About 6am on the 24th of February I started to have some serious period style cramps. When the nurse came in to check on me and take my vitals I told her I was in a lot of pain. About that time my husband woke up. The nurse said that she was gonna send the doctor in to check on me. I don't know how long it took but the next thing I remember a weird feeling in my lady bits that felt like a tampon just slipped out. I couldn't move but said, "Uhh, something is happening." All of a sudden there was a ton of people in our room. Brian was standing on one side of me and Alyssa on the other...they were both holding my hands.
The doctor took a look at me and said it was time to start pushing. I didn't necessarily know what that meant as we had never been to any child birthing classes...but I tried. It happened so fast they didn't have time to give me any edpidural medication nor did they have time to put up a sheet or anything....everyone in there could see my lady bits (though I didn't and still don't care). It hurt really bad and I was crying (from sadness though, not pain). I screamed from pain. Brian and Alyssa cheered me on...they even told me that as soon as it was over I could eat (which I later found out was a lie, but oh well). Brian watched the events as they happened below and Alyssa kept her eyes on my face....we all cried together.
At 6:53am Bristol Grace was born with her wings. The doctors and nurses did a good job of quickly getting her out of the room....I wasn't ready to see her yet. A few minutes later, as the nurses were cleaning me up, Brian and Alyssa went to see Bristol. When they came back in the room you could tell they had been crying. Brian told me that he wanted me to hold her. I didn't think I was strong enough so I told him no. He told me it was ok to feel that way but that it was important that I see her and hold her. About this time he called our parents to tell them that Bristol had been born so that they could come down and see her and be with us to support us.
When Brian brought her in to the room she was in a basket. They had a blanket over her so I didn't have to see her until I was ready. Brian took the blanket off and showed her to me. You could tell she had been gone a while because she was already turning purple. She was so beautiful...her nose looked like a mini version of mine and her face was shaped like my husbands. I think she had my lips. She had all her fingers and toes...she looked just like a mini baby. I would have given anything to hear her cry...to look into her eyes and tell her I love her. Finally they handed her to me. I couldn't believe how small she was. I cried and cried while I held her. I kept telling her I was sorry. The hospital took a few photos (which I have to admit I thought was weird at the time but I am very grateful for now) for us. I have never felt like I failed as much in my entire life as when I was holding her....how could my body have failed my daughter so much that she died!!! Inside my womb is supposed to be the safest place for her...the only place that I can protect her.
My parents got there about 9:30am-10:00am. I will never forget the sadness on my dads face when he was holding his dead granddaughter. My heart just broke. A little while later a priest came in to baptize her. I know many religions do not baptize a baby after he/she has died but it was very important to me that she be baptized so my husband found one of the hospital priests that would preform the service for us. A few minutes later the priest came in...I held her while he baptized her. Brian, Alyssa, and my parents stood and watched. The priest also said a prayer.
About noon it was time to say goodbye. I don't think Ive ever been so sad. They wanted me to rest but there was no rest to be had. My in-laws got there about 12:30pm. Shortly after that my husband went home to take our dogs out. I tried to close my eyes, I don't remember much but dreaming about chocolate cake and pancakes. Brian got back about 3pm. Brian and Alyssa called funeral homes to make arrangements to have her cremated. Brian filled out the paperwork to get her stillborn death certificate and for her to have an autopsy. About 4pm our parents went home. About 5pm Brian told me that we had to let Alyssa leave...she looked exhausted and she had to work the next day. We both cried and she promised she'd call when she got home.
I had started to feel physically better...my temperature was going down and my blood pressure was almost normal again. I still couldn't eat or drink though, which sucked. My in-laws went to our house and took our dogs out and fed them. Brian ate dinner. We then tried to get some sleep. He fell asleep and slept almost straight through until morning. I tried to mess with the internet and the tv but it didn't really work much. About midnight I asked for something to help me sleep. Whatever they gave me helped for a few hours....I woke up at 3:30am and was unable to fall back asleep.
At 7am they took me off the medicine and told me I could eat again. I ordered a huge breakfast and ate every last bite. They wanted to continue to monitor me to make sure the infection was gone and that my blood pressure was normal so we were told we were not able to leave until 5pm that night. The entire time we were there I just wanted to get out of that room. I was hoping we'd be able to go home around noon.
The guy from the funeral home got there around 10:30am. He talked about our options and we decided to have Bristol cremated. They put some of her ashes in a locket for me, some in a mans locket for my husband and the rest is a small urn. Years from now when my time on Earth is done I will have her buried with me.
Our nurse that day was the same one that we had at the beginning of our journey and it seemed fitting that she was there for the end. She talked to me about what to expect as far as my body was concerned. Brian told her that I was scared because I felt old (from a fertility aspect) and I was afraid that I would never be able to get pregnant again. She looked at me (and though it took me a few minutes to understand what she was saying) she said, "I've been there. I get it. When you are 37 you are considered advanced maternal age...." When it finally clicked as to what she was saying (that she has experienced infertility too) I asked her, "How in the world can you work here??? I hate seeing pregnant people...its so hard because so many people get pregnant so easy even when they don't want the baby or don't care for the baby. And here I am trying desperately to get pregnant and then this happens. I don't understand how you do this." To which she replied (words that will stay with me forever), "I do it because I still have hope. The 41 year old who finally gives birth to twins after her 5th IVF finally worked...that gives me hope. It may not be my time now but it will be one time, and until then I have hope."
A few hours later we were discharged...Brian went to get the car and the nurse took me down to the car in a wheelchair. Brian put the stuff in the car and I thanked our nurse. I gave her a hug and told her that one day we'd be back on happier terms and that I wanted her as our nurse then too.....
I will never forget the feeling of utter emptiness as the two of us drove away from the hospital. We arrived as three and were leaving as two.....