Hannah

Mom to baby lost at 6 weeks August 2007

Benjamin Jason and Naomi Makenzie (twins), lost at 17 weeks
Born sleeping January 2, 2010

Albuquerque, New Mexico

In 2007 I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant. It definitely wasn’t planned, but I was immediately very excited from the time I saw those two pink lines! I was on cloud 9 because all I ever wanted was to be a mommy. My boyfriend at the time was living out of town so he decided he would move to where I live and we would get an apartment and start our little family. We started thinking of names for our baby. My boyfriend thought of Doroteo for a little boy, named after his grandfather, who was his main father figure and who he actually called dad rather than grandpa. I agreed that if we have a boy he would be named Doroteo and I decided I liked Imalda for a girl. I started being very cautious of everything I ate, drank, I didn’t lift heavy things, I took my prenatal vitamins every day. I made sure to take care of my baby so I could have a healthy little boy or girl.

I decided I better tell my family. I knew they wouldn’t be too happy for me because I was only 19, barely out of high school, my boyfriend lived in a different state and I wasn’t married. I told them and my boyfriend told his family. My parents didn’t believe me and made me take pregnancy tests, I showed them and since the 2nd line was so hard to see, they said it looked negative. I made an appointment with my primary care doctor so she could confirm my pregnancy. When I had my appointment, she came in the room with a very surprised and concerned look. She said, “You’re pregnant.” I said, “Ok.” I already knew, I was just going to her to confirm it. She asked me, “Do you want to keep this pregnancy?” That upset me a little; of course I wanted my baby. I never believed in abortion. “Yes,” is what I told her. She looked at me even more surprised, maybe because I was young, I don’t know. I called my parents to tell them, they asked if I was ok and I said I was. My parents and my boyfriend’s uncle and mom had a little meeting with us to see what we were planning to do. We told them we were keeping the baby and my boyfriend and I would get an apartment together and start taking college courses and continue working. They weren’t too happy about it all but they were supportive of our decisions. My parents made me tell my grandparents so soon everyone knew.

About a week later I was at my grandpa’s house and I started getting cramps like I was going to start a period. They got a little more intense so I went to the restroom. When I wiped I saw blood and freaked out. I told my mom, she said to call the doctor so I did. The doctor on call told me I was most likely having a miscarriage. I didn’t like his answer so I called and asked for my doctor. They told me she wasn’t there but made me an appointment to see her. The bleeding got heavier. At my appointment she told me we could draw hCG levels. I got my blood drawn and went home. The bleeding was still heavy and I started getting clots. I knew in the back of my mind things probably weren’t ok but I stayed home from work and rested just in case, until I knew for sure. I guess I thought, if I rested maybe my baby would stay with me, I don’t know. I went back for more blood work 2 days later. I went home and waited. No one called me so I went to the clinic to ask about results. The tech looked it and up and simply said “The hCG levels are dropping, so you had a miscarriage.” I just looked at her, waiting for something else, anything else. That’s all?

I went home and cried. I told my mom and all she said was, “Well, honey, you’re not married, so God probably did this for a reason, you’re not ready and everything happens for a reason.” She didn’t offer me any comfort, in fact I think she was relieved. I had to call my boyfriend and tell him. He asked if I was ok and I told him I really wasn’t. I think he freaked out because he called his mom who lived in the same city as me, and she came to my house within minutes. I was crying and didn’t want to talk to her. My mom told her everything was ok and not to worry about me.

I couldn’t understand why this happened. I tried to do everything right. I ate all the right foods. I didn’t drink caffeine. I didn’t lift anything heavy. I didn’t smoke. I didn’t drink. I rested once the bleeding started so why did this happen? What did I do wrong? I wanted this baby. I used to research facts about my baby online about his or her development and excitedly tell my dad facts like “Look, its heart is already beating!” I would look up what was ok to do or not do, so I would be able to avoid a miscarriage and have my healthy baby, so why? My boyfriend and I were both depressed…we weren’t sure why this happened or what we did wrong. His cousin told me that after I got off the phone with my boyfriend he went into her room and cried. He picked up a onesie that belonged to her baby and he held it and cried. I didn’t want to try for another baby because I was scared that maybe my mom was right and I’m not supposed to have babies yet. I didn’t want another miscarriage. I used to cry a lot and I always would tell my boyfriend “right now I would be this pregnant” and show him how big my stomach would be. It was very hard and sad for me.

I had nothing to remember my baby by. I kept my prescription for prenatal vitamins, because it was the only thing I had to remember my baby. I had no ultrasound, no belly pictures, nothing to prove there once was life inside me. I wanted people to know, I wanted to scream, “I was pregnant, I had a son or daughter!”, but something went wrong…and I don’t have my baby. I felt robbed, robbed of my motherhood.

It was a hard decision but eventually I decided to break up with my boyfriend because I didn’t like our relationship being long distance and he didn’t want to move to where I was, and I didn’t want to move to where he lived so I knew it couldn’t work.

Two years later, I was pregnant again with a new boyfriend. He was really nervous, but I was excited! I was a little scared that maybe I would have another miscarriage, so I didn’t tell any friends or family yet. I started getting horrible morning sickness and I couldn’t take it anymore and I made an appointment, hoping a doctor could help me with it. I went to see the doctor and she told me to try ginger and B6 vitamins to help the morning sickness. She also made me an appointment for an ultrasound to see how far along I was. I went to my ultrasound and I saw two heartbeats! Twins! Oh, my gosh!!! I was on cloud 9 again! Twins? Really? I had seen the two heartbeats and the doctor had confirmed it! I was ecstatic and overjoyed! I couldn’t keep it a secret anymore and I told everyone! I showed them my ultrasound picture, saying “See! I have twins!” Two sacs, two babies!

Two weeks later my boyfriend and I got married.

My morning sickness was still horrible. I literally couldn’t eat or drink anything without throwing up. Even if I didn’t eat or drink, I still threw up. Sometimes I threw up as many as 12 times in one day, I honestly don’t know how I kept working. It was awful. I went to a 12 week ultrasound and my twins looked perfect! They were fully formed and I was so happy. They had strong heartbeats and were moving around. I was really happy because I thought they were going to be ok. I was passed the miscarriage stage after all.

After a while my doctors realized my morning sickness was actually hyperemesis which is a severe form of morning sickness that most women don’t experience. I was so miserable but I was still so happy my twins were ok and healthy. I started getting a cute little belly right away and could feel my stomach stretching, almost every day it was stretching and getting bigger it seemed. Soon I began to feel little flutters! It was so exciting!

On Christmas I felt pretty bad, worse than most days. I was at my aunts but I told her I was going home because I felt horrible. Everyone was pretty concerned about me and my twins because I was so pale and unable to hold down anything. I went to the hospital and I had a fever. The doctor gave me strong antibiotics that made me throw up even more. I called her because I didn’t know what to do. She told me it would be ok to discontinue the antibiotics. So I stopped them.

Not long after my fever came back. I took Tylenol hoping the fever would go away on its own. A couple of days later, a lot of clear fluid gushed out when I went to the restroom. I got really scared because I thought maybe my water broke. I was only 17 weeks, not even close to term. I went to the hospital and they told me I just had an infection called bacterial vaginosis and they sent me home with 3 different antibiotics. I was taking the antibiotics but of course they all had side effects of nausea and vomiting so I took them but I was pretty much debilitated. I tried so hard not to throw up because I didn’t want the antibiotic to be out of my system. I needed to get better for my babies. I couldn’t do anything. I ate a piece of toast a day and a couple of sips of water. I had to take Zofran to not throw up and Tylenol to control the headaches that came as a side effect from my Zofran. My mom was scared; she thought I was going to die. She kept calling the hospital and the nurses would ask, “Can she drink water?” My mom would say yes, so they would tell her there is no reason for me to come in, she would tell them, “She is leaking a lot of fluid.” They would ask “Is it soaking through pads, is it enough to fill up a pot?” What a gross question, I thought. My mom would reply with no and they would say it again, “Don’t bring her in then.”

My fevers continued and weren’t controlled anymore with Tylenol. I went back to the hospital and my mom came with me because she was really angry at the way they were treating me. She said “I’m not leaving the hospital until they admit you!” Well I guess they decided it would be best to keep me overnight. Finally! They gave me Tylenol even though I told them it wasn’t working. After about 2 nights there, they decided they better run some blood cultures because my fever wasn’t subsiding even though I was on 3 I.V. antibiotics. The next day the nurse came in to check my babies’ heartbeats, which was routine, they checked them twice a day while I was there. She couldn’t find any heartbeats so she called the doctor to come in. He did an ultrasound and I couldn’t see any heartbeats or fetal movement. I just looked at the screen trying so hard not to cry. Just then my brother and dad came in the room, and they just stood there staring at the screen. I yelled at them, “Stop looking, they aren’t alive anymore!” They went and sat by the window. I saw my dad’s eyes well up with tears. I felt like I was in someone else’s life, or some horrible nightmare, I wanted my life to go back to normal. Why was this happening again? I was in the second trimester, this wasn’t supposed to happen in the second trimester, just the first. I thought I was in the clear…I was so wrong.

The doctor left the room but not for long. He came back and I was shaking on the bed from my fever and maybe from shock or something. He had me sign a consent form saying I consented for him to treat me. He started giving me medicine called Misoprostol to dilate my cervix, and put some things that look like nails, called laminates, into my cervix, which hurt pretty bad.

The nurse wheeled me to the labor and delivery unit where healthy moms and babies were. I felt so depressed that I was in that unit. There was a picture of a little pregnant stick figure on my bed. There were crying babies in rooms next to me. My babies weren’t going to cry when they were born, why were they torturing me? These moms are birthing happy, healthy babies. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t; I needed to stay strong so I could birth my twins. I felt like I was so out of place and that it was just wrong of them to put me there.

Shortly after, I gave birth to my sleeping daughter, Naomi, and 45 minutes later my sleeping son, Benjamin was born. They were so small, but they were so perfect. I stayed strong; I held back my tears once again. I saw my husband in the corner of the room, crying. He couldn’t hold his tears in. Why did this happen to me? Maybe I was in denial or shock or some state of mind that still didn’t believe what was happening. I was in a daze. I was in a dream. I was in slow motion. Is this my life now? They found out why I was having fevers, a little late, I might add. I had a blood infection called strep-pneumonia. They believed that when I first went to the hospital with a fever, I had h1n1 and that it just got worse and worse until I became septic. They hooked me up to a new antibiotic and took the other 3 away.

I was then wheeled back to the room I originally was in. That’s when reality sunk in. I panicked and broke down. I screamed and cried. I asked my mom why? I bawled like a child. I lost my mind. I told my mom and brother that I hated my life and that I was going to pull out my IV of antibiotics so I can die and be in Heaven with my babies. I told my mom I wish I never went to the hospital so I could’ve just died at home and at least I wouldn’t be stuck here on earth, I would be happy with my babies. I hated my life and I didn’t understand why God had punished me like this. I told my dad I was mad at God. I didn’t know what I did to deserve all this pain. I stopped talking to God for a long time and feel into severe depression.

The nurse that took care of me was so sweet; she brought me handprints and footprints of my little ones. I had to get a PICC line inserted in my arm so I could go home on a 24 hour infusion of penicillin for 10 days. I was in the hospital for so long. They did tests to make sure the infection hadn’t spread to my heart and other tests. They kept me so long because they said they needed to see if my insurance would cover home healthcare so a nurse could come clean and change my PICC line. A case manager came to talk to me and I lost it again. She told me they might keep me two more nights, but the funeral for my twins was the next day. I cried and told her, “How can you do that? My twins have their funeral tomorrow. I can’t miss that!” She arranged for me to leave finally after I had been there 10 days.

The funeral home was awful; I asked them if I could see my twins one last time and a woman kept telling me she didn’t understand what I was asking. I asked to speak with the owner and he told me, “We are already giving you all these free services and now you want to see the babies? It’s going to be a $200 fee.” I bawled and screamed at him. I told him I couldn’t afford it and cried some more. I said just forget it then, I won’t see them again. They asked to speak with my mother, who agreed to pay the fee. I told her not to, that it isn’t fair to do that to us. She wanted to see them one last time, too, I think, so she paid the fee.

The funeral was sweet. I wrote my babies letters and put them in their caskets. My aunt and her granddaughter picked out blankets for them, a blue on for Benjamin and a pink one for Naomi. My dad played Amazing Grace on his violin. It was nice to have a little bit of closure.

After the funeral and when I was at home, I cried everyday and couldn’t sleep. All I thought about was my twins. I didn’t go back to work for a month. I cried at work, I stared at walls and people that were talking to me. I didn’t hear what they were saying, I was thinking about my babies. My doctor told me even though I lost my twins, I’m lucky I survived. Little did he know how I really felt. I thanked him for taking care of me though, he was the only doctor through this whole ordeal who took action but it was still too little, too late…

I saw a counselor, who told me I need to decrease my time at work. I got drunk and tried to kill myself. My husband called the cops. I got admitted to psych with crazy patients that were screaming nonsense. I stayed overnight and cried and stared angrily at the crazy people. I wondered, “Was I crazy now? Had I really lost my mind altogether? Did I look like these people around me that didn’t seem to know about the world around them?” The next day I was moved to Mental Health to talk to a psychiatrist. He thought I was stupid, not crazy. Those weren’t his exact words, but that was how he came off. He said all that happened to me was I had a miscarriage. He asked how much I drink normally, I told him and he told my husband I was an alcoholic. I overheard him talking to the nurse, they were making fun of me sarcastically saying, “Did you know she had a miscarriage?” and “Oh, my gosh, I didn’t know she had a miscarriage.” At work I heard people talking about me saying, “Why doesn’t she get over it? It’s just a miscarriage.” I never fully got better, but I now learn to cope. I don’t believe the pain will ever go away. It’s just something I need to learn to live with.

I now have an 11-month old son. When I was pregnant with him, an ultrasound showed he had another sac next to him at 8 weeks gestation, but it didn’t have a baby in so it stopped developing. I love him more than anything and he is my world. I know I didn’t bond with him the way a mother should when I was pregnant or even when he was born. I honestly didn’t take care of myself like I did with my first two pregnancies because I thought I would just have another miscarriage. I never got that flood of emotions or fell in love with him the first time I saw him like a mother should. I think I had some sort of defense mechanism that wouldn’t let me love him until I knew for sure he wasn’t going to die.

I’m now 18 weeks pregnant and feel like I’m prepared for whatever happens to this baby. I still miss my twins and can’t talk about them without crying even though it has already been 2 years…maybe the pain will never go away. I know I need to be grateful for the son that I do have, and I am. I thank God for giving him to me almost every day.

You can contact Hannah at hbonilla@salud.unm.edu.

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Comments

  1. Jamie lea says:

    Hannah I am so sorry for your losses. I have had a miscarriage and a stillborn. I have said a prayer that God would comfort you and that you would hold your babies in heaven someday.

  2. Lyndell says:

    I am so sorry for your loses. It is hard enough to deal with the death of your child without the lack of understanding you seem to be surrounded by. I truly hope you have found the support you need. Wishing you much happiness and a healthy bub :) Take care.

  3. E.Peters says:

    Your story is so touching. I pray that you are well and God gives you strength as we all live through our loses.

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