Saturday, July 16, 2011

How it happens

Your unborn baby receives nutrients along with oxygen from your placenta. In other words, your placenta is the baby's lifeline.

Abbey's due date was listed as May 29, 2006, which also happened to be Memorial Day. Memorial Day came and went with no baby. At my weekly appointment a few days later, my OB told me that I was scheduled to be induced at 41 weeks. I didn't want to be induced. I wanted to try a natural, unmedicated birth at the hospital. Babies come when they are ready. Right? She agreed to put off the induction if I didn't go into labor on my own but she informed me that she could not let me go past 42 weeks. An explanation as to exactly why was not given but I agreed.

I now wish that I had begged/pleaded/insisted upon an induction the week of my due date. I now wish that at my last appointment, I hadn't pressed the button with every little movement during the non-stress test. That I would have over-reacted. That I would have realized that something wasn't right.

Friday night, June 2nd, I didn't feel quite right. I experienced a few sharp, shooting pains in the area of my cervix. Rich was going to be home later that night and my mom was sitting with me in case something happened. I debated on whether or not to place a call into the hospital because I felt like something was happening but I wasn't having contractions and I didn't want to bother Rich and have my mom drive me all the way into Boston just to have them send me home two hours later.

At some point during the early morning hours of Saturday, I realized that I was in early labor. I was having light contractions and felt a lot of uncomfortable pressure towards my bottom. Rich and I had taken a birthing class with the hospital and I knew that it wasn't time to call in so I did what the nurse had suggested and tried to get as much sleep as possible.

Around 6:30, I was awakened with a kick from the baby. I turned to Rich and said, "The baby's getting into position."

It was obvious a few hours later that sleep was not to be had so I prepared myself for the hospital. I packed a bag. (Yes, I am one of the ones that didn't have a bag ready.) Rich had given me an iPod a few months earlier and I had yet to fully learn how to use it. I tried reading the instructions. Any distractions were welcome.

Around 10:00 - 10:30, I realized that I couldn't really remember feeling the baby move aside from that kick at 6:30. I drank a big glass of orange juice and positioned myself in bed on my left side. The same thing had happened a few weeks earlier on a Sunday. I had been at my niece's first birthday party that afternoon and when I arrived home, I realized that I couldn't be sure of the baby's movements. There had been so much going on and I hadn't really been paying attention. Shortly after drinking some juice that day, I felt enough movement to calm myself down.

But on the morning of Saturday, June 3rd, the baby did not move after I drank a glass of juice and although my contractions were not strong enough to keep me from moving around, they were all over the place. Sometimes only minutes apart. I called in to Labor & Delivery and they told me to come on in with the caveat that they may send me home.

Rich and I had just had some major landscaping work done at the house and as we were preparing to leave, the landscaper showed up to pick up his final payment. It had been lightly raining on and off and I sat in the dark on the footstool in the front living room waiting for Rich. I was panicking a bit at that point as there was a empty feeling inside of me. I sobbed as I rubbed my belly willing the baby to move. To do something. "Please, little Caleb or Abbey. Please let Mommy know that you are okay. Please kick."

I knew that something was terribly wrong.

All hospitals have different policies and procedures. At Boston Hospital, you see their team of doctors. In other words, private practices do not use that hospital. If you arrive at the hospital unscheduled, you will be seen and treated by the attending doctor and residents on duty at the time. Not the OB you had been seeing all along.

We were ushered into a small examination room once we reached Labor & Delivery. I sat on the cot and pulled my shirt up over my belly as the nurse wrapped a heart monitor around me. She kept pressing buttons on the output screen. The only sound was the distant thud of my own heart.

"Where's the baby? I'm starting to freak out. I'm starting to really freak out!"

"Everything will be fine. I'll be right back."

An OB arrived shortly thereafter with a resident. And a portable ultrasound machine. She wasn't old or young. Middle age. With straw-like hair fashioned in a bob. Her mannerisms were a bit brusque. It seemed like she spent an eternity performing the ultrasound. She was talking in a low voice, pointing out different things on the screen to the resident.

She finally placed the wand back on the cart and said, "I'm sorry but the baby has passed away."

I felt like I was in a tunnel. Fuzzy. Rich immediately yelled out, "NO!" They both stared him. No one said anything.

I wanted to know what had happened. "How did this happen? How could this happen?" The OB explained that it had taken her a long time to do the ultrasound because she wanted to be 100% sure. She then asked me when my water broke.

"What do you mean? My water didn't break. I would know if my water broke."

"Well, there's hardly any fluid left."

My water had not broken because I remember them breaking it for me later. Much later. And I didn't feel any big gush.

We were eventually left alone in the room with no answers. I called my mom because my parents were on their way to the hospital. All I could say was that the baby had passed away. She was upset, crying, and wanted to know if the baby was a girl or a boy. I realized that she didn't understand what was happening but I couldn't explain. I couldn't find the words.

I started to tell myself that I was having a dream. It's just a bad dream. I kept closing my eyes and telling myself to wake up. But I was already awake. And this was a nightmare I couldn't escape.

I was finally assigned a room and shortly after, paperwork was signed and blood was drawn. I wanted to know what they were looking for. What could have caused my baby to die? Do you know what the doctor said to me? "Drugs." I told them to take all the blood they wanted and more because they sure as hell were not going to find any drugs in my system.

I need to end here. There will be more written later.

I often wonder if I would be a different parent today if this hadn't happened. Would I be so anxious and overprotective if I had never felt this pain, heartache and guilt?


Wiley said...

I lost my train of thought of reply when I read the word drugs. Seriously?!? That's what they hit you with? I can't fathom that.

Thanks for writing this. You having written about Abbey was one of the things that helped me process when I was told Aurelia had died in-utero.

Jennifer said...


Souza Sisters said...

(((HUGS))) to you and Rich...

Heather said...

so much love being sent your way - and heavenward to abbey.

claire said...

It was no fault of your own to give her more time and choose when she was ready. I'm sorry the unthinkable happened :( It's heart wrenching.

Blessed Rain said...

Writing it all out hopefully will help give you closure.

If you have any trolls who jump on and say something nasty delete them and move on.

You can always see what you could have done differently, I have quilt over my mothers death - that I didn't realize she was that sick.

No matter how many times I wish I had gotten her to the hospital earlier it does not and will not change the fact that I just didn't know.

Neither did you.
If you had known, if you had suspected - YOU WOULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING ELSE.

Forgiveness of self is the hardest thing to do.
May you find the peace you need.

hsw said...

So so very and deeply sorry.

Jollyjess6 said...

I lost my first son at 19 weeks. I find myself being an overbearing, over protective mom. I find myself rationalizing it because I know the pain of losing my child. Sometimes I hope I can mellow out with time although other times I want to hold my 2nd son and never let him go.

Merks said...

I'm so sorry. I, too, hope that writing this helps. I won't pretend to know exactly what you've gone through, but having lost a close family member I do understand how that wound never really heals.

You are a beautiful writer and I enjoy reading about your girls.

Anonymous said...

All I have are *HUGS* which isn't much. But this is heart wrenching and real and I can only imagine. Thank you for sharing...

Kristin V said...


Rikki said...

This is very moving and beautifully written. Thank you very much for sharing.

Hope's Mama said...

Sarah I've known of Abbey and her story for quite some time, but some of the details you have revealed in this post are new to me and have taken my breath away. I say that because, I didn't realise how very similar our stories were.
We were a similar gestation, labour started on a Friday and things also didn't feel right to me. I also didn't want to bother the hospital, thinking it was obviously nothing yet. We also felt some really strong kicks, before the dreaded stillness, that we put down to "the baby gearing up and moving in to position".
I also vividly remember that car ride, and thinking in my head "come on Lily or Leo (our chosen names at the time)... move". I knew in the pit of my stomach, something was horrifically wrong.
We also had an officious ob walk in with a portable u/s machine after the doppler revealed only silence, and she too asked me when my water had broken. I too didn't think it had. But I had absolutely none left.
Oh Sarah. I'm just so sorry. I'm so sorry to know that you lived through these horrors as well and that you still live through them today. We'll never be able to switch off to the nightmarish memories that remain.
Missing Abbey so much today.

Just Me said...

I had 2 healthy kids, healthy pregnancies and complicated births...I. AM. SO. SORRY. When I was very young I lost a baby, and it still upsets me. And I know that no other kids can fix that pain...

Meg said...

I am so sorry... {hugs}

Anonymous said...

My heart hurts for you Sarah.

~Jess said...

Hugs to both of you. How terrible for them to assume you had been doing drugs.

Cindy said...

My heart goes out to you and Rich. I hope that sharing your story helps you especially, but also other women in similar situations.

Pyjammy Pam said...

oh god. man. i hate that anyone has to go through this.


Blessed Rain said...

Thanks for being so brave as to write it out for the world to see

VladKellyAnyaB said...


Deanna said...

I have read here for awhile and seen the bits and pieces of Abbey's story that you have told over the past year or so...and it absolutely breaks my heart every time.

After all this time, I'm still so, so sorry for your loss.

Nika Corwin, Just Another tired Mommy said...

I am so very sorry for your heart hurts for you. You are an amazing writer and hopefully writing is cathartic for you.We can all say that you need to not blame yourself, but only you can control that--just know that it is NOT your fault. I'm glad I found you on Blessed Rain's blog and I am glad I found HER on Tired Mom and I look forward to reading more!