I am a few days behind on posts of what happened last year on certain dates, but they will have to wait another day or two.
My second nephew was born yesterday. He is alive and well. I am very relieved. My sister is fine. She bled a little more than they liked, but not as badly as she did when her first was born.
I was with her throughout alot of her labour (except for the first hour and the last 4) and I went to visit her in the hospital and meet her new son. I cannot even put into words the strength it took to do all that without sobbing my way through it. I still cried. I cried alot. But I there was also alot of time that I didn't cry and I'm proud of myself.
It was a surreal day. I had many chance encounters with people who were with me when Jacob was born. He was born on a Tuesday, and of course, yesterday was a Tuesday. He was born in the same hospital that Jacob was too.
I'll start at the beginning. Laurie's due date was April 30. For 2 weeks before that, I would get all major things that needed to be done at work done that very day, just in case I wouldn't be in the next day. I was nervous about doctor's appointments that I had, that they might be at the same time that she was in labour. None of that happened. He came at a perfect time really. Mom and I had a choir rehearsal Monday night and we have one tonight. Then a night off and then 3 nights of shows. Laurie might even be able to come and see the show now.
I am so emotional right now. Last night was the hardest night that I have had in months. I'm trying to remember when the last night was that I had like that. Maybe last summer? Maybe New Year's Eve? I don't know.
Laurie called me at 1:30am on May 3rd and said that she was having contractions but that I didn't have to hurry over as they were about 7-8 minutes apart. I quickly packed a bag and drove over and was there around 2am. She and Andy were on the couch, using an ipod app to time her contractions. I eventually took over hitting 'start' and 'stop' on the ipod, and I held her hand through each contraction, from 2am until 7am when they left for the hospital. Ben woke up around 2:30am and spent the night on the couch with us. He was the only one who slept.
I went into the bathroom once and had a little cry, got it under control and went back out. It was small enough that she couldn't tell that I had been crying. I called our other 2 sisters and told them what was happening shortly after getting to Laurie's. We watched Spanglish, then some entertainment news show. We needed something light.
Her contractions would get closer together, and then creep further apart, then creep closer together again. But the intensity was getting worse and worse. And I was jealous. I was jealous that her baby made it to full term. I never got to experience a full term birth. I feel cheated of so many things I can't even begin to count them. Having Jacob full term is one of them. A big one.
At one point, she was holding my hand down by her side and my arm was against the side of her belly. I have carefully avoiding touching her belly throughout her whole pregnancy, although it happened twice and I moved away as quickly as I could without making it obvious. This time I didn't try to move my arm away and I felt the baby move twice, which was both reassuring and filled my soul with turmoil.
I kept holding her hand through contractions, rubbing her back and running my fingers through her hair. Close to 7am, the contractions were getting incredibly painful and she started feeling the urge to push. Although she didn't have the classic signs of when to go to the hospital, I told her that she should just go if she felt like pushing at all (when she got to the hospital, she was already 7cm dilated). Andy paged the midwife and she said they should go in, so off they went. I stayed home with Ben. I called my parents and sisters and told them what was happening, I spoke to Andy's Mom and later on, a friend of Laurie's. I washed their sheets and remade their bed, because I knew she would love to come home to clean sheets (I told her later on that I did this and she said that she had wanted to ask me too, but felt bad about doing it).
Ben woke up, I fed him breakfast and we played for several hours. It was fun spending the time with him. He is an awesome little guy. He went to the fridge, unprompted, and got 2 cheese slices, one for him and one for me. Lindsay and Jessie arrived at Laurie's house around 9am. Dad has been calling me from the hospital and said that if they wanted to be there for the birth, they had better get there soon. They asked if I wanted to go and one of them would stay with Ben, but I knew it would be bad for me to be there. In the end, they both stayed in the room and watched the baby being born, which I was surprised about. Lindsay is a fainter and Jessie watched Ben being born and I thought she would never want to watch another birth.
They called me every 30 minutes or so with updates. I spent the morning crying on and off. I just missed Jacob so much. I would start crying and Ben would look at me and say "what?", looking so concerned. I told him that I was sad because I miss Jacob and sometimes he would drop it and other times he would ask more. Once he said "we go to visit Jacob at the church". He always remembers that Jacob is connected to the church and the garden.
I emailed some friends and told them that Laurie was in labour and got emails back full of encouragement and love.
Then I got the call that the baby was born at 10:50am. I can't begin to tell you how relieved I was that he was alive and that Laurie was OK. I posted on facebook that my new nephew was here and got notes of congratulations and support. Ted later told me that he told people at work that the baby was here and alot of people asked how I was. I am so fortunate to have so many caring and understanding people in my life.
I called Ted and Rusty (Laurie's mother-in-law) and I emailed some friends and I cried some more. This time tears of relief and tears of sorrow for my boy. Ben asked again why I was crying. I told him how happy I was that he brother was here. I feel badly telling him how much I miss Jacob all the time.
Lindsay kept calling with the updates and with pieces of information about Laurie's labour. She said that she would probably be moved out of Labour & Delivery around 1, so I planned to bring Ben to the hospital shortly after that. I finished making their bed, I tried to get Ben to eat some lunch and then I made a quick stop at Shopper's to mail a card to a friend. As I walked into the store, I figured people seeing us would assume that he is my son. I like when they do. But I also want to tell them where my son is.
We drove to the hospital and talked about the baby. Ben said that he was going to teach the baby to walk and talk and jump. I said that it would be a little while before he could do any of those things, but that pretty soon, Ben can make him laugh. So the rest of the drive was spent with Ben making funny faces and saying "that's a good one!" and "that's a good joke!".
We got to the hospital. Walking through the main doors to L & D and the maternity floor was hard and I was shaking a little. I went to the nurses desk at maternity first and asked which room Laurie was in. They said that she was still in L & D so Ben and I headed there. But that is another hard place. I stood in front of the large door for a few moments to get up the courage to open it. I did it, still shaking, and looked into the hall that I walked down to my room just after learning that my baby was definitely gone.
Laurie was in the first room to the right (she had requested that she not be given room 670, which was where Jacob was born). We walked in the room and Laurie was lying in bed holding the baby, with Mom and Jessie near the end of the bed. Laurie's eyes lit up when she saw Ben and Ben's eyes lit up when he saw Laurie and the baby. Cameras were quickly brought out and Ben stared at the baby in awe. He touched him very gently and said things about "my baby brother". That's me in the black coat on the left side of the picture.
Laurie told me that the nurse I had, Patrice, was the nurse that greeted them when she got to the hospital. Laurie knew her immediately and said that she was her sister's nurse and said my name. Patrice remembered me right away and asked how I was doing. It felt so good to know that she remembered.
Normally I would have been counting the seconds until I could hold the baby. I hung back for awhile. It probably took about 10 minutes before I reached for him and held him for the first time. The first baby I have held since my own. He was warm and beautiful and breathing. I gazed at his face and tried not to cry.
|His hand is a little blurry because I was rocking him. |
And of course, that's Ben on the bed with the chocolate
treat I had been promising him.
Laurie...dear, sweet Laurie, after everything she had just been through (an unmedicated childbirth) asked if I was OK. I cannot even begin to tell you what a good heart she has. She has been nothing by considerate and caring throughout everything. I nodded and held it together. Some pictures were taken and I tried to look happy in them.
|I kept thinking that I should be an expert at holding a newborn,|
with all the recent experience I should have had.
I really wanted to go and see Patrice before she left, so I stayed in the room for awhile and then went to find her. I asked another nurse if she was still here. Patrice heard me, came over and hugged me and asked how I was doing. I said fine and we talked about Laurie coming in and recognizing her and Patrice said that she had been hoping that I would be coming in that day. She said that she still thinks about me. I said how nice it is that she remembers me and she said "of course I do". I told her about the video Nurses Grieve Too and how part of it was filmed at that hospital and how shocking it was for me when I first saw it. She asked about our house (when I was in labour, we talked about the new house we bought), she asked how Ted was and then she asked me again how I was. I told her that I lost 2 more babies since Jacob and she said "oh shit!". I laughed and said that is what I say too. I told her a little about the losses and my bicornuate uterus and how it wasn't discovered until I had ultrasounds with Cub and she asked if I had the hysterosalpingogram. I said that I had and now I'm having the sonohystogram on Monday. She said I looked really good (sometimes it bothers me when people say that....do they think that I'm over losing Jacob?). I said thanks, but that I was crying all morning. Although I was very relieved that everything was OK with Laurie and the baby, I said that I'm really sad too, for me and Ted and she was understanding. She said that I had to make sure to email her when I'm pregnant again and then she had to go and take care of a patient.
I felt like a jerk after because I didn't ask much about her.
I went to the room where Jacob was born, but there was someone in there and the door was almost entirely closed. I did stand in front of it for a while though. Once Laurie was moved to the maternity floor, her window looked across the courtyard to the window of my room, so I looked at it as much as I could from there, which wasn't much since the windows in L & D are opaque and the people in "my" room only had the window open a little.
After I held the baby and talked to Laurie and talked to Patrice, I didn't know what to do with myself. I was scared of breaking down. I realized that I had only had 2 pieces of toast and a few bites of banana all day so I started to walk towards Tim Hortons, but I walked about 2 minutes and just couldn't do it. I don't know why. It seemed like too much effort and I didn't know what to do. Such a simple decision, but I was having trouble with it.
I went back to Laurie's room and said that I didn't feel like walking there afterall. Every time I walked into her room from going out, I could tell that she was searching my face to see if I had been crying.
I think it was then that Dad was holding the baby and someone said that they think that he was wearing the same shirt when Ben was born. But it wasn't when Ben was born, it was when Jacob was born. I didn't say anything, but turned around and walked into the hallway and started crying. Jessie came after me and asked what was wrong and I stumbled through my tears and said that he was wearing the shirt when Jacob was born and I just cried and cried in the middle of the hall in L & D, with Jessie hugging me. I turned around later and saw Patrice at the end of the hall, along with a few other nurses scattered around, so they all saw. I guess Patrice may have explained to them what happened.
Then Jessie and I took Ben to Tim Horton's and saw Patrice again briefly on our way but we just smiled as she was busy. I got a bagel and a tea and Ben a chocolate milk, which he was pretty happy about.
When we got back up, we found that they were getting ready to move Laurie to the maternity floor. She was in a wheelchair, holding the baby, and people were behind her carrying stuff. And I had a flashback.
When I found out that Jacob had died, I was walked over to the L & D door to be admitted. The door opened and a Mom was being pushed out in a wheelchair, holding a baby, with a bunch of people behind her. I could barely put one foot in front of the other at this point, so I just stepped through the door and to the side, and let them pass. It felt like I had no peripheral vision and my only goal in life was to follow the nurse.
As Laurie was pushed through the door and towards the rest of her life, I couldn't move. I couldn't follow. I just had to stand there and let the flashback take hold and live through it again. Lindsay and Jessie came through the door towards me and asked if I was OK. I said that I was having a flashback and explained it. We stood there for a few minutes. Then I said that I have to see the fridge that Jacob was kept in after we gave him to the nurse and until we came back that night with Lindsay to see him. I was looking for Patrice, but was going to ask any nurse we saw. Somehow, luckily, that nurse was Laura.
I had never met Laura before. We went up to her and I said that my baby was stillborn in June and he was kept in a fridge for a few hours before we came back to see him again and I said that I wanted to see that fridge, if possible. I said I know that it might sound strange, but I really needed to see where he was...what path he took...when I wasn't with him. She was a blessing. She said that she totally understood and would be glad to show it to me. She told me that she had a loss too and as we walked, she said how devastating it is. We went in a door and she said that when they get a baby like mine, they treat them really well, with much care and respect. I got teary eyed and said that it was so nice to know that. She had such compassion and caring in her eyes. She showed me the fridge. Just a regular white fridge with the freezer on top and the fridge on the bottom.
She asked how far along I was and I said 21 weeks. I asked her, she had been 28 weeks and had been in the hospital for 4 weeks prior because of problems. When her baby boy, Grant, was born, he had some spinal problems and was in Sick Kids for a few days before passing away. He either passed away, or was born, on my birthday. I told her about Jacob, amniotic band syndrome and my next 2 losses. We talked about how much you blame yourself (she had a car when she was pregnant that had problems and she wondered if she breathed in any fumes; she painted and was sure that she was to blame) and how much you hate yourself. I told her who my OB was and said that Dr. A told me that unless I was a crackwhore, it wasn't my fault. Laura laughed and said that it sounds like something Dr. A would say.
She lost Grant 12 years ago. She said that I was still very early in my grief, that it does get easier to live with, but it never goes away. She said that she and her husband think of Grant every single day. Most of the time, she is OK now, but some days are still dark.
I told her I was seeing a specialist and was having more tests done. She asked if they mentioned putting me on aspirin and progesterone and I said that he had mentioned aspirin and that I was going to ask about progesterone. She said she has seen them do amazing things and she has very high hopes that everything will work out for me. She said she has seen cases where the causes were such that future children were unlikely. In her case, not possible (she has a 16 year old boy and said they are so grateful they at least have him). She said that, because of her experience, she knows what to do with patients experiencing a loss. She said that she helps put together the booklets on grief and local support groups and asked if I went to any groups. I said that I hadn't because we had been moving at the time, but we did go to a butterfly release by PBSO, although, at only 12 days after Jacob was born, it was too soon, looking back. I said that I met many babyloss Mom's online and they are my support.
She said that she felt a connection with me and I said that I did too, with her, that it is often easy to with other babyloss Mom's. They know.
I asked how she ever managed to go back to work in L & D after losing a baby and she said it was very gradual, but eventually it was fine and she put her experience to use. We talked about the movie "Rabbit Hole" and I told her about the analogy of the rock and she said that it was a perfect analogy. She was being called away for a c-section, so I asked her if any pictures had been taken of Jacob by a nurse that we might not have. I don't think any were, but I just wanted to double check since I know they do that sometimes. The person who has the pictures of still babies was on vacation, so they said that she would be back May 9th and I said that I would be coming back on June 1st to donate a box and would check then.
Then I walked past Jacob's room again and went to Laurie's room on the maternity floor. When I got there, Rusty was holding Laurie's hand and saying there was a problem with the IV and get a nurse. There was blood all over her hand. I got to the nurses station quickly and they sent a nurse. It turns out that Rusty accidentally knocked out Laurie's IV while hugging her. Laurie hates needles. She usually has to lie down when getting blood drawn. Her veins are small and it had taken 3-4 tries to get that IV in before she had the baby. While I was with her, another 4 people came in to try and none of them were successful. I heard when I got home that there were sending an anesthesiologist to do it. It turns out the midwives said not to try again, so she never had to get poked again in the end.
The baby was lying in his crib when I walked in and I just felt like holding him, so I picked him up and held him for a few minutes. I was facing the doorway and my OB, Dr. A, appeared with 2 nurses behind her. I was so surprised and just started to smile when she realized that she had the wrong room and turned around and left. I took a few steps after her, but she was gone.
A little while later, I was standing in the doorway to Laurie's room while another person was trying to start an IV and I saw the social worker I saw when I was in labour and again in January (see the story about our January meeting here) walk by. I was almost positive it was her, so I said her name and she turned around and said that she thought that it was me and we hugged and I explained why I was there. She said that I look good (that again) and I said that I was crying all morning. She said that she had been thinking of me because there was a stillbirth on Friday and she told the couple about me and told them to call her if they want my contact information. She said that she saw them when the mom was being induced and it is so hard to think straight at that time. So we both said that we hoped that they would call and then said goodbye.
I went back in Laurie's room again and was holding the baby. I sat down and just stared and stared at him and imagined holding Jacob like that. Imagined Jacob sucking in his lower lip and making little baby noises and the sadness became overwhelming and I couldn't hold it back. I felt the tears in my eyes. I guess alot of people were watching me. Mom was by Laurie's bed and said that she knows that I want it too and one day I will have one. I burst into tears and said "but I wanted it with Jacob". She came over and hugged me and I just cried and cried. After a few minutes I gave the baby to someone. People started saying that he needed a diaper change and asking who wanted to do it. Someone said that I would and I just said no, I definitely didn't want to.
A nurse came in and was checking the baby over and I just stared and stared. We missed out on so much. So much. Every little thing that happened that day was something we missed out on.
So I went for another walk. I turned a corner and Dr. A was walking towards me. We said hi, asked how each other was and she said that she thought she saw me earlier when she came into Laurie's room, before realizing that it was the wrong room. I said that I saw her too, but she looked like she was in a hurry. She asked what I was doing there and I said that my sister had a baby. She said congratulations, you're an aunt, and I said 'again...this is her second'. We said nice to see you and goodbye.
So I saw 3 people that were involved in my care when Jacob was born, and had a chance encounter with a very nice nurse.
On another of my wanderings (I swear, I spent a lot time in Laurie's room, but from all this wandering around the halls, it may sound like I didn't), I walked towards the outside door to enter L & D and maternity and there were about 15-20 pregnant women and their partners all sitting around. I realized that it must be a tour and turned around and walked away. Later on, I was just going to take Ben for a walk in the hall. As I opened the door and walked out, they were all coming towards me so I said that someone else has to do it and hid inside for awhile.
We started talking about leaving the hospital, but I wanted a few more pictures of the baby first.
|I know this picture is dark, but he had his eyes open here.|
If you look through the window, you can see the window
of the room that was mine when Jacob was born (I just
noticed that as I loaded this picture here).
|My Mom made a blanket like this for Jacob too.|
Alot of my wanderings were also to help me stay awake. The room was hot and I had only had 2 hours of sleep since Monday morning and it was late Tuesday afternoon.
As I was wandering this time, I realized that the prenatal ultrasound clinic was closed for the night, so I walked down the hallway and looked in the room where I had my anatomy scan with Jacob and where I found out that he had died. I didn't have my camera with me, so I went back to Laurie's room, got it, and went back again.
|The bed, the machine, the phone that I used to call Ted to|
tell him that it wasn't good and to come to the hospital. I also
called my parents house and talked to my Dad and said
that the baby is dead and to come to the hospital.
|The wall that I stared at while waiting for the ultrasound.|
I went back to Laurie's room and they were figuring out who would leave and who would stay. I said I was exhausted and Lindsay and Jessie had to go home to Toronto, so we left. Andy took Ben home and Mom and Dad stayed. Because Lindsay and Jessie drove one of my cars to the hospital, Jessie drove that one back to my house and Lindsay drove my car. I was too tired to drive. Physically and emotionally. We stopped at Swiss Chalet. I wasn't hungry, but I got fries to go anyway and we ate them at my house. I drove them to the GO station, stopped by Laurie's to pick up my backpack and find her ipod charger and some other things she wanted at the hospital (she had been planning on coming home the same day, so when she decided to stay over night, she wanted a few more things). I also went through a few of the babies things and sent those. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.
Then I came home, had a shower and started sobbing. Everything caught up with me. All I felt was a crushing sadness and I didn't think that I would ever come out of it. Ted wasn't home last night (at a conference) so I was sobbing in my house alone. Sadie was very concerned and kept circling around me. I tried to write this blog post then as writing usually helps, but I couldn't do it. My chest was heaving, I was crying really loudly and I couldn't get my breath. I had to talk to someone. I thought I would die if I didn't talk to someone. I worried about talking to a pregnant woman about this, but I did anyway and it helped alot. I sobbed my way through the first part of the call. She calmed me down and listened and it was just what I needed, other than having Jacob in my arms, of course.
Ted sent me the number to his hotel, so I called him next and we talked for 40 minutes. He said that he had been having a really bad day too and that he thinks that being close to another baby boy being born was bringing it all on. Since losing Jacob, I've said many times that I'm faking it, that I'm just going through the days on automatic pilot. Not thinking about what I was doing, just doing it. Ted said that he understands what I meant now, that he had been doing that all day. I told him about all the people I met today and Laura touched him especially. He heard that it had been 12 years for her and it still bothers her, of course, and we talked about how we will miss him forever. That the pain will never, ever go away, just get different.
I stayed up until 11 trying to type all this out, but only got through a few paragraph and I knew I had to go to bed. It is so different when Ted isn't here and I missed him alot. I fell asleep with Jacob's blanket and bear and didn't let go of them all night
May 3, 2010
One year ago yesterday was my 4 month check-up with Dr. A. I was really looking forward to this appointment because I knew that I would hear Jacob's heartbeat (I still didn't know if the baby was a boy or girl).
It was a beautiful day. I was early, so I took my time walking over from the train station and walked passed a lot of lilacs. They smelled beautiful. Then I walked around the neighbourhood, sat on a rock for awhile reading, and then went to her office.
When I got to her office, the nurse told me that there was a patient at the hospital in labour, so Dr. A might have to leave and then come back after. I didn't care much, I just settled in but did hope that she could see me before hand. There was someone in the exam room when I got there, who Dr. A was with, and someone else in the waiting room. She saw both of them and spent the usual amount of time with them, which was about 10-15 minutes. I knew that that was cutting into my chances of being seen before she had to leave. The hospital kept calling and progress reports of the woman in labour. When Jan called me into the exam room, I was glad, but the hospital called again said that the woman was ready, so I figured that I would have to wait.
Dr. A still came into see me before leaving, and I felt a little bad for the patient at the hospital. I said that I could wait, but she said that it was OK. This appointment was more rushed than usual, but I got all my questions answered. I told her that the baby's neck measurement at the NT scan was 2.9mm and she looked worried, and also seemed surprised that I knew. I told her that I saw it on the sheet and that I know anything under 3.0mm is normal, but I would have liked for it to be less. We discussed my going back for the second part of the test and she said to do it the next day. She also said she didn't have the results of the first one.
She asked if I had felt the baby move and I said yes and she smiled. I thought it would be common, just the norm, for her, so I liked that she smiled and was happy about that. I asked my questions and she took my bp and then I lay down for her to use the doppler and Jacob's heartbeat was heard right away and sounded so strong. I couldn't have laid there forever and listened to it. It was the best sound I have ever heard. We lingered for about a minute listening to it and then she said she had to go.We walked out together, she said to the women in the waiting room that she would be back soon, and we said goodbye in the hallway.
A year ago today, I stopped at a McDonalds after getting the rest of the bloodwork done and got a Hot Fudge Sundae because I was craving it. I know that doesn't sound like a big thing, but I'm lactose intolerant. When I got pregnant, I didn't want to take any unnecessary pills, so I didn't take any lactaid pills, but eating dairy products wasn't bothering me, so I gradually ate more and more. I ate that Sundae without any pills and I didn't have a bad reaction. I never could have done that before I got pregnant.