Mom to Alyssa, born and died February 22, 2008 at 22 weeks,
David, born January 12, 2009 and died January 15, 2009,
and miscarriages in 2008 and 2010
I had my first miscarriage in June 2007 at 12 weeks along. I was devastated. I blamed myself because I was diabetic, and my sugars hadn’t been controlled. I just knew it was my fault. My doctor told me it would be fine to try again, that we would just get me on insulin sooner and monitor me closely. I did get pregnant again about 3 or 4 months later. I was having a baby girl.
At 17 weeks into my pregnancy with Alyssa, I had to have my gallbladder taken out. I had literally had turned yellow and was quarantined in the doctor’s office until they ran tests, which they filed and never called with results. Three days later, I called for results and they said, “Wow I’m glad you called, we would have missed this!” I was hoping for a quick stay, having a scope take my gallbladder out, it was an easy surgery, they told me. Instead, they stuck the scope through my stomach and had to open me up, repair my stomach, and then take my gallbladder out. It was four days before I was even allowed to eat or drink anything. I was miserable beyond words. I was let out of the hospital eventually with still lingering complications. My bilirubin levels were high and not coming down, something to do with my liver, resulting from my gallbladder. I saw specialists, had blood taken daily, and no one could figure anything out. Then one day, about a month later, it started coming down.
At 22 weeks pregnant I was seen in a routine visit at the high risk doc’s office. We saw Alyssa moving on the ultrasound. She was perfect! I was given medication for a UTI, but other than that, I was perfect. The next morning about 4 am I woke up and thought I had peed the bed. I was worried, so I called the nurse’s line and was told it was probably from the UTI, just go back to bed. I slept until about 8 am, got up and knew my water had broken. We called the doc and headed to the hospital. I remember how cold and dark it was that day. I can still feel myself sitting there so scared and confused, and honestly never thinking I was really having her.
I was in labor 30 hours, no epidural, with contractions every 2-3 minutes. The high risk doc came in and did an ultrasound, where we could see all the fluid around her was gone. She looked at me and said “You know those premature babies on Oprah are miracles. Your baby is going to die. We will not do anything to save her, because she is not viable. If you could have waited two more weeks, we could have tried to save her.”
Alyssa was born at 1 pound exactly, and 12 inches long. She was so tiny and so perfect. I can remember how beautiful her little fingers were, how I knew they were going to be long and beautiful when she was older. We held her for 3 hours before they finally told us her heartbeat was gone. I was so confused and in shock. I sat on the bed and went through the phone book to find someone to bury my baby. When they arrangements were made they said I could go home, that I didn’t have to stay.
I don’t remember a lot about the time after Alyssa died. I was so alone, so deep in my depression it all blurred together. I didn’t ever want to get pregnant again, all I wanted was Alyssa. My every waking moment was missing her. My every sleeping moment was dreaming of her. How could this happen to me? Why me?
I ended up pregnant again. I was terrified. I was hopeful, and waited for every test, every ultrasound, just to make sure this baby was ok. Everything was perfect, the baby was developing perfectly. I made it past 22 weeks, then 24, and then I could start to ease up on the panic a little.
At 27 weeks we were hit head on in a car accident. I had a severed artery in my head, and broken my ankle so badly it had to be put all back together with pins and plates. I found out I was having a boy as I lay in the emergency room strapped down to a board, clothes cut off, head in brace, having my artery sewn back together. My baby David was fine. I was so happy.
At 32 weeks, I went to have an ultrasound at the same high risk doc office who told me Alyssa wasn’t a miracle (this was the only doctor choice in town). The doc looked at David on the screen and told me he had something wrong with his heart. She didn’t know what it was, but it wasn’t normal. “I told you this would happen. You are diabetic. This is your fault,” were the words she shared this time. I lay there and cried, ignoring everything she said to me, and we left. I told my husband I would never ever go back there. They referred me to a pediatric cardiologist who told us David had heart defects (TOF, CHD, pulmonary artresia) and would need surgery, but there are no surgeons who work on babies in our area. I could have David here and he would be life flighted to a children’s hospital 2-3 hours away. I would be having a c-section, so I would have to stay in the hospital while my son was flown to a hospital without me.
I was not having my baby taken away from me at the hospital. Instead, I researched the two hospital choices in the state, picked the best, and we moved there. I got a GREAT team of doctor’s in Kansas City who truly did everything they could for me and David. We saw tons of specialists, and were told that they would have to really wait for him to be born, but they believed with surgery he would live. We would just have to wait for him to be here to decide what kind of surgery he’d need.
At 36 weeks I went in for my three-times-per-week monitoring, and within an hour I was being prepped for an emergency c-section. David’s heart wasn’t responding right and he had to come out. I knew it was going to be ok though, I believed it with all my heart. David was born a month early at 9 pounds, 3 ounces. He had tons of black hair and was adorable. He looked just like Mommy. I was able to see him, and touch his hand, take pictures, and say goodbye before they took him in an ambulance to the children’s hospital.
I was given passes everyday for 6 hours to go to be with David. I would sit next to him and talk to him, rub his little hands. He was so precious, so beautiful. In the 4 days he was alive we found out his problems were worse than we thought. His heart did have lots of problems, but worse his ribs had grown together and fused. His lungs couldn’t ever function on their own, they didn’t have the room to let him breathe. David went to be with Alyssa as we held him and told him we loved him, that it was ok, that he could go to his sister.
The next year was the worst of my life. I don’t know how I made it through, and honestly a lot of it I can’t even remember. It was just too painful and miserable. The doctors encouraged genetic testing to see if me or Chris had passed something on, if there was a syndrome name. They found nothing. My wonderful doctors encouraged me to get pregnant again someday. They said it was two bad things that happened, one nothing to do with the other.
I now look at my 18-month old daughter and can’t believe how blessed she has made my life. She spent 2 weeks in the NICU because her blood sugars were low when she was born, and then she didn’t want to eat with a bottle, but now she is beautiful and healthy. She changed my world, and made my days brighter. I miss Alyssa and David with all my heart, every day. I still get angry and think, “Why me? How could so much happen to me, am I a bad person?” I still cry. I still smile at their pictures. I remember them every single day. I have their pictures and memories all around me. And they live on in their baby sister Maya.
Nikki blogs at http://prayforbabydavid.blogspot.com.
You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.