Friday, May 21, 2010

Our Story

It has been 2 weeks and 5 days since we lost our little boy, Kaden Nathaniel. As I am trying to figure out how to deal with my grief, I have discovered that one of the things that helps me to deal with the pain the most, is to talk about what happened. I don't get the oppertunity as often as I would like, mostly because I haven't entered a phase where I am ready to bring it up myself, and others probably don't want to bring it up because they do not know how I will react or if it will be too hard for me to talk about it. I realized that many of you do not even know the full story of my pregnancy or that in the end we were able to meet to little Kaden. I want to share our rollercoaster ride here with you.

MARCH 10, 2010

I noticed that I had been feeling tired a lot lately, having to nap everytime Thomas did because I couldn't seem to stay awake. And I also found that I couldn't make it from breakfast to lunch without having a snack. Some of the same things that had happened when I became pregnant with Thomas. So, I decided it was time to take the test. I took the test that morning and it was positive. I thought I might have done it wrong, so when Thomas got up from his nap, we went to the store to get another one. That too came back positive. As I sat there thinking, "holy crap, I'm pregnant again", I anxiously awaited Nathan's arrival home from work so that I could share the good news. After we got over the shock that we had a 7 month old and another on the way, I texted Brenna to let her know because I couldn't keep it to myself. We decided to let the whole idea sink in for a few days before we told everyone.

That weekend we went to Redding for a bridal shower and to visit Nathan's parents and we couldn't hold it in any longer. By the time we left, even people I didn't know in Redding knew I was pregnant. Only my parents were left to tell... I don't know why, but they were the ones that I was dreading telling, maybe because we were still living in their house with one baby already? Who knows.

That Sunday night, after we returned home from Redding, we told them over dinner. My mom said "I kind of had a feeling and almost asked, but thought no, they are going to wait". My dad said "Ya, I saw you went to the store the other day and looked at the receipt to see what you got, bananas, cookies and oh, a pregnancy test". Haha. I had been dreading telling them this whole time and they already knew it seemed.

Once we let everyone know, the happiness and excitement followed. We were going to have a 14 month old and a newborn, time to get ready for the craziness!

MARCH 19, 2010

It was a Friday and I was anxiously awaiting my first Dr. appointment on the following Tuesday. I wasn't quite sure how far along I was so I was excited to find out my due date and have my first ultrasound. My mom took Thomas and I out to do some shopping and we picked up some lunch on our way home. As we walked in the door, I felt a gush of fluid and went to the bathroom. It appeared to be mostly clear fluid, but I never had anything like that with Thomas so I called the advice nurse to see what was going on. She said it might be nothing, but to take it easy and call back if there is any bleeding. I tried to stay calm and ate my lunch. Then it was time for Thomas' nap so I took him upstairs and rocked him to sleep in the rocking chair. When I got up to put him in his crib, I felt another gush of fluid and looked down to see red blood streaming down my legs. I laid him down and immediately went to the bathroom where I was still trying to stay positive, thinking that I have heard of women bleeding a little during their pregnancy and it being normal. I told my mom and I again called the advice nurse. I was told to lay down and to rest and do nothing more than what I absolutely needed to and that the Dr. would call me that afternoon and decide whether I should come in. I laid on the couch the rest of the day. I talked to the Dr. and she said that she didn't think I needed to come in and that if I was miscarrying there was nothing they could do. I was told to rest for the rest of the weekend and I got my appointment changed to Monday morning. I was laid up on the couch for the rest of the weekend, however the bleeding didn't stop and I continued to have a number of gushes even though I was doing nothing. I resigned myself to the fact that I was miscarrying, as I didn't see any possible way that I could still be pregnant after bleeding that much. I started to grieve the child that I lost that I had never known.

MARCH 22, 2010

Nathan and I went to the Dr. office to confirm the miscarriage. She did an ultrasound and wasn't able to see anything. She did another ulrasound and found what she thought was the baby, but it appeared to be so high up in my uterus and to the side that she thought it might be a tubal pregnancy. She sent us to the hospital to have a formal ultrasound done and told me not to eat or drink anything in case I needed surgery. After the formal ultrasound was finished, the Dr. there came in to take a look and told me that it was definitely not a tubal pregnancy, but that I would have to wait to hear from my Dr. about what to do. We went home and anxiously awaited a call from my Dr. to find out what was going on. She called a few hours later and said that the baby was there, but there was also a large blood clot in my uterus as well. The baby was only 1cm compared to the clot which was 7cm. The baby was 7 weeks 1 day and would be due November 8th. We were told that this kind of thing didn't happen a lot and that it could go away, or it could not. I could still miscarry, but they didn't have a lot of information and it was just a wait and see thing. I would continue to have bleeding and we would just have to keep an eye on any symptoms of anemia. There was a sense of relief that our child was still alive, but we had a million questions with no answers, only that we would have to wait and see. I was scheduled for a follow up ultrasound the next week to see if there was any change.

MARCH 29, 2010

We went in for our follow up appointment. I had a new Dr. because my previous one was gone on vacation. While we waited for my turn, I had been having a substantial amount of bleeding and started to get scared that I was losing too much blood. (Looking back now, this was the day that I lost the most blood until the day we lost him) She did an ultrasound in the office and said that the baby was still there and looked good, but that there was a lot of blood in the uterus still. She said the baby was all the way up at the top of the uterus and that blood filled the rest of it. They don't know why this happens, sometimes it just does. She then asked us if we had thought about our options. This caught us off guard. Our options? We didn't know we had options. We didn't know that we were supposed to be considering terminating our pregnancy. We just found out that the baby we thought we had lost was still there and now she wanted us to think about getting rid of it? She had only seen this happen to a patient one other time and that woman had to have multiple transfusions due to the blood loss and had to deliver the baby at 26 weeks. There was a laundry list of things that could happen in this pregnancy: I could need multiple transfusions, I could have to deliver the baby as early as 24 weeks if it ran out of room to grow and all the problems that come with that, I could miscarry, I could develop pre-eclampsia or pprom later in my pregnancy, my life could be in jeopardy. She said that I needed to go get my blood checked to make sure I wasn't anemic due to the blood loss and then we needed to go have another formal ultrasound done in order to gather more information so that they could counsel us. That was one of the scariest words to me, counsel. That meant that we had to make a decision. I didn't like the sound of that. This Dr. had put things in a whole new perspective, one that I didn't like.

We went and had the formal ultrasound done and went home to wait for her call. That evening she called and asked if we had thought anymore about what we wanted to do. She said it appeared the clot had grown in size over the last week, even though I had continued to bleed. The baby was still ok, but for how long they didn't know. At our request, she set up an appointment for a consultation with a perinatologist, the high risk OB, for the following week. We again had to wait and think. What were we going to do? We were hoping that the perinatologist would have more information for us and maybe some good news.

APRIL 5, 2010

We met with the peri and she did an ultrasound in the office. She said the placenta was attached the top of my uterine wall which was a good thing and would help the pregnancy to continue, if we chose to do so. She didn't have much more information for us and echoed my Dr. by saying that this is very rare and the pregnancy usually ends itself very early on. It doesn't usually get to the point that we were at. She also said that my uterus was almost double the size of what it would normally be because of all the blood in there. So we were sent home to decide what we wanted to do and to let them know. If we were going to terminate, we were advised to do it sooner rather than later.

We went to dinner that evening to talk. This was the hardest decision that we had ever had to make. It was as if we were having to decide between my life and our baby's life. Ultimately, we decided that my life was the most important and that as hard as it would be, ending the pregnancy was what would be best for our family. I told the Dr. the next day and arrangements for my surgery were scheduled for the following week.

I continued to struggle with the decision and wondered whether this was in fact the best one. I never thought that I would have to make this decision. I was married and wanted children. An abortion was not something that I thought I would be faced with. How would I feel afterwards? Would I be able to go on with life and be ok with myself or Nathan? Would I always be thinking what if? After a week of struggling, I realized that I could not go through with it. With the support of Nathan, I called and cancelled the surgery and we decided to wait until my next Dr. appointment in 3 weeks to see where we were at and make any decisions at that point. I breathed a sigh of relief.

APRIL 28, 2010

The morning of my 12.5 week visit, I got a message saying my Dr. was out and I would be seeing the nurse. I thought, great, she is not going to know anything and we aren't going to get any updates or answers. I was right. They just scheduled me for a normal check up, but I was not having a normal pregnancy! We were able to listen to the heartbeat for the first time and the baby sounded healthy. She even did an ultrasound in the office, per my request, and the baby looked good, but there was still a lot of blood in there. She re-scheduled me for an appointment with my Dr. for the following week. We decided that we were going to have this baby and hope for the best. I finally started to think about when we had this baby instead of if. I didn't want to deny myself the excitement of my pregnancy any longer. I was having a baby!


Throughout the 6 weeks of my pregnancy that I bled for, I would have good days and bad days. I usually had 1-2 days a week of heaving bleeding, where I was extremely weak and didn't do a whole lot. The next coupld of days I was recovering from the heavy bleeding and then I usually had a couple days where I felt pretty good. I didn't have much energy during that time. It took everything in me most days to just walk up the stairs. Then I would have to sit down and catch my breath for a couple minutes. Grocery shopping or going to Target? I would have to work myself up to it and even if I was able to make it there, I could only stand up long enough to get a couple things and get out. I couldn't hold Thomas or carry him around. I lifted him as little as I possibly could. I felt guilty for the attention that he didn't get from me because I just couldn't do it.


MAY 1, 2010

I started having some cramping and heavier bleeding the night before, but this morning it seemed to have subsided for the most part. I was glad because we were going to a 1st Birthday party for the daughter of Nathan's buddy that afternoon. I was weaker that day because of the bleeding, but I felt up to the party, I just didn't know how long it would last. We headed out for the 1pm party. We were there for a couple hours and having a good time. We had decided that we would need to get going soon because Thomas was tired and needed to get a nap in soon. I started to have gushes of blood and a lot of clots coming through. I hadn't had a lot of clots since the first week I bled, but for the last couple of days I noticed more and more coming through. I told Nathan that we really had to go NOW. So we headed home. I was just hoping that we would get home in time so I didn't have an accident in the car. Unfortunately, I wasn't that lucky. I felt another large gush and knew my shorts were soaked. I felt this wrenching in my gut and knew that something was happening. I told Nathan I didn't have a good feeling. He asked if I was going to need to go to the Dr. and I said probably not, I just need to get home and will need to get my blood checked on Monday since I was losing a lot. I started to think about information I had read about miscarriages and how some women say it feels like they are in labor. As I clenched my water bottle with the passing pains, I tried to think, has it been 5 mins since the last pain? Does it feel like I'm in labor? I knew that when I got home I was going to look online to see what size the baby was because I wanted to know if I would be able to tell if I miscarried or if it was just a lot of bleeding.

As soon as we got home, I rushed straight in to the bathroom. I sat down and more blood and clots came out. I usually checked to see the size of the clots because the Dr. would ask about that when I went in. When I looked down, I saw our baby hanging there. I saw legs and arms and a little baby. I started screaming and crying hysterically. Our baby was dead, I lost the baby. At that moment, Nathan had just come inside and came to my side. He too saw our baby and did the first thing that came to mind, call 911. We were in shock. Within a minute or two the firetruck was there and the paramedics were asking what I wanted to do. I told them that I had passed the baby, but I didn't know what to do. They advised letting the ambulance take me to the hospital to get checked out since I had lost a lot of blood and miscarried. I decided that was best, so we waited for the ambulance. I got some clothes and just closed the lid of the toilet. I didn't know what to do and didn't have time to think. I just knew I wasn't able to flush my baby down the toilet. We went to the hospital. After getting checked out, I was told that everything looked ok and I could go home, but to call my Dr. Monday morning for a follow up.

After getting home that night, we talked to my mom and decided that we wanted to bury our baby in the backyard. We didn't really know where else to do it. She said that she would get our baby for us because we were in no position to do it ourselves. The next morning she said that she washed him off with warm water and wrapped him in a christening blanket. That he looked just like a little baby. She didn't look to see if it was a boy or a girl because that was our choice. As the day went by, I decided that I wanted to look at him. I wasn't sure if I could or not, I didn't know if it would make things better or worse. But I knew that I had this horrible image in my head from the night before and that I didn't want that to be what I thought of when I thought of my baby. Before we buried him, Nathan and I held our little baby and unwrapped the blanket to look at him. My mom was right, he was just a perfect little baby. We looked and saw he was a boy, with 10 fingers and 10 toes. We were able to say goodbye. We buried him in the backyard by a flower garden. It is right at the edge of the patio where my dad is re-doing it, so when it's complete, there will be cemented rock and he will never be disturbed. I put a lily in with him and that is why we now have a lily plant there. We are also going to get a rock engraved that will mark his spot and become part of the patio. There is a garden angel there marking his spot now and we will take her when we move. And there is a bench that sits there too, so I can go outside and sit with him when I want to.

Pictures Speak a Thousand Words

This is a sonogram picture of Kaden taken on March 29, 2010. He is about 8.5 weeks old. We had so many sonograms during this pregnancy, yet we never got any pictures for ourselves until the very last one, in which you could hardly even tell that he was there. I figured that I had another appointment in a week and I would be able to get a better picture then, but a few days later he was gone. I was able to get a CD from the hospital with all my sonogram pictures on it from the two formal ultrasounds I had done, but this is the only good shot of him.

This is a photot of the garden angel that sits where Kaden is buried. My mom has since added a wood sculpture of a little angel boy holding a puppy that she had that she says makes her think of Kaden.

This is the lily plant that we have also sitting where he is buried in memory of the lily that is resting with him. My mom is looking for the perfect pot to plant it in. Lilies have always been my favorite flower and now they have even more meaning for me.

A Time to Grieve

I have done, or am in the process of doing, a number of things in order to help myself and my family through the grieving process. I didn't just have a miscarriage, my baby died. I have two children and one of them is in heaven. This loss is the hardest that I have experienced and part of that is because it is unlike any other loss. This baby didn't have a chance to live. We have no memories to look back on, he didn't have a name, he didn't have a funeral, we don't have any pictures of him, we don't have any mementos of his, he had no identity.

We decided to name him Kaden Nathaniel. This is one thing that we can do to give him an identity. We didn't have a name picked out since we didn't know at the time he was a boy, so I wanted a name that meant something. Kaden means "fighter". He was definitely a fighter. He made it farther than most little babies do when they are battling what he had to battle. Nathaniel means "gift from God" and it is a form of Nathan after his father. This child was a gift from God, as all children are.

I got a ring so that I have something to wear on a daily basis as a reminder of my son that I lost. It is a green Amethyst ring. The Amethyst symbolizes remembrance and love and is the stone of February, which is when he was conceived. Normally Amethysts are purple, but this one is green as a symbol of the month of May when he was born.

I found a wonderful website that serves as a memorial for young lives lost. The woman who runs it is a photographer who lives near the beach in Australia and takes requests to write your child's name in the sand and photograph it. It is then added to the website as a memorial for your child. At the time I made the request, we had not yet named Kaden, therefore I requested a love heart to be drawn, which is what she will do for miscarried babies with no name. I am anxiously awaiting this.

I am taking things one day at a time and learning how to deal with the loss of a child. Something that I never thought I would have to do. I am so grateful to all our family and friends who have been there for us through this experience and who continue to be there for us as we continue on our journey. As I said before, talking about our little boy and about what we are going through is something that is helping me tremendously, so don't be afraid to ask. I will gladly share.