Finding Self Care on the Journey of Grief — Part Four
And just like that … the worst
Work on June 5thwas just like every other day, except that it wasn’t. My nagging thought and feeling kept coming back. I had told my husband hours earlier that I would be calling the doctor when they opened just to see what they say. I never really wanted him to worry. I am not one to want others, including my husband, to worry about me. So, when I finally called is was about 10:30 am – it was the call that would start my world into crumbling action as it changed everything in an instant.
The nurse on the other end was not the one I had just days before. It was the nurse that I typically always see prior to seeing my doctor. She is a tell it like it is, no nonsense nurse. Loving and compassionate but not one to sugar coat things. I like that. It is how I am so I think that is why I like her.
As I explained what was going on and my worries, she asked me a question that changed me forever … “how many kicks in the last hour according to your kick chart and how does that differ from the previous days?” My nurse from Monday never mentioned a single thing about a kick chart or monitoring movements. I had no idea.
My response was … with lots of confusion and fear …. “what do you mean? Kick chart? I have no idea what you are talking about. All I know is that I have not felt him move and he is typically pretty active”.
And then silence … on both of our sides. The silence seemed to last forever. It seemed like hours but was probably just a few seconds. Quickly broken by “I think we should have you head over to the hospital and get on some monitors. I will give them a call and let them know you are on your way.”
We hung up. I sat for a moment and processed this brief conversation. I opened my office door and walked over to my school nurse’s office. Looking her in the face and said “I have to go.” Her looked made me think I should add more to this. Understandably, I left out some major details about why I had to leave.
And that is when what felt like I had an electric shock run through my body occurred. My brain sending a signal to everything else telling it to get ready for the worst. This is not going to be good. I had to sit down.
I explained it all and shared that I was going to go get on the monitors to be sure everything is ok. I went over to my principal to share that I needed to leave. I know there were a few teachers and staff that saw me. I know they said some reassuring things at the time, which I will forever be grateful for since these were the words that allowed me the ability to drive my car to the hospital all by myself.
I called my parents on the way to the hospital. Trying so desperately not to cry or freak out. It was a misty, dreary day. I just wanted to be sure to get there safely. I had to. I had a baby in my belly that everything had to be ok with and I could not get into an accident and jeopardize that. Luckily, both of my parents were home and were able to meet me at the hospital – “drive safe and we will see you there.”
I called my husband at work to let him know what was going on, not to worry, and I would call him later with everything. If you have ever met my husband, he is one of those laid-back guys. If he was truly stressed, others would never really notice. He is also very private so he would never actually share his stress, worries, fears, etc. with anyone, ever. I can only imagine what it was like to be at his work after he got that call.
Upon arriving at the hospital, I chose to park my car myself instead of using the valet. Don’t ask me why but it was just something I felt I needed to do. Something I could control when everything felt like it was spiraling out of control. I waited until my parents arrived so we could walk in together. I was petrified to walk in by myself.
After checking in, we walked to the elevator to upstairs to labor and delivery. I am not sure if we even really talked. I am sure my mom was holding my hand. Holding her baby’s hand. Hoping and praying that her worst fears for her daughter were not coming true.
Everyone was all smiles when we got there. I think they have to be that way. They have to put on that “everything was ok” look when dealing with women with crazy pregnancy hormones all day. They settled me into a room that they do all their monitoring and labor and delivery admitting. To this day, I know exactly what room and it still freaks me out. When I went in one day for monitoring with my pregnancy with my son Logan, they tried to have me in that room. I froze for several seconds. Trying not to cry before I asked for a different room. After getting a confused look at the time, I shared that this was the room I got the worst news of my life in. Sorry but not sorry, I just can’t risk being in this room.
They asked my parents to wait outside as they got me settled. While I received some of the best care ever, I am forever pissed about this. My parents were there with me for a reason, not just because they came along for the ride but because I needed them no matter what the news was going to be. My husband was not there because he was working. I needed there support now more than ever.
In comes the portable ultrasound machine to get the heartbeat and check to make sure everything is ok. And as we (the nurse, tech, and I) all watch the screen, they start pointing things out to me. Here is his spine (no shit, I can see that!). Here is his head (yup, I can see that as well). But no sound. I thought for sure they did not have the sound up and that is why I could not hear anything but this was not the case.
They stared at the screen. Taking turns looking at each other. Then one of them left and I learned moments later that is was to go get the doctor on call. I am laying in a bed alone and waiting wanting my husband, wanting my parents, wanting someone to hold my hand because this ultrasound was different than all the others. When the doctor arrived, she smiled at me but it was one of those smiles that you could tell that something was up. My heart was racing. I was sure that everyone could hear it. I felt a lump in my throat. I fought the tears that were welling up in my eyes. I kept telling myself “everything is going to be ok. It has to be.”
Now while I remember vividly so much of the day, there is a short period of time where things are a blur and it happens right now. The doctor on call turns to me and says “I am so sorry there is no heartbeat.” I am sure she started to say other things but my brain just starts to shut down and those are the last words I remember for a little while.
Alone, I cry.
I think there may have even been some guttural moans that came out of me. My mom came in and cried with me. Held me. Did not let go of me. Crying with me. Her baby just lost her baby.
My dad had to do the hardest thing that I think he ever had to do. He had to call my husband. My husband who was still at work, knowing his wife was at the hospital but assuming everything was going to be ok. And as I am told, my dad was trying to do everything possible not to tell my husband what was fully going on so that he would get to the hospital safely. But my husband, who is just as stubborn if not more than me, demanded to know what was going on before he left to get on the road. So, over the phone, my husband found out from my father that his baby no longer had a heartbeat. His baby boy was no longer alive.
I was immediately admitted and labor induced. I have heard that parts of the induction can be very painful. In reality, I have no clue. My whole-body shutdown and into is own survival/preservation mode. I was already in so much emotional and mental pain that there was no way I could feel the physical pain. IVs were a pain. Always have been. But when your body goes into this place that mine did, IVs are horrendous. When I was discharged on June 7th, my hands were black and blue from all the sticks. I think it was about 4 sticks in each hand trying to get the IV in before the anesthesiologist was able to get it in. My hands hurt but that pain was quickly wiped away by the pain in my heart. The unbearable pain of sadness and disbelief.
A World Crushed and Crumbling In Part Five