I Was Wrong!

Posted on March 04 2019

I Was Wrong!

I was wrong!  The words you actually never want to hear is that “we can’t find the baby’s heartbeat.  She has passed.” 

Monday started off normal.  I set out to get my bloodwork done according to the new plan of my doctor.  I came back home and took it easy as requested.  Around 4:30pm, I took my blood pressure to find it was elevated to 160/95.  I knew that was the threshold that I was supposed to go to the hospital.  I had gotten agitated with Brecken for hitting Brylee about an hour earlier and could feel my heart beating in my chest, so I purposely retreated from the situation and relaxed before taking my blood pressure.  After the first reading, I calmed myself further with some deep breaths, prayer and just sitting as still as possible before retaking it 25 minutes later.  It was 161/102………it had gone up.  I remember them saying, don’t question it just go. So we took off to Peoria about 10 minutes later.  I remember saying in the car to Brian through tears, if they have to deliver me, she won’t make it.  He said, don’t think like that.  We’ll get your blood pressure down and come home.

Forty-five minutes later, I walked into a packed ER with people laying on gurneys in the middle of the room and no place to sit.  The sign on the desk, said if you’re a pregnant patient be sure to let the check in staff know.  I told the gal, I’m 22 weeks pregnant with elevated blood pressure.  She flew into action and had me fill out this purple square the size of a monopoly card and by the time I was done there was wheelchair waiting for me. I was taken up to triage and immediately took my blood pressure. The first reading was 183/86.  I knew it was bad because the blood pressure cuff filled up twice……always a bad sign.  There was a Patrick Swasey movie on in the background.  “Did Brian turn this on?  Why is it so loud?  Why does he have his shirt off in every scene?”  Next blood pressure reading…..193/92.  “It’s going up!” Panic started to set in.  All the sudden I’m swarmed by 5 nurses getting vitals, getting an IV in, giving me oral blood pressure meds, and trying to find the baby’s heartbeat.  “I just felt her kick.  She’s fine,” I thought to myself. Next blood pressure reading……199/103.  I remember looking around the room like an out of body experience.  In a fog, I remember people saying, “do you have a headache? Any blurry vision? Are you seeing spots?”  Nope, I literally feel fine.  Staring at the ceiling tiles, I kept thinking, “ok what is going to take me?  Am I going to pass out?  Am I going to start seizing?  And why is that Patrick Swasey movie just blaring in my ear?!”

They pulled out the doplar to check the baby’s heartbeat. “Oh we got it! No wait, that’s your heartbeat.  Let’s try the sono machine.”  While I kept seeing my blood pressure rise, I saw the doctor moving the wand around on my stomach.  “I’m not sure what she’s looking at but I’m not seeing any blinking on the screen like a heartbeat.”  The doctor asked, “do we have her IV line in?”  “Almost”, the nurse replied back.  She went back to moving the wand around on my belly.  “Ok, it’s in!”  She turned to me, “I’m not seeing a heartbeat.  It looks like your baby has passed.”  Brian popped up and said, “what?!”  I looked back at her with a blank stare and just said, “ok.”  I watched him get emotional and start asking questions about how she knew she was gone.  She moved the wand around on my belly some more and showed him the heart and the brain, proving that there was no heartbeat or blood flow.  She looked back at me, rubbed my arm and said “I’m so sorry.”  Again, I just sat there with a blank stare……”ok.”  I think I was in a complete state of shock.  I couldn’t muster a response, a tear, nothing.  Next thing I heard, let’s move her to a room to prep for induction.

Running through my head, I was thinking, “wait!  Induction?! What?! This has to be some kind of mistake! Are we sure that we want to be hasty here?  Are we ready for that?!  God must be going to perform a miracle.  Check the screen again!  She can’t be gone! This can’t be it!”  But it was……… 

I was moved from triage to a delivery room and given the rundown of the next 12-48 hours.  Now I’m prepping my mind for birth when 45 minutes ago I thought I was just coming to get some more medicine, watch my blood pressure and head home.  Now I’m being asked if I want an epidural, being given burial arrangement options and going over the next steps for delivering a baby.  “Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Burial options? Are you for real right now?  I’m still digesting the fact that the information has to be wrong and that this can’t be in God’s plan.  Over 1000 people are praying for us!  How could this be?  How could God be taking her?  How is this the end?  I can’t believe I’m literally being faced with the exact scenario I mentioned in my blog that posted 2 hours before all of this happened.”

When they realized I hadn’t eaten dinner, they slowed down a bit and gave us some time to eat.  In those two hours, I was able to start processing the massive information overload that just hit me like a ton of bricks since we had arrived.  “Ok, so how long will this take,” I asked.  “Anywhere from 12-48 hours.”  “Will it be the same contractions like regular birth?”  “A lot of women say, it’s like heavy period cramps.”  “Do I need an epidural?”  “That is totally your choice, however they do help stabilize your blood pressure.” I said, “just promise me one thing, please keep me alive.  I have three babies at home I still need to be here for.”  “Don’t you worry, we are going to take good care of you,” the nurse said patting my arm. “You’re in the right place.”

While eating my last supper of a Jimmy John’s turkey tom, they began to explain what comes next.  “Were going to give you a bolis of magnesium sulfate.  Were going to be honest, it’s going to make you feel like you’re having a hot flash and then you’re going to feel really crappy, but it will keep you from having a seizure.”  I was thinking, “Oh goody!  Sign me up for that!”  They should really update their description of what it feels like because a hot flash was a mild way of saying you’re going to feel like you’re sitting in the pit of hell.  You’re going to have a heat rush over your body from the top of your head all the way down to the tips of your toes. As it comes down to your mouth, your throat is going to be so dry that no matter how much ice water you drink, you won’t be able to quench your thirst.  Your chest is going to feel like an elephant is sitting on it and your breath is going to be like a fire breathing dragon making your whole body even hotter. Your face is going to feel like the worst sun burn you’ve ever experienced, but your cheeks feel cool to the touch. You’re going to feel nauseas and do everything in your power not to toss up the Jimmy John’s you just ate, and for those excruciatingly long 10 minutes you’re going to wish you were dead.

After being fanned by Brian with a pillow for more than 10 minutes and dry heaving, the magnesium seemed to settle in.  Next up, was the Seditek.  It’s a vaginal insert every 4 hours to stimulate the cervix and induce labor.  Now we wait. They said, “get some rest, we’ll be in every hour to check on you.”  “Get some rest?  Check on me once an hour?  What if my blood pressure spikes while you’re out of the room?! What if Brian is sleeping and no one catches it?!”  I spent the next 4-5 hours keeping myself awake, even though I was so tired, because I was terrified that If I fell asleep I wouldn’t wake back up.  I would doze off for a couple minutes and wake up in a sheer panic looking around the room to see if I had blurry vision or seeing spots. I kept thinking, “I have to make it through this! I can’t die!  I have to be here for my kids!”  One of those times as I woke out of sleep, I hear so audibly in my ear, “I will breathe new life again.” “What does that mean?”  It can’t mean another baby, can it? Briar was to be our last.  Does that mean a new path for R&R, renewed love in our marriage, changes in our family dynamics? For now, it still remains unknown. 

 About 5am they mentioned if I wanted an epidural that it would be a good time to get that going because one of their best anesthesiologists was on the floor but he was off at 7am.  I went ahead with the epidural because I was desperate for anything that would help stabilize my blood pressure.  Around 6am, I started feeling a decent amount of pressure and they came in and prepped for delivery.  They asked Brian and I, “do you want us to put her on your chest after she’s out?  Do you want to cut the cord?”  We weren’t sure how we’d feel about seeing her after she was born so we opted to let them take her and clean her off before holding her.  The doctor said, “ok you can push.”  I was like, “should I hold my legs? Should I sit forward?” She said, “you can do whatever feels comfortable.”  This was nothing like my previous labors.  So informal, so less intense, so nonchalant.  It took one push and she was out.  I saw a glimpse of her while they took her away to weigh her and clean her up.  “She’s so little! I still can’t believe she’s gone!  I can’t believe it’s all over!”

They swaddled her and brought her over so we could hold her.  Her little tiny features were so pronounced.  “She looks like Brylee!” You could see her fingernails and toenails, the start of her little eyelashes and eyebrows, all of her veins so prominent, and that little pug nose.  She was precious.  She was perfect and she was gone.  In your grief, you keep hoping for a miracle that all of a sudden she will open her eyes and start breathing again but you know realistically that can’t happen.  3 days…….3 days is how close she was to viability.  3 days she could have been resuscitated.  3 days her chance of survival would have been higher, and now all that doesn’t matter because she’s gone and all those countdowns mean nothing.  They’re all just a distant memory.  May 23rd is no longer a significant due date, because January 22nd is now her birth date and date of death. 

I got to hold her for about 5 minutes before they gave me some medicine to help me deliver my placenta.  It immediately made me nauseas and I had to hand her to Brian.  I started throwing up everywhere and the rest is a blur.  For the next 8 hours I was in a fog.  It took everything in me to open my eyelids and answer a question.  Doctors and nurses were in and out of my room constantly.  I was losing a lot of blood.  They started prepping for a blood transfusion.  The placenta wasn’t delivering so they were thinking they would need to take me to the OR for a d&c.  The anesthesiologist came in and said he couldn’t give me any anesthesia because my blood pressure was already so low.  I had dropped to 70/40.  So they kept working on getting out the placenta piece by piece.  They brought in two doctors and a sono machine.  One pressed on my stomach while the other suctioned out the rest of my placenta while I lay there half conscious.  The blood bags sitting on the counter in a cooler ready for use.  They watched me closely for the next several hours to see if I needed a transfusion, while I came in and out of consciousness. Thankfully I didn’t.

 Around noon they said I was ready to be transferred down to the women’s care unit.  “Are you sure?!  I can’t open my eyes, I can barely move my legs.  Are you positive I’m ready for this move?”  The nurse said, “were going to have you scootch your bottom over from one bed to the other bed.”  “Um, how do you expect me to scootch when I’ve barely been conscious for 5 hours?!”  Somehow, I managed to get into that bed and was wheeled down the hall on an elevator and into a new room.  I still hardly have any recollection of it or the rest of that afternoon.  So many people were in and out of the room and I quit trying to struggle to keep my eyes open and just allowed myself to rest.  I let Brian talk to them and answer their questions because I couldn’t do it anymore.  When I would wake up briefly, I would look over to my left and there was Briar in the bassinet.  Something about having her there was so comforting even though I couldn’t hold her and knew it wasn’t really her that was there, but just a body, but it gave me peace being able to see her.

Around 6pm I started feeling less tired and was able to actually sit up and keep my eyes open.  The nurses from labor and delivery came back down and took more pictures of us with Briar since I hadn’t been feeling well enough to take them before I switched rooms.  I am forever grateful to Stacey and Becca for staying past their shift to make sure I got those photos.  I would have regretted not getting them, had I said not to worry about it. I have since gone back to those pictures countless times just to try to remind myself what she looked like, her scent, her touch, and what it felt like to hold her.  Those pictures will be forever cherished in my heart.

That night they came in at 11pm, 3pm, and 7am to check my blood pressure and give me meds.  Each time, I would have this thought, “oh you’re going to wake the baby” and then was quickly reminded that she wouldn’t be awoken.  You’re so used to attending to a crying baby in the middle of the night that it’s a very weird when you don’t.  I found myself up all night not being able to sleep.  So tired that I should be sleeping but my mind wouldn’t rest.  I couldn’t get comfortable in that bed and my brain wouldn’t shut off thinking about what happened and what could have been.  I had a good cry, listened to worship music to calm myself, texted my mom and Kait and dozed off for a couple hours.

The next morning we decided it was time to say our goodbyes to baby Briar and allow them to take her.  I held her on my lap and just cried.  I knew this was one of the last times I was going to see her and I was struggling with that.  I kissed my baby girl goodbye and watched them wheel her away leaving this huge void in the room where her bassinet had set.  Brian gave me a big hug and we cried and held each other.  I said were going to get through this, but I just kept thinking about how awful it was going to be to leave the hospital without a baby, and yet I wasn’t leaving the hospital any time soon. 

They kept me three more days to monitor my blood pressure to make sure I didn’t spike.  They finally shut off the magnesium and saline the next morning which was like an immediate change to the brain fog I was feeling.  They left the IV in just in case they needed it later, along with the blood transfusion IV.  Ever tried sleeping on your side with two IV’s in your arm? Yeah, me either.  It’s impossible to get comfortable with how sore your arm is with one at your wrist and one at your elbow.  I was still wobbly from the magnesium so I had to have help going to the restroom so I didn’t fall.  I looked in the mirror and the term death warmed over couldn’t have been anymore accurate for how I looked.  No wonder I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  My eyelids were so puffy that I could open my eyes only halfway.  My hair was in the rattiest top knot as if I had spent the night in a wind tunnel and I had pretty well no color to my face besides maybe a tint of yellow.  However, I stood looking in that mirror and couldn’t help but be thankful.  It wasn’t lost on me that I could have stroked or seized and I was very lucky to be here.  So give me the ratty hair and the puffy eyelids(hopefully they’ll go down, right?) and the yellow skin.  I’m still here to be a mom and wife and for that I was grateful.

We had several visitors the next couple days which helped the days go by a little faster.  They brought us lunch to minimize the number of actual hospital meals we had to eat which was kind.  After everyone left, we’d order dinner and try to decide what sounded the best from a less than appetizing list of options.  As the days went on, we discovered our favorites and found a taste for some cafeteria mashed potatoes and apple pie with ice cream, which at that point tasted like Haagen Daz.  We’d take showers, put pajamas on, and then decide which movie we wanted to watch.  Brian would scoot his recliner right up next to my hospital bed and we’d prop up one of our phones. It didn’t go unnoticed that this was the most time we had spent together in months.  Demanding jobs, busy schedules, and needy kids had left us losing site of one another.  We had become strangers in our own home and in those simple evenings of blan hospital food and movies, I felt comfort with him by my side and a sense of peace that we would make it through this and come out stronger on the other side. 

We spent a lot of time with the grief coordinator trying to figure out what we were going to do as far as burial.  Our options were cremation, community burial or private burial. She went over all of the options with us extensively and after talking with a funeral home locally, we felt that private burial is what we were most comfortable with.  Losing a baby is hard enough, but then being faced with buying burial plots and planning a funeral service is definitely not something that ever enters your mind when you get pregnant.  Do we buy them for all 6 of us? Do we get one just for Briar? Where do we want to bury her?  Where do we want to be buried? How much is all of this going to cost?  Are we going to have a service with friends and family or just us?  It’s all overwhelming and the furthest thing you feel like doing.

Friday finally came and I was discharged from the hospital.  We packed up a cart with all of our belongings, flowers, and a memory box and they wheeled me down to the parking garage.  Every person we passed I thought about why they were there and if they would be ok, or if they had experienced a death themselves.  Were they wondering the same about me?  Were they wondering why I wasn’t carrying a baby on my lap?  Brian pulled up with the car a couple minutes later and I carefully got in still feeling very unsure on my feet and light headed.  I looked in the backseat, the memory box now sitting where a carseat should have been, and I quickly turned back around, holding back tears, and tried not to think about the fact that were driving home without a baby.  It was one of the coldest days of the year and it felt like that car would never warm up.  We spent most of that cold ride home in silence while the memories of the last few days rushed over me.  It was still all so surreal and thinking about it all was starting to give me a massive headache. We walked through the door at home and our kids barreled us over in excitement.  Man had I missed those hugs and slobbery kisses from this little rag tag crew.  They had had so much fun with Bama and Papa and babysitters that they didn’t even ask where we were all week.  Thank God for that!  All the activities of the day wore me out, and I headed straight to bed to rest. 

That night Brecken came in to check on me. She said mommy are you still sick?  I said yes baby, but I’m resting to get better.  She said are you resting so baby Briar doesn’t die? My heart sank.  I had told her when I got put on bed rest that mommy needed to take it very easy and wouldn’t be able to do all the things I normally do because I needed to rest so baby Briar wouldn’t die. I debated what to say, but I knew I couldn’t lie to her.  I needed to tell her the truth of what happened.  I called Brian in and I explained to her that baby Briar did die.  She immediately started crying and said,  “but I don’t want her to die.”  I said, “I know baby, we didn’t want her to die either but she’s up in Heaven with Jesus now and she’s all healed.”  We rubbed her back and answered questions about Jesus and Heaven and trying to answer them all for a 4 year old brain to comprehend and understand.  The tears were short lived and she immediately said she wanted a baby brother now, but the conversation left me spiraling.

The next several weeks came and went.  That first week home took everything in me to do much more than shower and lay back down.  We met the funeral director and it was the first time I was out of bed in days.  I sat down thinking we were going over our options for a service.  Instead, she started right in with, “what picture do you want on the front of the memorial jacket? What poem would you like on the inside?  What would you like the obituary to say? Is this the casket you’d like to go with?  Who is going to be the officiant? Where are you having her buried? What kind of music do you want to play? Do you want any flowers at the service?” My head was swimming! With every question came more tears.  I didn’t have an answer for any of it.  I didn’t know we were here to plan the funeral.  I just thought we were here to find out our options.  With each mounting question, I found myself getting physically angry.  She stepped out of the room to make a phone call and I bit at Brian.  He was like, “what is wrong with you?”  I threw the sample memorial jackets across the desk and said, “I don’t give a rip about all of these things, I just want my baby back!!!”  I broke down and started bawling.  The reality of having a service and putting her in the ground hit me so hard right there in that quiet funeral office.  I wanted so badly to go back in time and have her still here.

Over the next few days, I worked through the details.  I picked out songs for the service, I chose a photo for the front of the memorial jacket, we wrote an obituary, we chose an officiant, we figured out burial plots, flowers for the service, and wrote a note to Briar.  It’s like planning a wedding in two days and hoping that you remembered everything that you wanted to do or think you’ll want to do so that you don’t look back later and have regrets.  The day of the funeral came.  I’ve never anticipated and dreaded a day all at once as much as I did that day. I couldn’t wait to see her again and yet also knowing that I would never see her again was a lot to take in.  On the way there, Brecken says, “wait! Is this the road to get to Heaven?” We laughed and told her that were going to the funeral home not Heaven. Once we arrived, the kids immediately ran to the casket and pulled up a chair to see her.  They LOVED her!  They wanted to touch her and hold her, hug her and kiss her.  It honestly lessened the sadness seeing how excited they were.  Brecken especially took a liking and just kept asking over and over to hold her. We spent several hours there and said our final goodbyes to our baby girl before leaving the funeral home.  I left with a peace and sadness.  A closure that this part is now over and yet a sadness to know we’d never see her again here on Earth and just grieving what could have been.

After that day life pretty much went back to normal.  I came off my blood pressure meds and started feeling a little better each day, Brian went back to work, I ran errands and did normal things, and then I went back to work about two weeks later.  People brought food, sent texts, mailed cards and asked how we were doing.  It’s a hard question to answer.  On the day to day you’re fine.  You go to work, you come home, take care of your kids and go to bed.  In the back of your mind however, your mind runs.  Everyday you think about her. Everyday.  Your pregnancy app reminds you that you would have been 28 weeks pregnant today, a friend posts a picture of their pregnant belly and you’re reminded you’re no longer going to have kids the same age, you send back the décor that you bought to redecorate rooms that no longer need redecorating, you don’t need that minivan you’ve been dreading having to purchase, and you forget almost daily that you’re not still pregnant.  So yes I’m fine, just don’t take a look inside my head. 

We got the results back from the pathology a week ago. We drove to Peoria to meet with the doctor to go over the reports.  We pulled into St. Francis and this flood of emotion came over me.  Driving past the ER, my heart started pounding just reliving those final moments.  Coming into the parking garage reminded me of that freezing cold day we drove home without a child, and walking down the hallway I was wheeled out of put me in a time warp like the movies where scenes just flash before you while you’re in slow motion.  I checked in at the desk and the receptionist asked me how many weeks along I was.  I said, “I’m no longer pregnant; I lost the baby a month ago.” A nurse took me back a couple minutes later.  She took me into a triage room and weighed me.  “Have you been monitoring your blood pressure twice a day?” I said, “not anymore.  I do it about once a week.” She looked a little confused.  “Are you still taking your meds?” I said, “they took my off my blood pressure meds two weeks ago.” Looking further confused, she said, “are you still taking your prenatal?” I finally looked at her and said, “I’m not pregnant anymore.  We lost her a month ago.  Were just here to see the doctor to go over her pathology reports.”  She apologized profusely and then acknowledged that it made more sense why my blood pressure was 148/92 because they were probably bringing up bad memories.  I said, “well this place doesn’t exactly bring up the best memories for me.” They placed me in the same conference room that a month before we sat talking about how we were going to proceed with keeping Briar in there as long as we could and how we were going to manage my pregnancy.  Oh the irony that I was now back here to talk about how she died.  They sent the placenta out for testing to see if they could determine her cause of death, and like I suspected, there was no explanation.  A “fluke” as a best guess.  It didn’t surprise me since the whole experience felt like such said “fluke.”  Truly though, what answer did I hope to hear?  There’s no answer they could give me that brings her back.  There’s no reason that makes the pain lessen or the grief go away.  She’s still gone and the “why” really doesn’t matter. So now what?  Where do I go from here?  Am I actually fine? I mean, what exactly do we consider fine to be? If I’m doing ok then people want to make sure you don’t stuff it and make sure you allow yourself time to grieve.  If you’re a bawling mess, people don’t really know what to do to help you either.  I’ve learned that being fine by society’s standard doesn’t exist. You’ll never be fine technically speaking; you just survive. But in the surviving, there’s a story; a testimony. What Satan intended for evil, God will use for good, and I will not allow Briar’s life be for naught.  I refuse to allow Satan to steal my joy.  Instead, I’m going to use her life to glorify God, because then Satan loses.  I’m still a wife, mother, and business owner, and I still have to be all of those things.  I will not let Satan take those from me because he wants me to be a puddle on the floor.  And what am I supposed to do?  Turn away from God and curse him saying you are no longer good because you didn’t give me what I wanted? No, he is STILL good!  Over my entire life I can look back and see his hands weaved in and through it. There’s not a time that he wasn’t there walking beside me or carrying me through. This one experience doesn’t make him not good.  It just makes me stronger and my faith that much deeper, because I have never felt the love of God so strongly from his people or from him more than I have during this time.  So while it sucks and hurts soooooo bad that come May I won’t be delivering a baby and instead buried one, I will continue to praise him for he IS good.

This song is one that has run through my head OVER and OVER and OVER in the last few weeks.  It’s just a reminder how far God goes to love me and he never stops fighting for my heart.

 

Reckless Love of God – Bethel Music

Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me

And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

There's no shadow You won't light up
Mountain You won't climb up
Coming after me
There's no wall You won't kick down
Lie You won't tear down
Coming after me
There's no shadow You won't light up
Mountain You won't climb up
Coming after me
There's no wall You won't kick down
Lie You won't tear down
Coming after me
There's no shadow You won't light up
Mountain You won't climb up
Coming after me
There's no wall You won't kick down
Lie You won't tear down
Coming after me
There's no shadow You won't light up
Mountain You won't climb up
Coming after me
There's no wall You won't kick down
Lie You won't tear down
Coming after me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn't earn it, I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

22 comments

  • Denise: March 04, 2019

    Blessings and prayers for each of you. Give your self grace and embrace this difficult journey knowing our Lord is with you❤️🙏🏻

  • Lisa: March 04, 2019

    Thank you for sharing with us all!!! My heartaches for you but you’re outlook is amazing. You’re such a strong, caring and inspiring person.

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