Friday, August 10, 2012

Delivery Day - part 1

I know I'm going to have to break this into a couple posts.  There's definitely the good, the bad, and the ugly to be shared.  I thought about starting with the ugly so I could work backward and end on a good note.  But I guess I woke up feeling more generous than that.

I worked hard to get everything done before induction.  A lady in the ward works for an ob/gyn office and helped me set up an appointment to see a doctor who agreed to do the delivery the next day.  A friend who lost her baby a year ago said that someone made phone calls for her that were helpful, so she took on that task for me - calling mortuaries and cemeteries to help us find out costs for caskets, the burial, the plot, etc.  Her estimates helped out a lot, and she found out that there is only one nearby cemetery with an infant section.  I like the idea of my baby being with others of the same age.  Turns out, my baby is just a few plots away from a friend's baby.  I hate it, but it's comforting for me.  We picked out the smallest casket available.  We arranged childcare for induction day.  I packed bags with jammies and extra clothes for "just in case."  I got my hospital bag packed.  I got everything I could done before going to the hospital on Tuesday.  It made me feel like I could mentally be there and aware of what was going on.

We arrived at the hospital on Tuesday at noon.  We checked in at the front desk, then into our room.  It was a huge room.  Ben still needed to go pay for the cemetery plot so once I'd had my first dose of Cytotec, he went to do that (cash or check, no cards) and my friend, Denise, came to be with me.  She stayed until everything was calm and we were just waiting for hospital procedure for me to be released.  She was such a comfort to me.  And she was such an advocate for me.  She helped me so very much.  I'm so glad Denise cleared her schedule, even missed a Scout Court of Honor where one of her boys became a Star, just to help me and help Ben as we managed the hospital, our emotions, our grief, our fears, and so much more.  Thank you, Denise.

It wasn't until about 1:25pm that I had the first dose of Cytotec (which, by the way, is NOT approved by the FDA for the induction of labor... just FYI).  Not much happened for a while.  The second dose was at 5:20.  By 6pm, bleeding had started.  I figured it wouldn't be much longer, considering how things progressed with Taylor.  Something I hadn't accounted for was that, with Taylor I was walking around the house while this time, I was in a hospital bed with a monitor on which made me feel strapped down and like I had to ask permission just to use the bathroom.  That slows progression of any labor.  I felt contractions in my lower abdomen and my upper thighs just before the second dose.  They continued to increase after the second dose.  I got a third dose around 9:15.

Finally, around 10:30pm, I had decided that I just HAD to go to the bathroom.  I got up, got in there, sat down, and the tiniest push caused a bulge to appear.  I put my hand below it, just in case it tried to drop into the water.  Nurses and Denise helped me back to the bed.  Three nurses worked to have me push just a little bit at a time.  I still needed to use the bathroom, so I was afraid to push very hard.  My baby was still in the caul, still entirely inside the amniotic sac.  Once they broke away the sac, they put him on a basic hospital baby blanket/towel and gave him to me so very carefully, at 10:45pm.  I had someone, I think Ben, call the Heidi (our NILMDTS photographer).  All I could do is stare and memorize.

He had toenails.  Yes, HE!  Turns out the ultrasound tech was wrong, as it is very difficult to see gender on a 16 week baby via ultrasound.  We needed a new name.  Isabelle obviously would not be working out after all.  I let Ben take him for a while, and I looked up my name list.  I read them off, Ben said a few stuck out, so I read them one more time.  I already approved of all the names on the list, so when Ben chose Seth from my list, I was pleased.  We weren't sure if we'd give him a middle name.  Taylor didn't have one, which is why I hadn't chosen to give him one when we anticipated him being Isabelle.  But Seth just seemed to need another name.  It wouldn't come until Heidi was packing up to leave.  Someone suggested Michael, but Micah was on my list so we chose that instead.  I've always loved the name Micah!

Heidi was there from about 11:30pm-12:20am.  I am so grateful there are people like her, willing to come out at a moments notice in the middle of the night to photograph such sad pictures for a family to have to remember their lost child.  Seth stayed near Ben while Heidi did most of the pictures, and nurses were still working on me, trying to coax the placenta out.  They were kind to keep a sheet pulled to keep me modest, understanding how important the pictures were/are to me, yet also knowing they had work to do.  When the nurses weren't working on me, we were able to get a few shots of me with Seth, and then Seth with both me and Ben.

I memorized my boy as long as I could.  I hadn't eaten solid food all day and had very little juice, so I didn't have much energy and it was such a long day.  I was so tired.  I laid Seth in his blanket on my chest and wept.  Usually, I lay my babies on my arm and curl up in bed with them, cuddling them all night long.  Seth was too little for my arm.  I held very still, cradled him, continued to weep, and thought of all the things I was going to miss with him.  I closed my eyes to recall memories of him, to see what other parts of him I needed to study and memorize.  His ears were tiny little flat buds, still low on his head, but very apparent.  His lips were slightly puckered.  His nose was tiny and button-like, Denise said he would have had my nose.  His fingers weren't able to spread, but each finger was there.  His toes were tiny, all 10 accounted for, each would separate, and each finger and toe had either a nail or a nail-bed.  His eyes were open and dark.  His legs were perfect - tiny muscular thighs, solid bones in his knees and ankles, absolutely perfectly formed.  You could feel his ribs, and his shoulders were slightly askew.  He was fragile, very fragile, but he is mine and I love him.

I noticed that his skin was darkening, so being afraid they wouldn't be able to get footprints if I didn't hurry, I let the nurses taken him for a few minutes.  They brought him back to me and then I had to think of saying goodbye forever.  I cradled him on my chest a while longer, and kissed his little hatted head.  It felt so wrong to let someone take my baby.  He was supposed to stay with me for years and years until he left the house but still came to visit often.  It made me have an even deeper appreciation for those who have allowed their child to be adopted.  Allowing someone else to take your baby, perhaps never to see them again... for me, there was no option to keep him.  It hurt me so much to tell them it was time to let him leave my room for good.  But it had to happen.  He was already gone.

It's amazing how much you can love and miss someone who never took a breath.  But I do.  So very, very much.  I guess I really don't have to explain.  I am his mother.  He is my son.  Whether he is in my home or not, he is still in my heart and in my mind constantly.  I may smile, I may laugh, but that doesn't mean I'm not still thinking of how empty my arms are.  I've been talking to him, joyfully making plans for how our family dynamic will change, and dreaming of him since finding out I was pregnant.  He's been with me for nearly 20 weeks.  Now, instead of carrying him in my belly or in my arms, I will be carrying him always in my heart.   Seth Micah Harvey, I love you.


Mel said...

Oh Ginger, what a heartbreaking, beautiful post. I am so glad you got to hold him, and so grateful to know that little Seth will always be yours.

The Cochran Fam said...

What a special post. I am amazed at your strength. Wow.

Kim said...

You told Seth's story beautifully. I love his name and your pictures are gorgeous. Thinking of you dear friend.