Davie - posted on 11/09/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )
Here is my story.
It was around 3pm on Tuesday 10/19. I was resting in bed. I had been having pain in my sciatic never for a couple of days. So bad it was causing numbness. The doctor told me to rest and use a heating pad. That was what I was doing when I felt a warm gush.
I ran to the bathroom and found that I was bleeding. Badly. My husband, my son Alex and I jumped into the car and headed to the hospital. By the time I got to the hospital, I had soaked trough my pants. I found a nurse at the ER and told I was 24 weeks and bleeding badly. She took my vitals and transfered me to the the women's center. The nurses had me get into a hospital gown, blood dripping down me and had my doctor's partner check me out. I wasn't in labor and he had a positive outlook. We waited from my doctor.
When my doctor got there he ordered an ultra sound. The nurses checked me every few minutes to see how my bleeding was. The doctor thought it was watery and maybe my water was leaking a bit. He told me that it could be that and I would spend the next few months in the hospital waiting for the baby to be born or that I had a placenta abruption and that meant the baby would have to come out. It seemed like forever for the ultra sound.
Julian was very active the whole time. The nurses had to keep moving the heart monitor because he would not sit still. When the ultra sound was performed, Julian looked great. He was clearly a happy, healthy baby boy.
My doctor came in after looking at the ultra sound pictures and told me that it was an abruption. 80% he said. He said I needed to be taken to the OR immediately and that Julian had to come out. They kept asking me if I had any trauma to my belly or if I was in an pain. I wasn't and nothing had happened. It was all happening so fast. I was so scared. They talked about doing an epidural but there was no time. I had to go under general. Julian was doing fine until that moment. Then his heart rate started to lower.
I was rushed into the OR, my husband had to stay outside. I was half naked on the table, while all the staff prepped me for surgery. I had on oxygen and felt my stomach being covered in cold liquid. I was told the last thing I would feel was the nurses hand on my throat. That was the last thing I remember.
I don't know how much time passed, but I woke up quickly to my husband and best friend. I wanted to see my baby. He was doing good, but needed to be transfered to the NICU at another hospital about 5 miles away. I asked them to please let me see him before he left. My husband saw him briefly and showed me the picture he had taken. He was beautiful. Julian was brought by in his transfer bed. I could barely see him but my husband took a picture on my cell phone. I said goodbye as he left for the NICU. They would keep me in recovery for a while. My blood counts were low and I needed to be monitored.
I stayed on the anti-partum floor for a day. The levels in my blood that helped with clotting were very low. Everything else was ok. I just had to wait. My husband traveled between the two hospitals, unsure of where to be. I had many visitors and flowers come to my room congratulating me on my beautiful baby boy.
Julian did well the first day. Overnight, however, he suffered a hemorrhage in his lungs due to his PDA valve not closing and a hemorrhage in his brain. Surgery could repair his heart, but the bleeding in his brain took time to stop. My husband and I decided to give Julian a chance. We authorized the surgery and told the doctor to do everything he could for the brain bleed. Julian came through the surgery beautifully. The bleeding in his brain was stopped but it was bad. We would not know the severity of the damage for a long time.
I had been moved to the post partum floor but now my blood work was worse. It had been 2 days and I was still in another hospital away from my baby. I had to wait for a hematologist who would not be able to see me until after 5 that day. I was going crazy. I just wanted to see my son. I had friends and family visit and a wonderful nursing staff, but hearing the cries of other babies made it very hard. The hospital would not let me go because I was at risk of bleeding out or sepsis. My bloodwork showed something was wrong but all they could do was wait and see.
Julian was holding strong. My husband and dad stayed with him and kept me updated. I pumped all the breast milk I could for him. I wanted to do my part. Another night went by. The hematologist told me they would give me a bag of iron and see what it looked like in the morning. I was hoping to leave the next day.
I woke the next morning feeling less than sunny. The weather was poor. Raining and gloomy. I called the NICU to find that Julian was not well. His blood pressure was low and he had developed an infection in his bowel. They were controlling his BP with meds and monitored his infection. My blood work came back worse than the day before but good enough to leave. It was noon before I left the hospital on my way to Julian.
I got to the hospital. My husband met me there. He had been running around from place to place for days. We lived 20 minutes away from where the hospitals were. He wanted to make sure everything was taken care of. He is amazing. Th only thing more amazing was Julian. He was so tiny. I had only seen pictures, which never captured his size. Jenny, the nurse explained everything that was hooked up to him. It was so much. Then the doctor talked to us. Julian's blood pressure was low and the meds were maxed out. His infection, rare for his age, was bad. Surgery could fix it, but it would mean losing most of his bowel. His brain bleed had been so severe that it moved his brain. He was not breathing at all on his own.
My husband and I made the hardest choice of our lives. We had to let him go. What kind of life would he have? How long would he survive even if we did everything medically possible? It was not what we wanted for him. Because we made the choice to take him off the machines, we were able to bring in our son Alex and the rest of the family. My dad took pictures and I spent every moment with him. I was in a lot of pain physically from the c section, my engorged breasts and the lack of meds but I didn't care. The amazing staff in the NICU closed off the side Julian was on to give us some privacy. I made footprint and hand print cards and plaster molds too. I wanted to get as many memories with him as I could. Each member of our family came in and spent time with him. Alex, who is 6, was confused and sad. He was losing the baby brother he had wanted so badly. My mom took him to spend a weekend with his dad. Slowly the family filtered out until it was just Mike, Julian and me.
We had decided that it would be just us with Julian when we let him go. He was given pain meds to keep him comfortable. The NICU staff removed all the tubes and hooked him up the bag to keep breathing for him as they transfered us to a private room. We wrapped him up tight in a blanket and put his little hat on. I held him as he took his last breathe. Almost exactly 3 days after he was born, he was gone. We held him for what seemed like forever. We talked to him. He was gone, but it the first and last time I would hold him in my arms.
It has been 3 weeks since he was born. We have had a memorial. That was very hard. Most people have that moment where they show off their new baby but my moment will be to say goodbye. I want everyone to know what a beautiful, strong child Julian was. I don't doubt he would have fought through it all but everything that could have gone wrong did. He didn't have a chance and we couldn't let him live a life on machines. That is no life at all.
I spend my days crying. I am trying everything I can to dry up my breast milk. I am dealing with the pain of my incision. All these reminders of what I went through. It is making it hard to deal with emotional pain. My husband and I spend our time together. We have promised each other to be there for each other and to talk. To never shut down emotionally to each other. We will not let this loss tear us apart. We are both feeling the pain and we can survive this together. One day at a time is my mantra right now. I am giving it to God and hoping that his plan will be clear one day.
I hope that my story reaches anyone who has experienced what I am experiencing. I hope that if this happens to someone else, God forbid, that my story shows them we are not alone. I tell my husband, to help us both get through this, that we are not the first or the last people this will happen to. It is not fair. It is not fair to lose a child. There is no reason for what happened to me. Apparently there is a small percentage, a very small percentage, that have a placenta abruption for no reason. I will never understand this. I will always feel the pain, but I will never forget Julian. He has touched my life. He is my angel and he will watch over us forever.
I love you Julian..my little angel.