Mom to Ezra Alix
Born sleeping December 12, 2011 at 40 weeks 6 days
San Pedro, California
I kind of had a rough pregnancy with Ezra, but he was always “healthy,” and that’s what kept me going.
I started having severe back problems at 21 weeks and was never the same. In fact, it only got worse in the third trimester, until my insurance finally approved me for physical therapy at 36 weeks . It helped, but I still had pain. I also had rib pain and trouble breathing from about 30 weeks due to Costochondritis. But he always had a strong heartbeat and was constantly moving. (Always always on the move and I loved it).
Every doctor appointment I could always pinpoint where Ezra was so they could find his heartbeat (lower right side of my stomach). ALWAYS!! Mama knew best.
The last few weeks of pregnancy I could barely walk, move, or sleep. I started getting really anxious and became depressed; I could not move and he was being a little stubborn. I felt very guilty for being depressed, but I could not help it. I wanted him in my arms. I was sure he would be born in November, not December 7th.
But I kept going. Everyone (Oshin, doctors, family, friends) kept telling me, “hang in there.” “It will all be worth it in the end.” And I kept going. I believed them. NO!! I knew it would be worth it in the end too.
*December 7th rolls around. No baby!! (And trust me, I had been trying to induce labor naturally. I had my membranes ruptured at 39 weeks).
*My 40 week appointment was Thursday, December 8th @ 9 a.m. Ezra had a STRONG heartbeat!! But I was depressed and the resident saw it. So to try to help me, she tried to get me admitted for a C-section that day. (I was GBS +). She leaves. I call Oshin and sister (who was on her way to OH from MI for my delivery). Oshin freaks out, “What!! We’re having a baby today?” I told him, “maybe.” The resident comes back and says the L & D was full and my doctor was not available, but they have scheduled my induction for Monday, December 12th @ 8 p.m. She said, “just hang in there for FOUR more days. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.” I agreed.
*Andres got a fever of 103 that night (Thursday, December 8th). He had a fever for the next 3 days. 101 during the day and 103 at night. I did not take him to the doctor because he had NO other symptoms and was acting pretty normal. (Night was always the worst, but I was used to his fevers). I was more worried about me going into labor while he was sick and I could not be there for him and baby Ezra at the same time.
*Saturday, December 10th I started having contractions about 5-6 minutes apart all evening. I call L & D and they tell me to wait until the contractions are 2 minutes apart.
*Sunday, December 11th I had been having contractions on & off all day. My sister and I go to dinner at my favorite Turkish restaurant and do some Christmas shopping at Toys R Us. (Oshin wanted me to have some alone time and have a good meal the day before induction). At dinner, Ezra was moving. I even showed my sister my belly and his foot poking out. While at Toys R Us my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and getting stronger. But I kept on going. Shopping. And even had a “discussion” with the manager about two different prices for the same toy on their shelf. We get home and I tell Oshin the contractions are getting stronger and closer, but decided to wait. I did not want L & D to tell me to wait again, so I decided to wait until I could not handle them or my water breaks. My sister, Oshin, and Andres all go to sleep around 10ish, just in case I do go into labor soon. I stay downstairs and watch a French movie on Netflix. My contractions were definitely getting stronger, but still 2 minutes apart.
At midnight, I go to the restroom to pee and saw my mucus plug with lots of blood in it. (I had been losing my mucus plug around 37 weeks). But I felt this time was different. I knew it was time. Oshin happens to come downstairs and I tell him. I call L & D. The midwife told me to take a shower and come in. I wake up my sister and tell her to watch Andres while we go to the hospital (who knows they might send me back).
*I get to L & D at 1:30 a.m. on Monday, December 12th. Pee, put a gown on, and get connected to the monitors. They immediately started having trouble. The first nurse could not keep his heartbeat on the monitor, “because he was moving,” she said. (I was not too worried, even though I thought it was odd. But I knew he was a mover). Another nurse comes in about 15 minutes later and tries to get/keep Ezra’s heartbeat on the monitor. He kept on moving. She could not. She said it was because he was sunny-side up. (I started to worry, but thought they would have to do an emergency C- section to get him out. Nothing too too serious could be wrong with MY baby). So I have three nurses in there trying to find my boy’s heartbeat and 45 minutes have passed. (Again, I’m worried, but it’s not deadly). The doctor finally comes in and she’s very, what’s the word… Cocky!! She had an attitude like the nurses were just incompetent and they had to call her for a simple thing like finding a baby’s heartbeat. Well, she could not find the heartbeat either. She asks for an ultrasound machine and while they were getting it, she checks me to see how far I’m dilated. 3 going on 4 cm, she says. (I’m getting more worried, but still only think about a C-section being necessary, which is why I was not getting angrier). The ultrasound machine arrives and she is trying to find baby and his heartbeat. (There are now 4 nurses, plus the doctor all trying to find my darling boy’s heartbeat). Nothing. Her excuse is that she is not very good with ultrasound machines, but this particular machine was not working properly. She asks for another one. So they bring in another ultrasound machine. She is still on my belly trying to find Ezra’s heartbeat, but she agrees he is sunny side up. That’s why it’s difficult. Then she says, “okay, it’s time for me to stop messing around and call Dr. Shield’s in.” (Dr. Shield’s is the high risk doctor and is a pro at ultrasound machines, so I was told).
They all step out. I tell Oshin I’m really worried now and he reassures me that everything is fine. Ezra is just turned over and not cooperating. Dr Shield’s comes in, presses on my belly with the ultrasound wand, and not even 5 minutes later, she says, “Your baby has fluid in his belly/lungs.” Takes another deep breath and said, “I’m sorry. Your baby has passed. He no longer has a heartbeat. He is a stillborn.” WHAT??? I scream hysterically!!! Oshin says, ”No. That can’t be. What are you talking about?” I’m still screaming and crying. My heart fell to the floor, broken in a million little pieces. A feeling, I never knew existed came over me. It was like I was not in my body. But yet screaming & crying beyond control.
I could not believe it!! A stillbirth? What the hell is a stillborn baby? It was not true. It couldn’t be true. He was just kicking at dinner. He was fine on Thursday. This is 2011. I am in a hospital with modern medicine. Not early America with some family member to deliver my baby and a basin of water. What was she talking about??? Stillbirths don’t happen in this day and age.
Dr Shield’s proceeds to tell me that I’m being admitted and have to give birth to Ezra naturally. Vaginally. I told her, “NO!!! I can’t. You can’t ask me to do that. NO!!” Oshin even told her NO!! She said this was the best way. She kept on apologizing and saying, “unfortunately, these things happen. I’m so very sorry.” They move us into the room across the hall. I immediately worry about Andres and tell Oshin to call my sister to check on him.
After that, everything moved quickly and yet so slowly. They give me an epidural and start the pitocin and do all kinds of things to me. Draw massive amount of blood and the amniocentesis. (And I felt that needle going in my belly. I felt it all). So many people (doctors, nurses, specialists, lab techs, as well as the Priest) kept coming in and out of my room. And yet they recommended I rest. REST!!! What they hell were they talking about, rest? But I was given something to relax/calm down. I look at the clock and it’s 8 a.m.
I can’t really articulate how I felt or what I did in the later hours. It was like I was out of my body. Numb even. Tears kept falling, but I could not always make noise or talk. I still could not believe this was happening. It was a dream. A nightmare. I would wake up any moment now. I was sure to wake up. But I didn’t. It wasn’t a dream.
Before I knew it, the midwife checked me and I was already 8 cm dilated.
I finally fall asleep for a bit, but awaken to pressure. It was time. The midwife and nurse come in and start preparing.
You could hear a pin drop in that birthing room, in-between contractions and pushing. A pin drop. I was exited, anxious, sad, overwhelmed, nervous, you name it. I kept praying to God to help me. To give me the strength and courage. “Please God, just help me.”
It only took 5 pushes…
Ezra Alix was born sleeping on December 12, 2011 at 11:44 a.m. He was 8 lbs 14 oz. 22 inches long. He was perfect!!
I kept waiting for him to cry. To open his eyes. To do something. The doctors were wrong. He was not dead. He was just sleeping. Doctors are wrong all the time. They were wrong.
But they weren’t wrong.
He did not cry. He did not open his eyes. He did not move.
We spent the entire day with him. I felt at ease when Ezra was in my arms. I could not let him go. He was mine. My baby. So precious. So perfect. So pure.
I was still hoping for a miracle. I wanted God to grant me a miracle. I kept bargaining with Him. Questioning Him.
Why me?? God, WHY Ezra??? Why us??
Why the hell would YOU allow me to pregnant for over 10 months and just take my precious boy away? WHY??? What did I do wrong???
We had the Priest come bless Ezra. The bad Catholic I am, I wanted him baptised, but he was born pure so did not need to be baptised. “He went straight to Heaven,” the father said.
A representative from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep came into our room and offered their services to us. I did not have the strength nor heart to take family photos with Ezra, but allowed them to photograph him. I just could not do it. (I will regret THAT decision until the day I die).
*The autopsy came back inconclusive on Monday, January 30, 2012. The pathologist did not see any umbilical cord trauma/incident, nor any infection. He claims that Ezra had been dead within 21 hours from the last time I felt movement. He also states that Ezra was in distress and had passed meconium inutero, which is the cause of his death. Why, he was in distress to begin with is uncertain, hence the autopsy being inconclusive. And the blisters that Ezra was born with (because I failed to mention above that Ezra was born with blisters on his arms and legs) are due to being a stillborn baby, or having died inutero. Nothing else.
But, the day Ezra was born the Pediatric Dermatologist took biopsies of Ezra’s skin. THAT very day, he gave us a theory to Ezra’s death, a rare genetic skin disorder called EB (Herlitz Junctional EB to be exact), due to the severity of the blisters. They were not ordinary blisters. We waited for several weeks and he continued to tell us that he was, unfortunately, correct. He even showed Oshin Ezra’s skin under the microscope and a textbook example of EB. He still thinks it is EB. (Oshin and I are due to meet with the dermatologist soon, so he can give us his exact findings and direct us toward genetic testing).
Now, the high risk doctor and the midwife, who delivered Ezra, do not agree with the pathologist 100%. They have seen several stillbirth babies and have never seen a stillborn with blisters on their skin as Ezra did. They highly recommended us to meet with the dermatologist to do genetic testing, for future pregnancy reference.
So there you have it. Modern day medicine and no bloody answer. We do not have a direct cause of death. Which is unbelievably frustrating, and frankly, just PISSES me off!!! I know the answer will not bring Ezra back, but I want to not blame myself for the rest of my life. I want to know that I did everything right. I want to know that I never harmed my baby boy, accidentally. Until then, I still believe it’s MY fault!!! He was MY responsibility and I failed him.
Lala blogs at http://missingezra.wordpress.com/.