Today marks 2 months since I found out about my baby’s passing. It also marks what
should be would have been the beginning of my 27th week of pregnancy. My estimated due date was August 4, 2009. That’s exactly three months away from today. That’s exactly 5 months after Louie and I sat in the genetic counselor’s office with his mom and heard the doctor’s words, “I’m sorry, but the baby has passed away.”
Honestly, even though I knew from the expressions of the ultrasound technician and the radiologist that something was very wrong, I did not anticipate those words. As she spoke, the words stopped at “passed” and my mind tried to scramble for any other word of except “away.” But the pause didn’t last long and the two words stuck together and my baby was dead.
My baby, whom I loved and carried and yearned for and waited for and prayed for, was gone from me.
She said that our baby had serious birth defects. She said the words body-wall complex. Louie asked if that was different from the amniotic bands. She said that they were interrelated.
She told me that it was dangerous for the baby to stay inside me. She told me I had two options. One was an outpatient procedure. The other required being admitted to the hospital. But she wasn’t sure about one of them. The first was a D&E – Dilation and Extraction. This is what she told me:
- It is an outpatient procedure.
- It is takes two visits.
- They would have to put seaweed sticks inside me, which will cause me to dilate.
- I would have to come back in, and they would remove everything from my uterus.
- When they remove my baby there is a chance it won’t come out whole.
- Since the baby has already died, they are not worried about that.
As she described this procedure to me, I felt my world break apart. I wanted to die. I wanted to tell her to let me keep my baby inside me and just let me die. I had never before felt such a sincere desire for death.
But I am not dead. Through His grace, I am saved.
When I first started researching amniotic band syndrome, I read the story of a couple who lost their baby and chose to induce labor and deliver their child. I never knew that was possible, and I thought to myself, if ever it came to that, I would want to make that same choice. Dr. Hopkin’s gave me that choice. I truly believe that second option saved me, because, for me, there was no other way.
When she first told us that she wasn’t sure about one of my options, that she had to look into it, I was afraid she would tell me that being admitted to delivery my baby may not be possible. But through God’s creation, it was the D&E that was questionable. Because, through ultrasound, they discovered I had a double uterus and a double cervix. Because, through God’s will, as I was forming in the womb, the two tubes that were supposed to fuse and create my one uterus did not fuse together and created my duplicate uterus instead.
I was given that set of ultrasound pictures on December 2, 2008. That’s when my fear of having an ectopic pregnancy was alleviated, as the ultrasound technician showed me my baby and said, “The pregnancy is in the left uterus.” I had gone in because of cramping and spotting that had been going on for 2 weeks. They weren’t sure if I was miscarrying, and they did not give me a picture of my tiny, tiny baby. Instead they gave me these, and even though I can’t point him out, I consider this to be my first picture of my baby.
So, as Much as My Tender Heart is Still Broken, I Can Be Thankful
As I remember that day two months ago, even as tears pour out and streak my face and hands, even I as find myself dizzied by grief, I can find goodness in that – the most devastating day of my existence. Because, even though that was when I was told that my baby, flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood, my reason, my light, my love had died inside of my womb…. I was given a gift. I was allowed to choose how my baby would leave my body. And from that choice, I was able to deliver my son into this world, to learn that he was a boy, to give him the name his daddy and I had chosen, and to hold him in my arms. Yes, God had other plans than to grant my fervent petitions to allow me to bring Calvin Phoenix into this world so that Louie and I could raise our him. But still, He blesses us.