Saturday, May 23, 2009

A letter to my son, Ethan

Dearest Ethan,
My beloved son, a year ago you were born. You were born silenty at 1:29pm. You weighed 4 lbs 3 oz. and were 18 inches long. It was the hardest thing I had to do, to deliver your lifeless body into our awaiting arms. But it was also one of the best things I have done. It was one of the happiest days of my life, we finally were able to meet you. To see your beautiful face, we felt your beautiful curls. My precious Ethan, you looked just like Mommy. You were alive in my womb for 32 weeks, and they were the best weeks of my life. I still remember talking to you in the elevator at work. I remember how you would move and wiggle during my meetings, presentations at work. I love you and it comforts me to know that you felt this love. This I know for sure.

Today we celebrated your life, and as your big brother said, "We are celebrating his life and birth". Your big brother woke up today happy and excited, his first words this morning were "Mommy today is Ethan's birthday". It was a bittersweet day my love. Oh how we wish we would be able to blow out your 1st birthday candle with you. We were not given that opportunity but we thank God for allowing us the time we did have with you. We cherish those 32 weeks.

Your grandparents also came to visit for this very special day. It was a nice day, although a bit cloudy. We sat there and ate cupcakes to celebrate YOU. Your big brother blew out your candle after we sang Happy Birthday. Earlier in the day, he told me, "Mommy, it's kinda hard to celebrate a birthday when the person has died. I just want to be able to tell Ethan Happy Birthday, but he's not here". He's absolutely right. He also said you were going to have a big party in Heaven for your birthday, and you were probably playing the baby limbo with all of the clouds stringed together. He misses you tremendously.

I'm glad you entered our lives, and baby you continue to have a place in our family and will live forever in our hearts. You are my baby, my precious Ethan. We love you so much. Happy Birthday my love!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A year ago today...

I entered into this hellish nightmare. I remember so clearly, I was at work. Busy, I was in charge of the ED. And of course, I am taking care of the sickest kid in the department. We were waiting for the neurosurgeon to take him into surgery. His blood pressure was high, his heart rate was low. He was only 2 years old. He was a former 26 weeker. His mother noticed I was pregnant and asked how far along I was, I responded "32 weeks" and she said I had nothing to worry about, if he was born then his chances for survival would be great. I took comfort in her statement, I knew this to be true. In the meantime, her son is deteriorating. I am calling the neurosurgeon non stop. I finally get an estimated time for the OR. It is now around 1230 ish, I realize the baby hasn't moved. Or maybe he has, but I was so busy I didn't notice. We order lunch and I finally sit to eat, or rather inhale my food. I even drink a regular Sprite. I tell one of the other nurses, who by the way happens to be pregnant as well, she goes to the adult ED and borrows their doppler. We go into one of the rooms and ask another nurse to help us hear fetal heart tones. She goes first, it's there about 140. Then we proceed to me, and nothing. No fetal heart tones. After trying for like what seemed an eternity, we stop. I go into the break room and call my OB. I'm crying now, but I manage to call my husband. He was at our son's school picking him up. I ask him to pick me up, I know I can't manage to drive there.

He arrives, he's worried too. We are interrupted by an old college acquaintance, she's there with her son. We talk to her quickly. We leave the hospital premises, we are on the way there. I tell my husband to stop and pick up something for Jason to eat. In my mind, I'm thinking we will have to go to the hospital perhaps for a non stress test or something. It enters my mind that perhaps something is wrong but I'm not thinking he has died. I just couldn't imagine it, not on the way there. We arrive, the nurse greets me. She tries to listen to his heartbeat, NOTHING. I am taken over to the ultrasound room, and there he is, lifeless. No heartbeat. I knew it then, Ethan had died. I hear talking, my head is spinning, I'm crying, asking for my husband. The ultrasound technician brings him in, we are taken into another room, shortly after that Dr. J walks in. I don't want my son to see me like this, I ask them not to bring him in. I can't comprehend what is going on, it doesn't feel real. I'm asking her what happened, she's sitting and telling me she doesn't know. I don't know how long we are there. We finally leave, Jason was sitting in the nurses station coloring. He looks terrified. I try to gain composure for his sake. We manage to drive home.

Upon our arrival, I am greeted in the living room with all of the shower gifts from a few weeks ago. We take Jason into the family room and tell him his little brother has died. He doesn't look at me, he braces me and doesn't let go. I hear his sobs, he's crying uncontrollaby. My then 5 year old has just entered this hellish nightmare as well. He's asking why did our baby died. We have no answers.

The nightmare has begun. We have phone calls to make, family to tell, arrangements to make. We try to maintain normalcy for Jason's sake. We take comfort in our mundane tasks, giving Jason a bath, bedtime routine. We finally go to sleep, hoping to be awakened from this nightmare. Only that never happens. I am wide awake at 2am, sobbing, looking at my belly asking "WHY????"

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

We had an ultrasound and biophysical profile Thursday. All appears well for the time being. Our baby girl is weighing in at 2 lbs 8 ounces, she's in the 47th percentile. Not bad, I'm so afraid my gestational diabetes will affect her and will make her so big she won't be able to pass through the birth canal. Then I think of the possible things that can go wrong, shoulder distocia, anoxic brain injury, and the list goes on and on. That's the bad thing about knowing a little bit of information, it can be dangerous. I do think ignorance is bliss at times. We will have another ultrasound in 3 weeks to continue to monitor her growth.

On to other news, I had a bit of a scare last week, I was directly exposed to H1N1 virus. One of my patients coughed on my face as I was bending over to take his temperature. And of course, he tested positive for the flu virus. Just my luck huh. I'm on antivirals right now, I'm sure all is well, since I just passed the incubation period and nothing, no symptoms. Just one more day of the antiviral. I'm telling you, I must be a shit magnet. Then my employer informed me that I have to be reassigned to another area because the CDC recommends that pregnant health care workers be reassigned to non patient contact areas until further recommendation. I'm OK with this, I've already been exposed and don't want to take any chances.

I've had a rough past 2 weeks, lots of stress, Ethan's anniversary just right around the corner and oh yeah, my parents are on the verge of divorce after 45 years of marriage. I don't even want to get into the whole thing. I just wake up every morning and pray that I can get through the day. It's getting better, I'm here, surviving once again. I realize that although my parents impending divorce is difficult, NOTHING compares to the pain of losing your child.

Today on the eve of Mother's Day, I remember Ethan. I remember last years Mother's Day, all of the joy, the anticipation of holding my baby boy. I was 30 weeks pregnant last year, how I wish I would've known I only had 2 weeks left with him. I would've caressed my belly more, I would've told him how much I loved him. There's so much I wish I knew then. I would've tried to save his life.

To you my friends, I wish you a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!