Sunday, December 4, 2011

The 4th of December: The day our world stopped

Memories Nightmares from the 4th of December:

I was remembering how last year I had woken up in the guest room because that's where I used to sleep when I was having trouble falling asleep. Brian woke me up as he was leaving for work since I had my scheduled NST at the hospital. I remember being worried that I couldn't feel her, but was sure after my breakfast and a shower things would be good.

I had orange juice and nothing happened. I think that was when I really started to worry.

I was talking with Addison and begging her to move. Almost feeling something even though I knew it was something I must have made up. My stomach felt different, heavier maybe, I'm not sure. I remember I even tried bargaining with her. If you move we will pick a name for you like this name___________ or this one__________??? Nothing was working.

I got ready as quickly as possible and left for my appointment, but not before loading up 2 of my 3 dogs in my car to take with me because on top of everything we were having new carpet installed in our living room that day. I left my old dog at home, but took the two younger ones. The drive was eerie. I just remember telling myself that babies move less in the end and I was giving myself excuses to worry and I needed to calm down.

I kept telling myself that if I REALLY was worried I wouldn't have let Brian go to work and I wouldn't have brought 2/3 of my herd with me to the hospital. I was being dramatic and just needed to get to that NST as soon as possible so the nurse could find Addison's heartbeat and tell me what a crazy first-time parent I was.

In the middle of all my crazy thoughts, my sister called me and I remember being short with her. I get short with people when I am worried or avoiding tears. She asked if I wanted her to come with me to the appointment since Brian couldn't. I told her no, that I was already in the parking lot and that it would just be a quick one and then I would be done. I hung up with her, told the dogs to be good and ran into the hospital as fast as I could.

I had only ever been to Labor and Delivery through the back way and couldn't remember how to get there. I got myself turned around and wound up asking some lady with a badge on for help. She was walking there herself and brought me the rest of the way. She turned out to be a chaplain. I thought I would be able to go straight in, but the lady made me register at the front desk. I had already done the "pre-registration" online, but apparently that did me no good because she basically ran through all the same questions. I just remember wishing she would stop talking and let me through those doors to my appointment. I was getting more worried by the second. I remember she was nice, but annoyed me by taking so long.

She finally finished and pressed the button to open the big doors into L&D. There were nurses waiting and pointed me in the direction I needed to go. One nurse was waiting for me, Dodie. I had never met her before, I honestly don't remember my first impression of her because I was in such a hurry to hear Addison. I had my trusty Starbucks cup of water and she praised me for being so good about drinking my water. She decided she wanted a urine sample before we got started. She asked me if I would be able to pee and I laughed because my answer was "I always have to pee". I told her I was anxious to get started because it was now about 10:15am and I hadn't felt the baby and that wasn't normal for her. She brushed it off confirming that babies move less in the end with less room in there for them.

I think I did my urine sample in record time and I may have even skipped washing my hands just because I was so worried...can't remember though. That part is fuzzy. I laid down in the little room on the table, pulled my shirt up and she started to look and look and look.

I could feel my heart rate increase the longer it took. Addison had ALWAYS been easy to find, it never took any time at all to hear her. She asked me where the nurses normally found her at and I showed her. For a second she whispered "there she is" I started to relax a little and then she seemed to keep searching. I was hearing little things, but now I know it was always my heartbeat she was finding.

Finally she said that this wasn't a very good machine and that she would get the better one...I believed her. When that one didn't work, she blamed herself, said she wasn't very good at this and would get someone who was good at finding stubborn babies. She almost had me convinced that Addison was just positioned in a way that was making it difficult. When the new person came in, she didn't find her right away either. It was then I asked Dodie if I needed to call my husband. She said no, said things were going to be okay. I was worried, but I believed her.

Dodie asked me what my husband's phone number was, I rattled off numbers in between sobs. She came back in when that number went to voicemail (I later figured out I had given her my phone number not Brian's). I tried to tell her his work number and barely got it out.  I remember wishing she didn't have to call him because his life was about to be ruined forever. She came back in and asked for any other family numbers. I gave her my mom and dad's number, but told her she needed to ask for my mom, my mom is the best at handling emergencies and I knew my dad would be too worried to function if it were him to get the news.

After the phone calls I was still wailing. She climbed into bed with me and held me tight. I was soaking wet from tears and snot, but that didn't detour her one bit. She held her head close to mine and never flinched at the wailing noises coming out of me. She told me that she didn't tell Brian or my family what happened, just that I needed them to come to the hospital.

It felt like Brian was there immediately, but it was at least 15 minutes of uncontrollable crying before he got there. He works close to the hospital, but first went to my OB's office and then to the ER before getting to L&D. He wasn't told exactly where I was, but man he wasted no time finding me. He later told me once he got into L&D he could hear me wailing all the way down the hallway. That's when he knew something was VERY wrong. He came into the room looked at me and looked at the doctor and just said "really". The doctor said to him that there was no cardiac activity. Dodie got out of bed with me and Brian climbed in. We held each other and bawled.

After a little while we were moved to a private room (I was probably upsetting other patients with my noise level of crying). My parents came into the room not long after. They hugged us, but I don't remember what was said. We sat there in silence (aside from the sounds of crying). My mom told me later that I had both arms wrapped protectively around my belly, like I was holding Addi as tightly as possible.

Our doctor came back in and cried with us. He told us how sorry he was for us. Brian even got him a tissue. He gave us the option of inducing or going home to wait for natural labor. We both didn't want to go home so they started everything immediately. Dr. B also told us that from this point out we called the shots and whatever we wanted to happen would be how things went. We didn't know what to ask for, but it was nice he let us feel like we had some power in an otherwise powerless position.

I changed into the hospital gown and got into the bed. Taking off my clothes felt strange and putting them into that bright green hospital bag felt even stranger. By this time my mom had called my siblings and more people were starting to arrive. Brian was still right next to me, he never left my side.

At some point I realized the dogs were in my car and asked that my brother and sister take my car and the dogs home. My brother Alex pretty much took care of the dogs the whole time we were in the hospital going back and forth to make sure everything was okay. I asked my sister Alisa to grab my hospital bag, Addison's diaper bag and the camera bag...they were all packed and ready to go as we were hoping for labor to come at any time. Last minute I asked that she also bring Addison's Christmas dress, fluffy butt tights, black patten leather shoes, dress coat and headband as it occurred to me she would never have the chance to wear the outfit my mom and I had so carefully selected if it were left at home.

I think in a moment that my parents left the room to make some calls is when I looked at Brian and said she has to have a name. We had said from the beginning that Addison was our favorite and it seemed only right for her to have it. My original thought that I needed to SEE her before naming her no longer made sense, she was always Addison. We also agreed that her middle name would be Brian's mom's name, Eloise. Addison Eloise, it was only her name to have.

I got the epidural very shortly after that as they wanted me in the least physical amount of pain as possible. I had been scared about that part before, but remember thinking it didn't hurt like I thought it would.

As each new family member/friend came into the room, I cringed. All with "sad eyes" giving me "that look", but all I could do was look down, trying to avoid eye contact. It felt like welcoming them each to my failure, knowing that because I couldn't keep Addi safe that all of their hearts would forever be broken as well. I know that's not how they felt, but it's what I was thinking.

I can't give you a time line because time was something that didn't register in that room, it felt like an eternity and an instant all at the same time. I would have to pull my medical records (which I have) to tell you for sure when things happened.

I know that at some point the epidural failed to work on my left side and the pain was intense. I know it took forever to get the next one and in the meantime they wanted to give me morphine. I was against it as I have never taken anything stronger than a NyQuil (yes, seriously). Eventually my family convinced me to take the morphine only because it was too hard for me to watch them watch me hurt (follow that)!?!? Turns out I should have stuck to my guns because it didn't help me sleep or take away the pain, it took away my ability to function normally. Before, Brian was coaching me through the contractions (like a champ) and I was breathing through them.  It also didn't help that EVERYONE kept touching me. I really only wanted Brian to touch me, but I felt responsible for their pain and kept thinking if it made them think they were helping by holding onto me then I couldn't ask them to stop. Some of the contractions were so intense I had to close my eyes. Brian would tap out the breaths on arm, which was great until someone else or a couple someone elses started doing it too, made it SO hard to concentrate I wanted to scream! Morphine made it so I couldn't control my breathing or my words. At one point I was trying to say something that made sense to me, but no one could understand me, they kept asking me to repeat it and I just started crying.

It was a bizarre feeling, I would be hurting and falling asleep all at the same time, but not enough to make the pain less, just enough that it made everything even more difficult.

Sometime after midnight Dr. B told Brian to send our family home. He said we were at least 8 hours away from delivery and that we should all try and sleep. I told everyone to go home (except for Brian), but a few stubborn ones refused to leave. My brother and sister slept on the make shift couch/bed, Sarah (my 6 foot friend) slept on two chairs pushed together and Brian slept in the chair next to me.

Our nurse was away and a nurse we had never seen before came in, she offered pillows, blankets and best of all a rolling bed for Brian! It was super low and crappy, but way better than the chair. We continued holding hands even with the height difference in our beds and every time I made a noise he was there with a tissue, an ice cube or chap stick (really the only things I could have).

So that was the end of the 4th of December for us, not the end of labor or anywhere close to the end of this heart ache, but the end of the very worse day of our lives.


  1. This just breaks my heart and it is because I know the exact pain, confusion, and fear you are talking about...days and dates that will never be able to be replaced. My thoughts and prayers to you on this day!!!

  2. Lots of tears here for you, Kelleen. It's just so unfair, and I'm so sorry. Sending you much love today and remembering Addie.

  3. Oh my.

    I know the heartbreaking outcome as I was experiencing almost in real-time with you over here in IL, but my heart was still skipping a beat when I read those words again.

    I'm so happy you had such great people taking care of you and Addi.