Monday, April 9, 2007

What happened, part I

Sunday, I believe it was March 25th, I woke up about 8 am. I noticed that the baby wasn't moving. I wonder how I noticed, because pregnancy is such a weird condition. As my doctor said, "you've got a constant companion." I think one just gets used to it, and can sometimes go without thinking about it much at all, until that particularly energetic flip or kick brings one back to the ever expanding waistline reality. And babies do sleep sometimes, or are quiet. So I'm not sure how I came exactly to think, "the baby's not moving." I rolled over to see if that would do the trick. Nope. Then I got up to get something to eat. That always generates lots of activity. Probably the combination of rising blood sugar and the noise--which I always imagined would sound something like the ocean, but is probably not that poetic. Nothing. I woke Kenan and told him. He suggested that the baby was indeed sleeping. And believe it or not, we both went back to sleep. To this day, I can't figure that one out. But that's the way it was.
I got up later to begin the day. I don't remember what I did or in what order. I do remember that I mentioned the baby again to Kenan, and he suggested calling the consulting nurse. I was a little irritated, and told him, "first you said he's just sleeping, and now you're pushing me." I think now maybe I had an inkling, and I was afraid to make the call. Kenan and Conan went outside to play ball, football I think, and I took a shower, because I was going to meet my friend Allison at 1pm for coffee and shopping. About 10:30 I finally did call. The nurse asked if I lied on my left side, and if I ate. I told her I had done both, and she said, "well, I'm out of tricks then." She told me that I should definitely come in, but she didn't know if I should go to urgent care or labor and delivery. While she checked with the physician on call, I started to get really worried. Obviously I had been concerned, but when she mentioned labor and delivery, I got scared. And that was the verdict. I went outside and told Kenan we were to go to Family Beginnings. "Now?" "Yes, now." So we loaded up Conan and some art supplies, and got in the car. Believe it or not, I was thinking that we could get looked at, checked on, etc. and I would still have time to meet Allison. This was in the car, at 11 am. I wracked my brain to remember when I had last felt the baby move. During the night? Not sure. The evening before? Nothing coming to mind. I did remember sitting down to rest in Sam's Club because I felt uncomfortable, like he was bunched up in the right side of my rib cage. But wiggles and kicks? Not even then. I could not, for the life of me, remember when I last felt the baby move.
We get to labor and delivery and I go in. Kenan goes to park. The consulting nurse told me that she would notify them that I was coming in, so I gave my name and said that they were expecting me. The nurse, Tara, took me into a room which I later discovered to be the triage room. She had me get into a bed, hitch up my shirt, and she put the Doppler on my stomach. Nothing. I knew immediately. I've heard the heartbeats enough to know what it sounds like, and it was simply not there. I began to cry. Tara did what she was supposed to do, moved the Doppler systematically over each quadrant, but at 3o weeks it should have sounded like a helicopter from just about anywhere. Tara said that we would have to do an ultrasound just to be sure. She held my hand. Kenan came in, and I told him there was no heartbeat. He began to cry. I saw Conan looking afraid, so I asked Kenan to take him out of the room. Tara went to set up the ultrasound and get the OB doc. Now I was alone. And I knew that hoping beyond hope was useless. I knew my baby was dead. Now oddly enough, the sound I made as I lied there by myself and cried was not really crying noise. It was a low, primal moan of some sort. It came from somwhere around the brain stem I think. I heard some activity in the room--was there a laboring woman in there listening to me groan? What was she thinking? How horrible to be in triage with a woman who just found out her baby is dead.


Colin said...

My friend, I'm so sorry. I wish better times for you from this day forward.

Steph Bachman said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you, Kenan and Conan too. I am so sorry.