Sunday, December 28, 2008


I woke at about 7am Friday, December 28, having soaked a pad with very light/tan amniotic fluid and having mild cramps I knew were contractions. I called my dad, and he and C and I went over to the local hospital to see what was happening. Part of me was hoping for labor, the other dreading it.

I was admitted and they assigned a nurse to me, Sara, who took care of me for the time I was there. Because of the risk of clots I got those vibrating leg stockings and was told to call Sara whenever I felt a contraction. She came and would sit with her hand on my belly to feel the intensity and to time whatever it was I was feeling.

Though it was determined that I indeed was not in labor, I spent most of the day there, asking questions of Dr. Coldfish (my OB was still on vacation) and Sara, and we got one more ultrasound. I had always looked forward to ultrasounds, but it was so mixed, so horrible now. Jacob still looked fine. I think there was a little less fluid, but not significantly. With only days between, it was hard to see progress from one scan to the next.

I asked Dr. Coldfish about what would happen if I went into labor, or if I was induced. What the risks were to me to wait, what he saw our chances are of eve making it to 24-weeks. He answered my questions, but in a moment of sensitivity, told me that with something like, probably, I would always only be about 51% sure we did the right thing. No matter what we chose. Wisest thing he ever said to me.

Mid morning, my sister and BIL arrived and we all sort of hung out, sometimes with Sara, sometimes without. Sometimes just C and me, talking trying to figure this out. Sometimes just C and me and Sara.

My younger brother provided plenty of fodder for conversation. Since my father was generally the one responsible for taking care of my grandmother, P had to take over that responsibility. Grandma had not been told anything, so she wouldn't worry or stress, what with being 90-years old and having diabetes and a heart condition and depression. Dad told her he had a cold, so he didn't want to come over and get her sick. P was annoyed that he was home taking care of Grandma, far away from the excitement. He never said this directly, but it was clear from his conversations with the rest of my family.

P and I were always close as kids. I'm the middle child, A is oldest, P is youngest, and we fit our roles pretty well. Considering Grandma's state, he had a pretty important job, but he didn't see it that way. Throughout the day, he texted and talked with various members of the family. I don't remember talking to him directly. Since getting engaged... well, at least since my mother died, P has felt like a marginalized member of the family. Less important, less supported. Since we don't see each other all the time (like his in-laws), his major complaint with our family is that we don't support each other.

Once it was determined that my body was not going to do anything today, and that very little had changed, Sara essentially monitored my very mild contractions that came about every 5 to 15 minutes. I asked, finally, to talk to the grief counselor, J to get some information. C and I were leaning heavily toward inducing labor, and I wanted to find out as much as I could.

J was not only the grief counselor, but an OB nurse who had experienced a 20-week loss almost 30 years ago. She was very kind, very gentle, and talked not just to me, but to my whole family, addressing them in their roles relating to the boys. Aunt A, Uncle BIL. Grandpa. She asked him if he had any other grandchildren, and I could hear him stumble, as he said, "No, others." I asked a lot of questions, about labor and the delivery and after the delivery. She answered them with sadness and gentleness.

She answered my father's questions, and my sister's and C's. She held my hand, and hugged me. She gave everyone some information sheets about what to expect with grief, both mine & C's, as well as their own. J is a big woman, and she has a big loving heart. Everyone got a hug when I left for the day, even BIL. I was glad for the opportunity to talk to her. She gave us her phone number, both home and work, and said to call anytime. She said we were good parents to the boys. Good, loving parents, no matter what we decided. Still makes me cry to think about it.

As we were getting ready to go, Sara came in. "I just wanted to say," she began, "you two have an amazing relationship, and that it's really been an honor to get to know you and your family today, and I'm so sorry for the reason." When we came back to induce labor, she told us that she requested that she take care of us through the delivery.

While the doctors and bureaucracy mostly sucked, the nurses (J, Sara, Renee, Robin, Brandi to name a few at this hospital) were awesome. They were kind, and human and humane, and helped make some of the most unbearable days a little more bearable.

I think I went home and went to bed, or maybe everyone came over and we got pizza. Over the weekend, C and I spent a lot of time talking. I talked with A, and my father and B and JK and J. I talked about names with my dad. In Judaism, you name a child to honor someone who has passed, so with this pregnancy, it was expected we would honor my mother. I told my father that I didn't want to do that, that I wanted her name to live. I've only seen my father cry a handful of times. That was one of them.

Over the weekend, A cleaned and cooked, and went to the store with C to get groceries, and there was time spent at motels and time spent at the apartment. My dad told my brother that it looked like we would probably induce labor, if it didn't happen over the weekend. They made arrangements for my uncle (my mother's brother) to fly in from Sante Fe to look after my grandmother, while my brother came here. She knew something was up, but in traditional family style didn't ask too many questions. Didn't want to know too much, not yet. So P was here Saturday night, and spent Sunday cleaning out the grossness of my car, and there was lots of waiting around to see what would happen.

Nothing happened. I leaked on and off. I had mild contractions. Not much else. If nothing happened by Monday, we would make our decision.

Monday, New Year's Eve, my family went to the movies so C & I could have some time alone. C, continuing his role as "director of communication" made the announcement when they got back.

We had decided to go with act.ive manage.ment; we were going to induce labor and deliver the boys.

Coming next: My OB comes back, local hospital screws up, end up at UH for delivery with doctors and nurses I don't know.

You might have noticed that C's family was not here for all the drama. They offered, but he decided against having them come. They could be more help later, when we were trying to recover. And they were.


Mrs. Spit said...

Still here, still reading. Thankful for kind and compassionate women who take care of us in our darkest hours.

I'm sorry Sue, so sorry.

k@lakly said...

The nurses...mine too, made it more bearable. So very true. Two of three of mine had had stillborns. They knew and that mattered, more than anything.

And she was right, you are incredible parents.


Julia said...

I only had two nurses-- they changed around twice, the same ones. They were incredible, and so incredibly important to us. I looked for them again this year, but never got to see them. A wonder, really, with all the times I was in there with the Cub.

And I am so sorry, again, that you had to make that decision. Any decision. This is mindblowingly hard, and ginormously unfair.

luna said...

sounds like at least in those moments, you had some very compassionate care. still, it's like reliving the worst nightmare ever, and wishing you could just wake up already...

I got coked up reading about your dad cry about the names, too.

Tash said...

My nurses were truly the unsung heroes of the nightmare. They are all just so lovely and strong. And I'm just blown away that she was able to address your family like that -- I wish we had that opportunity. I wish someone had mandated it.

Sometimes what these people call "choices" just really suck.

CLC said...

My nurses were awesome too. They made the horrificness of it all a little more bearable.

And you are good parents. J was right.

Anonymous said...

I am here from L&F and my heart breaks for you as I read your story. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering you have been through, but I admire you for sharing your story and for honoring your children in doing so. You are absolutely amazing parents -- that nurse was so very wise for pointing that out. My thoughts are with you as you relive the events of one year ago.

Barbara said...

Hi, I just found you through "The Maybe Baby (Babies)".

I lost my son in October at almost 21 weeks and I wanted to say that I'm so so sorry for the loss of your boys.

loribeth said...

Such awful decisions that nobody should ever be called upon to make. ((((hugs)))

Betty M said...

I have just read all your most recent posts one go. I am just so sorry and wanted only to say I am thinking of you now and for the next year.

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