…and a couple more days thrown in for good measure.
This past week has been such a blur. So much has happened in such a small span of time that I hardly know where to begin. I guess the beginning is the best place to start. Now I know that I started this blog to write about all my crafting ideas but for the next short while I will be using it to get out all my thoughts about the miscarriage. And to keep it all straight I’m going to write in bullet point format today.
Saturday July 25- We drove up to Sacramento to pick my mom up at the airport then we headed straight back home. On the way up there we needed to stop at Target for some eye drops because I had cried till my eyes were completely dry. While walking through the store I turned too soon and went right through the baby stuff. I couldn’t hold back the tears. I watched as people stared at this very pregnant women crying in the baby isle. If only they had known that my womb was no longer a home but a grave. I quickly found Ben and we left as quickly as possible. By the time we got back home it was time to put the kids to bed. I was so tired but I just couldn’t go to bed. It was around 1230 before I went to bed but I did not sleep more than 3 hours the whole night. Sunday July 26th- We didn't go to church, I just couldn't be there talking to everyone, hearing the "I'm sorry's" and seeing the sadness in others eyes. I slept in till about 930, took a shower, hoping it would help me feel better. It didn't. I spent a large part of the morning looking up information on Crematories in the area and trying to find prices. I didn't call anyone because I couldn't talk at all about it. I felt so disheartened when I could only find prices for adult cremations which were $500-$800. I just couldn't see anyone charging that much for such a tiny little body. All through the weekend I went in and out of denial and acceptance. I mean, how could I truly accept that my baby was gone when he was still inside my womb? I could feel his tiny little body; I couldn't believe that his heart was not beating. And I believe in miracles and was praying for one for my family. I spent about 3 hours in bed during the afternoon. Ben asked me if I thought that being in bed was the best thing for me and of course I said “YES!” I didn’t know if it truly was the BEST thing for me to do but it was the only thing I wanted to do. I finally got up and reluctantly we went out to eat. I hated walking around with my pregnant belly looking extremely sad. Once again I found myself in Target this time avoiding the baby department completely; we needed diapers so I sent Ben to grab those while mom and I went to the toys with the kids.
After putting the boys to bed Ben and I were watching Love finds a Home (the last movie/book in the Love Comes Softly series) and at the end the heroin tells her husband that she is pregnant and as they began to walk off, he starts talking about baby names and one of the names (though I'm not sure that he actually said it or if it was just what God wanted me to hear) was Jasper. I looked over at Ben and told him that I liked that name and he said that he could live with Jasper. Now I know this might sound strange but hearing that name allowed me to accept that my little Gilbert Ryan was in heaven with our Lord. See, just the day before we found out that Gilbert was gone and a day after I had last hear his heart; God gave us the name Gilbert for him. Though we weren’t totally sure that we would name him Gilbert Thursday we were sure on Friday afternoon. In the Bible God often named his children or changed their names, i.e. Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel, and when David's son (borne of Bathsheba) died God sent Nathan to David and told him that he was to name the child Jedidiah because God loved him. Well hearing the name Jasper was like God promising a future child for us, which gave me hope to move forward and to truly give Gilbert Ryan (bright promised Prince) over into the hands of the Father. I’ll tell you more about Jasper in a little while.
Monday July 27th- I went to the doctor at 9 in the morning and she really wanted me to go right up to L&D and start the induction process. I was still thinking that I really wanted to wait till Tuesday to start everything because there were still things that needed to be taken care of. And for the most part she was okay with me waiting but when we did another ultrasound to confirm his death we saw a blood clot on the uterine side of the placenta. Now it didn't seem like it would quickly come loose and cause any problems but there was no way to be completely sure that it wouldn't quickly tear away if I went into labor on my own. So after crying and talking and going over all the risk of waiting and the risk of going forward we decided that it was time. I told her that I had to go home and tell the kids were I was and what was going to happen since all they knew was that I was going to the doctor and they were expecting mommy home. So we went home I ate some breakfast and gave the kids a kiss and told them that I would be back but possibly not that night. I went on FB and told everyone that I was going in and that it shouldn't take too long maybe 12 hours (remember this number) We got back to the hospital at 1030 and got checked in. I had the best nurses through out our stay. The docs came in and we talked about what we were going to do. Just before 1130 Dr. S came in and we got ready to start the cytotec. The first round was started at 1130ish. It was a pretty slow start, every 4 hours we did another round. I was having contractions but they didn't feel like contractions because they were so low inside my pelvis. Mom was with me this whole time and just after dinner Ben came up with the kids. We called our neighbor (who told us to call if we need anything) and asked if she would be able to watch the kids for a while since Ben hadn’t been with me all day. He took the kids over there loaded with their PJ’s and diapers and such then came back to the hospital. At 8 the doctor came in and checked me and started another round and told me that I was still only at 1cm but my cervix was thinning out so it was working. I told mom and Ben to go home because it could still be another 8 hours. I am now telling you all - DON'T LISTEN TO ME!!!! Okay so they went home and got the kids from the neighbors and put them to bed. We had already talked with our neighbor about what we would do if it happened before morning and she was ready to just come over and stay with the kids while they slept. I finished watching Secret Life and then I tried to sleep. I was able to practice my toning through the contractions but after an hour I rolled over to my left side and very quickly the contractions were on top of each other and were so super strong that I couldn't stand it. My new nurse came in because we were having trouble with the monitor reading the contractions. I told her that they were really strong and then all of a sudden I felt wetness. I was bleeding. She checked me and thought that she was feeling his head so we called the doctor (who had probably just brushed her teeth and lay down in bed) and then Ben. Ben ran over to the neighbors' who was sitting out in the yard with the other neighbors and she ran right over. By the time everyone got there I was passing a lot of blood and some large clots. When the doc checked me she didn't feel his head but I was very close to the 5cm that was needed to deliver. Just before 1130pm I was in so much pain, the contractions were non stop but my body was fighting against pushing. Mom ran out in the hall and called them all down and by the time Dr. S sat on the bed he was coming. He was officially born at 1131pm (remember how long I said on FB and what time we started the meds?), weighing 5.6 oz and 7.5in long. I held him for what seemed like forever but wasn't quite long enough. He was perfect for an 18wk baby. Everything was formed, all but the soft cartilage in the tip of his nose and his ears, which normally doesn't form till around the 21st week or so. His skin was so thin you could see his bones and some of his organs. We just sat there holding him and looking him all over, I think I counted his fingers and toes over 20 times. I marveled at his fingernails, all 20 digits had a perfect little nail. Ben went home around 1230 or 1 to relieve our neighbor, before he left they gave me a half dose of Stadol (sp?) because I was in so much pain I couldn't hold on to Gilbert anymore. The meds knocked me out completely- I could hear everyone and everything but I couldn't move, I could still feel the contractions but they weren't as bad. I finally delivered the placenta around 330 but it didn't come out as easily as we'd hoped and after a quick exam and the very large clot that passed just before the placenta doc decided that the best thing would be for me to go to the OR and have her scrape off the uterine wall to make sure that there weren't any fragments of placenta left behind. (Little medical lesson- even a small piece of retained placenta can cause severe hemorrhaging). So the anesthesiologist came in and we talked about what meds to use for the procedure and since I was not having anything stuck into my spine we decided to use general anesthesia. I drank this awful tasting liquid and was out before we made it out the door. It took me forever to come out of it. I woke up fairly fast but felt in a fog the entire morning. I also lost a lot of blood, not enough for a transfusion but enough to make me very weak. I pray that I never have to feel like that again. I was not myself. I couldn't even hold Gilbert's small basket that they put him in. Mom sat him on the bed next to me so I could look at him and talk to him.
Tuesday July 28th- Later that morning, Ben came by for mom to take her and the kids to eat breakfast. They all came up after they ate (the nurse took Gilbert to another room so the kids didn't see him- with the skin so thin he was a purplish red color and we didn't want the kids to see him that way) and I played as much as I could with the kids but I was still pretty weak and dizzy so after about an hour Ben took them all home. Mom was starting to feel sick so she went home to lie down for a while. I stayed at the hospital even though I could have gone home, because I wanted to make sure that I was okay and that my blood levels were coming back up before I went home, and I just couldn't pull myself away from Gilbert. After what seemed like a very long day Ben came back up and we signed the papers stating that we didn't want an autopsy, and the release form for the funeral home. I said goodbye to my little boy and we were released. I spent a lot of Tuesday evening in bed and on the couch. I didn't sleep well all night, I was in such pain. I had 800mg Motrin but it didn't help with the muscle pain in my back.
Wednesday July 29th – That morning I tried for an hour to reach the OB clinic to talk to or leave a message with the doctor about the pain, but no one ever answered. So I called up to L&D and talked with the nurse that had been with me Monday and Tuesday and told her what was going on and she paged the doctor for me. I talked to the doc about 15 minutes later and she said that she would put in a script for a muscle relaxer. We picked it up at the hospital and then went to the funeral home to make all the arrangements for the cremation. (While at the hospital on Monday we were told that one of the local funeral homes does cremations of still births free, I was so relieved, that was one less thing that I had to think about.) Not something I ever thought that I would do, and definitely not something I ever thought I could get through. We then headed back to Sacramento. I slept most of the way up there, I was still very weak and the meds hadn’t kicked in to help my back. We found a hotel and went to get some dinner. Mom stayed at the hotel because she still was not feeling well.
Thursday July 30th- Mom flew out Thursday morning and then we headed back towards home. Mom gave us money to take the kids to Chuck E cheese, so we ate lunch in Fresno and then took them over to CEC and spent $20 on tokens and let them play for an hour and a half. They still weren’t completely sure of all that was going on and there was no reason to keep them from having fun. I went to the bathroom and had a break down for about 5 minutes. Why I would break in CEC is beyond me but I did. We then went to Color Me Mine, a pottery painting place in town to pick out the urn for Gilbert. The boys painted it (with a little bit of help from us). I'm not sure how it's going to turn out but at least they were a part of it and if in 10 years they want to make a new one for him then they can.
Friday July 31st- Today was spent doing nothing- I didn't get up till 10 and Ben had taken the kids out to the exchange to pick out some movies for the weekend then he got a hair cut (I think- to tell you the truth I didn't pay too much attention to his hair when he got home or all day). I spent some time upstairs lying down later in the afternoon then got up got dressed, thinking we were going to go get something for dinner but by the time I got down stairs Ben already had dinner mostly finished. So we ate then I went up to the exchange for a little while, looking for one of those post partum wrap things but no luck. So I grabbed razors for Ben and Benedryl for Mia and Chocolate for momma, then a Fruitisia thing from Taco Bell and came home.
While putting the boys down for bed, Nathian asked (though he has been told quite a few times) where Gilbert was. That was an extremely hard conversation. I told him that Gilbert was in heaven with Jesus and the angels; He didn't really like that answer- He told me that he wanted Gilbert to be with us. I told him that I wanted him to be here too and that I didn't really understand why he had to be in heaven but that Jesus would love him and take care of him so much better than we could. I told him that we would see Gilbert again when we died and went to heaven. He looked at me and said that he didn't want to die, and I told him that he wouldn't die till he was really old and then he said, " I don't want to get old, I want to be a pilot when I grow up" Of course I told him that he could still be a pilot. I told him that I was sad and it was okay for him to be sad, and that we needed to help each other out. He seemed to be okay once I said goodnight and went to sleep rather quickly. I know that we will be talking about this for a while but I don't think it's going to get any easier.
So that was the last 7 days in a nut shell (a coconut that is).
Saturday August 1st- A whole week since we were told that our little boy was gone. I didn’t really want to be out and about but I knew that I needed to do something else besides thinking about Gilbert. We went out to town for lunch and to find water wings for the kids- and if you’re wondering NO ONE has basic water wings this late in the summer. We then went over to a friends’ house for a birthday party for their son who was in Lincoln’s preschool class. It was good to be out and talk to people and not center all my thoughts on Gilbert.
Sunday August 2nd- I didn’t want to but I decided that I needed to go to church. Someone was already coving me in the nursery so I knew that all I really needed to do was go sit and leave if I really wanted to when it was all over. I felt so loved while there. I was really glad that I went instead of staying home feeling sorry for myself. We went to lunch then went to Target –yes again- but they didn’t have what I needed so we drove across the street to Wal-Mart and this time I went in by myself so I could get in and out faster. I got what I needed and got out of there. We came home and the kids played and ran around with Charlie till bed time.
And now it’s Monday August 3rd- and I am doing good. Ben is back at work and we are back to our normal routine. I still want my little prince back inside me kicking and rolling around but I have a great peace-supernatural actually- because I know that my little prince is now resting in the arms of the King. I am sure that if I had given birth to a healthy baby boy and had nursed him and changed his diapers and watched him grow and then he suddenly died, I would have a much harder time dealing with it. But as it is I know that God is going to work this pain for my good and for His glory. Now I still don’t understand the Why’s and the How’s, all I know is that God is God and He is the one that I trust. Some people have told me that I am strong, but really I am so very weak, and I have doubts and fears and I hide away, but that is just what God needs. He can only be strong when I’m weak and He is faithful even when I am full of the doubts and fears of tomorrow. I when I have to hide away He is there to shelter me in the shadow of His mighty wing. So when you see me standing on my two feet, look closer and you will see the hand of God holding me upright. I would not be here, except for Grace.
And a little extra: While having a discussion on FB with my cousins and Aunt we were discussing my mother's maiden name Elliott. My cousin told me that I was an Elliott and even though he didn't know what that meant, I would get through this. I wrote back and told him that being part Elliott meant that half of me was too stubborn to let anything stand in my way. My Aunt wrote in and told me that it meant that I would "Survive". Well all that talk sent me looking up the name Elliott and you would not believe what I found (well you would if you've looked it up or if you read my FB status). It means "My God is the Lord". Seriously how cool is that? I truly think that I have a middle name for the next son that God brings us. Jasper Elliott- Treasure whose’ God is the Lord.