I really don't know how to start this. I don't know how to write "Emma's story" or even "My Story". It is sad to me that I have to write her story, as her story should be "Emma rolled over today or Emma is a GREAT napper and a GREAT sleeper (okay that is my dream - for any child of mine!). Yet I am stuck writing this. About my sweet baby girl that is no longer with us. This is all from my memory, which is not the greatest...so changes are bound to happen (just fyi).
On November 6th, 2008, Our lives changed forever. We found out we were pregnant at the end of June, 2008. For the first 3 months of pregnancy it was a breeze. I had morning sickness off and on, as long as I ate often I felt pretty good. When I was 15 weeks pregnant I went into my ob, who said I had an infection that was common in pregnancy, and I was also dilated about 1 cm. I was sent home with medication and was told to come back a week later. My Sister in Law brought me to my next appt and I was told that my infection was gone yet I was still dilated. So they did an ultrasound, baby looked great but my cervix looked a little short. So bed rest for the weekend and then I was sent to a perinatologist, a high risk pregnancy specialist. They took their measurements and said it looked good and all of that worry and stress was due to an inexperienced ultrasound tech...I calmed down (as I was completely freaked that entire time) but wasn't completely convinced. One morning when I was student teaching I ended up going to the doctor because I was bleeding. In any pregnancy, when you see that it can’t be good (from my experience). Josh was of course out of town for work so I called his grandma and asked if she would go with me. I was about 17.5 weeks then and was a little worried, but like my previous things that came up, they were noted and taken care of right away. I was brought right in and another ultrasound was done. I was told was something that I could have never expected. The doctor that I saw said there was low amniotic fluid around the baby and that could be because of 2 things – either the baby could have a fatal kidney dysfunction or my water broke. He looked at the ultrasound pictures and determined that he thought it was that my bag of waters broke. He said that he was really sorry, and then told me that I was miscarrying, and would deliver within the week. Bed rest was the only option. Oh the joy began. I could get up and go to the bathroom and shower 2 times a week. I was told that viability was 23 weeks, and that became our goal like none other. 23 weeks was what I wanted SO bad, now Josh and I look back and think how naive we were then. I didn't think about any of that however, all I thought about was getting to that point. Josh's cousin from California graciously flew in to help. She was so nice and was such a help! We wouldn't have made it without her! I had ultrasounds, appts, and more ultrasounds for another 5 1/2 wks. I was terrified every time we went in, I would be holding back tears praying so hard there was still a heartbeat. I would have tears in my eyes when I would see her kicking and when they said how strong she was. Every single time. I never took that for granted. On Sunday evening (November 2nd), I called the on call doctor because I was bleeding again. We went to United/Children's Hospital - and I am so glad Josh was there with me. I had a small placental tear and they did yet another ultrasound. Emma had a strong heartbeat and was kicking away. I was worried yet also encouraged. At EVERY single appointment I had, my doctor’s raved on how Emma had a strong heartbeat and was on the move, well kicking and trying to move because it was difficult to move when there wasn’t much fluid (my AFI was never over 3, which is VERY low). They wanted to keep me overnight and would discuss options in the morning. I was told that I was going to be admitted on Friday and would stay there the remainder of my pregnancy. I’m not going to lie, I was terrified. I was so thankful that they were finally going to do all they could to help us, and that we were on our way to a long hospital stay. When I got home I cried and cried, I couldn't believe that I would have to be in the hospital for that long, many nights without Josh and so much uncertainty. I still feel guilty for acting so selfish, and I have really struggled with that. You would not believe how many days, weeks, months on end I have wished I was still lying in a hospital bed. I was discharged Monday around noon, set to come back that Friday.
On Wednesday night I started having lower back contractions. I was told since my water broke that I could have them at any time, for any length. So I tried to go to bed and sleep. I would sleep a couple hours, wake up and be up for a bit and then fall back asleep. That continued about every 3-4 hours. It was a little better when Josh got up for work, so I continued to try and sleep. Thursday was my day of packing and my shower day, as I was going to have even more limited showers when I was admitted to the hospital. I woke up around 10:30 and was in pain. One of my dear friends Katie called me, and I explained that I thought I was having contractions/in labor and needed to call Bethany to bring me in. She talked to me for a bit to try and distract me, but to no avail. I said needed to call Beth. I called Bethany at about 11:15 (I think) and thankfully J (Beth's hubby, Josh's brother) was home. I don't know if we would have made it to United without him. Either of them. They picked me up at about 11:30, and the usual 35-40 minute drive took us about 25 minutes... In that 25 minutes my contractions were getting closer and closer and I was in SO much pain. As soon as one contraction would subside another would start again. We arrived at United/Children's hospital (where I was on Sunday and going to be admitted) and I was immediately taken back to L&D and they were going to try and "check me" and well needless to say I was fully dilated and they wheeled me down the hall. I don't remember all the details here, other than there was about 20 people in the room, some for me but most for Emma. I heard them call the NICU team and though I was terrified that I was actually delivering her, I was glad they were there and that we were there...I delivered Emma at 12:15pm. (There was not much time in between when we arrived and when I delivered, God was working on our side there, as it would NOT have been good to deliver in their car...not at all!) The NICU team immediately took her and put the tube down her throat. One of the most vivid memories of mine that I still constantly replay is when they turned around towards me after they picked her up off the table and said "we are so sorry, we did all we could but her lungs are just too small". I broke down. I was shaking and bawling. Thankfully Bethany was right there calming me down (Josh was still driving to United as everything happened so quickly).
As soon as they put her in my arms I was instantly calmed. Her heartbeat was strong but there was nothing they could do. Emma was 1.1 lbs and 13 inches long. She was so tiny, just a little peanut. I held her most of the day, as family came in and out. We had many family members come which was so great. I appreciated it so much, I don't think I said much, but I was so glad they were there and able to see and experience Emma. J & Beth called the funeral home and dealt with all of that, which I am so appreciative of, as I couldn't even think straight. How do you proceed once you just delivered your daughter and can't take her home? I remember the nurses wanting to take pictures, I was so appalled. Why would I want to document this? Why would I want pictures of my baby that died? All I can say is Thank You. Thank you for my wonderful nurses who took the pictures of Emma, along with her hand prints and footprints. I love looking at them and am so grateful for them. I was grateful for them the minute I left the hospital. I cannot imagine not having them. The nurses/peri that I had were wonderful. I am so thankful for them! Emma was with us for 3 short hours before she went to be with Jesus. We stayed at the hospital and I held her until the funeral home came. It killed me to leave that hospital without Emma in my arms. I should not have had to leave without my baby. But I did, and she baby is in the arms of Jesus, safe from any harm. I was pretty much in shock the whole day (especially after I was given some pain meds) and don't remember showing much emotion. I couldn't. Looking back now, I totally think it was the shock, our new reality hadn't set in. Oh boy did it ever about a 24 hrs later, but that is another post, for another day.
Whew. Don't know if you wanted that detailed of a story. I'm exhausted from writing this, and it took me oh about 3 weeks :) Thanks for reading all of that, if you did I am impressed! I seem to go on and on about Emma! That wonderful, sweet, perfect baby girl of mine has changed my life in SO many ways and I am so grateful for our time with her. I miss her more than the words can say. I love you Emma. Love, Mommy.
Isn't she the cutest little thing???! I think so, however I do know I am partial...