This is Carter's Birth Story:
I had an uneventful pregnancy. I had no morning sickness, and my biggest complaint was that I was tired in my first trimester. I never had any bleeding, and had no questions for my OB doctor. The appointments were uneventful, and as of 26 weeks everything sounded great.
My baby boy’s heartbeat was strong. My doctor just wanted to make sure he was growing well and she scheduled an ultrasound for that following week.
I guess this is the part where I should mention that I am 26 years old, have been happily married for 4 years, and have antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). APS is basically “sticky blood.” I take blood thinners, and in the case of pregnancy I take Lovenox. My OB sent me to Maternal Fetal Medicine to figure out what dose I should be on and they recommended 80 mg 2x/daily. I didn’t think to question this; I really should have.
Jump to the week following my OB appointment. It is Thursday, May 16th, 2013. It is 1:00 am and my husband is saying goodnight to me so he can go work on artwork in the basement (he’s an illustrator.) I keep feeling my belly stretch but I figure it’s my little guy being active. My husband swears that he can feel our son Carter moving around. I fall asleep but keep getting woken up by what I shrug off as Braxton hicks contractions. At 4:00 am I go to the basement and tell my husband that the contractions are getting more frequent and have become a little painful. He urges me to call the doctor but again, I figure its just false contractions. By 5:00 am I am a little worried and decide to call my doctor.
The on call doctor tells me to go to the labor and delivery wing at the hospital to rule out a bladder infection. I tell my husband and we get in the car and head to the hospital. We hit every red light on the way, and I am telling my husband to relax that we will get there when we get there. We get there at 5:20 am. We walk in and are taken back to triage to listen for my son Carter’s heartbeat. The tech runs the wand over my belly for a while and asks where does my doctor usually find his heartbeat. I point to the right side and she continues searching. She gets up and goes to get an ultrasound machine. At this point I start crying because I have a sickening feeling. I wonder to myself when the last time I felt him moving around. My husband swore he felt him at 1:00 am, but I think I last felt him at 8 pm the night before.
The tech and another person come in and use the wand on my belly. I see my sweet baby boy, but no heart beating on the monitor and he isn’t moving around like he always does. I am crying non-stop at this point and know that my baby is dead, my husband is holding my hand and crying. 6 more people come in and search for a heart beat. A doctor comes in and tells me that my baby has died. Because he was 27 weeks I have to deliver him. We call our families who come rushing to our sides so early in the morning.
This feels like a sick dream to me. How can I deliver my first child who isn’t even alive anymore? Can’t they just knock me out and take him so I don’t have to experience birth with a dead baby. All of these thoughts were running through my head. They tell me I can either go home for 12 hours while my lovenox wears off so I can get an epidural, or I can stay at the hospital for 12 hours. Either way they are not comfortable inducing labor while the lovenox is still in my system. I choose to go home. I take a shower, and numbly wander my house with my husband. We take turns crying back and forth. I just keep thinking why me, why can’t I have a healthy living son instead of a baby who has already died inside me? I have my husband take my first and only belly shot (I thought I just looked fat and didn’t want a belly photo before that.)
It is 7:30 pm same day. We arrive at the hospital. Thoughts of “I can’t do this” run through my head. My husband has his arms around me, and my dad is with me they usher me into the labor and delivery area of the hospital. We get to the elevator, and a woman who is in labor joins us. It feels like the longest elevator ride ever. I wonder why does this woman get a healthy baby and I am here to deliver my son who passed away. She heads down to the desk to check in and I find myself unable to move. I sit down on the bench and a nurse named Carrie comes down with paperwork and tells me I don’t need to come down there. I fill out the paperwork and blindly follow her to the labor and delivery suites. My mom, my husband’s parents, my dad, my stepdad, my stepsister, my best friend Katherine and my husband are all in the room with me.
Dr. D comes in and tells me it is time to induce labor with these odd little sticks that expand my cervix over several hours. I prop my legs up in the stirrups and these spotlights are pointed right at my lady bits. I have never felt so exposed in my life. Him and his assistant put in the sticks, which feels like a slightly painful pressure. It takes about 5 minutes but feels like an hour with my bits on display. He says this labor could take several hours or several days then says that I can have an epidural at about 6:30 am when he gets back in.
The next 6 hours or so go by in a blur and eventually it is just me, my mom and my husband in the delivery room. The nurse Carrie props me up with about 8 pillows, gives me a sedative and a nice shot of morphine. I fall asleep at about 11:30 pm on Thursday.
I wake up with blinding pain shooting through my body. It is about 3:20 am and I am yelling to my husband to get Carrie I think my water broke. She comes in and tells me to go to the bathroom. I some how get to the bathroom and I have the desire to push. I push and I hear plunk, plunk. I reach down and feel something dangling between my legs. I yell out Carrie! She has me waddle to the bed while my son’s legs are hanging out of me. I climb on the bed and she has me push twice. By 3:28 am my son is born without the doctor. Just me, my husband and the nurse Carrie. The doctor comes rushing in too little too late but in time to deliver the placenta and have my husband cut the umbilical cord. The tech with the doctor said “what do we do with it?” and the doctor responded “we give HIM to his mother.”
The next thing I know my perfect red baby is on my chest and I am crying again. He is beyond perfect to me. Except for the fact that he isn’t breathing, and not alive. In my heart I know he is gone, but I am desperately hoping for a miracle. The miracle never came….
Carter was 27 weeks, 13 inches, and 1.94 pounds. He was born at 3:28am on May 17th, 2013.
The next 6 hours were the best and worst of my life. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to meet and hold my son in my arms and kiss his face. We took hundreds of photos, got his footprints, and got casts of his feet. We got to spend six precious hours that I will never forget. I would give just about anything to have him alive and well. It is such a terrible tragedy to lose a child, and I would never wish it on my worst enemy.
Since his passing I find myself questioning myself, and the doctors. My OB told me that she would not increase my lovenox so I went to my primary doctor. I question if I should find a new OB one without a god complex.
We have planted a special hybrid apple tree and got a special urn for him. We are having a celebration of his life party on June 1st, 2013. He will always be our special little hawk baby. We will never forget him, and will love him until our dying day when we will join him wherever he is.
Love you sweet baby boy.