Friday, December 12, 2008

Writing It Down

M. and I are taking things moment to moment. Some are harder than others. We are so, so thankful for the short time we had with Isob*l and Jov*ta (pronounced yo-VEE-ta ) and we are just trying to keep the memory of their lives fresh before planning any formal memorial service. M. is at work today; I am not sure when I will be returning.

Here is a brief account of what actually happened (please, if you’d rather not know, just stop reading now. It may be a little too graphic for some. But it helps for me to write this down.)

Some of you may have known I have been experiencing some cramping during the pregnancy, but nothing out of the ordinary. Those cramps began to increase in strength and frequency Thursday evening and it soon became pretty clear we should head to the hospital to see what was going on. I wasn’t particularly concerned. I assumed they were Braxton-Hicks (fake) contractions, they’d give me some medicine for the pain, I’d head home.

We arrived and I was monitored, but the cramps (contractions) continued to increase and they began to give me some medication to hopefully slow them down. This is where things started to get incredibly painful. When the medicine didn’t seem to be working, the midwife finally came and examined me only to find that my cervix was significantly dilated (8 cm) and "odds of delivery were very high."

My obstetrician and maternal fetal specialists were called in and that’s when news went from bad to worse. An ultrasound showed that the cervix had probably opened due to a uterine infection and Isobel had already started to descend into the birth canal. Not wanting to be left out, Jovi stuck a foot in there too. We would absolutely have to deliver Isobel or risk serious consequences to both me and the babies. The choice now was about saving my life and seeing what, if anything, could be done for Jovita.

We decided to continue the magnesium shots to try to slow contractions and ease the uterus enough to get Jovi out of the birth canal and back into the uterus. If this happened, we could attempt to deliver Isobel, stop labor and tie the cervix together (cerclage) to buy Jovita more time. Even with the cerclage, there was no guarantee Jovita wouldn’t want to be born the next day or the following day. She could be there for a few hours or a few months. I would be on hospitalized bed rest until that time came (which was fine by me).

Hours and hours and hours passed with M. never once letting go of my hand. Contractions remained constant. An amniocentesis was done on Jovita to ensure that the infection hadn’t spread to her sac. It hadn’t. But her little foot was still dangling. I was literally lying on my head in the hopes that gravity would help us out. It didn’t. It was becoming clear that the situation was not going to change for the better. We could either wait for the membranes to burst on their own, or begin delivery and in the words of one doctor, “let nature take its course.”

During this time, legions of doctors and nurses were in and out of the room. One of the visits was from the head of the neonatal unit who came in to give us our odds. At 21 weeks and 6 days, there was really no question of trying to incubate or resuscitate the girls. If they were a few weeks older (23), that might have been an option, but one with less than a 10% chance of survival. That’s just survival, not taking into consideration very real possibilities of lifelong disabilities or issues. If they were a month older (25 weeks), odds would be better. Even if we could save Jovi, we would be taking things day by day, just hoping she hung on long enough to survive on her own.

After 18 hours of labor, it made little sense to continue waiting since the girls wanted to come out. I received an epidural and we went into the O.R.

Isobel was born at 3:37 p.m. Friday afternoon, weighing 14 ounces and measuring 10 inches long. She was placed right into our arms. When she came out, M. exclaimed, “Oh my goodness!” and I immediately thought something was horribly wrong. That wasn’t it at all. She was just so stunningly beautiful, it took his breath away.

The doctor was nearly successful in getting Jovita back into the uterus when her sac broke. She was born 3:57 p.m. at 12.6 ounces and 9.2 inches.

We carried the two girls back to our room with us and spoke to them, caressed them, loved them, as their hearts beat well over two hours. We had so much to say! There were no cords, no tubes or wires in between us and our daughters. It was only them and us.

And now it is just us.


Blue Pearl said...

This is crushing, but also stunningly beautiful.

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing. I know your babies were beautiful. How i wish I could take your pain away and give you your girls in its place. I am so so sorry that i can't.

nancy said...

I can only agree with what Blue Pearl said. ~a thousand hugs~

Amy said...

I just can't stop thinking about you and crying for you and your precious little girls. All they knew was love.

Mo said...

It is extraordinary that you are able to put such articulate words to a loss that is so fresh and enormous. Like Blue Pearl said, you write beautifully.

Sue said...

Thank you for sharing the birth story of your little girls. You did everything you could for them. Please take care of yourself and M.

Summer said...

Thank you for sharing the painful yet beautiful time you had with your girls.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing. You did everything you could for your beautiful daughters, and being with them and holding them are memories you will treasure always.
I am sending love, peace, calm, and lots of hugs.

B's Mom said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It's just heartbreaking, but you tell your story in a wonderful way.

Jess said...

I'm here by way of someone I JUST started lurking on, and I just wanted to say how very sorry I am. Your story brought me to tears.

I'll say a prayer for you and your family.

Ryan's Mommy said...

I am crying while I read this. I'm so, so very sorry for your loss.

Devon said...

i am so sorry....

my twin boys were born at 23 weeks in march and lived 2 and 3 days. like your girls, they needed more time.

i am so very sorry for your loss and the journey you are about to take. be gentle with yourself.

Mary said...

My heart aches for your loss. May you find peace in the love you were able to share with them.

Anonymous said...

I found you through No Swimmers, and I wanted to say that I'm so very sorry. This was a beautiful post, and I'm glad you have photos and memories of your girls. Take care.

Stacie said...

Isobel and Jovita. Their names are truly beautiful, as I am sure they were, too. Beautiful and very much loved--that is evident by this touching post.

I continue to send strength and love your way. Many hugs to you and M.

Skerry said...

Thank you for sharing your girls birth story. I am sad for you but am grateful that you had such beautiful moments together as a family.

Mrs. Spit said...

I'm so sorry. From the bottom of my heart, I wish another woman never had to face this terrible pain.

Sending hugs an care.

Anonymous said...

I feel gutted just reading this. Keeping you and the beautiful girls in my prayers.


C said...

Just know people all over are sharing your pain...hugss

Barbara said...

I come to you via no swimmers and just wanted to offer my hugs and love. I lost my son at 21 weeks in October and I know.

lostintranslation said...

Thank you for sharing. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. You're in my thoughts.

Celia said...

I am so very sorry for your loss.

Unknown said...

I'm so terribly sorry for the loss of your sweet girls. Thank you for sharing the whole story - as difficult as I'm sure it was.

Niki said...

Thank you for sharing the sad and beautiful story of your girls. Your girls are so lucky to have you and your husband as their parents. They lived a short life filled with only love. I am so sorry that they didn't get to live a life time filled with your love.

Losing a baby is one of the worst things to live through, but somehow, some way we manage to survive it. I remember my early days after Myles died and remember not believing that life would ever get better. Wondering if I'd ever smile or laugh again. I will not tell you that it gets better because it doesn't, but you will find a way to live with the daily pain. I wish you strength and healing in the very difficult days ahead. Many hugs to you and your husband!

Jendeis said...

I'm so sorry. But I'm glad that the two of you were able to spend some time with your beautiful girls.

Cara said...

This is so heartbreaking. Please share whatever you feel led to. I cry for you, your husband and your girls. I would be honored to add them to our angel wall - to be remembered and honored by all.

(hugs and tearss)

Somewhat Ordinary said...

What an agonzing yet beautiful birth. I'm so so sorry.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry you have this pain; glad you had the girls in your life if only for the shortest time. My heart goes out to you.

twondra said...

I came from noswimmer's blog. I'm soooo sorry. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

A said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I had read about your loss on L&F and wondered what all you had to go through. You poor thing.

I will be thinking of you. I'm so sorry this happened.

Anonymous said...

Take extra gentle care of each other. My family is praying for yours.

annacyclopedia said...

Thank you for sharing the story of your time with Isobel and Jovita. I'm glad that you had that time to be together as a family, even as I wish a hundred thousand times that you had so much more time to look forward to. Keeping you in my prayers.

Jamie said...

I wish there was something perfect that could be said and I wish I knew what it was.

You are in my thoughts - wishing you peace and strength

Andrea said...

Thank you for sharing the memory of your daughters. I am so very sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments on my blog - I am thinking of you now. I hope you are able to join me in March, and make some sibs for your little girls who left you too soon. Take care.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss, it is heartbreaking. Do the doctors know what caused this uterine infection and were the signs missed earlier? It is so sad.

Waiting Amy said...

I'm glad that at a time of such tragedy you were able to have those beautiful moments of peace with them. Hugs to you both.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love.

There is no other word.

Kami said...

Oh, I am sorry. So very sad for all of you. Thank you for sharing your time with your girls. It is beautiful and heart breaking.

You are in my thoughts. Forgive me for sharing some advice in this moment, but in case you didn't realize - do whatever you need to survive. Your family and friends will understand - or they won't, but you need to do what you need to do. Grieving is different for everyone and it takes as long as it takes.

Julia said...

So sad and beauitful. Thank you for sharing.

loribeth said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I know that, for me, it was cathartic to write it all out. I just wish nobody ever had to tell this kind of story at all. :(

stacyb said...

i don't think i have the words to express or convey my feelings. please know that my heart goes out to you, your husband isobel and jovita.

that they could spend those hours in the arms of the people who love them is a gift.

Anonymous said...

peter gabriel:
It was only one hour ago
It was all so different then
Theres nothing yet has really sunk in
Looks like it always did
This flesh and bone
Its just the way that you would tied in
Now theres no-one home

I grieve for you
You leave me
so hard to move on
Still loving whats gone
They say life carries on
Carries on and on and on and on

The news that truly shocks is the empty empty page
While the final rattle rocks its empty empty cage
And I cant handle this

I grieve for you
You leave me
Let it out and move on
Missing whats gone
They say life carries on
They say life carries on and on and on

Life carries on
In the people I meet
In everyone thats out on the street
In all the dogs and cats
In the flies and rats
In the rot and the rust
In the ashes and the dust
Life carries on and on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on

Its just the car that we ride in
A home we reside in
The face that we hide in
The way we are tied in
And life carries on and on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on

Did I dream this belief?
Or did I believe this dream?
Now I can find relief
I grieve

Anonymous said...

I grieve with you, M, and your angel girls. Heartbreaking, loving, awful, and beautiful. My tears and thoughts are with you.

Reba said...

Hi, I just found your blog today. I too lost twins to preterm labor--they were born several weeks' gestation before your little girls. I am so glad you and your hubby knew joy with them while they were alive, and I am so very sorry they are not with you now, as they should be.

Anonymous said...

I had to come here after reading the most wonderful comment you left for me. Thank you thank you thank you.

I know now that there IS hope to not feel this crushing loss forever. That I will be able to move on.

Your story about losing your girls is beautiful, while heartwrenching, and I just had to say thank you for sharing it. It is HUGELY comforting to me to know that someone who actually KNOWS how I feel is out there, and we can be there for each other in this time.

Again, thank you.

Julie said...

I came across your blog from a comment on "Little bluebirds fly". I am so very sorry for the loss of your precious little girls. Reading through their birth story, it was like I was reading my own. So much of your story is just like mine...the way it started with the cramping...not being worried about heading to the hospital...the progression while there...not having a camera of our own...the shock...the grief.

It was 5 years ago this January...if you would like you can learn more about my babies here (pictures are included):

Know that my heart is hurting for you...praying for you today and remembering your precious daughters.

"Hope is what happens as long as we breathe...for although it takes time, the sorrow will ease."

Just keep breathing...there is always hope!

Anonymous said...

I'm busy reading through your whole blog from start to finish, and found this post. I'm so terribly sorry you had to go through this, it's absolutely heart breaking.