron in the waiting room. He originally didn't want anyone there with him giving him sad looks, but he was glad they were there to keep him occupied while he waited. On my way down everyone hugged and kissed me and said they would see me later. Aaron was the last one to hug and kiss me and before the nurse wheeled me away he put his hand on my belly and said goodbye to the baby and said "I love you". I lost it and cried the rest of the time until I was sedated.
I came out of sedation with other women in recovery that were pregnant and had had some sort of procedure that same day. The first thing I heard was a fetal heart monitor and some happy, chipper nurse noticed I was awake and asked how I was and the only words out of my mouth were " go turn that damn heart monitor off or down so I can't hear it, my baby is gone, be considerate". She left and within seconds I couldn't hear it anymore. She apologized. I wanted to go home so bad so I told her I was ready to leave recovery and go home. They wheeled me upstairs and I waited for Aaron.
Aaron got to the room and looked so relieved to see me. I started crying a little and then he showed me a little box. In the box were the baby's handprints and footprints, this is where I really started crying.
He also told me that they couldn't tell the sex of the baby because the anomaly was so severe. They had sent placental tissue to the lab for chromosomal and genetic testing so we would have to wait until that came in to learn the baby's gender. I discussed with the doctor prior to all of this that I didn't want anyone messing with the baby's body, I didn't want an autopsy performed.
We went home, sad, and without a baby. We worked hard at moving on. 6 weeks later I got a call from a nurse and she sad she had the tests results back. She said "Your son's tests came back perfect he had nothing wrong genetically with him". I started crying and said "I had a son?" and she acted shocked and said "Oh you didn't know?" I finished that conversation and called Aaron right away. He didn't say much, like most men.
We named him Isaiah David. Isaiah means "return to God" and David is Aaron's middle name. We buried his teeny tiny little urn in the same plot at the cemetery that my grandpa is buried. I know I will meet this little man one day on the other side. But right now I hope he is with his brother or sister and being taken care of by those that have already gone to heaven.
He is our little angel and we miss him every day.
I held you every second of your life...