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Putting a face on miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss
My name is Tami Schwartz. I’m 26 years old, married and live in Wrightwood,CA. My son Elijah Jack Schwartz was born on June 26,2011 and died on June 29,2011. He was 1lb. 12oz. and 15inches long. I was a high risk pregnancy due to a heart condition called VasoVagal Syncope. I had also already had a pre-term baby whom is beautiful, strong and just turned three.
When my husband and I got pregnant we had been debating getting permanently fixed so we didn’t have anymore. God had another plan for us, although I am still not sure what it is. I went through the first five months of my pregnancy pretty normal. At 18 weeks, I started progesterone shots to help keep him in there. At 20 weeks, I started having real contractions but they were having no effect on my cervix. I went on bed rest and off work on May 1,2011. Who can really go on bed rest with two kids under five and a little brat, but loved dog?! Things got bad, fast. We were in and out of the hospital and I was always worried and stressed.
On Saturday, June 25,2011, I felt bad, sick to my stomach, crampy and tired. I slept and rested all day. On Sunday, June 26, 2011, I decided to get up and go to church still not feeling 100%. In church, contractions were bad but the doctors were never really worried. I was already on shots so I ignored them. After church, the whole family wanted to go to the local Breakfast joint so we did. I barely had an appetite. As we loaded kids in the car to go home it happened. My water broke! At first I thought I urinated myself, but it never stopped and contractions were raging. By the time I got to Kaiser Fontana, I was in full labor. My water broke at 12:00, we arrived at 1:30pm and he was born at 8:40pm. Despite the many things they did to keep him in there I was dilating, he was breech and I was not doing well. I had an emergency c-section. As I lay there listening to the NICU team, I was horrified to hear, see or know what was to come. I heard him crying the tiniest little cry. He got a ten out of ten – he was perfect considering he was only 27 weeks gestation.I had to wait to see him. Everyone kept showing me pictures and giving me updates. He was amazing and perfect! Finally, I got to see him and I couldn’t believe what was happening.
For two days he was so strong and well! Then, on June 28, 2011 at about five thirty, I finally left his side. Putting his hands and my faith in the NICU and their nurses. I needed pain meds, a shower and food. My husband finally went home and tried to get some rest and explain to the other two where we had been. By 8:30pm I was falling asleep and the phone in my hospital room rang. It was his Doctor requesting I come down to the NICU. As soon as I got in the gown room she was waiting for me. I knew this was bad! I went in and machines were going off and he was pale and the breathing tube that they just took out was back in. “Now this is the roller coaster we have been preparing you for” she said to me. “Where is you husband?” she asked. All I could think was “he’s dying, he’s dying.” See, I worked at this Kaiser. I knew all these people. I knew my odds, but I let myself hope. I started to panic, I called my husband, my mom and his mom and waited. My husband was an hour away and had to drop kids off in the middle of the night. Minute by minute, Eli got worse. I kept asking if he was gonna die, they kept reflecting. I watched for almost twelve hours as they worked on trying to figure out what happened, what sudden thing was killing him. Eventually my husband got there and the Doctor sat us down and said we are basically keeping him alive and we need to make a decision about whether to proceed; even if he made it he will have a lot of damage. I do not even really remember all the things she said. I remember just looking at him and knowing he was already gone. My baby was gone. He was white and this machine was pumping his chest so hard and fast and he was no longer physically responding to me. Regardless, how can you say “Stop, go ahead let him die?” I couldn’t, I was weak! I wouldn’t give up even though there was nothing that they could do. Then they couldn’t keep his heart beating anymore. I was screaming as they gave him CPR using one finger because he was so small. My husband told them to stop, they sat me in a chair and gave him to me where he died. All I wanted to do was hold him, finally I did.
Later, we had to make all kinds of decisions; an autopsy was one of them. The scientific side of me wanted to know what, what happened? The mom side didn’t want him to go through anymore. We went through with the autopsy. He had a brain bleed and all the pressure of IV’s and other stuff and not knowing the first one was there, another hemorage came and took his life. Later the Doctor told us that it happens in thirty percent of babies born before 30 weeks, and she was so sorry for that.
My life was instantly transformed on June 29,2011 at 9:29 am when I heard time of death. I was still in hysterical disbelief. I was supposed to stay two more days due to my c-section, but they let me go early. I went home and the horrible nightmare continued. We had to explain to our five year old son where his little brother was. The first thing he asked before he was even in the door was, “Is baby Eli home?” I lost all control, went to my room and weeped. On top of it all I tied my tubes and regret this more than anything. Now, I long for another child. I know its unfair of me, but I do. We are healing but I struggle everyday with this and my son still talks about him. We are currently discussing why there is no road to Heaven! Little boys – such black and white minds. This is my story “I am the face of the thirty percentile!”