Alicia - posted on 09/15/2009 ( 18 moms have responded )
I have found through the years that just hearing other people's stories can sometimes help because you know you are truly not alone in what you are going through. So here is my story and I hope to hear all of yours.
With thoughts and prayers to you all, Alicia.
My name is Alicia, I am 25 years old and have been married to my high school sweetheart since 2006. We have a very long history together, as we met when we were 14 and were off and on until getting engaged in Feb 2004, right before he left for his first deployment overseas with the Army. In September 2005 we found out we were pregnant, at the time we were not trying and I had been on birth control. Don't remember any screw ups with taking the pills, but they say it can happen to some people. Unfortunately about a month later we had found out at a routine ultrasound check that we had lost the heart rate. It was rough, but first trimester miscarriages happen all the time and I believed that it had happened for a reason. After finding out, they advised me to just go home and that my body should start the miscarriage process on its own, they said once the mind knows the body usually starts the process within a couple days. Well 2 weeks later, nothing. Nothing but depression knowing that the remains of my tiny little embryo that once had a heartbeat was all still in there. So they scheduled a D&C and off I went. Finally, I thought, I could begin the process of moving on and growing from this experience. Well, about 4 days later they called and said that the pathology of what they removed hadn't shown any products of conception, so they had really missed everything when they did the D&C. I have a bicornuate(double or heart shaped) uterus so they said they must have cleaned out the wrong horn of my uterus. So again they scheduled me for a 2nd D&C and actually started to physically loose it the day before it was scheduled to go in. So I had to suffer all night with the horrible pain and bleeding until the morning when they finally went in and cleaned me all out. You would think after that whole ordeal that only good things would be in my future, but unfortunately the painful journey hadn't even begun yet.
About a month after all of this went down, when I was told to expect my period return, it didn't, so I waited another week and still nothing. So off to the Dr I went..he did a blood pregnancy test to make sure that my levels had dropped completely. And much to my surprise, I was pregnant again!! They informed me that because a woman is so fertile after a pregnancy or miscarriage women often get pregnant if they don't use a second form of birth control within the first two weeks of starting the birth control pill (or patch, which I had started right after my 2nd D&C). They hadn't advised to do this so I thought I was OK with just the patch. But Anyway...I was pregnant again. I thought that I was just destined to have a baby at this time! Pregnancy was going well...I had been getting checked quite often because of my bicornuate uterus and the previous miscarriage, and everything was looking great! We went for our big 20 week apt to the maternal fetal specialist because of my higher risk pregnancy and got to have a 3D and 4D ultrasound of our new baby boy! We were so excited! I grew up with all sisters so I was getting my boy that I always wanted! and of course proud daddy was getting the boy they always dream of having! I had my regular Ob apt about 3 weeks later and had gone in for just a regular belly check and heart rate check. I had mentioned to the Dr that I had only felt a couple movements the day before but she had advised me that it was completely normal for being around 23 weeks. As she was scanning my belly with her little wand trying to find his heartbeat she went on to tell me how the movements that I would feel would all depend on his position in my belly and that in a few weeks as the baby got bigger I would be feeling more and more. As she was talking she kept scanning and listening, and scanning and listening. Nothing...she looked concerned but said that he might just be laying on so far back or so far down that we just couldn't hear it...so we moved to the ultrasound room and as soon as she was able to bring his picture up, she gave me the look...like she wanted to cry and I knew. No heartbeat. It was the first appointment that I had ever gone to by myself. I told my husband the day before that he didn't have to leave work and go with me because it would just be a short, quick visit to get his heartbeat and I would be in and out. Boy was I wrong! I couldn't even explain to you all of the thoughts and emotions that ran through my head over the next couple hours and days. I immediately called my husband, mom and mother in law. They told me that they would have to induce my labor and deliver him. So once my family got there with me, we went to the hospital, up to the OB floor and to my room. I went into the hospital on a Wednesday afternoon. That evening they gave me an epidural, started fluids and started meds to induce my labor. The next two days they spent trying to find a drug that would actually work, so all I did was lay there and suffer the side effects of the drugs, uncontrollable diarrhea, chills, nausea, vomiting, it was horrible. Finally Saturday morning, March 25th, 2006 at 7 am the Dr came in, I was 4 cm dilated and she broke my water, she said I shouldn't have to dilate any further that he would be able to slip right out, and 12 mins later she reached her arm up there and turned him the right way and out he came. We named him Jacob Liam, he was 7.4 oz and 8 inches long. He was a really dark red color because his skin was so thin but he had all the features of a little baby. He fit in one hand. We held him and admired him for what felt like hours. In all reality it was only less than hour. We had determined that he had passed away because of an umbilical cord accident. It looked like his umbilical cord was about to fall off of his belly button it was so super thin. They said it looked as if he got it so twisted like a twist tie that it just cut him completely off from the supply of the placenta. They had to quickly take me to the OR because the placenta had not been coming loose from my uterus like it was supposed to and I was starting to hemorrhage pretty bad. During my time in the OR my husband, well fiance at the time, let our families see him and spend some time with him. By the time I got back to my room from recovery that said I had to say my goodbyes to our sweet angel because his skin was deteriorating very quickly because he had deceased for so long, because it took so long to deliver him from the time we found out. So we said our goodbyes and off he went. I was released from the hospital that following Monday, and we buried him that Wednesday. The next couple months were bad. I started suffering horrible anxiety attacks and was very depressed all the time. The only advice I could give to anyone going through a loss like this is it just be strong. Time will heal the unbearable pain you feel in the beginning. It will never go away completely but it will become bearable over time.
Unfortunately my story does not end there. When we lost Jacob, I told myself that I didn't want to try again any time soon, and we dint. We were married that October in Jamaica. Followed that with a church renewal of vows and reception a year later on our 1 year anniversary. Then faced a 2nd year long deployment overseas again with the Army. When my husband returned home this past November 2008 we talked and we decided we were ready to try again. So right after Christmas I stopped my birth control pills and the beginning of February 2009 we found out we were pregnant. I'm not gunna lie, I was scared to death! Nervous about every little pain. Luckily my Dr was very willing to do whatever I needed to ease my mind. We hit a little road bump early on in the first trimester when I found out I had to have my thyroid surgically removed because they had found cancer cells in a biopsy that they had done only a few days after I was pregnant. That was scary but I knew whatever was meant to happen would happen. My family and I had gained the belief that everything happens for a reason, we may not know why at the time, or ever for that matter, but that belief it was made us get through everything we had been faced with since the loss of our Jacob. I had the surgery and both myself and our little embryo made it through with flying colors! Both my regular OB and my maternal fetal specialists followed us very closely. Every 2 weeks I was seeing one of them if not both. They were checking baby and my cervical length very closely, again because of the bicornuate uterus and our prior loss. The bicornuate uterus puts me at a higher risk for premature delivery so that's why there were checking my cervical length as well. We went for our big 20 week ultrasound right before Father's Day and found out we were having a girl :) I was hoping for another boy but very quickly became super excited for a sweet baby girl! On July 2nd 2009, one day shy of 23 weeks, I went for a normal baby and cervical check with my maternal fetal specialist. Baby was laying very very low with her head down. My cervical length had dropped a bit too. From 4.6cm to 3.1cm. But they were not concerned. They said all along any length over 3.0 was great. Even 2.5-3.0 was OK but they liked it over 3.0 to be on the safe side. So we set up another apt for 2 weeks and off I went. I knew because of the changes that It was time to slow down a bit. So July 4th I spent alot of time sitting, off my feet, and eating lots of yummy food. Sunday July 5th we drove about 2 1/2 hrs away to one of my best friend's daughters 2nd birthday party. It was a trip that we took very often. They were an a family that we met through my husbands Army unit and had become very close with, so it was very normal for us to just hop in the car and drive there for the day. Well as the day went on I because very fatigued and a little crampy. So I went with it and relaxed with my feet up most of the day. On the way home that evening the cramps had grown stronger and were what I believed to be time able, about 10-12 mins apart. So as soon as we got close to home I called my OB and asked to be checked just to be on the safe side. So we met the on call OB at the hospital and they hooked me up to the monitors, checked my cervix and did a swab test that was supposed to tell if I would deliver in the next 2 weeks. Everything looked good. Nothing was showing on the monitors, my cervix was completely closed and the swab test was negative. Against my liking the Dr suggested though that I stay overnight just to be on the safe side. So I did. Well the next morning I woke up to very very strong cramping again. So they hooked me back up to the monitors and nothing...wasn't showing anything. I ended up having a very good nurse that morning and she sat at my bedside until I had another pain and when I did she was able to feel my uterus contacting. She said because I was only 23 weeks my uterus was very small therefor very unlikely to show up on the monitors. She immediately called the dr to inform him that I was definitely contracting. Before I knew it I was in an ambulance with lights and sirens to Lehigh Valley Hospital, PA, which was about an hour away from my home hospital, but was the hospital that my maternal fetal specialists were based out of. When I got there they admitted me and quickly assessed me because I was still contracting about every ten or so mins. They were very surprised when they found me to be 1 cm dilated. I was definitely in labor. They immediately started meds to stop the labor, but the meds didn't work. About 8 hrs later the checked me again, I was 3cm dilated. SO they changed the meds to stop my labor and finally, within an hour of the new med by contractions had stopped. I was so relieved!! I didn't care if I had to stay in that hospital bed for the rest of my pregnancy, just so long as it was stopped. After 48 hrs of the medication they said they had to stop it. They said it I start having signs of labor again they would immediately start me on it again but that particular med could only be given for 48 hrs at a time. So on Wednesday night I received my last dose of the medication. Thursday came and I had nothing. Well a few contractions here and there, nothing real strong, nothing time able, but I made the nurse aware of them all. They seemed pretty happy that they were able to stop my labor. Well Friday morning rolls around, I hit my 24th week! and the Dr comes in around 6am to do rounds and I mentioned that I was feeling a little crampy, didn't feel like the contractions that I had been feeling, it was just a little crampy like I did back on Sunday before I had gone to get checked at the hospital. Well about 2 hrs later they started picking back up. They called the Dr in because nothing was showing on the monitor so he wanted to feel to see if my uterus was contracting. The pain came, he felt and then it went. He said it really didn't feel like it had on Monday. So we pondered for a few mins, wondering if maybe it was my bladder or what else it may be, in the mean time I'm still feeling contractions. Finally after about a half hr he decided to check my cervix, well again much to their surprise, I was 8 cm dilated and he said I was having a baby very shortly. They got us into the OR for the delivery, got the NICU team ready. I started pushing at 12 noon and at 12:13pm on July 10th, 2009 out came our sweet baby girl. We named her Lillian Theresa, she was 1 pd 5 oz and 11 3/4 inches long. The NICU team scooped her right up. They said she let out a little yelp and tried to take a breath on her own, which were all good signs! They put all her tubes in to help her with her breathing and to monitor her pressures and off she went to the NICU. I, again, had to go under anesthesia because the placenta had not completely removed from my uterus. When I woke up they took me back to my room and then let us go to the NICU to see our sweet Lily. She was small and it was very scary. They told us at 24weeks gestation babies have about a 60% chance of living. Scary but it was greater than 50% so that was good enough for me. They said the first couple days are hard, and the first couple weeks are the hardest. I was released from the hospital on July 13th, which was hard because we were an hour away from the hospital. But we got in a routine of leaving in the morning, driving to the hospital, spending the day, driving home, sleeping and then doing it all over again the next day. Day after day went by with no major issues. The ventilator was helping her breath but she taking breaths on her own as well. And day after day she because more and more active. Showing us more and more of her personality. I will never forget the day when her first eye unfused! She was like a whole new baby! She would look around and make facial expressions to go along with her movements. She was flourishing so much every day right before our eyes. We started going a little down hill at day 15. She, for some unknown reason, stopped peeing. They kept trying to maintain a nice high blood pressure for her and gave her lots of transfusions to keep her fluids thick and strong. And for a few days she would go in small amounts, 2cc here and there. Which wasn't great but it was something. And soon it went from the 2cc here and there to just drops here and there and then nothing. She started really filling up with edema and her vitals slowing starting getting worse. And on August 1st, 2009, at 3 wks and 1 day old, after 7 days of being in renal failure, she had started having seizures and we knew it was time to let her go. So with all of our family at our sides, we all said our goodbyes and let her join her brother peacefully in heaven. It was by far the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. I held my little girl in my arms for the first time as I softly whispered to her to give her big brother a kiss from mommy and daddy and that we would again see them one day in heaven. And that quickly she had passed. We buried her on August 4th right near her brother. Its only been about 5 weeks since then. I, unfortunately, know from Jacob's loss a few years ago what works best for me as far as the grieving process goes. I have good days and I have bad days. And I find comfort in hearing other peoples stories and being able to relate to them. Just knowing that I am not alone, that my family is not alone in this journey, is what is comforting. So that was my reason for posting this to all of you. I just hope that I help one person cope just a little bit better for one day because they find they can relate to me and my story. I do hope to try again. My doctors are running lots of tests to see if they can figure out why I went into to labor and delivered so early. They said usually women with bicornuate uterus-es don't have problems until after 30 or so weeks, if they have problems at all. So we will see what they say. And if they give us the go ahead to try again, then that is what I will do. God Bless you all and Thank You for listening to my very long story