I honestly can't believe I'm sitting down at the computer and starting to write this out, again. Trying to explain what just happened, again. Trying to find the words to describe accurately how I feel. So here's my best.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
I had felt her move very gently only three times on Wednesday so when I woke up on Thursday I went straight for the sugary cereal in hopes that would wake Charlotte up and get her moving. I ate and waited. I grabbed a cold water, drank half and laid down on my left side and waited. I started to panic so I dropped Owen off with Amanda and went in to the hospital.
They did a NST (Non Stress Test) and monitored her heart rate for about 40 minutes. Everything was fine. It was a little on the slow side but they figured that was because she was sleeping. I left feeling better but not completely satisfied. I still felt like something was wrong. I only remember feeling her move one or two more times the rest of the day.
Friday, June 5, 2015
I woke up and went for the cereal again but no movement. I tried pushing her around a little and nothing. It was my dad's birthday on Friday so we all (my family) met up for a surprise lunch for him. We got there and I still hadn't felt anything. I really tried to keep calm but I was getting really panicked. We finished eating, I left Owen with Amanda again and had my mom take me to the hospital to do another NST just to make sure, while my dad and Chris headed back to work. I knew she was still alive but I also knew something else was wrong.
The nurse took me back and put the monitors on to listen to Charlotte's heart. Within a few minutes we watched her heart rate drop from the 120's to the 80's. Before I could yell to the nurse that it looked a little to low she came running in. She said "Wait, let's watch it for a minute".
It dropped again. The nurse ran out and grabbed the closest doctor and had her look at it. Within a minute the doctor looked at me and said "This isn't good, we've got to get you to Labor and Delivery".
Right then I was scared but also so incredibly grateful I listened to my gut. I was proud that I finally listened to my body. I knew something was wrong and I didn't care if going in everyday that week made me look dumb.
The doctor grabbed my hand and said "It's going to get crazy, we are going to life flight you because you have to deliver her at the U. It's going to be very dramatic. You will most likely need an emergency c- section and there are going to be so many people around you. Take a breathe and let's do this".
They got me in a wheel chair and ran me up to L&D. The nurses up there must have not been informed because they were moving pretty slow and seemed like they didn't understand the severity of Charlotte's hernia. They started to check me in and had me put a gown on.
I remember going into the bathroom to change and getting on my knees to pray. I took the only opportunity I thought I would have to be alone. I hadn't lost all hope yet so I just prayed that it would work out. That this was just a minor problem. That she would recover from this. That she wouldn't be delivered today. That this wasn't fair. That I was suppose to have more time with her. That we had until July 9th or even June 17th. I prayed so hard. I prayed so hard it felt like I was yelling to Him in my head. Like, "Remember?! I thought we had a deal? I need her! You let me have time with her. I demand it..Okay I'm begging, let me have time with her. I can't do this again. Don't you dare make me do this again. I might hate you. I'm serious this time".
I pulled myself together and had mom call Chris. Luckily he only works a few blocks from the hospital so he was able to be there within a few minutes. They hooked up the monitors again and her heart rate would not stabilize. It kept dropping. Every time it came back up I thought "Okay, we got this, she can do this". And then it would drop lower than the time before and I felt such a deep desire for her to live. The deepest and hardest longing I've ever felt.
Then the most amazing thing happened, Dr. Anderson walked into my room. He just happened to be down in the lobby and saw me being rushed to L&D and followed. When he walked in, I lost it a little. A familiar face in this scary situation was so comforting. The life flight team came in and got me all bucked in. The rushed me out to the helicopter and I waved bye to Chris.
My mom was thinking and snapped some pictures before I took off.
The helicopter flight was quick but her heart rate still would not stabilize. We landed about fifteen minutes later and they ran me down to L&D at the University. Several nurses and doctors came in, put the monitors back on and we all silently watched her heart rate drop. I remember a nurse asking the doctor if she was going to "Push the button" to which she replied "I'm pushing the button, get everyone in here now, we've got to get her out".
Someone came over with a consent paper and said "This is saying we can do an emergency c-section but once you sign it, it's going to get very scary. There are going to be a lot of people and lots of things going on. We usually try to wait for dad but we can't wait. Can you do this?". I signed right away, knowing Chris would not be there. Anything to save this girl. I would have gone to the end of the world. I wished it was me that needed this surgery. I wished it was me who needed to be saved. I wished.
After I signed it about twenty people came in all dressed in their operating room gear, ready to go. They ran me out and down the hall where I heard a woman giving birth, just screaming and yelling. It sounds like this came right out of a horror movie and let me tell you, it felt like it. Everything was so dramatic. Running, yelling, people everywhere hurrying to try and save my baby's life. It was surreal.
We got into the OR and they said "Sorry, we don't have time to give you any medication before the surgery, we just have to get her out. We'll put ya to sleep though". I think that didn't register in my brain. For some reason, going to sleep and not being in pain were one in the same. I promise you, they are not.
This whole time I was talking to myself out loud, saying "People have emergency c-sections all the time, I can do this, This isn't scary". And when they said no pain meds, no spinal block, no epidural. What? How?
They moved my body over onto the cold operating table, ripped my gown off, spread my legs and shoved a catheter in, threw iodine and a tarp over me. It felt like there were at least 100 people in there and no one was talking to me . They were all talking fast and loud and I remember trying so hard to understand.. After they threw the tarp on me they started checking off the list of tools. I tried to hold my bravery in as long as could but that got me. I really thought they forgot to put me to sleep. As my arms were being strapped down I reached out to anyone and caught a nurse. She grabbed my hand and said "It's going to be okay". I wanted so badly for that to be reassuring but it wasn't.
I started to hyperventilate and cry. I asked if anyone could hear me and if they were going to put me to sleep. No one answered so I cried harder. I remember yelling "Please put me to sleep, I don't want to be here for this". Finally someone grabbed my head and said "I'm working on it I promise, it will be a minute, but we will put you to sleep".
Then I was asleep.
I woke up to Chris, my mom, sister and aunt. I also woke up in the worst pain of my entire life. They put me on Pitocin so my uterus would contract and I wouldn't bleed out. I was literally in labor after they took Charlotte and I had just been sewn up from a cesarean. In full blown labor without any pain medication. I remember thinking "Why would I be in labor right now? Didn't we get her out? Did we not do the c-section?" I was so confused. I remember yelling at the nurse to help me. To give me anything to stop the contractions or to just kill me. I couldn't even ask about Charlotte because I was in so much excruciating pain. In the middle of this, one of the NICU doctors came in and grabbed Chris to go see Charlotte. He came back with a picture and told me about her. She was stable as far as we knew.
My contractions started to die down and I started asking about Charlotte. I wanted to know how she was, where she was, how big she was, everything.
The NICU doctor came in and told us that when they did the c-section, they couldn't get her out. They had to make an even bigger incision and still couldn't. I had so much fluid it was hard to get to her, so they cut my uterus vertically (which means now I will always have c-sections). She said that she was so hard to get out because she was floppy. She wasn't rigid like a normal baby because she didn't have a heart beat. She was dead.
The finally got her out and were able to revive her but she said because it took them time, they weren't sure how much oxygen, if any, had gotten to her brain. In other words, she wasn't going to survive. No matter what. No matter the surgery, no matter the medication, she wasn't going to make it.
So we asked to see her and be with her until she did leave us.
Everyone up there was so kind. They wheeled my huge hospital bed into the NICU right up next to Charlotte's. She looked awful. So lifeless. I felt my heart break. I feel like it was still trying to heal from losing Conor and then it just shattered all over again.
But look at that hair. Oh my gosh.
And then the most beautiful thing happened. My dad and Chris gave her a name and blessing. It was beautiful. Everyone in the room had tears in their eyes. We wanted this girl. We wanted her so bad. I was so grateful my dad was there to do this. It's extremely hard to express in words the feelings of that moment. Sacred.
Chris held her for several hours while she was alive on the ventilator. I asked him at one point if we should get her cleaned up and he told me no. He didn't want to let her go. My heart shattered even more. Just when I thought it couldn't.
The longer we held her the worse her vitals got. She was trying so hard to live but she just couldn't. Everything just kept getting worse. She had been sedated as soon as she was born but we didn't want her to suffer any longer than she had to. They told me she wasn't in any pain but it was hard for me to believe that. I hated seeing her on the ventilator. It wasn't right. It wasn't normal. She deserved so much better.
As soon as we knew she wasn't going to make it one of the NICU nurses was trying to get a hold of a company that takes pictures. I'm not sure how to nicely word "pictures of dead babies".. But she couldn't get a hold of anyone in the county. Around ten she found a lady from Ogden (Stacy) who was willing to drive all the way down and take these pictures. We waited until she got there to take Charlotte off the ventilator because I wanted her to look as alive as possible for the pictures.
Again, I can't even describe the feelings of taking your baby away from life. My body physically hurting from making that decision. When I said that I had never been in so much pain in my life, I wasn't lying but this, this hurt even more. We knew her little body was going to give in very soon and we wanted to let her go before her body decided to. I didn't want to watch her struggle or suffer. It was unbearable. It was torture.
Around 11 pm we decided it was time. Her vitals were dropping rapidly and we knew her purpose here on Earth had been filled. She was ready. I wasn't, Chris wasn't, but we both felt strongly that she was.
They pulled the ventilator out and within a few minutes she was gone. I felt her leave. I felt her spirit leave. Typing this, I wish so badly I could go back. I wish that I could redo that all over again just to be there with her. To kiss her sweet cheeks one more time. To smell her hair one more time. To hold her little fingers one more time. It went too fast. I didn't get enough time.
Stacy took her away to take pictures and she must have gotten at least a thousand because she had her for about an hour. Everyone in the NICU just sobbed. Chris and I just held each other and cried. The nurses, our family, everyone there just cried. It was so quiet in that room. No one said a word, we just cried.
About an hour later Stacy came back and gave her to me. At this point Chris and I just wanted to be alone with her so they wheeled me to a new room in the Womens Special Care, where I wouldn't have to listen to new babies crying all night long. We held her from about midnight until 2:30. The nurse came and took her away when we were done and that was it.
Obviously Chris nor I slept well that night. We fell asleep crying and woke up crying. The doctor said I would need to stay for at least three nights and I did. The nurses were amazing and everyone was so kind but I still was in a hospital without my new baby. My family stayed with me a lot. Chris stayed the first night but we decided he needed to be with Owen more so he left the next day. The following morning my mom brought Owen up so he could see me. He asked a lot of questions like where Charlotte was. Once again, my heart felt shattered. I didn't know how to tell him she was gone. I told him she was with Conor and Jesus. He responded with "Oh and she's coming back?"
The next two days were rough. Luckily I had lots of family and friends come visit to keep my mind off of things, as much as it could. Sunday came around and we were talking about going home. I had been able to get up and walk around pretty well so my doctors were okay with sending me home. We had the discharge papers all signed, I stood up to go and I started seeing black dots all over. I sat down and then felt like either I was falling over or the room was. The nurse came in to check on me, I told her I was seriously dizzy and she told me she was going to check my blood levels.
She did and it came back that I needed a blood transfusion. Great. I was not leaving. So we did that and I still wasn't feeling any better. They checked my blood again and it had only gone up one point so we did a second unit of blood. After all of that, I started to feel better and we got to go home.
Here is one of the pictures Stacy took. Obviously little miss had some kind of syndrome that we didn't even know about. I think they ruled out Downs but she had something else. The hospital asked if they could do an autopsy because of her defect and hernia for research. They wanted to do a placental autopsy also to see why she wasn't getting enough oxygen because they think she hadn't been getting enough for a few days. Which lines up perfectly with my feeling of something being wrong. We told the hospital of course. Letting them do that autopsy might help a future family.
This makes her even more perfect to me. I wish I could have her even more. She is perfect.
So now, we are planning a funeral.
But this time is so much more heartbreaking. We hoped for her. We prayed for her. We really thought she would make it. It seemed like every appointment wasn't good news but it wasn't bad. So we had hope. Hope can do amazing things to a person.
Today I picked out her burial plot, only three feet away from Conor.
We are having a very short graveside service for her on Friday and we want you to come. We have felt from the beginning of this journey that we were not alone. We have had so many prayers sent our way for her. We have been on this journey with a team and we want to give you an opportunity to grieve with us. I felt like, after she died, it was such a devastation not only to us but to everyone who had been working so hard to ask Heavenly Father for her life. For everyone who helped us ask for a miracle.
Graveside for Charlotte
Friday the 12th
Provo Cemetery at 10am.
There are several more posts about her coming but I'm just trying to make it to the funeral.