Monday, June 11, 2007

Ernest's birth story

This is an abridged edition of when our first child was born that was written about one year after his birth and death. Well, I tried to make it shorter and took out about 1/4 of the story, but I just can't go through it again. Even after nearly three years it is painful to recall.

Ernest was born in the late evening of October 20th, 2004

Perhaps for the entire pregnancy I had a feeling things weren't going to work out. I just couldn't get my mind around the idea that we were actually going to have a baby. I got angry when people would call me "mom" or buy us baby things because I was afraid they would jinx us. At one point I angrily told someone who had just called me mom, "Don't say that! You never know what might happen!"

The evidence of things going badly slowly started to accumulate. At my 19 week appointment, I still hadn’t felt the baby move. My midwife said it was probably because I was always so busy (I was working two jobs at this point) that I just didn’t notice. I tried to spend more time in the evenings just relaxing, or taking a bath. It didn’t seem to help. I also started to show more and more, and at an ever increasing rate.

At my 23rd week appointment, I still hadn’t felt the baby move. Cathy would listen for the heartbeat and would hear what she interpreted at movement. Even when she was pointing it out, I couldn’t feel it. (To be fair, several nurses at both hospitals claimed they hear and felt the baby move) I was also concerned about the amount of weight I was gaining. Even though I had been working on eating better and staying in shape, I was now about 155 lbs (gaining about 25 pounds of pregnancy weight) and measuring at 24 weeks, while I was measuring around 17 weeks at my 19 week appointment.

At the time, I was concerned about not feeling the baby move, but easily reassured. I was pretty busy and stressed out with 2 jobs. Cathy felt the baby move. We could hear a good, strong heartbeat. The baby must be ok, I am just not noticing. The weight gain was also tickling my conscience mind that something was terribly wrong. I was stunned that I was still gaining weight so rapidly. I knew I was eating much better and staying active. How could this be? “Oh, well”, I told myself; the baby must just be growing very fast.

Over the next couple of weeks, I tried to spend more time relaxing and feeling my body. I just couldn’t imagine I was going to be a mom. I couldn’t picture myself giving birth at home. I didn’t even feel pregnant, I just felt fat. I tried doing some of the things mom’s in my childbirth classes seemed to do spontaneously. I tried singing lullabies to the baby, but I didn’t feel like anyone was listening. I tried patting and rubbing my belly, like I had seen so many moms do. It just wouldn’t seem real to me no matter what I did.

One evening, I asked Brad to see if he could feel the baby move. Wasn’t this where we were supposed to be? - I was about 24 weeks along at this point. - Weren’t we supposed to be sharing in the awe of the first movements? I remember thinking in the back of my mind that I wasn’t excited like most women seemed to be at this point. It still didn’t seem real to me. I must be too busy or just a pessimist.

About this time I started to notice the baby in different positions. I would roll over in bed and feel the baby move from one side to the other. I would go for walks and, every single time, it would feel like the baby would move front to back where I would feel pressure on my lower back and abdomen. I tried to get excited about this. I think there were two or three times where I actually felt excited about being a mom. Somehow, these moments were always fleeting.

At 25 weeks, I started to have pains I associated with women in their late third trimester. I had shooting pains down my right leg. I had a lower backache and aches in my hips. I called Cathy because I thought something was wrong, but I couldn’t seem to explain it in a way that caused concern. Lots of pregnant women worry for no reason. When she tried to reassure me, I believed her.

On Wednesday, October 13th, I went to prenatal yoga and noticed how the exercises seemed to help the aches I was feeling. At work on Thursday and Friday, it was increasingly hard to sit still. On Friday night I got a pregnancy massage from Corey. It felt so good when he massaged my hip joints. Unfortunately, the pain would come back as soon as he stopped. Later, in bed, I asked Brad to feel my belly. I could tell it was too firm and too big. Was I having twins? Was the baby somehow deformed?

On Saturday, I went to work at the chocolate factory. I was pacing and leaning forward just like someone in labor. I was getting brown discharge. I called my midwife again. She asked if the pain was coming in waves. I told her it was not, that it was pretty much constant. She said there were no red flags for her. She suggested I go home and take a bath. I did, but it didn’t seem to help. I preferred to be in the shower with the water hitting my lower back. I kept thinking that I was acting just like I was in labor.

I asked Brad to call Cathy again. I knew she would see that I was in labor. When she heard how upset I was, she suggested that I go to the hospital and get an u/s done so that I would know if something was wrong. I cried in panic, “Does she think something is wrong?!” No, Brad said, she didn’t but it would at least give me peace of mind. I didn’t want to go to the hospital and put myself in their control.

I continued to spend most of that Saturday evening in a great deal of pain. I couldn’t sit still. I started to panic at the thought of three more months of this. Finally, exhausted, I lied down on the couch. When my back started to hurt more, I just stayed there. That was when I noticed that the pain was coming in waves. I sat through a couple of more contractions just to be sure. I told Brad that I thought I was in labor. He thought I was over reacting. Shortly after this, I went to bed. It might have been 10:00 pm. I don’t know why I didn’t go to the hospital at this point. In hindsight, I just didn’t want to admit to myself what I already knew at some level. I was in preterm labor. I was one of those women where things don’t go as hoped.

At about midnight, after sleeping fitfully for a bit, I went to the bathroom to discover red bloody discharge. I woke Brad up and told him and then called Cathy. She suggested I go to the hospital because I must be picking up something. If I was in labor, they could give me something to stop it.



We arrived after midnight. The note at the night entrance said that women in labor should go right up to maternity. Brad didn’t think we should because I wasn’t in labor. The guard finally told us to go on up.

Although we were offered a wheelchair, I refused. I wasn’t going to be a wimp about it. When we got to the maternity ward, they checked me in and checked my cervix. I was 90% effaced and 1 cm dilated. Brad was shocked. I was not.

The next 29 hours are not real clear in sequence. The following are the items that stand out.

I recall that my family was there for at least some hours of the night. Kari stayed the night in the hospital with Brad and I. She became a steady companion, supporting both Brad and I over the next several days.

Sometime early on, they gave me a shot of terbutaline to stop labor and started antibiotics. The terbutaline seemed to help. I was also given a steroid in case the baby was born very soon. This, I was told, would help the lungs develop. I did not want the steroids. I knew it was wasted effort. If the baby was born now, I knew he would die. If I was wrong, then I wouldn’t need them anyway. Of course, I didn’t know how to explain this. I said ok to the steroids.

I was told we could do an u/s of the baby the next morning to evaluate his health. I knew the only reason I was in preterm labor had everything to do with the baby. It never occurred to me that there might be something with my body that wasn’t working correctly. Still, I was hoping that I was wrong.

The next morning the u/s tech came in. While she was doing the u/s I asked if she saw much movement. She said no. Babies at this age were usually jumping all over the place. I told her I never felt much movement. In fact, I had never felt any movement. I was to ashamed to admit that. What kind of mother doesn’t feel her baby move?

Later the doctor came in to tell me there was no stomach to be seen on the u/s. This was because the baby had no water in its belly – meaning it couldn’t swallow amniotic fluid. This also caused the build up of fluid in the amniotic sac which caused the preterm labor. They diagnosed esophageal atrecia. I had Stacey look this up on the internet. It could be moderate or severe, but an operation can usually make everything ok. It was the first hopeful news we had heard.

Sunday evening they made arrangements to move me to Deaconess where the only perinatologist in Spokane worked. Dr. C. J. AKA The Birth Nazi.



I was transported to Deaconess very early Monday morning. Before I left Holy Family the doctor – very carefully – checked my cervix and decided I was 1.5 cm dilated.

At Deaconess, the doctor on call, aka “The Resident” said he wanted to check. I had been told my cervix would be very weak at this point, so I asked him why he didn’t just trust the Holy Family doctor. He said their interpretation could be different. He checked and then started reaching around more – not carefully like the previous doctor. I asked, “What are you doing now?” He quickly stopped checking and announced I was 1.5 cm dilated. This was my first hint about how poorly I would be treated.

Several hours later I met The Birth Nazi (TBN) for the first time. I told her I was very anxious to know what was going on because I didn’t want to stop labor and then deliver a baby weeks later who would live but be damaged to the extent that his or her life would be of very poor quality.

TBN didn’t like what I had to say. Perhaps it was because she didn’t know what I knew, somewhere in the back of my mind, that this baby would not live. Perhaps I seemed cold hearted. But I think that is being too kind. I suspect she didn’t like me telling her that I was in charge of my care and she was merely the consultant. Not of course, in such blunt terms, but rather in the questions and in the way I asked them.

The u/s tech came up a couple of hours later and confirmed the esophageal atresia, but also found the baby had club feet. There was too much fluid to check the heart and brain for other signs of defects. A later u/s was scheduled when they would drain some of the amniotic fluid. TBN assured me Brad could be there during this procedure. Brad took a much needed break from the hospital, but would be back in plenty of time for the procedure.

Not too much later, they told us the procedure would be sooner than expected. Brad hurried back. He got there just in time. Then we waited for almost an hour. Then they told Brad there wasn’t enough room for him. Right before they put me under – they didn’t tell me they were going to put me under and I didn’t, at this point, have the will to fight, I noticed there were student nurses in the room. No one was there to protect me. I was knocked out and surrounded by sharks.

When I woke up, TBN said she removed quite a bit of fluid, and thankfully, didn’t see anything else wrong with the baby that would lead them to suspect a trisomy defect. They sent samples of the amniotic fluid to the lab for a FISH test which should only take 3 days and a longer test to karyotype all the chromosomes that would take 2-3 weeks. The FISH test would only detect the 3 most common trisomy defects, which due to the u/s was expected to be normal.

TBN and the nurses kept telling me how everything would be ok. One nurse called my baby “the little pumpkin” I wanted to scream, “My baby isn’t a pumpkin, he is a jack-o-lantern”. What about the fact that I have never felt movement? The Birth Nazi said the baby could have been sleeping during the ultrasound (all three of them? the whole time?) She said that I didn’t feel the baby because of the extra fluid (never??)

But that is exactly what any person would want to hear and I started to believe it. Brad, such the optimist, had me believing too. Sure, our baby might not be perfect. Maybe he won’t walk correctly, maybe he will need to spend some time in intensive care, but we will do what we can to minimize the damage and maximize the joy. It will be ok.


I started to convince myself it would work out somehow. At this point, I said the one and only prayer I ever said. It is still the last time that I have prayed in any meaningful way. I said, “Dear God, please let everything be ok.” And then I laughed to myself. Of course it would be ok. Somehow, we would make it through this, however it turned out. And like always, God would have nothing to do with it. This is the moment I went from being an Agnostic to being an atheist. There may be more to the world that is dreamt of in my philosophy, but there is not a single, actively involved god.

Soon, they told me they wanted to start me on magnesium sulfate because I was still having contractions. I think it was The Resident who told me this. I cried, but I said ok. I was on it for 24 hours, I think. It is all kind of a blur. Brad said he needed some time alone – which I completely understood – and since I was going to be out of it, this was a good time. He may have spent the night at home that night. I don’t recall and I would have supported whatever his decision was.


I got through the magnesium late Tuesday morning and experienced one of the two relatively happy moments of the whole experience. My mother-in-law came to visit and even though it was October, she managed to find and bring me some fresh picked white raspberries. It had been such depressing, gray days and to have a little bit of summer brought to me – someone who lives for summer. I couldn’t believe it. It was such a happy thing amongst so much sadness. I cried with the pleasure of it!

Soon, however, it was time to talk to the geneticists. They told us the best case scenario is that the baby would never walk correctly, but could otherwise be mentally fine and could have a happy, independent life. They didn’t give us much reason to believe this, however. A baby with two seemingly unrelated birth defects was just not likely. There was probably an underlying cause for both that which would most likely manifest itself in other ways. They didn’t think the FISH test would give us any useful news, but they had hope the karyotyping would find something that might give us a more black and white picture.

This time, both Brad and I were devastated. The geneticists left. I continued to get antibiotics regularly and procardia every four hours. I think they added another drug, but I don’t recall what it was.


Although we didn’t know it at the time, it was now the beginning of the end. Brad and I spent the better part of the evening discussing what we should do. We both agreed that we didn’t want to save the baby at any cost, we just didn’t know how we would make a decision. What if we decided to let labor progress only to find that our baby wasn’t as bad off as they thought? We would be responsible for making him worse. What if we continued to fight labor only to have a baby in another 6-10 weeks (God! How would I survive weeks in this hell hole?!) who was viable but barely anything more? How would we make life and death decisions in the seconds after birth, either now or weeks from now? The responsibility was overwhelming.

I found I was arguing for letting this one go. I knew at some level it wasn’t looking good. It would be ok, we’ll get pregnant easier this time. We’ll start over. We’ll have a healthy baby. Then Brad voiced one of his biggest concerns if I turned out to be right. How do you hold your baby as he dies? Will he suffer? Will he cry?

I was dumbfounded. My god, he’s right. I hadn’t thought about that. What would it be like? How could we get through? And then it hit me: I still had to give birth. I was in a panic. How can I get through labor and delivery of a baby I knew was going to die? All the emotional and physical strength I envisioned needing to deliver a happy, healthy baby. How would I summon that strength when I knew it was for nothing? I was in a panic. I was in hysterics. I was sobbing uncontrollably. I was inconsolable.

At about 10:30, Brad called Cathy and woke her up. I told her that I just realized I would have to still give birth. That this bad situation wasn’t just going to go away. She said, simply, “Yes, you do.” Yes, I do. It would have to be done. I would find a way. There was no easy way out, but I was stronger than this.

Exhausted and terrified, Brad and I held each other on the couch in my room. As we grew weary enough to attempt sleep, I think around midnight; a nurse came in and told me she wanted to hook me up to the IV for another dose of antibiotics. Couldn’t she see that being held by my husband was more important than getting another worthless dose of antibiotics?! Once again, the hospital staff was treating the patient, not the person. I refused the antibiotics.

Eventually, Brad fell asleep. I still lay next to him overcome with grief and indecision. What could I do? Where could I go for help? I wanted to sob, but I didn’t want to wake Brad who needed sleep as badly as I did. Finally I quietly took my cell phone and went out into the hall thinking I would find someone to call. The mother-baby floor was deserted. I started to cry so I moved further down the hall so as not to disturb Brad. When my tears became sobs, I found a waiting room. It was also deserted. I sat down and sobbed and sobbed, staring at my cell phone thinking of someone I could call who could help. Should I call a member of my family? What could they tell me? They have no idea what this is like. Should I call Michele –a coworker in Raleigh, NC who lost her baby at 28 weeks. She would probably be getting up in an hour or two. I hardly knew her, how could I wake her up? I wanted to share the pain. I wanted someone to fix it. No one could. I was again having contractions. I wiped my tears and went back to my room.

Brad was still sleeping deeply. It was probably around 2:00 AM. I wondered if I should call the nurse and tell them about the contractions. I didn’t want them to put me on the magnesium sulfate again. I woke Brad up and told him. We talked about options. We agreed we would call the nurse, but would refuse any treatment so extreme.

We called the nurse and they monitored my contractions for an hour. She came back and told me that I wasn’t having contractions. I was – the back pain was exactly the same. I thanked her and stared at the clock. At about 5 AM The Resident came in and I told him that I have been having contractions since about 2:00 even if it didn’t show up on the monitor. I think he believed me. He asked if I had decided what to do yet. I said that I had not. He patted my arm and said I had plenty of time. It was perhaps the only nice thing anyone in the hospital had done.

I am not sure how it happened, perhaps I dozed a bit, but eventually the morning wore on. My midwife Cathy showed up and so did my good friend Stacey. I went to the bathroom and realized I was leaking a lot of fluid. Cathy said my water probably broke and when the nurse came in, we told her. She took my underwear and did a fern test. The results were positive. My water had broken. This was about 10:00 AM

We asked to speak to The Birth Nazi. We wanted to know what the next step would be. Somewhere along the way, Brad and I had come to understand that we would be delivering the baby soon. I continued to have contractions despite the drugs and no one offered another solution. In hindsight, this was a blessing. We did not have to decide whether or not to try to keep the baby for as many weeks as possible.

The Birth Nazi sent word that she couldn’t come and see us until she got the results of the FISH test. She said she had the verbal results, but was waiting for a fax. This was a lie because 1) we knew enough to fully expect the results of the FISH test to be negative and 2) my brother-in-law worked in the lab doing the test and the test was not yet completed. I have no idea what was going through her head. Why didn’t she at least come in and tell us her thoughts? Perhaps tell us what to expect, but she just ignored us.

Understanding that the doctor would not see us, we asked to see the hospital ethicist. We were hoping to find someone who could tell us what to expect – that is, control or lack of control we might have once the baby was born. Would we need to sign a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR)? I knew the baby was going to die and I think Brad was pretty convinced too so the worst thing that could happen was to keep our baby alive only to have him suffer longer than needed. Still, we knew we could be wrong and may decide to treat him, we just didn’t want some stranger making these decisions for us.

At noon, when we still had not heard from anybody, I had grown impatient. I knew the baby was coming and I was no longer willing to lie around trying to keep the contractions to a minimum. We decided to go for a walk to get things moving. I was out of clean clothes, so I put on a pair of Brad’s boxer shorts and wrapped my pink blanket around me. Cathy, Stacey and Brad pushed me out of the hospital in a wheel chair. It was so nice to get outside. I felt my spirits lifted just a little. Once we got across the street, I got up and walked around. We explored the garden across from my hospital window. Then we decided to walk to the Rocket Bakery. On the way, I started to have contractions that took my breath away, but they were still pretty irregular. When we got the Rocket, I waited outside and guarded the wheelchair. I must have been a sight – wrapped in a blanket with socks and Birkenstocks poking out the bottom standing next to a wheelchair.

We ate pastries and drank tea on the way back from the hospital and I continued to have contractions. We talked and laughed – I don’t remember about what. I think we just pretended it was an ordinary day. It was certainly the highlight of the whole, hellish experience. Brad took a picture of me, with Cathy on one side and Stacey on the other. I continued to have contractions. They weren’t too bad, just some times stopped me in my tracks while I breathed until they passed.

We got back to my room around 2:00 pm. We asked again for an ethicist, only to learn the hospital didn’t have one, but they would send in a social worker. The social worker suggested we speak to the neonatologist.

My family also came to visit during this time. I was shocked to learn that I had to convince them as well that the baby would not live. I guess I was expecting compassion and understanding. Instead, I either got an attitude or felt compelled to comfort them. I think most of them did their best, but it was still pretty awful.

The neonatologist was Dr. Pricilla Hancock and she was the only truly decent person we met the entire time in the hospital. At first, she came across like she was trying to convince us to save the baby. She started talking about the likelihood of an otherwise healthy 26 week old surviving. I asked her to talk about the chances of our baby surviving, especially after what the geneticists told us. She was surprised to hear that the geneticists suspected there was an underlying cause that manifested itself in these two ways. She was not given this information from The Birth Nazi. She was also told by The Birth Nazi that she could have kept me pregnant to 34 weeks. Really? You would think she would have shown herself when I started having contractions or when my water broke or sometime before that evening. What a nasty, wicked person.

After that realization, Dr. Hancock was very helpful. I am sure we talked for at least an hour. She said that it was possible that the neonatologist on call would override our wishes, but if we signed a DNR then even if things seemed better than expected, the neonatologist could not treat our baby. We would also only have a short window to make a decision because if they were going to treat our baby, the chances of survival went up the faster they put in an air tube and got to work. We asked many questions to make sure we understood correctly. Cathy asked if we could deliver in a regular birthing room and not in surgery. Dr. Hancock said everything she would need could be brought into the room.

During the entire conversation, I continued to have contractions. Many times I leaned over Stacey’s back while we breathed together. She was so much help. Every time I would start to panic she would say, “Breath” and she would start taking deep breaths with me. It really helped me stay focused on the conversation at hand. Many times, Dr. Hancock would start to leave or say she could come back later, but I wasn’t about to let her out of our sight. At some point toward the end of the conversation, I said with a great distress, “This baby is coming and we still haven’t decided what to do!” Cathy told me that I was probably only 3 cm dilated. I stared at her like she had just told me that the sky had turned green and aliens were landing. The really amazing thing is that I believed her anyway. That is how susceptible the mind is while in labor.

Shortly after, Dr. Hancock left and Brad and I conferred. I wanted to know what he thought first, because I knew he held onto more hope than I did. Fortunately, we were in agreement. We would see what to do when the baby was born. We were fairly confident it would be soon and Dr. Hancock would still be on call.

They sent “The worlds best labor and delivery nurse” (their description) to check on me. We soon discovered that a better description would be “It’s not about you, it’s about me L&D nurse”. We will just call her Wicked Witch.

She checked me and declared that all she could feel was the bag of water and I was ready to deliver. I was rushed upstairs with great fanfare. On the delivery floor, they tried to take me into surgery and stop Brad. Brad was yelling to be let in. I was yelling that since we weren’t trying to save the baby I didn’t need to be in surgery. Cathy said the magic words: Dr. Hancock said I could be in a regular delivery room. I was rushed across the hall.

At this point, I was becoming very uncomfortable lying in bed so I started to get up. Wicked Witch said, “I am NOT going to let you deliver this baby on the toilet.” I said that I just wanted to stand up. To which she replied, “I am NOT going to have this baby drop onto the floor.” I screamed, “We are not trying to save the fucking baby!” Wicked Witch asked if I knew what it would be like to hear my baby cry, what it would be like to hold him in my arms while he died. I said that I did not. I had never done this before. Cathy suggested I stay on the bed on my hands and knees. It worked for me. I faced the end of the bed where I could most easily hold Brad’s hands and look into his eyes.

The room was bustling with people. Dr. Hancock was there with her assistant. The Resident was there – apparently surprised that The Birth Nazi was not returning his calls and was not around. Wicked Witch was there and I think at least one or two other people.

I tried pushing with the contractions –even though I didn’t feel like pushing. Cathy coached me, but I was so scared about what would happen after the baby was born it was hard to push. In between contractions, Brad was picking names and telling me what he came up with. Between one set of contractions, he suggested Beatrice Ann if the baby was a girl. I liked it. Then he came up with Earnest Alason if it was a boy. I liked it and was touched that he would suggest naming our baby after Alason Bah, a good friend from The Gambia. I liked it. I told him that I loved him. He said he love me too.

Cathy then told me that if I would just really push, it would be over soon. I decided that this was good motivation and really pushed the next contraction. Water gushed everywhere. Then it all stopped. After about 5 minutes, The Resident checked me and I had gone back to about 5cm. The baby’s head wasn’t nearly as large or heavy as the bag. Everyone evaporated except Wicked Witch. She said that she had two m/c (she looked about 60) and her husband wasn’t allowed in the room and they took the babies away right after they were born and I was lucky to have my husband there. I guess she was trying to apologize for her earlier outburst. I wonder why she had to make her past my problem.

I was pretty tired and Stacey helped make a bit of a dry nest on the soaked bed. I lay down while Brad and Stacey talked about mundane things. It was nice to just focus on their voices.

Soon contractions started up again and eventually I was getting on my hands and knees to ease the pain. Stacey rang for the nurse twice before they came back. Then they were back in a horde again. I pushed for a few contractions when it felt like the baby was going to break through my back. I asked for suggestions and I think the The Resident might have suggestion lying on my side, but I only really heard it when Stacey said it. I laid down still looking at Brad and holding his hands. I wasn’t pushing very effectively. Not surprising since I was terrified of the decisions we were about to have to make.

I pushed it seemed at least 10 more times before our baby washed out completely limp. We had a boy. He immediately disappeared. I was vaguely aware of Dr. Hancock’s assistance saying that there was an esophagus. The doctor checked herself and confirmed it. She said she needed our attention. I think she may have had to say it twice to get my attention. She told us about the esophagus and we said to put in an air tube.

Then she held up Earnests hands and they were all curled up. She said something that I understood to mean that all they symptoms we saw were because he had no voluntary muscle control. She said that she needed to start CPR and wanted a decision from us. I don’t recall if we exchanged words or just looked at each other. I said to remove the air tube. Dr. Hancock said, “You did the right thing.” She then asked if anyone in the room had any objections and went through the diagnosis again, this time with more medical terms. No one objected. She removed the air tube. She held him up so we could see his entire body. Then she wrapped him in one of the blankets we brought and we held him.

Too short of a time later, I decided to get cleaned up a bit and let my family come in to see him. Brad took Earnest and The Resident pushed on my abdomen to deliver the placenta. As I was doing this, Brad was doing for both of us what I didn’t have the awareness to do. He held our son and told him about us. He told him about our pets and where we live. He told him our names and how we would have taken him for walks through Felts Field. He told Earnest about the pets we had lost and how they would be waiting for him in heaven.

My family came in and my mom blessed him. I held him some more and did what I thought I would wish I had done later when I would be able to feel emotion again. I kissed him on the head. I told him I was sorry. I remember thinking he wasn’t very pretty like that. His color was not right. Eventually, we gave him to Dr. Hancock who took him away.

That night, back in my room on the Mother and Baby floor, I did the only thing I was able to do as Earnest’s mother. I signed as next of kin to have his body released to the funeral home.

That night, Brad and I ate pizza that Hoan and Kristy brought us. We lay down in my hospital bed together and watched TV until we were numb enough to fall asleep. The next morning we checked out and started the long process of healing.

It has now been 2 years and 8 months since our son was born. His ashes sit on an end table surrounded by plants.


Lollipop Goldstein said...

Oh, Kami, what a horrible, sad, excruciating, heartbreaking experience. This line totally killed me when I thought about you in the hospital: How can I get through labor and delivery of a baby I knew was going to die? All the emotional and physical strength I envisioned needing to deliver a happy, healthy baby. How would I summon that strength when I knew it was for nothing?

Thinking about you, Kami.

SULLY said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this piece of you with us. Your strength is amazing.

Ruth said...

Oh my goodness. I'm so very sorry for everything you went through. There aren't any words. How devastating.

You're in my thoughts.

Furrow said...

Kami, that is an amazing, awful, terrifying story. I'm so sorry it happened to you. The image of Brad telling Ernest all about yourselves and of you kissing his head will stay with me for a long time.

That picture of you on the street is surreal. It's incredible how people can find ways to smile in the midst of tragedy.

Erin said...

Kami, I am so very sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine having gone through so much grief about your baby and then realizing that you still had to give birth to him. I am glad that you had your husband and an understanding doctor there with you when Earnest was finally born. My thoughts are with you.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

My heart is breaking...

Geohde said...

Oh, hon.

It makes me ache to read your story. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry that you didn't get a diagnosis so mich earlier when you *knew* things werren't right.

I was devestated when we found out about our baby, but at least we got the option of it all making sense and time to clearly decide what would be best.

Again, I am so sorry.

MrsSpock said...

Kami- Thank you for sharing your story. As a nurse, I try to remember each day to put myself in my patient's shoes and know that what I may say offhand can affect someone's experience profoundly. Your story inspires me to try and be an even better nurse...

Me said...

I crying at my desk at work from reading this. If whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger than you are a hulluva woman.

Anonymous said...

I have just stumbled across your blog and read some of it.
I am so very sorry for your loss and for the way you were treated. I am truly lost for words.

Huge hugs

Unknown said...

Kami, after you left a comment for me today, I came to your blog and read your story. I'm so so sad and you've been through so damn much. I hope this pregnancy you're currently in is much less eventful. Sweet little Ernest...thank you for sharing. You brought tears to my eyes.

Drowned Girl said...

only just read this, and i'm crying for you. so sad

Abc said...

You are one strong woman. Reading this has brought me to tears.

Kristine said...

Wow. This is something I can not even imagine going through. I am so glad that while reading this I knew that you did have a happy ending with your little girl.

It seems so wrong that anyone should have to go through such pain.

Phoebe said...

I cried when I read your story. What a horrible thing to have to go through. I'm so sorry you weren't treated with more compassion in the hospital, but it's true that not everyone knows how to have empathy in a hospital. You made the choice that no one ever wants to make. I'm glad you made it through.

Anonymous said...

I just want to thank you for posting your experience.

Sue said...

Came over here from Bridges. Thank you for sharing your story. You are a brave, amazing woman.

Anonymous said...

I am crying after reading this. How absolutely horrible. This is The Why that donor eggs are so wonderful for women with eggs that are not good quality and that is why I am going with DE at my age. When they did the CHR testing for my eggs, they had major skeletal problems as well as Downs. I think it isn't that you can't embrace your LB but that you have not gotten over the trauma of Ernest. That was heartbreaking. And who is this Witch? Why don't you name her so that other people can avoid her like the plague?! And, maybe, now, you should confront her and tell her what a Witch she was to you!

Wish Chip said...

I am so sorry you had to go through everything you and Brad went through. I'm so sorry to hear about your son's death...This is so heart wrenching. You were both so very strong during this entire experience and are so very lucky to have one another to lean on. I wish you the best of luck in the future. Take care.