Friday, January 30, 2009

Subsequent Pregnancy-Am I Crazy!?

My husband and I just got done booking a trip to Washington DC for March, right about the time we want to start trying to have another baby. As much as we both want another baby, I sometimes think we are crazy. Why would we want to put ourselves through another pregnancy knowing the baby could die? I know the doctors and specialists said it usually does not reocur, but that is not a big comfort. I am so paranoid that something bad will happen I have already called my ob office and asked them to run some blood work to see if everything looks good. Thankfully, my ob office does not think I am crazy and they ordered the tests. Of course everything came back fine, but it I needed to do it to reassure me. They also told me that it is good to be cautious. This reminds me yet again why I am glad that I switched practices.
I also feel guilty about trying to get pregnant so close to what should be Addison's first birthday. I feel like having another baby takes away from Addison. Logically I know that it doesn't, but logic doesn't really play a part in this. The funny thing is if Addi had lived John and I would probably be trying to have another baby around now anyway. We wanted our children close together in age. I thought about putting off trying until May but I just can't, I want a baby, I need one. Another baby won't replace Addi, I know that, but I think (hope) that having another baby will ease some of the grief.
Has anyone out there in blogger world dealt with this? Any tips are much appreciated.
Also, John and I are going to be buying a fetal doppler to try and ease some of the anxiety, does anyone have suggestions for which is the best one?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Autopsy Results

After Addison was born they asked John and I if we wanted an autopsy preformed to see if they could find out what had happened. The doctor had told us that most of the time autopsies don't tell the doctors anything and the death gets labeled as a cord accident. Regardless of this, John and I wanted an autopsy performed. We were originally told that it would take 4-6 weeks to get all the autopsy results in, this was not the case with us. Addison died on April 3rd and it took until June 18th for us to get the full results of the autopsy. Part of me dreaded the autopsy results and the other part just wanted to know what happened. The worst part of it taking so long to get the full results was my OB would call me at work or on my way home from work and give me results in dribs and drabs. The first time this happened I was on lunch in my work's break room. The doctor is using words I don't understand and telling me how my beautiful daughter's heart was twice the size of what it was supposed to be, her kidneys had started to go into renal failure and there had been a problem with her red blood cells. To get this information over the phone and while I was at work was awful! I am trying not to sob while I am talking to him and trying to ask questions, but it was not easy. Once I got off the phone I just laid my head on the table and cried. I had 2 co-workers on lunch with me who just came over and put their arms around me and asked me what had happened. I told them the best I could in between sobs and they also started crying. Nobody could believe this had happened to me. (I still don't understand why the doctor could not ask me to come in so he could tell me this stuff face to face. As if going back to work after losing Addison wasn't hard enough, now I had to hear the autopsy results while I was at work.) I had asked the doctor during this phone conversation why they had not detected any of this at the ultrasound I had had on March 21st. He, of course, said it had all happened really fast so it was not detectable then.
On June 18th when we had the actual appointment with my OB and the pathologist to go over the autopsy results, I was a wreck. The first thing the pathologist said after we were introduced was "let me see your hands", I thought it was a little odd but what the heck. I showed her my hands and she smiled "Your daughter had your hands and I can see from you wearing sandals, she had your toes". That was one of the best things I could have ever heard. She was my daughter! I may not have her to hold in my arms everyday, but I can look at my hands and toes and know I had passed them on to her.
The pathologist then went into all the results. She reiterated that Addison's heart was twice the size of what it should have been and that her kidneys were going into renal failure. She could not tell us what happened first or what caused it. Addison also had Non-Immune Hydrops, which is an accumulation of fluid in at least 2 fetal compartments. It is a prenatal form of heart failure. Non-Immune Hydrops can be caused from fetal anemia, which Addison had. The pathologist did say this rarely occurs twice, but they don't know why it occurs in the first place so those words were not very comforting. Addison's chromosome testing came back good so that was 1 positive thing we had learned that day. She also had said that my OB office had done everything they were supposed to and that they could not have prevented this from happening. I really want to believe that, but I am not sure that I do or can. On the way out of the office I told them I was switching practices because it was to hard to keep coming there. That was partially true. The other part is I did not really trust them to prevent this from happening to me in the future.
Once we left the office we went home and I took a nap because I was emotionally drained. I was in some ways glad that there were reasons why Addison died, but a small part of me had almost wanted them to say there was something wrong with the cord. Of course, once I thought this through I knew that was ridiculous, either way I will be panicked throughout my next pregnancy, especially when I get closer to delivery.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Birth Story Part 3

The doctor came in to see how I was progressing and told me that the head was not down enough so I had to get on all fours and swing my hips from side to side to drop the head. Let me tell you that is not fun when you have an epidural in and when you have strong contractions. A little bit later the doctor came back in to check me again and said I could start trying to push. Now for me it took a little bit to figure out just how to do this right, so it ended up taking 4.5 hours of pushing for Addison to come all the way out. She was a BIG girl! She was 9lbs 14oz and 21.5 in long! When I was pushing her out I felt like I was tearing myself in 2! I knew I was bleeding quite a bit and that I would need an episiotomy. Once I had fully delivered Addi the nurses took her to do what they had to do and the doctor started sewing me up. They had to give me a pain reliever because it hurt so much for her to touch me.
Once the doctor was done, the nurse asked me if we wanted to see Addison. What kind of question was that?! Of course we did! They brought her in, wrapped in a white blanket, with a multicolored blanket draped over that and she had a hand knit pink hat on. She was gorgeous! She had the tiniest nose for such a big girl.

We had my family that was there come in to see her. Everyone who wanted to held her and we took quite a bit of pictures. Thankfully a very caring family who had lost their first daughter had provided the hospital with cameras for parents like John and I so we can take pictures. I really don't know if I would have even thought of doing it otherwise. We had Addison stay with us for about 6 hours. A very kind nurse came in at one point and asked if we would like Addison baptised. John and I are both not very religious but it is something we both wanted. The nurse was so gentle when she preformed the baptism. She also offered to cut of a few pieces of Addi's hair so we could have it with us. I am glad that the nurses offered to do these things because John and I were to numb and in shock to think of them ourselves.
When we were to be transferred out of the delivery room we said our goodbyes to Addison, which was the hardest thing we ever had to do. We both agreed that this was going to be the only time we held her because if we kept asking for her back, the harder it would be to let go.
That night in the hospital John and I could not share a bed but he pulled his little chair that folds out to a bed as close as he could to me so we could be close.
The next day the nurse asked us if it would be okay if the hospital chaplain came into see us. I said I do not want to hear the words it was god's will come out of her mouth and they assured me it wouldn't. The chaplain never said those words and was really very nice, but she had to ask us questions that we did not want to think about. Did we want Addison buried or cremated. We had already agreed to an autopsy because we wanted answers, but they had to know what to do next. John and I both did not want cremation we decided we wanted her buried. The next questions was what funeral home and where did we want her buried. These are things you just don't think about for your child. We should have been mapping out the route to take her home that had the least amount of traffic and potholes. Instead we get to decide what funeral home we want. We made the decisions the best way we could and I am not unhappy with what we choose. The funeral home was great, they preformed the service and provided everything from the cards to the casket for no charge.
When we went to leave the hospital, it was so hard! We had to walk out of the Childbirth Center and down the long hallway to the exit doors to start this new chapter of our lives without our daughter. At times this feels impossible at other times I have a hard time believing this ever happened to us. All I have to do is look at the stretch marks on my belly or go into what should have been Addi's bedroom to know it did happen.

Birth Story Part 2

After the initial shock wore off they said they would be transferring me to a delivery room because I was in labor. At this point I had another contraction and I just could not focus. The nurse held my hand and just told me to breath through it. Once the contraction ended, they asked me if we wanted to call anyone. I said I wanted to call my mom. They had the operator dial the number for me and then handed me the phone. One of the hardest things I did was tell my mom that Addison did not have a heartbeat and that she needed to get to the hospital now. My mom does not handle stress well so she immediately started crying and yelling and asking questions. I just told her I did not know and to get to the hospital. The doctor and nurse left us alone why they went to get me a room. I then had John hand me the phone so I could call work because I had called them earlier to say I was in labor and would not be into work that day. I talked to my manager and told him that Addi did not have a heartbeat and could he please tell everyone there and tell them to leave me alone why I try to deal with this. I could tell by the sound of his voice that he was in shock as well.
At this point I am just numb, all I could focus on was the fact that I was going to deliver a dead baby. The doctor and nurse transferred me to the delivery room and told me they were going to break my water and then try one last time to see if they could get a heart beat. They were going to use something they could put in the uterus that actually attaches to the baby. They did say that I should realize that the first noise I will hear will be my heartbeat not the babies. When the doctor broke the water she said she could tell that the baby had been dead for awhile because of the color but she tried to get the heart beat anyway. Of course, there wasn't one.
I think this is the point when my mom and sister showed up but most of this day is a blur so forgive me if I get the timeline messed up.
In my birth plan I said I did not want an epidural, I wanted to try having natural birth. I changed my mind on that because, as I told the doctor, I wanted to feel numb. The anesthesiologist came in and put the epidural in. I hate needles and the thought of them putting one in my back while I was having contractions was not a fun thought. I had to lean over the side of the bed and my husband had to help hold me still in that position. He got really hot at this point and i think super overwhelmed from everything that had already gone on that morning that he almost passed out (although he denies this). The nurse made him take off his sweatshirt and lay down with his knees elevated and she took over for him. The doctor told the anesthesiologist to give me a high dose because they both did not think I need to feel any pain on top of everything else. This was nice for awhile but the problem was the contractions slowed done so they had to give me pitocin and lower the epidural. That is when the contractions really kicked in, god did they hurt! They upped the epidural again but not quite as high as it first was. My aunt and cousin came in at some point during this ordeal, which surprised me but I really appreciated them being there for John and I.
At some point my mom was left alone in the room with me and she just started crying. I had to snap at her and tell her to stop because I could not deal with it, I had to focus on delivering Addison and not on anything or anyone else.

Birth Story Part 1

On April 3, 2008 at about 2am I woke up feeling a tightening in my belly. At first I thought it was more of those annoying braxton hicks contractions, but as the night wore on it became apparent that after 41 weeks of being pregnant I was finally in labor! I was surprisingly very calm once I realized I was in labor. I did not wake my husband up and I fell back asleep on and off. I knew that the contractions were not close enough or strong enough to have me go to the hospital so I figured I would get as much sleep as I could. It did not occur to me that I did not feel Addison moving during this time, I was more focused on the contractions. At about 5:30 that morning the contractions were happening more often so I woke up my husband to tell him and then I took a shower because I knew I would not have the chance later in the day. Once I got out of the shower I told my husband to shower because we would be going to the hospital shortly. As I was putting my hair in a ponytail, I had to stop because I got a pretty strong contraction. My dogs kept trying to cuddle up to me because they knew I was in pain, it was actually very cute at the time. I told them that their baby sister would be coming home very soon! At about 6 I called my OB's office to let them know I was having contractions that were steadily getting stronger and more frequent. They called back and said I could go to the hospital to get checked out to see how far along I was in the process or I could stay home until they got closer together. I decided to go to the hospital. I did not want to chance that the labor would speed up and I would not have time to get to the hospital.
On my way to the hospital I called my mom and told her to call out of work because I was in labor and on my way to the hospital. I also text messaged my sister to let her know. I was so excited on the way to the hospital, I was finally going to have my baby girl!
When we got to the hospital they brought us into the examination room and started hooking us up to the fetal heart rate monitor and the other one that measures the contractions. The heart rate monitor could not pick up a heart rate but I wasn't worried because I had been to the doctors 2 days before and everything was fine. They had also a hard time finding the heart rate but they did find it and said everything sounded fine. The nurse said she was going to get an ultrasound machine to see how the baby was positioned and to get the heart rate. She cam back in and could not find it still. At this point I am getting a little worried, but the nurse said she was going to get yet another ultra sound machine and the on call OB would do the ultrasound. Why John and I were waiting for them to come back in I was getting very worried. I started wiggling my belly and telling Addi to wake up and stop playing games because she was worrying her mommy and daddy. I don't know how long it took for the doctor to come in but it felt like forever. She tried to find the heart rate with the 2nd ultrasound machine and couldn't. At this point she put the machine off and looked at John and I with tears in her eyes and said "I'm sorry, your baby does not have a heart beat". I think I went into shock at the point. I think I yelled No! and covered my face with my hands. I refused to believe it, she had been fine 2 days before and I had felt her move the night before.