Mom to Gia Elizabeth
Born still August 28, 2012
Cape Coral, Florida
I was 21. I was a single girl just living life. I wasn’t trying to conceive, in fact, I was trying to avoid getting pregnant. I found out I might be pregnant on January 7, 2012 when I realized my period was late. On January 8th I went to Gia’s dad’s house and we got a pregnancy test. Before I even peed on it, I knew I was pregnant. I knew something wasn’t right in my body. I could tell things were different. I remember in the week before and until I took the pregnancy test I had this queasy, uneasy feeling in my stomach. As soon as I saw the + on the pregnancy test, the feeling in my stomach went away. I had figured it out, I was pregnant. I immediately had to leave Jeff’s house and go see my mom. I got home and ran into her room. I was scared to tell her. “Mom, I think I might be pregnant.” “Jenna, are you serious? When was your last period? We have to go get a pregnancy test.” I told her I had already taken one and it was positive. We left to go to the beach and on our way we picked up 4 tests. We walked down the beach with the dogs and talked, it was then and there that I knew I was going to keep the baby. It was the beginning of the rest of my life. I was going to be a mom!
The next 7 months were amazing. I never felt better in my life! I never had morning sickness, my blood pressure was always perfect, never got swollen feet and even my back felt great. Mentally I felt just as good, I embraced every feeling and every emotion that this pregnancy brought me! All of my doctor’s appointments went perfect, her heartbeat always so strong. I measured perfect every appointment and towards the end she was head down, ready to go!
I decided pretty early on in my pregnancy that I wanted a completely natural birth. By that I don’t mean just a vaginal delivery. I didn’t want to be induced and I didn’t want pain medicine. I wanted to give Gia the most natural and easy transition earth-side as I could. I didn’t want her umbilical cord cut right away, and I wanted to breastfeed as soon as I could.
At first I was seeing an OBGYN and was planning to have her in the hospital. When I was around 33wks I went over some of my birth plans with my OB and immediately realized that the things I wanted for MY birth were not going to be met by my doctor. I had a nightmare about my birth, with the doctor pushing lots of drugs on me and not following any of my wishes. It was then that I knew I wanted to switch to a midwife. I decided to go to Baby Love Birth Center and finish the rest of my pregnancy and birth in the water with control over my baby’s birth. At 36wks I had my first appointment at the birth center. I couldn’t have been happier with my decisions.
I had my 39wk appointment on August 22 and opted to get checked to see if I was progressing at all yet. I was about 50% effaced and 1cm dilated. Her heartbeat was strong as usual and I was feeling good. Hurricane Isaac was in the gulf and expected to hit SWFL sometime that week. I was a little nervous that I would go into labor in the middle of a hurricane and not be able to make it to the birth center. My midwife assured me everything would be alright. My nesting was in over drive and I was ready for my baby to be here!
We were told the hurricane would hit on Sunday night, so on Saturday I went to the grocery store to stock up on water and food. I was pretty busy all day doing things and getting ready for Gia’s arrival. I decided to take a bath around 10:00pm and just relax. I realized while in the bathtub that I hadn’t felt Gia move in a while. I got out of the bathtub, but wasn’t really worried. I called my brother and told him that I hadn’t felt her move and asked if he thought I should go to the hospital. He told me if I thought I should go then I should go. I said she was probably just sleeping and I was tired myself so I went to bed. My mom got home in the morning before I was awake and she came into my room. I told her, still half asleep, that I didn’t think Gia had moved in a while. She told me to e-mail my midwife. I labeled the subject as “movement” and e-mailed her this:
“Hey Sam, it’s Jenna. I’m not sure I felt my baby move in a while. I noticed last night and then I ended up falling asleep and didn’t feel her at all. Is there anything I should do to get her moving to ease my mind?”
Then I fell back asleep. I woke up again and drank a cold Gatorade. When I got her e-mail back she said, “Hopefully she is already moving, but a cold drink usually does it.” Immediately I messaged her back saying, “Should my mom be able to hear her heartbeat through a stethoscope? I drank Gatorade and I still haven’t really felt anything. Should I be worried?” She then told me to meet her at the birth center and we’d check her out. I rushed in the car and headed there. I wasn’t really worried at that point but I knew I didn’t feel right. Little did I know what I was going to find out there was going to change me for the rest of my life.
My mom and I got to the birth center and Sam (my midwife) arrived a few minutes later. We walked inside and I told her that I still hadn’t felt her move. I’ll never forget what happened next. I lay down on the table and before she put the Doppler to my belly I was smiling and said, “This has never happened to me before.” Right when she put the Doppler on to my belly, I knew. I didn’t want to believe it, and I couldn’t believe it, but I knew. There were no swishy sounds that I had grown to love so much, and there was no heartbeat. It was silent, almost empty sounding. I heard Sam’s voice, “Oh, Jenna, oh, no, Jenna.” She ran into the other room to turn the ultrasound machine on. I couldn’t process what was going on. I was blank. My mind felt empty. Could this really be happening? Sam came back in and tried the Doppler again, still silent. Sam said, “Oh, shit. I’m so sorry. So, so sorry.” That was the first out of hundreds of “I’m sorry’s” that I heard. We went into the ultrasound room just to make sure her heart really wasn’t beating anymore. I sat down and Sam checked with the ultrasound. Her heart was still. Sam called her husband, who is an OB, to come over just to triple check but we all knew. My mom called my dad, then her friend, Brenda, who lived across the street to come to the birth center. While we were waiting for Dr. George, my friend Shannon texted me, “Are you in labor yet, dude?” She would ask me every day. I called her and the words came out of my mouth. “My baby’s dead.” Tears started rolling down my face.
Dr. George arrived and checked again on the ultrasound. She had no heartbeat. He thought he saw the cord wrapped around neck. I was given the option to go to the hospital and get induced right away or I could go home and go to the hospital whenever I was ready. I chose the latter. We were supposed to have a hurricane that night and I didn’t want my dogs to be alone. I was also not ready to let go. I figured out later that I was never going to be ready to let go and it was just something I had to do. I went home and Brenda came with us. The rest of that day is kind of blurry. I know a few people were in and out of my house. I was scared, devastated and confused. I remember feeling so empty inside. I could feel that her soul had left us. My belly wasn’t as hard anymore. So many thoughts were going through my head. My body had failed my baby. I was supposed to keep her alive and I failed. My brother booked a plane ticket as soon as he heard and he would be arriving Monday night. My dad also got a plane ticket and he was arriving Tuesday morning. I needed my dad here to be able to hold his first grandbaby. I was told it could take up to 3 days after induction for her to actually be birthed. I decided that the best time to get everything started was Monday night.
I got to the hospital at 10pm. The hospital put me in a big room, away from all the mothers who were birthing their live babies. I came to the hospital with the same bags that I had packed for weeks. I got changed into my pajamas and the nurse drew some blood and got my heplock put in. At about 11pm Sam inserted Cervidil inside of me to ripen my cervix. Cervidil is a 12hr medication and Sam was going to come back in the morning to see if I needed another dose or if we could then start the Pitocin to start my contractions. My brother arrived to the hospital around 11:30pm and brought me Denny’s. I could barely eat. A woman from a local “crunchy” Facebook group I’m on brought us fruits, veggies, teas and a blanket that her kids were wrapped in when they were babies. I was able to eat lots of the fruit. I ended up falling asleep sometime after that. I woke up at 8am to my water breaking. The contractions started right away. My body was ready, it was working. I didn’t need Pitocin or anymore Cervidil. I tried to get to that place of relaxation, from my hypno-birthing, where I found such peace for the last few months. It was so dark. All my thoughts, hopes and dreams have been shattered and my baby is dead. Why wouldn’t it be dark? I was very uncomfortable and I couldn’t find a place where I felt good. The nurse gave me a little bit of morphine and it was terrible. It didn’t ease my pain at all, just made my eyes close and my head fall. I wanted that feeling to go away and luckily it wore off pretty quick. I denied any more. I kept leaking fluid and it would feel like I was peeing myself, it made me constantly tense. My mom finally rolled up a towel and put it in my underwear. That was the first step to my comfort. Then it gets blurry again. Next thing I know my dad and my good friend Angie are there with me. I’m not sure if Sam got there before or after Angie or my dad. I finally just lay down on the bed and there is where I stayed until around 2 a.m. My contractions continued to get more intense and they would hit me two in a row and then I would get a break. The second one was always less intense than the first. I was finally able to get into my hypno-birthing state of mind. I was on the bed and my dad was on one side, holding my hand. Angie was on the other side of the bed she was holding my hand as well. She talked me through every contraction and she knew when each one started and when it finished. If it wasn’t for Angie, I’m sure I would have never made it how I did.
Since my birth plan was no longer necessary, I didn’t want to feel my body working to get my baby out, but the hospital had other plans. They took my blood pretty early in the morning to check my clotting factors, a necessary procedure before receiving an epidural. By the time the blood work came back and I had received enough IV fluids, the anesthesiologist must have been having complications in another room because it took hours for him to get to me. I finally got the epidural around 4:45pm. That was the first time I could open my eyes in hours. I got a catheter put in and Sam checked me, I was already 8cm dilated. I was able to talk again and be part of conversation in the room. Brenda, Sean, Angie, mom and dad were all still there. Another woman came to the hospital to drop off baked ziti and another came later and brought subs and chips. I was hungry. I snuck and ate some baked ziti and fruit even though I wasn’t supposed to eat anything after receiving the epidural. The epidural never fully took the contractions away and within no time I was already not able to talk through them again. Sam called the anesthesiologist,but this time a different one came and gave me more. He told me he was giving me extra and that he was so sorry about what happened. I wanted extra, I liked that doctor. I was so numb that I couldn’t feel anything and I couldn’t move one leg. Around 6:45 Sam checked me again, this time I was ready to push. I asked her if I had to right now. She said no, but she’s coming so I needed to soon. My brother and Brenda opted to leave while I pushed. I didn’t want them to but I didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable. My brother came back in the room a few minutes later very teary eyed. He said he wanted to stay with me. I was very happy to have my brother there. He was holding my right hand sitting on one side of the bed, my dad was on the other side and holding my left hand. My mom and Angie each held one of my legs. It felt so good to have people I love supporting me. I started pushing around 7pm but was so numb that I couldn’t feel anything and couldn’t really push well. It was going to take hours with how numb I was to get her out so the staff decided to use the vacuum to help her. At 7:29, with the help of a vacuum, Gia Elizabeth made her way out. There was no cord around her neck and no signs that it ever was.
I wanted the staff to take her to another room and clean her off and dress her before I saw her. They did, and everyone else saw her first. A photographer came and took lots of pictures of my beautiful daughter and my family. When I was finally ready to meet her, my mom brought her in to me wrapped in blankets I had picked out for her and a head band we got months before. I could no longer be strong. I broke down. My perfect, 7lb 4oz baby looked so peaceful. I smelled her and kissed her on the cheek. She had so much black hair. I put my finger in her hand and her limp little fingers fell perfectly on mine like I had always imagined they would. Gia Elizabeth Godar was born a day before her due date. The nurses brought in a warmer so she could stay with me until I left the hospital. Eventually everyone left except my mom. I held my baby for a very long time and finally put her in the warmer. It was very hard to fall asleep because I knew this was the only night for the rest of my life that I will be able to sleep next to my daughter. The next morning I woke up pretty early and was ready to go home. We said our goodbyes to my baby and a nurse took her away. I’m so thankful I got to spend that time with Gia and I’m so happy my mom said to keep her in the room with us all night. I will cherish the few memories I got the chance to make with my baby girl forever.
Now I’m left here, a month later, trying to put the pieces of my life back together. We still don’t have any answers as to what happened to my Gia. I’ve come a long way in just a month but my journey has still just begun. I’m trying to find my way to a new normal and be able to have a smile on my face again. The day Gia died is the day a big piece of me died, too. My life will never be the way it once was, but I can’t give up. I have hope for my future and I have hope that I’ll see my daughter someday again, too. Thanks for reading my daughter’s story and I hope to be able to help other moms realized they’re not alone.
You can contact Jenna at JGodar25@gmail.com.