Friday, May 31, 2013

Birth of Carter Story

I just submitted this to:
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.

Remembering you at 2 weeks after

Carter, you have been gone now for 2 weeks. This week would have been my 30th week of having you inside me. Instead i am left with an emptiness that feels like a black hole sucking everything into it. People are still supportive, and thanking me for being so open about your existence. I can't imagine how much worse this would feel if i had to pretend that you didn't exist for 1 day shy of 28 weeks. If given the chance to start over i would have pushed for the doctors to have increased my lovenox and maybe just maybe there would not have been clots in the placenta.... Reading your autopsy report and reading that there was lung distress, which ultimately meant that you suffocated inside me makes me nauseous. The idea that my body was working against you makes me hate myself a little more. I want to try again, and i hope that you will watch over the new life that will be growing inside me. It seems to be a glimmer of hope that helps your dad and i pull out of these dark places. The idea that the toys we got for you will be played with, the clothing worn, and the furniture used. I so very much wish that it was you using it, and i hope your sibling one day will feel you there with them.

Tomorrow June 1st we are having a celebration of life party for you. To celebrate the life you unfortunately did not get to live. To show how much you are loved, and always will be loved. Your grandma Lisa definitely loves you. I know that others love you too, but she is the only one who shows it like your dad and i do.

We got you a really special urn Carter. It looks more amazing in person, just like you. Your dad and i wrote you special messages and placed it in your urn. The turtle signifies your journey, one which i hope ends one day with us reuniting with you, my sweet son.

I love you my sweet adorable son, i hope you never doubt that.
-Love Momma Amber

This is a good description of what it feels like to have a stillbirth.


These past 10 days since we said goodbye to our sweet Carter have been really hard. Tomorrow we go to the funeral home to pick up his ashes. We planted a hybrid apple tree that grows three apples. He is special to us and felt that he deserved a special tree to honor him. The only person besides my husband who has been supportive is my mom. Carter's urn is coming on Thursday and we are having a celebration of his life party on Saturday.

My husband and i had sex for the first time since we lost our little guy. It was passionate and nice.

A job well done

I received such wonderful care at the hospital that i wanted to let labor and delivery know about my nurses and doctors. Here is the note i sent:

I was admitted to the labor and delivery suite after several ultrasounds confirmed that my 27 week old son had no heartbeat. My whole world was crashing around me and two individuals made a horrific situation bearable. Nicole and Carrie were two nurses that made me feel respected, cared for and went above and beyond what is expected of a nurse. They checked in on me even when i didn't need anything. They were a shoulder to cry on. Nicole took such great care when taking my son Carter from my arms, she wrapped him up tenderly and took him for his autopsy. If he could see her, he would know how much a complete stranger cared for him. Carrie held my hand when they were inducing me and continued to compassionately care. Both nurses were amazing and you are lucky to have them both. I hope someday that i am successful in a pregnancy and that i can have these two wonderful ladies on my service. Dr. Deenadalyu was a great doctor who explained everything and made me feel respected in a powerless situation. He explained things so well and didn't dumb anything down. I felt that he respected Carter, and when a tech said "what do we do with it?" after carter was born, doctor deenadalyu said "we give HIM to his mother." I know that in the upcoming days things will still be hard from the loss of my son but these 3 individuals made me feel like he was being cared for as if he were alive. Thank you.

Patient relations wrote me back and said: 
Dear Mrs. R
I would like to offer my most sincere condolences to you and your family for your loss. It was very kind of you to take the time to let us know of your experience and I assure you that I will forward your email to the manager for the Labor and Delivery unit so that she is aware of the care that you received. If there is anything further that I can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I hope that they are at least patted on the back for their great nursing.

goodbye my love

On Thursday at 1am i started having what i thought were braxton hicks contractions. By 4 am they were increasing and were a little painful. At 5 i called the on call doctor who told me to go to the hospital immediately. At 5:30 they found no heartbeat and confirmed with multiple ultrasounds. I take lovenox so they told me i would have to come back around 7:30 pm same day and they would induce me for labor. My husband and i went back at 7:30 and they put in this device to dilate me. They said it could take days for me to deliver. At 3:20 am on friday i started having terrible contractions and told my husband to get the nurse. By 3:28 am i had given birth to my sweet beautiful son Carter, just me, my husband, the nurse and my baby. I was 27 weeks and he was perfect in every way. He had my nose, and my husbands feet. Its only been a few days since we lost him, and every day i can't believe that he is no longer with me.

I have Antiphospholipid Antibodies. 

Researching APS, lovenox, and pregnancy is helping take my mind off Carter for a few minutes.....