I’m not sure why I need to tell it. I think I need to tell it for me so that it’s out of my head — although I’m quite certain I will never be without it. Maybe I need to tell it for you, so you know what happened… so you don’t ask me to tell it again and again. And maybe I need to tell it for her — it’s her birth story — to prove that she was real… she existed.
Monday, January 23rd – Went to Hamilton to see the OB. Saw our beautiful baby moving around on the ultrasound. Told that we could be facing a miscarriage due to the amount of blood loss. Likely a placental abruption caused by the subchorionic hematoma, but it was uncertain. Also, my cervix was shortened. But a cerclage was absolutely contraindicated due to the bleeding. Little did I understand, this was my body preparing to give birth.
Tuesday, January 24th – Some bleeding in the morning and back pain coming at intervals. Phone the OB and told to go to hospital if I’m soaking a pad an hour. The pain subsides and I spend the day in bed.
Wednesday, January 25th – In the wee hours of the morning, I awaken to bleeding and pain at consistent intervals – every 4-5 minutes. These must be contractions. We go to Grand River Hospital. Another ultrasound shows that baby is still alive but her heart rate is quite high. There’s nothing they can do but send me home. If the bleeding continues, come back. He tells me that I will not pass the baby because it’s too big. I’ll need surgery if there is a miscarriage. The pain has stopped. I spend the day in bed again. That night, we go to bed. The contractions are back but somehow I manage to sleep for awhile.
Thursday, January 26th – around 6am, I awake to pain and bleeding. The bleeding is so bad and it won’t stop. I sit on the toilet and the blood and clots pour out of me. The pain is horrible. I’m weak and I scare my amazing husband because I can barely stand on my own and put pants on. We race to Grand River Hospital again. The contractions are every 1-2 minutes. We arrive at the hospital and are seen immediately. My blood pressure is low and they rush me into emergency. There are machines and things hooked up to me but I barely notice. The pain continues. I continue to contract and bleed and pass clots on the hospital bed. The physician comes in with an ultrasound machine. It doesn’t matter. I know our baby is gone. He tells me “you’ve passed the baby”. I think he means at home, in the toilet. He doesn’t. He means that I’ve passed her right there in the hospital on the bed. I didn’t realize it at the time, just thinking it was another clot. But now I remember. There was a release… I just didn’t know it was the birth of our beautiful, perfect baby. He asks us if we want to see the baby. I do. C doesn’t. We both look at our perfect, tiny little angel. It’s the saddest, most beautiful moment. Our child. I tell her I love her and that I’m so incredibly sorry. They do some clean up of me, of the baby. And then we get to hold her. Wrapped in a pure white blanket is our tiny angel. So perfect. I don’t know how long we were with her. I wish with all my heart that I could have those moments back. I wish to hold her again. C picks up the tiny blanket and holds her in his two hands. My heart is broken because he is the most amazing father. He is thankful that I wanted to see the baby and hold the baby. At some point, it’s time to let go. How long are you supposed to be with her? We take her picture so we’ll never forget her perfect little face. They take her away and do footprints and handprints and molds of her hands and feet. We don’t know for sure that she’s a girl. She’s too tiny to tell. But every ounce of my being feels that she’s our daughter. We’ll get to know when the pathology reports come back. This is not how this is supposed to be.
The rest is just medical. I couldn’t pass the rest of the placenta for some reason. So I lied there in discomfort for hours. They do an ultrasound and see that there are “products of conception” left to pass. I wait and wait and wait for the OB on call to come down and give further instruction. It’s a busy day in labour and delivery — and the moms giving birth to live babies take priority — as they should. We speak with the social worker. She is great but it’s all too much to take in. They give us a box and and a quilt and it’s awesome but it’s not our baby. My blood pressure continues to fluctuate between low and normal. I attempt to get up because it seems like I have to pee. The colour drains from my face and I scare my amazing husband again. I’m weak, light-headed and nauseous. I lay back down and I’m not allowed to pee for now. While I wait and wait, I rest off and on. They keep testing me and taking blood. My hemoglobin is low. The OB finally comes in and tells me that he wants me to have a D&C because I’m not a good candidate for the medication that forces more contractions — I’ve lost too much blood. I don’t care. I just want it to be over. Usually, they send you home after a D&C but they will have me stay because of the hemoglobin. I wait some more for the operating room to call me up. I’m scared because I’ve never had any type of surgery. It goes well. It’s painless because they knock me out. I take 3 deep breaths into the mask and wake up 1.5 hours later in a different room — crying. I just want to be with my husband again. I’m grateful for the sips of ginger ale and the kind nurse who keeps calling me ‘dolly’. I’m reunited with my husband who looks relieved. We’re moved to a surgical discharge room for the night. It’s nearly midnight and my roommates are snoring. There is a crazy woman in the hallway talking to the walls. I send my husband away to get some food for himself — it’s been hours since he’s eaten. And I cry. This is how the story ends. Just like that, it’s over. And I cry and cry.
Friday, January 27th — My hemoglobin is still low but I got up and walked to the bathroom to pee without passing out so I get bonus points. They will release me after breakfast. I ravenously eat the best breakfast ever. It’s been 36 hours since I ate. We leave the hospital. While I wait for C to get the car, I sit helplessly in the wheelchair crying. I watch another woman leave the hospital with her baby in a carseat… the way the story is supposed to end. Reality sets in. We are going home without our child.