Drowning in Waves of Grief

Nearly 10 months ago a day came in my life that drastically changed me.  My youngest son died.

I was 39.5 weeks pregnant.  My spouse had flown in the night before so he would be there for the birth of our son.  We had been apart for most of my pregnancy due to the needs of the Navy and lack of housing for our paygrade where he had been suddenly transferred to after serving out only 14 months of what was supposed to be 3 year orders.

I remember so very vividly the hour drive up to the hotel near the airport where we would stay for the night.  As I drove up I looked out at the rolling fields with the golden wheat rippling in the wind like a sea of gold.  I felt this overwhelming sense of peace, a peace that had been lacking since my MS diagnosis 3 years earlier.  I had made it, we had made it, and we were in just a few short days going to meet our son.  The peace I felt was so tangible and thick.

I remember checking into our hotel and fixing my hair and makeup while I waited for his plane to land.  I rushed (waddled) into his arms as soon as I spotted him.  Together again, at last.  Being in his arms took any lingering worries away and even eased the pain I was in from 3 months of costochondritis (if you know what it is you know the pain I was in, if not look it up, most people think they are having a heart attack when they have this condition) and 3 plus weeks of prodromal labor.  We headed to our hotel and enjoyed each other’s company until he fell asleep and as did I eventually when the prodromal contractions slowed down for the night.

In the morning I woke needing to pee, again, 39+ weeks pregnant makes that happen frequently.  As I lay back down I felt a horrific sharp pain in my left hip.  It felt like my hip broke.  I woke up my husband as the pain was intense and I had been having more contractions since I had woke the last time.  After about 15 minutes I told him I think this is real, we need to go to the hospital.  The pain did not let up.  I was very naive and I thought it was just labor.  I have a high pain tolerance, that was not my friend on this fateful morning.  My husband packed up our room and pulled the car around.  As he was packing I felt our son push so hard where I could feel all of his back pushing out of my abdomen.  I told him, hang on baby boy, that hurts mommy, were going to the hospital now.  After packing the last of our stuff in our car my husband helped me get down the hall and stairs.  Each step was complete agony.

Once in the car I called the labor and delivery at our hospital.  I explained what was going on and that we were on our way.  They even asked if I thought we should stop at the hospital that was a little closer to us.  Looking back now I think they knew already something was wrong.  I said no and we would be there in 15 minutes.

My husband pulled up to the ER entrance where they had someone waiting for me.  I was rushed to the labor and delivery department.  My doctor came in.  They used the doppler first and could not find a heartbeat.  They then used ultrasound and saw his heart beating but only because mine was making his continue to beat.  They checked my pelvis for dilation which hurt so immensely, while they did I writhed on the bed in pain.  I remember my OB saying stay still, stay calm.  I was not dilated, my cervix was completely closed.  They rushed me to the ER.  They attempted to put an IV in my left hand, it didn’t work.  I told the nurse my left rarely works, use my right.  They put the mask over my face and put me under.

I woke several times I am told before the first time I woke up and remember being awake.  Each time I woke they said I asked about our baby boy.  What I remember from finally be truely awake and aware was asking “Is my baby boy okay?  Where is he? Is he okay?!!!”  I then remember the nurse telling me “I am so sorry, he didn’t survive.  Your uterus had ruptured, a complete rupture and he didn’t make it.  We tried for 43 minutes to revive him but he never came back.”  It’s amazing how your mind can remember an exact number like that after general anesthesia.  That number is forever seared into my brain.

The next thing I saw was my husband walk into the room with our son in his arms.  With tears streaming down his face, a look of horror and pain that in our nearly 18 years of marriage I had never seen.  He placed our baby in my arms.  I stared down at my absolutely perfect looking 8lb 6oz baby boy and held him as sobs tore through my body.

I cannot go any further with this right now.  This will have to be the starting point for this story.  There is so much more, before this day, after this day, and everyday that continues each day I wake.  Grief, I had never known grief or guilt like this until the moment my stillborn baby son was placed into my loving arms.

This is my journey, a way to alleviate some of the constant pain and lingering fear.  A way to hopefully eventually be able to give hope to others who face something similar.  To know that they can keep putting one foot in front of the other.  That eventually they will come to a place where the grief doesn’t swallow you whole every moment of every single day.