Mom to Alfonso (Alfy) Anthony
Born into Heaven April 6, 2012
From Shannon’s blog post, Alfonso (Alfy):
It took me almost a full month to type Alfy’s story.
Thursday, April 5, 2012, I had an appointment with my OB. I was 28 weeks pregnant. I remember going to work that day and being so excited for my afternoon appointment, for two reasons. 1) I couldn’t wait to hear Alfy’s (note that at this time we still referred to him as “the baby” because we did not know the sex) heartbeat again and to see how we were progressing. 2) We were doing staff interviews for our summer employees and the appointment meant we had to end interviews early that day. I love my job and even doing the interviews, but interviewing approximately 70 college students in the matter of 5 days can be a bit overwhelming and tiresome at times, especially when you are 28 weeks pregnant. I even missed an interview that afternoon due to a post office/lunch run with one of my hallway friends. Either way, I was excited for my appointment, to learn a little bit more about my kiddo.
I left work at approximately 3:15pm which was cutting it close for my 4:15pm appointment. (I commute approximately 45 miles each way and my OB’s office is located 15 minutes past my house.) My husband and I drove separately that day to ensure that he would be on time to the appointment as well. I got to the office right at 4:15. We went in and waited for a couple of minutes as always. When called back, we went through the usual routine, put my purse in Room 8, step on the scale to see how the weight was coming (I hadn’t put on any weight since my last appointment), pee in the cup, take blood pressure and answer some questions from the nurse.
The nurse asked me if I had been feeling movement from the baby. I told her I thought so but it was different than it was in the beginning. I had actually called the OB’s office almost two weeks earlier (Monday, March 26) to inquire about the movement as it seemed to have changed. The nurse I spoke with told me that the feeling of movements generally change between 26 and 28 weeks due to the size of the baby, which is right where I was. I assumed the nurse had asked me about movement because there was a note in my chart reflecting this phone call.
My OB came in a few minutes later. I laid back on the table and she measured my stomach. She took out the fetal heart rate monitor and started to look for the Alfy’s heartbeat, but she was having a hard time finding it. At this point I can say that I was not concerned. Alfy always had a way of moving during appointments that made him hard to see and/or hear. She suggested we do a quick ultrasound to check on him. We went to the ultrasound room just a few doors down. Even at this point, I still was not concerned. It had never crossed my mind that Alfy, my baby, my kiddo, might be gone.
The tech (a different one than we normally had) came in with my OB and they started the ultrasound. The monitor was turned away from me, but I could still glimpse a part of the screen. I only saw the blue color on the monitor, not the usual the red and blue that showed the pumping of blood. I looked at my OB and the tech. The tech was biting her lip and my OB told us that our baby no longer had a heartbeat. She said that he had been gone for a little while as he had some fluid built up in his abdomen, but she didn’t know how long, just longer than 24 hours. I can not begin to describe the feelings that passed through me at that moment. I looked at my husband and started crying. I started to recount the prior two weeks and asked her if I could have some how prevented it. She told me no and that I had done nothing wrong. They left us alone for a little while. When they came back, my OB told me that due to Alfy’s size I had to deliver him. She wanted to induce me that night and asked if we were comfortable going to a different hospital from the one we had planned on delivering at. She was required to be at that different hospital the following night because of the Easter holiday.
I’m not really sure how long that appointment took. I do know that it was past 5pm when we left because the waiting room was empty as were the hallways. Looking back I am thankful that I always made my appointments at the end of the day because I could not imagine running into another expecting mother during those moments. I drove home after the appointment and Tony went to exchange his work truck for his personal one, the one appointment we drove to separately.
When I got home I sat in my bathroom and cried. I started packing my bag for the hospital. We hadn’t taken any birthing classes yet (we were registered for one the next weekend) so I had no idea what to pack. I decided that it didn’t really matter all that much. I packed some comfy clothes and the essentials. Tony got home about 30 minutes after me, I think. (I don’t really remember at this point.) We made the phone calls to our parents. We talked about names. We already knew the name if the baby was a boy and we picked out a girl name if the baby was a girl. The boy name was harder to discuss…the first born son in Tony’s family is always named after his paternal grandfather, Alfonso Anthony. It was a little after 7pm when we left the house.
Tony and I arrived at the hospital and were checked in by 7:45pm. We got our very own nurse. Her only responsibility was taking care of us for the night. At 9pm I was given a medicine to induce labor and had to lay in bed for 2 hours to allow it to take effect. I started cramping fairly soon after I received the medicine. I knew I was going to get an epidural, but I wanted to try and wait until my parents arrived (they had a 6 hour drive). I was hoping it would be close to midnight or 1am. I got the epidural at approximately 1:30am, my parents arrived at almost the same time. At 2:30am our parents came in and stayed until about 4:30am.
I don’t really remember what was said during our parents’ first visit or what I did during the down time that followed. I know there was lots of crying. In the hospital it was easier to be strong for our family. My water broke at about 10:30am. My parents were just getting to the hospital. I asked to see them for a few moments. Correction, I spoke with my mom and my water broke while my parents were in the room. I remember my dad saying it was a good thing they didn’t take another 5 minutes, and it was. I had a new nurse at this point. She was so sweet, as was the OB resident. They called my regular OB, but she didn’t make it to the hospital for the birth.
I was so scared of the delivery itself, but physically there was no pain, no pain at all. It took about 5 or 6 strong pushes and I delivered my baby. I looked at Tony and asked him if we had a boy. He started crying and I could tell by the look in his eye that we were the sad but proud parents of a little baby boy. Tony started shaking his head yes to confirm what I saw in his eyes. He cut the cord and I asked the doctor to lay Alfy on my chest. Earlier they had asked me if I wanted to hold him right away or if I wanted him to be wrapped up and have on his cap, I didn’t have an answer for them at that moment. Once he was born, it was instinctual, I wanted to hold my son. It was 11:05am on Good Friday.
My placenta did not want to deliver. We had been waiting patiently to see if it would come out on its own. It wouldn’t. My doctor gave me a medicine to help loosen it from my uterine wall. It didn’t work. She gave me another medicine, it didn’t work. She gave me a third medicine, one with absolutely horrendous side effects. She tried massaging and pushing on my stomach to loosen it and get it to come out. It didn’t work. She said there was the option of heading to an OR or waiting a little bit longer. It had been several, miserable hours. I opted for the OR.
Monday we went to the funeral home at 9am. We decided what time Alfy’s funeral would be and made all the arrangements. We had to view the tiny caskets they make for babies. Alfy’s casket was 19 inches long, that’s it, 19 inches. It was white with some gray in it. The funeral home called St. Cecilia’s for us to ask Father Gutsgell to come and pray for Alfy and help lay our son to rest. He was the priest who married Tony and I. Although I am not Catholic, Father Gutsgell has been there for me for spiritual guidance on two of the most important days of my life. After the funeral home we had to go to the cemetery to pick out the location we would lie our child to rest, and will eventually lie in rest ourselves. It’s a beautiful spot. It’s just to the west of a giant tree (I don’t remember what kind right now) and almost to the bottom of a hill.
On Tuesday, April 10, at 1:30pm, Tony and I buried our son, Alfy.
This is not the end of Alfy’s story, just the end of the beginning for him. He will continue to move me in ways I never knew possible and that is how his story will go on.
Shannon blogs at http://thinkingofyoublog.blogspot.com.
You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.