Listening to 'Mad World'... this song always gets me.
On this day, one year ago, I walked into our local hospital and proceeded straight up to the maternity ward as I had already spoken with the nurses at my doctors office, he was out of town. I had spoken with the charge nurse on duty as well... they were expecting me.
I buzzed at the locked door..."May I help you?" asked the electronic voice... " I am here to have my babies heart beat checked" ... "Yes, come right in."
Inside I was greeted by a face I will never forget, Shylah. Miss Shylah is the head of the grieving department for our local hospital, who just so happened to be on duty that fateful day, August 10, 2010. I did not learn this information about her until after the fact.
She took me into a room and began asking all sorts of questions about my son, kick counts, when the last I had felt him move, and family medical history. She then asked me to change into a hospital gown and hooked me up to a fetal monitor. After several minutes of only detecting my heart beat she proceeded to try to find the babies heart beat using a dopler. After nearly 10 minutes of being unsuccessful, she called in another nurse to try as well... reassuring me that the baby was probably just lying behind the placenta. At one point, she was nearly positive that she had felt the baby kick against the dopler probe, but I told her I hadn't felt anything.
The second nurse had no luck either, so they called for an ultrasound tech. At this point I had already been in the hospital, alone, for nearly an hour. Derek had just started a new job and I did not want to worry him if it was unnecessary. A few minutes later, a very familiar face walked through the door pushing a mobile ultrasound machine. She is the daughter of a family friend... the same girl who had just weeks before confirmed for a second time that we were having a boy, and performed all of the ultrasound scans that we received with Liliana. She looks at me worried..."What's going on miss Bethany?"... deep breath..."I haven't felt him move in far too long, and now the nurses can not find a heart beat". She takes a deep breath..." I am going to take some photos. You will not be able to see the monitor screen, and I will NOT be able to tell you anything." Gasp. "Will you at least tell me if he is moving?!" "No, sweetie, I am sorry, I can not tell you anything, you have to wait for the doctor."
I stare up at the ceiling, fighting back the tears, as I listen to the woosh sound of each photo she takes. It did not take her long. She was silent, and would not look at me. When she finished, she gathered up all of her things and headed towards the door. "Have a good day" I said to her as she left. She did not respond. Did not even look back. If she had, I would have seen the tears in her eyes. The door closed and I was left ALONE once again. At this point, I began texting my mom, trying to make small talk to pass the time while I waited. and waited. and waited.
At 4:20 (ish), nearly 2 hours after arriving at the hospital, the door opened and Shylah walked in. She sat down on the bed beside me and put her arm around my shoulder. " Did your friend say anything to you?" she asked. " NO! She said she was not allowed to discuss anything with me." She took a deep breath and said "I'm sorry Bethany, but your baby has died."
The words echoed in my head over and over again as tears streamed down my face. She asked if I had anyone I could call to come and be with me, and said she would give me a few minutes to myself. I collapsed in the bed, curled up in a fetal position and the river gates opened. I have never cried so hard in my entire life. Ever. After a few minutes, I dialed my moms phone...she answered "Hello?" She had just started relaxing on the back patio with a nice glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. "Mommmmm.... I neeeeeed you." I could hear the panic in her voice. "OK. Where are you? What happened?!" Between sobbs I managed... "hospital. the baby is dead."
My parents walked through the door 10 minutes later. They live 15- 20 minutes away. The loving embrace I received from them both, is another moment I will never forget.
I could not gather the courage to call Derek and tell him over the phone that his son had died. I just couldn't do it. My parents both offered, and I decided that I would rather someone go to him and tell him in person. I called his best friend, who was also a co-worker who had the day off. I pleaded to him to travel the 40 minutes to their place of business to tell him with a loving hug. He said he would take care of it. 40 mintues later, Derek walked through the door, head down. He took one look at me and tears started flowing through out the room. His friend had not respected my wishes and instead, called him and told him over the phone. (I still have not forgiven him for that, but that is another story for another day.) The doctor FINALLY arrived.
He reaffirmed that our son had died and proceeded to tell us about our 'options'. He stated that we could wait until my body decided to reject the fetus and go into labor on its own, which could take weeks, or we could choose to induce labor. Yes, he was that harsh and matter of fact about it. When my mom spoke up and asked "Why can't you just do surgery?! You mean to tell me that after all that she has already been through, she still has to give birth?!" He explained that, yes, it was better that way. A c-section would be unnecessary and more of a risk than needed. He left us to make a decision. Which I quickly decided that I needed to be with my daughter. I wanted to go home. We would return the next morning to start inductions.
***The words have flown through my tears this evening. *** To be continued....