Jennie

Mom to Eleora Lynn Exposito

September 30th, 2010

Canton, Ohio

I think the easiest way to tell my story is to just start from the beginning. My son, Mazio , had just turned one in June of 2010. My husband, Ben , and I had been anxiously awaiting the one year mark to start trying to conceive again. Since I had a csection with my son at 29 weeks due to preeclampsia we were told to wait one full year before trying. I was so excited and anxious to be pregnant again. I was also a bit scared as well since the chance of another preeclamptic pregnancy was now higher. We had only tried for a month when I by chance had a gut feeling to take a test. To my excitement and surprise it was positive right away. I was so thrilled that I couldn’t wait for Ben to get home from work to tell him so I took a picture of the test with my phone and sent it to him with the text “ Guess what?” He was excited and came home smiling.

My first appointment was pretty normal. I guessed I was about 4-5 weeks along. They had me do a urine sample to confirm the pregnancy and then I met with a nurse practitioner to go over our plans for how we would manage this pregnancy with my preeclampsia risk. At the end of the appointment I was feeling nervous but happy at the thought of having another baby. I was just hoping and praying that things would go well and preeclampsia would stay far away. While I waited out the next few weeks until my next appointment I felt kind of uneasy about this pregnancy. Call it a mother’s intuition but I had bad feeling that I was going to lose this baby somehow. I remember I kept thinking I would never get to hold this baby. I was extremely anxious about this feeling and would cry about it at all hours of the day. Ben thought it was just hormones and told me that everything would be okay and not to worry so much. I hated this feeling I had and just wished I could be happy and enjoy being pregnant. I didn’t want to worry. One thing that added to my fear of impending loss was that I had started to have brown spotting. In fact I had it pretty much from the beginning of finding out that I was pregnant. I had some brown spotting when I was pregnant with my son so I at first just shrugged it off as old blood. Then it started to be a little more than spotting and actually looked clotty, like small brown clots. I got concerned and called my doctor and she reiterated my initial thought of old blood and not to worry but to call back if it got worse or turned red. It hadn’t so I let it go.

At my next appointment I was very anxious about having a pelvic exam. I knew that this brown clotty spotting was becoming more excessive to the point where I had to wear a pad. I was embarrassed to have the practitioner see how bad the spotting now was. Looking back now I think I was also scared of what she might say when she saw it and what it could mean. To my surprise she didn’t think much of it. There was so much of this brown clotty stuff that she had to clean me out with several large q tips. She joked while she was doing it that it looked like coffee grounds in there. I was super embarrassed by this point that I think I just shyly chuckled. How could everything be fine after she saw that mess? How could she joke about it if the baby wasn’t okay and this wasn’t normal? I told myself that every pregnancy is different and maybe this was just what this pregnancy was going to be like.

In the weeks I waited again until my last appointment my fears just seem to grow. Like ugly weeds it crowded out any joy or happiness. Instead of just being content with the thought of another baby growing inside me all I could do was worry and cry. I would do the typical wipe and check every time I went pee. Meanwhile I still had all the typical pregnancy symptoms that come with the first trimester. I had nausea, I felt exhausted, hungry, had round ligament cramps, and my breasts were sore. My body was my main source of comfort. If I was feeling all the symptoms then it must mean my baby is growing and okay, right?  

Then one day I went pee and did my typical wipe and check and didn’t notice the brown clotty stuff this time. Instead it was a pink smear. I immediately began to panic when I noticed a red clot in the toilet. This clot was bigger than the little clots I had been experiencing in the brown stuff.  I could feel my whole body get hot and fear raged through my body. I called Ben into the bedroom and fell to the floor crying and thinking that this was it. This was the end. I called the doctor and she suggested we go to the hospital and get checked out. It took forever but after 2 ultrasounds and blood work the doctor came back saying that the baby was fine and they didn’t know where the blood came from. My liver enzymes were slightly elevated but he didn’t seem to concerned about that. He said that the baby was measuring 2-3 weeks smaller and the heart rate was 118. I know that news that the baby was okay should have calmed my nerves but all I kept focusing on was how small the baby was measuring and how low the heart rate was. Ben kept trying to reassure me that everything was fine and maybe we just miscalculated how far along I was but I couldn’t believe that I was that off.

Within a few days after the ER trip I got to see my doctor. She tried to reassure me that everything was fine. She had already looked over the ultrasound and blood work from the ER. She even did a quick ultrasound in the office so that I could see the baby was fine for myself. Sure enough I got to see the baby and it looked great. I even got to see its heart beating. It was too early to hear it but I was still happy to see everything was looking good. I could have stared at that screen all day. What a relief it was to see my baby and know it was okay. I started to feel better about things after that. I was still really nervous and the fear of losing the baby was still there but I felt more hopeful. My next appointment was in 4 weeks. I would be 12 weeks then and I would get to start seeing my high risk doctor for the preeclampsia probability. I was longing to get out of the 1st trimester and really be able to relax a bit. Reaching that miscarriage drop was going to be the kicker I told myself. Once I reached that point I felt like that was the big hurdle for my fear to really subside. I kept having dreams that this baby was girl and I really thought it was. With my son I knew he was a boy long before we found out.  Ben and I just felt in our hearts that she was girl and we even picked out a name, Eleora. Eleora means light of God and we fell in love with the meaning as that’s what she felt like to us, a sweet blessing from God.

The day of my next and final appointment I was feeling happy because it was my first belly check appointment. No exams or blood work just a measuring of my belly and getting to hear the bay’s heart beat for the very first time. I was excited for that part, then I would know everything was okay. I brought my son with me and on the drive over to the office I had another bad feeling that this day wouldn’t end happy. I quickly brushed the feeling aside and really wanted to try and enjoy this appointment. I went back into the exam room to see the doctor. It was different doctor then the one I had been seeing but she seemed nice. She had me lay down and measured my belly and it looked good for 12 weeks. Then she got the Doppler out and she glided it several times across my stomach. I was anticipating hearing her heartbeat until I could see the doctor was having trouble. I started to panic and felt my heart beginning to race as the time kept ticking away as she was unsuccessfully finding the baby’s heart beat. She said that maybe the baby was hiding in an odd position and sent me to get an ultrasound to check. I was really getting nervous and I could feel my heart pounding in my throat as I waited for the tech to come get me. She was very friendly and her gentle disposition calmed my nerves a little. She did an abdominal ultrasound and as she was doing it I had a terrible feeling something wasn’t right. I don’t think I even looked at the screen right away. She told me to go try and pee and then we’d try the internal ultrasound to see if that would help her see the baby better. Once I came back as soon as she started I could see for myself that there was something very wrong. The baby looked the same size as she had when my doctor let me see her on the ultrasound 4 weeks prior. I wanted the tech so badly to give me reassurance that my baby was fine.

 That’s when the dreaded news came. The tech looked at me and said “I’m sorry but this isn’t a viable pregnancy”. She said there was no heart beat and that the baby had died right after my last visit. My heart sank and crumbled all at once. I broke down into tears. I think that was the hardest I’ve ever cried. Just as soon as God blessed us with her He took her away. The tech hugged me and told me how sorry she was. She really was sweet to me. She even had another nurse watch my son during the ultrasound so fortunately he wasn’t in there to see me break down. She gave me some time to get dressed and be alone as she called the doctor I had seen before to tell her the news. I called one of my dear friends first and we just cried together on the phone. I didn’t want to call Ben. I didn’t want to tell him this news. I was hoping to tell him something happier, something about the healthy baby girl we were going to have but I couldn’t. After talking with my friend and with her encouragement I called my husband. I could tell he was shocked. I don’t recall everything he said but I remember he was getting off work early. I had the car so I had to get him. After I got off the phone with him I got my son and held him so tight and told him how much I loved him. I didn’t want to let him go. I felt so utterly alone in my pain that day. Mazio had no idea what was going on just that mommy was sad. He was too young to know anything really. For doctors and staff this is probably a common occurance for them that they are able to just shut themselves off. For me that was impossible and even unthinkable.

I had to go back to see the doctor again before I could leave to get Ben. She talked with me about what I needed to do now. She said that my body wasn’t going to naturally miscarry the baby since it had already been a month so she suggested a d&c. We scheduled it for the next day in the early morning. I couldn’t believe that my fears ended up being correct or were they? Did I stress myself out over this dumb fear and make it a reality? I don’t believe that way. My faith tells me to know better than to seriously think like that but I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I felt my mind rushing in every direction. While some women may have felt comfort to be able to still have their baby inside I felt otherwise. It made me feel like a tomb, cold, damp and life-less. I was suppose to be able to carry my baby and protect her until it was time for her to be in my arms. I felt like I failed her, like my body failed both of us. I wanted her out of me. I hate to admit this now because I wish I could have changed my thoughts and feelings then on this but I wanted things to be okay. I couldn’t stand the thought of carrying her limp body inside me. I’m so ashamed of that the most. I went to get Ben from work and I just cried and cried the whole way over. I didn’t think I’d make it there as all the tears made it hard to see. I finally got there and drove around forever it seemed to find a parking spot until I gave up and just stopped the car in the middle of the lot. As I waited the magnitude of the news really started to sink in. I laid my head on my arms over the steering wheel and broke down crying wondering how things could have changed so fast. How is it that in a single moment my world changed forever? Out of nowhere, it seemed,  Ben appeared. He opened my door and we stood there just holding each other and sobbing. That moment meant so much to me. It was so tender and I was finally in my husband’s arms and finally felt I wasn’t alone. We shared that pain together and I know that’s a moment we’ll never forget.

It was so hard going to the hospital the next morning.  As I got undressed and into my gown  in my room and laid down on the hospital bed I kept thinking how sad it was that I would be here at this hospital bringing home a baby but am now going to leave with empty arms and a broken heart.  Ben and I sobbed silently as nurses and surgery staff came in and out of the room to prep me and have me sign consent forms.  They were all very gentle with me and for that I am so thankful. I really needed that. The one nurse assured me that it would be a quick 15 minute procedure and that I wouldn’t be awake for it. I was glad it wouldn’t be very long and I wouldn’t be conscious. I was ready for this part to be over but yet I knew that my only physical connection to my baby girl was about to be severed forever.  I would no longer have her within me anymore. As they put the anesthesia mask on me I remember sobbing perfusely and wishing this wasn’t happening  and that my baby wasn’t really gone.

The next thing I remember was waking up in the recovery room. I was so tired and I felt really cold but I felt a blanket on me. I also felt really sore and in a lot of pain. Ben was there right next to me staring down. I know he said something but I can’t remember what it was.  I couldn’t talk much but I remember trying to tell him I was in pain but all I could get out was “pain..pain..pain”.  He had a nurse come over and give me some pain meds. She took my temperature because I said I was cold and here I had a high fever so they started me on antibiotics. My white blood cell count was up indicating an infection somewhere as well. Then before I could really feel fully awake my doctor rushed over to me looking quite frantic and scared. In a frazzled voice she spat out to me that I had in fact been in surgery for 3 hours instead of a quick 15 minutes. Here when they were performing the d&c I began to hemorrhage immensely and my heart rate went way down. They couldn’t figure out why I was bleeding or get it to stop. The emergency team was called in to assist my doctor. The doctor came out to tell my husband what was going on and about the bleeding. He was really worried and shocked. My in laws and parents were there as well. The doctor came back out again after several unsuccessful attempts to stop my bleeding and told my husband that in effort to save my life they would have to perform a hysterectomy to stop the bleeding and needed his consent if it should come to that. He was scared and heartbroken that it would come to that but agreed that if it needed done then so be it.  He told me later he didn’t know how he was going to be able to tell me that after losing this baby that we would not be able to have anymore as well.  The doctors decided to perform a laporotomy where they cut into me through my csection scar to see if they may have knicked my uterus wall during the curettage.  That explained the pain I felt when I woke up in recovery.  They learned that they hadn’t knicked it and were able to finally stop the bleeding thankfully without having to do the hysterectomy. I truly that the Lord for that! My doctor said she was worried that I had a molar pregnancy and in her frantic state insisted that we shouldn’t have anymore children or it could put my life in great jeopardy. After learning all that happened and waking up to such pain and discomfort I was agreeable to anything at that point. I was scared and exhausted all at once. I had lost 1 liter and a half of blood through the surgery and had to have some blood transfusions.

Later on I had to have iron intravenously as well as I became anemic. I spent the night at the hospital that night and got to go home later on the next day. I felt like I had a csection all over again even thought they never cut my uterus it still felt the same way. I had to have nurses help me walk, use the bathroom, wipe, everything. I remember when they had me stand up for the first time since the surgery immediately a gush of blood ran down my legs and puddle onto the floor. I was terrified but the nurse calmed me by saying that was normal and she expected that to happen. The hospital was very nice in providing a special service where they will pay to cremate and bury our baby’s ashes in a mass baby grave in a cemetery nearby where they also have memorial services every year. We chose to do that and in that October we made it for the first memorial and it was so touching and emotional. All the parents wrote notes to our babies and tied them on to balloons and let them off together. It was so emotional to see all the balloons, all those little babies. We’re so glad that we have a stone now to go to  and give gifts to.

When I finally went home the next day I was so thankful to have help from my in laws and family plus my church family brought us meals for the next month. It was nice to have so much help and so many that cared. I remember as my mother in law was doing laundry the one day for me she was folding the clothes as we sat on the couch and she came across a shirt I bought my son when we first found out I was pregnant. It was how we announced it to our parents. The shirt said “I’m the big brother”.  She held it up and I balled. It was all so real. This was really happening. My son wouldn’t get to wear that shirt. I left the hospital empty handed and now grief was really setting in. I started to really mourn our baby girl. I remember those fist several days and weeks after like they were yesterday. It was like all of God’s beautiful craftsmanship in the world just turned to gray and all joy to be had in anything was sucked away. Nothing was the same without my little girl. I felt like I would never again be able to gaze at the beauty of the sun in a world where my baby didn’t exist. Without God and my faith in those days I don’t know how I would have survived.  After a few weeks we got the pathology report back and it looked normal and not like a molar pregnancy so my doctor was relieved but we were still heartbroken. We opted for genetic testing to have peace of mind about her gender. That report came back inconclusive as the baby had been so badly deteriorated from being dead inside me for so long but they did find a surprising diagnosis that I had in fact had a partial molar pregnancy. That’s where 2 sperm fertilize the egg instead of one leaving the baby with too many chromosomes and prevents it from growing correctly. With that news came 5 months of monthly blood tests to make sure my hcg levels came back to 0. It was trying and stressful on top of the grief but we made it through. We have done research on pmp and learned that we can try for more once reaching 0. I finally reached 0 in November of 2010. Like I said before,  without God I know we’d be stuck in our grief. We still miss our baby girl and always will remember her. A piece of my heart will always be missing. I love you my Eleora Lynn.

 Jennie blogs at  http://my-narrow-path.blogspot.com/

She can be contacted at jenlynexpo@gmail.com

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