Mom to Azriel Aiden
Born and died April 14, 2012
My husband and I always wanted to be parents. We spent hours talking on the phone early in our relationship discussing how many we wanted, discipline, names. We were blessed with 3 beautiful boys, but they weren’t without their unique and stressful/scary entrances. My last 2 were IC (incompetent cervix) issues. When DH and I talked about #4, we were excited, this would be our first planned pregnancy, determined to make this one much smoother and make it to term again, I had done it once with my oldest and just barely with my second. We tried for just over a year, and felt something wasn’t right. We both got checked out, I was just fine but DH not so much, he had secondary infertility. We couldn’t believe it, it would take IVF with ICSI to have another child. DH did not want to do that but felt terrible because I could get pregnant and his refusal meant I wouldn’t. A few nights later, DH brought up a subject we had talked about in passing years ago, sperm donation. We kept talking and decided to look into it to see if it was something we really wanted to explore. We were delighted to not only have found a donor website that we felt safe about but a donor that lived about an hour away. I got in touch with him and we exchanged emails, talked on the phone and felt we were all compatible. Four cycles/donations later, we found out we were pregnant a few days before Christmas 2011. Best gift ever!
I called my OB and he set up my lab work, all looked well for being just over 3 weeks along. Trouble started in week 8 when I was told I couldn’t see my regular OB because he didn’t care for prenatal patients. I was not happy at all, he was the one who knew my history and would be discussing it and how to approach this pregnancy. I tried to be a good sport, but the OB I was now assigned to wasn’t anything to brag about and it got worse as I got further along. By week 15, I brought up my concerns about my cervix and she completely brushed it off and only wanted to discuss my need for a repeat c-section. It turned into a pretty heated argument; I fired her and filed a complaint. I called for help to find a new OB but not before begging for my old one back. No avail, but when the name of an OB who a friend highly recommended came up in conversation with the assistant manager of the OB department, I decided to give him a try. I tried not to stress and focused on the upcoming ultrasound and hoped that my cervix would be okay until then, but sadly that wasn’t meant to be…
It began with dark red spotting and discharge at 19 weeks and 6 days. I called Kaiser and spoke with an advice nurse. I was advised to stay in bed and rest, and then she set up an appointment for the following morning…
On April 13th, around 4am I had to use the bathroom as I usually did every morning and went back to bed. Shortly after, I started feeling sick. I tried to ignore it but it got too strong and by the time I made it back to the bathroom, I vomited. The force caused “something” to dart in and out of my vagina. I panicked, but before I could really react, I got sick again, that time “something” came out and bulged between my legs. My first thought was my uterus was falling out. I reached down and felt something warm and round. My heart shattered thinking it was my baby’s head, please don’t, why is this happening?!? The commotion of me trying to waddle my way to my cell phone woke my light sleeper of a husband and I had no choice but to tell him. He tried to be calm for my sake but his voice kept breaking and he started pacing around me. I called Kaiser and was told to call 911, by the time I got them on the phone, I started to bleed. My husband was in tears watching helplessly as I clung to what I thought was the baby, blood pooling around my feet. EMTs arrived within minutes. They couldn’t tell for sure what was between my legs but thought it was the baby, they told me it would be easier to deliver and tried to get me on my back. It turned out to be the amniotic sac, which broke during my transition. When they determined the baby wasn’t coming yet, they transported me to the ambulance and I was off to L&D at Kaiser.
The OB on call checked me, found I was 3cm dilated and said that would be the only exam I would have until delivery time. He tried to assure me this wasn’t my fault, there’s nothing I could have done, but there wasn’t anything they could do to save my baby. I asked if there was any way at all, even an emergency cerclage. He said they could, but since my water broke the risk of infection was too high and the success rate too low at that point. He then said if I chose to conceive again, a preventative cerclage could and should be placed. They offered to induce, but I chose to wait for my body to labor. I only felt cramps when my bladder filled up but that was it. I spent the day talking to the baby, telling him how much I loved him, how grateful I was for the last 20 weeks and that I was sorry my cervix failed to protect him. My doula was my first visitor, followed by my mom and sister. My sister offered to look after the boys so my husband could spend time with me. I was thankful I had them all there. All I was allowed were clear liquids but I was fine with that, my hope was the bag could reseal and fill up again.
My fluid levels were checked periodically and Azriel had some fluid around his head when checked on the ultrasound but his lower half had none. The evening shift came in to introduce themselves and wanted to do another scan. He had no fluid around him at all. I sobbed and raged. What were all the IVs for then??? All that water for nothing?!? One of the OBs reminded me that I had my own health to think about and considering the blood loss, I was doing the right thing staying hydrated. They expressed their sympathies and wished me good night. Another scan was done on the 14th. There was no change, but Azriel’s heart was still going strong. It made me cry seeing him cradled in a womb that no longer held fluid. The OB pointed out that his little foot moved but I had seen it for myself, tears poured even more, he was still holding on. A couple of hours later, I needed to go to the restroom and since I didn’t feel any of the pressure I was told about, I didn’t ask for a bedpan. I sat down and felt a weird sensation down there and instinctively reached down and felt my baby’s toes. Tears immediately filled my eyes as I rang for the nurse. They helped me back to bed and prepared a bedpan for me but I couldn’t go anymore, she then called for the OB to come in. She and the midwife on call came in and sat at my bedside, the midwife let me know that she would be the one to check me. She confirmed that I was 6cm dilated and that she could feel Azriel coming down. She tried to be comforting but her words, “I’m so sorry, but it’s time, you have to let him go,” will always haunt me.
It was so hard to let him go, he was still alive but I couldn’t hold him in anymore. I truly HATED my cervix at that moment. DH and I had planned for the first time and tried for him, he was totally worth the 18 months it took to conceive him. I didn’t want to let him go. Despite my heavy heart, I pushed. His chin got caught in my cervix and I began to tense up from the pain. They offered pain medication to help me relax, after resisting the idea of pain meds for the majority of my stay, I gave in and accepted. Azriel entered the world with a beating heart and was immediately placed on my chest, per my request. He had such a sweet little face and I kissed him and told him how much I loved him. His daddy couldn’t be there with us so I put him on the phone so he could say his goodbyes. His brothers said theirs and after we hung up, I said my own goodbyes. He lived for just under an hour and I’m so proud of him for being so strong. I was given as much time with him as I wanted and spent the entire day holding him. A couple of friends came by and my sister brought me lunch. My doula came, apologizing profusely for not being there when I had him. I told her not to feel that way, that she had been there when I needed her. The rest of the day, I just held him and took as many pictures as my phone’s memory card would allow and more from the camera one of my friends gave to me.
By early evening, I asked to go home, and all blood work came back fine so I was able to be discharged. I gave the baby to the nurse so he could get checked out and she promised to bring him right back. I spent the time getting dressed and talking to my husband and my mother. The nurse came back with him, and said he was 11.2 oz and 10 inches long. My mom arrived to take me home, and commented how beautiful Azriel was. She offered to get my stuff ready so I could spend my last few minutes with my baby. The nurse came back with a memory box and gave it to my mom, since my arms were full. She was a very sweet nurse, but leaving Azriel behind was beyond heart wrenching. It took all I had and DH holding me in bed that night, not to drive back to the hospital and ask for him back. I hope to see him again someday when my time comes.
It’s been over two months and we will always miss our Azriel dearly. This may not make sense, but deep down, I feel Azriel knew what would happen to him and chose to come anyway and for that, I’m not going to let his passing be in vain. I pushed forward for so many things during my pregnancy with him, including wanting a VBAC. That the same drive is pushing me toward get a transabdominal cerclage placed. Unfortunately, I’ve met nothing but opposition from doctors at my hospital about it. I’ve joined support groups who have been a tremendous source of comfort and support, and even found a couple of doctors that would perform a TAC. The hurdle now is paying out of pocket since insurance won’t cover out of state doctors. I owe it to him to protect a sibling that comes along, if we’re lucky enough to conceive again.
You can contact Tiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org.