Mom to William and Nathaniel Feb 1 1995
I was 15 when I found out I was pregnant for the first time. I didn’t believe it when my doctor told me, I even told her it was impossible. I had suffered ovarian cysts for some time and I honestly didn’t think I would ever be able to conceive. I was also bleeding while my Dr told me from what I believed to be my period. My Dr ordered another urine sample pregnancy test and it came back positive again. My boyfriend was 21, we were scared. My Dr gave me the advice to have an abortion and I refused. I went home and took it easy waiting for the bleeding to stop. The bleeding would calm when I was laying down but once I sat up I would bleed again. At 10 weeks I had a huge bleeding spell and went to the ER. I had a very hard time getting the staff to stop suggesting a D&C. I had an ultrasound that showed I had a very tilted uterus and surprise I had TWINS. Shock set it very quickly. I had always dreamed of having twins but how on earth could I have two babies at my age?
I was transferred upstairs to have my bleeding monitored and had huge pressure again from the nurses to abort/D&C. I stood strong and told everyone I wasn’t going to kill my babies, I was sent home shortly after. I got into a car accident while driving with a friend and started to have a little cramping. A scan at 18 weeks showed I had full placenta previa and you could even see the bleeding on the screen. I was told there was little hope but I wouldn’t give up on my babies. I had little support from any of my Dr’s, I couldn’t even get much information from them about my condition. It seemed that once I refused to have my living children taken from my womb they washed their hands of the situation. I was 19 weeks pregnant when I started passing huge clots, looking back I think that must have been pieces of my placenta but at the time I had little support from my Dr’s. At 20 weeks my water broke, it was pure blood. I was laying at home crying, I knew this was the end, no more hope left. I went into the hospital and delivered my firstborn William at just after midnight on Feb 1 1995 just one month before my 16th birthday. I delivered my son alone in the ER with a drunk man throwing up beside me. I panicked when I felt him coming, I saw him in a pool of my own blood as I hemorrhaged and all I could do was scream. My son was quickly taken and I was rushed in for a D&C. I never saw Nathaniel, I never held either of them. I woke up at 6 pm on Feb 1 weak from blood loss, my family and the staff kept telling me “this is for the best” I was too weak to fight them. I left heartbroken and lost with only one other person mourning my children with me, their father.My boyfriend and I couldn’t handle the grief and we parted ways. I was swallowed by my pain and I sank into a world of depression and tried to end my life. When I awoke alive after my attempt I had to convince everyone I was ok enough to leave the hospital. Fake it till you make it, the more I pretended the more it became normal feeling.
Life after my boys was hard but I dreamed that one day I would have a chance to have twins again. I started to get my life on track I was working two jobs and going to night school. I started to feel tired all the time and worried I had mono. I went to my Dr in Feb 1997 to have some tests done. I figured I was almost 18 and I should be able to handle my schedule without being this worn out. My Dr ordered a pregnancy test and later called me to tell me I was pregnant. I again didn’t believe her because I had just finished having a flow I thought was a period. My Dr ordered a blood test and called me the next day to inform me I was VERY pregnant over 12 weeks by the hormone count. I laughed at her and told her it was impossible unless it was immaculate conception. I had an ultrasound ordered and I went there sure this was another cyst issue. The ultrasound technician was quiet and kept searching all over. I looked at her and asked if I was really pregnant and she said “oh you are” I laughed and said “next you will tell me there are two in there!” she asked me how I knew. I nearly feel off the table when she turned the screen for me to see. Two babies again, 9 weeks along. My due date was Sept 9th 1997 I went home that day in shock, what were the odds after having sex just two times of having two babies. I kept thinking I was being given a second chance. My babies had come back to me and this time I was going to be able to give them life. I had a scan each month to monitor the babies, I loved watching them grow. I had one nurse ask me if I was going though with the pregnancy. I looked at her and said YES then she asked me “both babies?” I nearly kicked her. I wasn’t about to abort one of my babies. At 25 weeks I found out my babies were girls, I felt very sad. This was my wake up call, these weren’t my boys, my boys were gone and never coming back to me. I went through a mourning period again but I was excited about my girls. I should have been on bedrest but I had jobs and school. I would keep my feet up as much as I could and I tried hard to get my weight up but I was anemic and underweight at just 155 pound at 29 weeks and I am 5’10. June 30th I woke up in labor, I rushed to the hospital but I was 6cm dilated already. My girls were strong but all attempts to stop labor failed. Emma was born at 2:15 pm weighing 1100 grams she gave us a perfect little cry and the transport team took her to get her ready to go to a level 3 hospital.As Emma was being delivered Elizabeth crashed because her placenta came away from my uterus. This was the moment I was glad my OB forced that spinal on me. Just after we lost Elizabeth’s heartbeat my OB reached up my birth canal and pulled Elizabeth out by her ankles. She was born at 2:16 pm and weighed 1230 grams. She didn’t cry, the room was quiet. My heart stopped for a moment and I was stuck I couldn’t even move myself to her. I had my mother watching her and it was 3 minutes before I heard my mother scream “her eyes are open and she is looking at us!” she had apgars of 0 and 1 but she was alive! My babies were stabilized and then taken from me so they could go to a hospital ready to take care of them. It was 66 days before I could take them home, some days I worried that day would never come but it did.
Just before Emma and Elizabeth turned 2 my husband and I found out we were pregnant again. I knew I was pregnant this time right away because I had a flow that wasn’t normal. I wasn’t about to be fooled by my silly body again. This poor baby “P” didn’t go past 6 weeks.
We had a healthy boy on August 16 2000. I went to 35 weeks this time and he was 7 lbs 5 oz. I was proud of myself for making it this far and I was heartbroken when he was taken to the nursery. He was so big it didn’t seem fair. My son Edan William came home with me 4 days later though, it was the most normal we had ever had and it gave us hope.
Emma and Elizabeth were 4 and Edan was 1 when we decided we wanted one more child. Three was an odd number and we thought one more would be good. We got pregnant right away and I had the normal bleeding but by now we didn’t worry to much about that. We had faith in my body. I measured small and had a hard time gaining weight so I started to eat ham slices to boost my protein. At 20 weeks I noticed some issues, I carried lower than normal and I had cramping but it faded. At 22 weeks I started to notice my uterus was tight, I started to pee blood and baby had an elevated heart rate. My GP gave me a dose of amoxicillin assuming I had a bladder infection and sent me to my OB for follow up. My OB told me I was stressing for nothing and sent me home, he didn’t run a single test. I left his office and went to labor and delivery again I was told bladder infections can give symptoms of labor and sent home. The next day I went again to labor and delivery and again I was sent home with no tests. I did this for a week. I was 23 weeks 5 days with my baby and I sent my husband to work, I felt stupid. All day I felt the pain and tried to move past it, I just needed to wait for the antibiotics to work like they said. By 2 pm I knew I couldn’t handle it anymore, my husband was stuck hours away but my mother was just a few minutes away. She came and took me to hospital I went in with the idea that I would demand IV antibiotics and demand to stay until this got better. I was sent up to labor and delivery and again they rolled their eyes at me and my OB refused to see me. I had a nurse struggle with me and she was frustrated until she saw my water break, it was bright red. The nurses face fell and she ran to get my OB. My mother ran out to call my husband and tell him what was going on. He came in quickly and told me he would get the transport team here ASAP. I looked at him and told him it was too late, 23 weeks 5 days with no time on steroids…I had seen those babies in NICU. I told him I wanted him to do nothing for my son. I was rushed into a delivery room and asked to push, I couldn’t do it. I told them I would have no part in his delivery and death. I just couldn’t push his still living body into this world only to watch him die. I remember the nurse putting the blanket on my belly and I screamed “NO I can’t see him, I can’t. It will kill me” On March 15 2002 my perfect son was born Esik Nathaniel weighing 586 grams. The second he was born I reached for him. My husband walked in just in time to hear him cry. He had a perfect peach fuzz head and long feet and hands. His skin was perfect and soft and he had my husbands french nose. His life was short but wonderful. He knew only our love and died quietly in my arms. Esik’s placenta had ruptured and I had a clot the size of the placenta delivered right after it. The pathology report showed I had chorioamnionitis caused by listeria. The lunch meat…I didn’t know it carried listeria and that it could kill my child. I had thought I was doing a good thing for him.
Our grief was hard. My children kept asking when the baby was coming home. My heart was broken and had it not been for my living children I know I would have ended my life. My milk came in and I was tortured by it thinking of how I should be nursing him. I had regret for not allowing the transport team to take him. I had dreams about him in NICU, dreams of him at home with us and each morning I woke up to the horror that he too was dead. My husband and I fought, I made a hard choice without him and that broke us for a time. I longed to try again but my Dr’s wanted me to wait before trying again. I went on Paxil for depression and anxiety and my husband and I got back together. May 2003 we decided we had to try again or I would just not be able to go on. The first month we didn’t get pregnant and I was scared, scared the scars were too bad and I would never conceive again. July 2003 we discovered I was pregnant…pure bliss. At 6 weeks pregnant I was vacuuming when I felt a huge GUSH of blood. We went straight to the ER. I had an scan and it showed a free floating fetal pole. The baby had ripped away from the wall of my uterus but the heart beat was strong. I went home and I laid on the couch I was told there might be hope and I was willing to just lay down and hope for the best. Follow up scans showed a huge blood cot behind the placenta but we were told that could heal. I stayed on the couch and at 16 wks we found that all was looking good the blood clot had been absorbed by my body. My GP tried to send me to my old OB and I refused, I just couldn’t see that man again after what happened last time. I had a new OB who was amazingly helpful. I thought there was hope that all would be fine.
One nasty ultrasound at 18 weeks showed me I was wrong though, the baby was fine but I was pulled aside and told that my membranes were descending though a dilating cervix. I was heartbroken I thought that this was it, another loss. I went home to more bed rest and they ordered a follow up scan. At 21 weeks I had an emergency cerclage put in. I had an epidural for the procedure and I remember the bed flipping back and me hanging upside down. The whole room was in a panic. My baby was crowning. The OB was able to push my child back in with a balloon and stitch me up. I was put on strict bed rest, level one it was called. The next few weeks were horrible. My children were taken daily by many different people because I wasn’t able to take care of them at all. I laid in bed all day just willing my baby to live. At 23 weeks 5 days I cried and prayed, at 23 weeks 6 days I got my first steroid shot…my first shot at hope. At 24 weeks 4 days my water broke and I was group B strep +. We went to the same local hospital where Esik died. I remember them putting me in the same room he died in. I told them I needed a different room and why but I was told there wasn’t another room. I can’t even explain the panic I felt. I felt a new strength there too though. Esik died because the Dr’s didn’t listen to me…I wasn’t going to let that happen again. My OB walked into the room and explained that she was going to remove my stitch and let me deliver. She told me I could hold this baby as baby died. I looked at my husband and we both shook our heads. I told her “My cerclage is holding so stop my contractions and give me antibiotics” My OB left the room and later a nurse came in with a bag of antibiotics and my medication to stop contractions she told me an ambulance was coming to take me to BC Women’s Hospital. I never saw my OB again. At BC Women’s Hospital I had amazing suport I was told this baby would be fine, I would stay on IV antibiotics and live in the hospital for 10 weeks and then deliver and take baby home. My body didn’t agree though, I developed a fever and we decided with the neonatologist that this baby would have a better chance in NICU than in my body. At 24 weeks 6 days I delivered Ellanor she was 715 grams. She was born screaming and fighting. She was frightening to look at with her sticky red skin but she was fighting and the Dr’s had hope. It was a long road 100 days in NICU, she died once on us but she came back. after coming home for a month she went back in to PICU for 5 days but she grew, she nursed for 18 months and is now almost 8 years old. The whole first year of her life seems surreal at times.
For every little face we have at our table there is one missing. My heart is full yet daily it hurts for those little ones we never see grow up. My twins boys William and Nathaniel should be learning to drive a car this year. Esik should be giving me trouble about homework and our little 6 week loss… I never even knew that baby’s gender. I am blessed though, truly blessed and I never forget that.