Blood in my underwear is not what I anticipated when I excused myself from our executive meeting to go to the restroom. Having to pee for my hundredth time of the day from the extra pressure on my bladder is all I’d expected. It simply meant that the life knitted in my womb was growing. My prior pregnancy had terminated with a seven week miscarriage and I was nearing my fifth month this time around. I was assured that the risks of that happening again, significantly drop or go away even once you make it through your first trimester. So I knew that we were out of the water with that, but was baffled of my findings and wanted to get it checked out right away.
I threw on my Dreamgirls soundtrack that I, and my peanut too because it was active when I played it, enjoyed and drove to meet my husband at my doctor’s office. We arrived shortly thereafter and sat in the cool-colored, warm waiting room filled with baby-bumped mommies for my turn to be seen. I was called back by the nurse practitioner, whom I had just seen the previous week, into the much more confined and medicinal space of the exam room. “Alright, Stacey,” she said playfully, “you probably have a UTI, get up on the table.” I uncomfortably crunched around on the parchment-like, generic paper roll covering they use. The nerves had set in and I wasn’t much in the mood for the puffy, white clouds that adorned the sky blue ceiling above me, so I looked at my concern-faced husband sitting in the chair to my right.
There was no pain at all when she slid the cold metal speculum inside me. The violated experience that many women often feel presented itself, but no pain. Within seconds she quickly withdrew it and slid backwards on her stool away from the table. She stared at me, emotionless and on pause and finally mustered, “I have to go get Dr. Hirata.” She left in an instant and I froze in time while nurses, doctors and mommies shuffled up and down the hallway outside the door.
My doctor arrived right away alongside the nurse practitioner with a wheelchair in tow. I was being admitted into the hospital. Nervous and shaken, I looked from one face to the other while they pushed me to the other wing of the building and attempted to make sense of what was being explained to me in order to save my baby. Completely off my feet, in bed, upside down, stitching me closed, were the instructions given that played over and again in my mind, unintelligible and barely comprehensible.
After the seventh stick, the two hospital nurses were finally able to find a good vein to start the fluid drip. I watched in terror as they prepared the urinary catheter with hopes that they were more successful in this endeavor. I tried to clear my mind, but it was without success. I was just left to lie there in that bed; head down, feet up, with multiple lines and cords attached to me unable to do anything on my own, like a marionette anticipating its puppeteer. I prayed knowing that God is able.
That next morning I yawned with exhaustion as I laid beside my husband who had now joined me in the bed. All through the night nurses had checked my stats and the baby’s heartbeat, which was healthy and strong. My doctor peeped her head in the door with a good-to-see-you smile. She sat down on the bed with us, and rubbed my leg. “Well Stace,” as she had come to call me, “I’ve just returned from a meeting with the ethics board of the hospital, and I’m afraid we have to induce labor,” she said. I didn’t understand. She explained the process that included the insertion of a Pitocin tablet into my vagina, which would bring on labor pains so that my cervix would dilate and prepare for delivery. Delivery? What? It wasn’t time for that. My baby wasn’t ready. I didn’t even know the sex yet.
I was left once again to wait. I’d asked my husband to tell the nurses to stop checking my baby’s heartbeat when they came in to examine me. Each little thump, thump, thump ripped my own heart from my body. My baby was healthy. It just could not survive outside of its Mommy on its own yet and it was already on its way as it protruded from my uterus in its sac. Although I was in that awful Trendelenburg position for two days, I’d still found myself waiting for my labor and delivery room to get ready. I’d laid flat on my back, with my feet raised higher than my head, hoping that gravity would pull my baby safely inside once again. But it hadn’t worked.
I was heartbroken.
I had to go through labor, and deliver my healthy baby that we knew would not survive. Jeremie had made a final plea to Dr. Hirata, but she explained that my own life was at risk and because they knew the baby would not survive, they had to justify the induction via the ethics board.
“Have you thought about burial or cremation,” the delivery nurse asked. What!? My God, what was happening? As Jeremie held my hand, I begged him not to let them tell me the sex of the baby. I screamed out in pain as she held my leg in the air and yelled, “Push.” I didn’t know what to expect. “Jeremie, I don’t want to see. Don’t let them show me,” I’d pleaded just before she placed my son on my chest. He was alive. My God, he was alive! And he looked just like his Dad.
The delivery nurse shuffled back and forth looking for batteries for her camera and making bracelets; she even took my baby boy away from me for a moment so that she could get hand and foot prints. I was really frustrated with her insistence to capture these grief-stricken moments.
That physical and emotional pain of an early miscarriage for me was unbearable. Having to birth a baby that I knew would not survive, completely broke me. But it also bonded me and my husband forever! I was able to recognize that there are people in and around me that I can trust my life with completely. I’ve learned to depend on God and that there is hope. I’ve been so thankful for that delivery nurse’s wisdom though. I now have photos, a mini teddy bear, a bracelet, hat and gown that all belong to my only son, Caylan Jai Roberts, who died two hours after he was born. He was in his Mommy’s arms for just a moment, but he will be forever in my heart.