Monday, August 6, 2012

Labor and delivery:

Getting to hold my sweet baby about 2 hours after I delivered him. He was so perfect!

For all my family and friends who have been praying and calling, I am so sorry I haven’t been able to talk or return your calls, so I started writing and writing what exactly happened. For those that don’t really know me…I am a very talkative and detailed person; much to the dismay of all my school teachers! 

This journal started to be a insert for Steven’s baby book until I realized that I had over 5,000 words. I tried conducing it to just the labor and delivery to answer so many questions people have asked me. Feel free to delete or pass on to all those who have been praying for our MIRACLE! We believe all of the prayers and support we received was part of our MIRACLE.

On week two of bed rest, July 31st., I was visiting with my friend Lilly that I have known for 40 years who has been coming every couple of days to visit. When she started to leave, my sister Betsy came to do her daily pampering of me, and then I went to use the bathroom.  When I got there I realized that I was bleeding heavy and just passed a clot. I asked the kids to get their aunt right away. My husband was out of the house so my 18 year old daughter got stuck taking me to the doctor’s office. When I got to the office it was packed, I explained to the nurse that I was told to come in due to an emergency, and was there a place I could lay flat since I was on bed rest. The poor secretary looked at the full office and sadly said, “No, I am so sorry.” I explained that I would lie down in the hall and wait. Luckily there was a bench in the hall and I laid flat on it and waited and waited and waited. Finally after 35 minutes my husband came and my daughter got to go home with the other kids. Since I was still drinking water constantly had to use the bathroom so my husband and I went into the office and they said they just had a room open. I went to the bathroom and was checked by my favorite PA. The poor PA, she tried and tried to hear a heartbeat and kept making excuses that the doppler was old and probably had a bad battery. So, to play it safe, she sent us to the specialist. 

After waiting a bit we were finally admitted to the room where the sonographer prepped me and started to check the baby…I promptly said, “Could you just check to see if the heart is beating?” But no, it was not. The specialists walked in; sadden by the news he had to share. I looked at him and said, “Poor Dr., the PA was just too chicken to give us the news and made you be the bad guy!”After he joked about having a couple of beers, he explained us that we could go right to the hospital or go home and go to the hospital the next day. Being that the hospital was only five minutes away, we decided to get things over with.

Once in the hospital we quietly slipped in and got admitted. Of course I kind of hid in the corner crying even though many sweet staff kept trying to comfort and inquire on my well being. Then we were ushered into a hospital room. After a couple hours the nurse started the medication to induce labor. I was so nervous; I always have long hard labors and I had never had an induction or used drugs during a delivery except for my c section.

I kept texting my old nurse midwife with questions about what to do and what drugs would be best. She reassured me that since the baby had already died that the medication wouldn’t affect the baby so not to worry. Just to do what is best for my comfort. Thoughts of offering up all the pain of delivery for the unborn came to mind. It was always easier for me to do in the past when I was sure my baby would soon be in alive in my arms.

We later tried to go to sleep. Around one in the morning I woke up feeling a little discomfort. I tossed and turned for an hour than the nurse came in and suggested some stadol to help me sleep. Around four AM I told the nurse that the medication was either wearing off or the contractions were getting worse. At 4:40AM I felt the need to go to the bathroom and got up and dragged my IV and once I got into the bathroom I realized was bleeding heavy. I then felt a gentle sensation and caught my precious baby Steven Thomas in my hands on Aug. 1st, feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori. It was a beautiful experience and way more special than I ever expected. Thank you Jesus! I called my husband and nurse came right away and they helped me to bed where I had the opportunity to hold Steven all morning. Thank God my sister remembered to hand my daughter the holy water before we left for the doctors, because I looked at my husband and said, “We forgot the holy water!” He just put his hand in his pocket and handed it to me. So the two of us baptized STEVEN THOMAS, and thanked God for our time together.

One of our nurses, Sarah, had such a gentle touch and gift for attention to detail with our little baby. When we were ready she took Steven and next to my bed, she cleaned and wrapped him up like he was hers. She stuck a little hat on him and gave him a photo shoot that any movie star would have been proud of! She took all sorts of pictures of him with his blanket, a stuffed lion, a butterfly, a special bracelet, and him with his hands folded. It was so beautiful. He was about 1/2 lb and eight inches long. I have been prolife all my life...I was of course I was! I worked in a pregnancy center, attended marches, pro life talks, and have been know, on occasion to get arrested for protesting in front of clinics! Never have I felt more prolife than when I held my perfect baby in my arms.

He had perfect arms, ears, lips, tongue, nostrils, toes, legs, tiny fingernails that needed to be cut, and the cutest little umbilical cord you could ever imagine.  Sarah gave my husband and I our hospital bracelets with baby boy, and time and date written on it, she said, "Here you two, you are his parents; so you need a bracelet too!" This would be added to the memory book they gave us to bring home.

Unfortunately due to Steven being so small the umbilical cord detached from the placenta. The doctor let me rest for an hour before trying to deliver the placenta. Even after an hour it was still hard to get the entire placenta out. So they sent me to the dreaded operating room,  it was like a horror film I had always feared. The walls were white; doctors and nurses ran around grabbing medical tools and supplies, giving medication to me to make me more comfortable. All I remember is a doctor putting tubes in my nose and I started crying, asking for my husband.  It was probably one of the worst situations I had ever been in. So the unborn got lots of prayers anyway!

When I was back in my room I had complete chills and couldn’t stop shivering. They wrapped me in warm blankets, socks, and some sleeping bag thing that had a hose that blew in hot air. My poor husband kept making me hot chocolate and holding the Steven at the same time. Then I started to feel tired, queasy, and sick. I didn’t want to fall asleep because I was sure I wouldn’t wake up.  I told my husband that I thought I was going to die, just what any man with 12 kids, sitting there holding his  precious baby, trying to mourn his life, wants to hear. Thoughts of my friend Dave, who had been going through chemo and felt so sick after each bought, kept coming to mind, and I prayed and prayed for him. I kept looking at the clock thinking that there was no way I would be going home today to see my other babies. My husband assured me it was all the medication coming out of my system and I would be fine.  After a quick rest and lots of ginger ale I started to snap out of it.

As soon as I got my act together I asked for the doctor so I could go home. I got my release and got dressed held on to Steven and was ready to go. In came the very sweet social worker who asked questions and shared her condolences. Then she looked me in the eye and said, “It says here you want to take the baby home with you, unfortunately it is against hospital policy.”  Well I almost jumped out of the bed! I explained that I had informed everyone 24 hours ago and when I was there 2 weeks ago that I was taking my baby home. I had done what they asked and got a casket and contacted the funeral home. Now as I was walking out the door they say I can’t take him home?! As calmly as I could I said that I had talked to a nurse and a priest and both said it is the parent’s rights to take their baby, and I would call my lawyer if necessary. The poor social worker almost fell over.

So after waiting for her to return for about 45 minutes I was getting more upset and wanted to go home to see my other babies. I finally contacted the funeral home near our house and explained the situation. The super, wonderful man said he would send someone over in an hour. I asked the nurse to come in and she and the nurse supervisor came in and I tried to calmly explain my frustration. It went a little like this, “I realize you have policies, but I told the staff that I was taking my baby home and everyone just smiled at me. Since I am trying to compromise and I really want to go home with my other children, I have contacted the funeral home and they are coming now to get Steven.  Hopefully you will learn from this and help other families who desire to do the same.”

The nurses were so great and understanding and apologetic. They made a heroic attempt to wheel me quietly out to the hall, down the staff hallway, in the staff elevator as I was holding my tiny infant wrapped in his blanket, so I wouldn’t need to see anyone or they see me. It was the saddest little procession with all the nurses at the station gently bowing their heads and smiling at me, I am sure they were all part of the instant meeting with the social worker about the mom in room 215 who was half nuts and wanted to bring her baby home. Then they gently wheeled me to meet the funeral staff who carefully opened the car for me to gently place my little precious baby in a small box with a cute little blue pillow and blanket. The nurses hugged me goodbye and said how sorry they were for our loss, of course I was now in tears, thanked them for all their help and said goodbye.

We headed home to a house full of wonderful children who hugged and loved each other all night. My husband and I were so grateful to God for the many blessings and graces that surrounded us, but couldn’t figure out how to shake this sorrow. We were trying to console each other in the dark of the night and we knew that somehow we would get through this. We discussed how excited we were and how much we wanted this precious baby. We decided together we were a great team and with our strong faith we would find a way.

On August 3, 2012 we packed up the15 passenger van and headed to the chapel to bury our precious baby. The sun was beating down and we marched over to the red velvet chairs set up on the green carpet to send off our baby Steven Thomas. The little gifts that the kids carried went next to the beautiful metal box that held their precious brother. Monsignor put in a St Anthony medal and a small rosary that he found and the prayers were said. My sister shared a pleasant reading that was just perfect. Everyone placed a beautiful white rose on the casket and the kids watched in amazement as the hole was unveiled. The casket was placed in the hole and the little boys threw down their gifts in the hole like they were pitching for the Orioles!

We quietly walked away and went to visit my mom, dad, sister, and our baby HOPE who died when I was 8 weeks pregnant, who are also, buried on the perfect Chapel Hill. Then we packed up the van and headed home to try to live on. We all try to walk around and get on with life especially my husband and I who pretend to be moving on.  Although deep in our hearts is a hole that only Christ can fill with his love and compassion. 

We miss you Steven Thomas please pray for us!


Michele said... many, many prayers for you and your family. Your son is so perfect, and these beautiful pictures of him truly witness to the sanctity of life. May God bless you for sharing them with all of us!!!

sweetpea said...

praying for you and your family...beautifully written and he is absolutely perfect.

Colleen said...

Sam, you truly are one amazing, strong mom! What an inspiration you are to all moms out there! Thank you for sharing your precious Steven with us, he is perfect in every way! Your story is so very touching, was impossible to read it without tearing up! Please know that God is with you every step of the way through this and you are in my prayers daily! God Bless!

Tina Marie said...

Sam, I have been praying for you and stopped by to see how you were doing. I am so sorry for your loss. Your little baby is so sweet and precious. Your story brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your story. You are an amazing woman and wonderful witness to our Catholic faith. You are in my prayers.

Steven Thomas, pray for us.

Anonymous said...

On earth as it is in heaven.

God bless you, Sam, Rob and family.

With love from the Kirbys

Mom2Seven said...

I have a lump in my throat and have no words. Those tiny, perfect little feet. Continued prayers. ~Annita +JMJ+

Robin E. said...

Sam, I am so sorry. I have been trying to think of what I could possibly say, and I know there is probably nothing. I just want you to know I am still praying for you everyday as you get through this. Thank you for your story and the pictures of your sweet baby. :) All of us who prayed and wept for him and for you hold your little Steven so dear. Praying for you and your family. :)

Sam said...

Thanks everyone...we feel the prayers...Our God is an awesome God...look what he has already given us! You keep me smiling when my heart aches for my baby. Keep up the great work raising wonderful children who will change the world and bring others to Christ!

St Steven Pray for us!

Anonymous said...

Dear Sam,

Thanks for the hug on Monday - there has always been a strong connection for us - Your example to the hospital staff is remarkable. Let's sit back and watch the graces flow.
I love you. Nancy M.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled randomly upon your site and this post, and I know it was meant to be. I experienced a similar experience 2 weeks ago with the miscarriage of #8 at 18 weeks. (Also #4 at 18 weeks, 7 years ago). God is wonderful to have you share your story and to lead me to it at the time when I needed it most. Steven is still affecting people in a positive way even after these years. Thank you. --Becky in OR