January 17, 2013

Burying Our Baby Boys

Most of you don’t know what has been going on in Rob and me’s life this past week and we both feel as if it is now time to share.

We have had an exciting past couple of months. First we discovered we were pregnant after trying just a couple of months (what a blessing), then a few weeks later we discovered we were having twins! We never imagined we would be so blessed! Finally, at 18 weeks we discovered the sexes of our little angels, two boys! I never thought I wanted twin boys but with that overwhelming joy I felt when I discovered that’s what we had I knew that I could not go another second without them! Everything looked perfect with the pregnancy. I was seeing a normal OB and a high-risk specialist each month to make sure our twins were safe, healthy, and strong. I was finally out of the yucky first trimester morning sickness and severe fatigue stage and really starting to prepare for our sweet boys to join our home. They were starting to move so much and Rob even was able to feel them kick for the first couple of times. We were both ecstatic. We honestly did not know what we had done to be so blessed. Our life was absolutely perfect. Sure we had the stress of finances to think about, two babies instead of one was more than we planned for, but it only felt like double the blessings; we were never truly worried about anything but their well-being.

Sunday, January 13th I woke up several times in the night with cramping. It would hurt pretty badly but just for several seconds and then pass and I seemed to be able to fall asleep for a while after so I was not worried. By the time the sun came up they seemed to be getting worse. I really started to panic but read some online baby forums and chalked it up to round ligament pains. When I finally drug myself out of bed to the bathroom the cramps were still persisting and I noticed I was starting to bleed. Immediately I knew something was wrong. I told Rob we needed to go straight to the hospital. I knew blood at this stage was most likely a sign of something serious and coupled with the cramping I really started to panic. Still, I never expected what came next.

I could tell Rob was a little panicked, he ran a red light on the way to the hospital, luckily it was less than a mile from our home and we arrived in about two minutes. The signing-in process seemed to take an eternity. The lady inputting my information did not seem in a hurry and it was really starting to bother me. Finally she took us to another room where another lady asked more questions, at this point the cramps were really starting to get to me. She noticed and said something about having a contraction. What? These aren’t contractions are they? I’m just cramping, it’s probably just something wrong with one of the placentas or my cervix is starting to widen a little, right? She took us to an actual room had me undress and lay in bed and nurses starting coming in asking MORE questions. How many times can they ask me how far along I am? Seriously, take a look down there. Tell me what’s going on please. Of course, these were all things I was thinking and never verbalizing. I couldn’t do much as this point but shake in the bed from the pain and try not to pass out.

I remember things in blurs after this point. Whether it was the pain or stress or a combination of the two, the next days come to me in jumbled up blurs. I remember a nurse telling someone that the contractions were four minutes apart. I remember thinking this was serious, that’s pretty close together right? I remember the Dr. coming in. They did a Doppler; the babies’ heartbeats were fine. Phew. They checked my cervix; there was a rush of fluid. Not good, really bad. The Dr. told me one of the water sacs was hour glassing. I was in active labor. Then I remember these stinging words. “Courtney” the Dr. said, “If your babies are born today they will not survive.” She repeated it to me. “If your babies are born today they will not survive.” I didn’t know what to say. I heard her yes, please stop repeating it. What do you want me to say to that? Fix it, do something. The pain had, at this point, completely taken over my body. 3 doses of morphine had done absolutely nothing and I was useless. Rob sat nervously at my bedside holding my hand trying not to show me how truly terrified he was. Someone came in and asked him, “are you willing to do whatever it takes for this pregnancy and these babies?” He replied annoyed and impatient, “yes, of course.” “All right, we are going to transfer you to Banner Desert, they specialize in this area” she responded. I think at this point we realized that these nurses and our Dr. were not comfortable with our situation. They were used to full-term babies and healthy pregnancies. I was only 20 weeks along. This was a month before a baby could be considered “viable” if it were born premature.

I was then forced to sign paper after paper, barely able to open my eyes; people kept asking me questions that I couldn’t focus on. “Is there anything else you can do for the pain?” was all I could manage to say.  I was not allowed to get an epidural because they were moving me and I just had to wait. All I had known about labor pains I had seen in movies and heard from family, experiencing it first-hand is something no one can prepare you for. After what seemed like an eternity the ambulance arrived and we began our journey to the other hospital. Rob later told me that the driver didn’t turn on the sirens and seemed to be taking his time on the drive over. He has clearly never experienced this pain or the fear of losing a child. How annoying. We finally arrived and it was more annoying questions, although thankfully I was taken straight to a room. I asked again about an epidural. Really, how long were they going to make me experience this pain? Rob had to stop the nurses from changing my gown. “She doesn’t care if it’s bloody, she is in a lot of pain. She just needs some medicine.” He truly was my guardian angel through all this. Finally the anesthesiologist arrived and administered the epidural. I started feeling the cold trickle down my back and with it came the slow relief.

I remember even less from these times on. They put me on a magnesium sulfate drip to slow and hopefully stop the contractions. Why they didn’t do this right away? I don’t know, but honestly it doesn’t matter. Once the pain had subsided I was really able to be grateful for all the nurses and doctors that had taken care of me. Helping me to breath, putting a cold rag on my head, putting socks on my feet, and worrying about my wellbeing. They were all angels and I could recognize that now.

They listened with the Doppler again. The heartbeats were still strong. I was beginning to have hope, which worried me because I also had a very strong feeling that I was not going to be able to keep my babies. It was not a lack of faith. If I know anything at all I know that it was Heavenly Father. He was there with me and had been the whole time. He was telling me to be at peace and let His plan prevail. The magnesium sulfate they put me on made me drowsy, dry-mouthed, exhausted and nauseous. I realized I was about to throw-up and the nurse grabbed me a bag. I felt something warm on my legs. She checked me. “I think your water has broke. There is a lot of liquid. ” I asked what that meant for my baby, or Rob did. Like I said these times are a blur. “He will not be able to survive long without it, you are most likely going to lose this baby.” I was unnaturally calm. I looked to Rob and tried to smile. “This is just what is supposed to happen Rob, don’t be sad.” How was I so calm? It could only have been the strength from those in heaven helping me at this time. I knew it was not my strength. I knew I was not strong enough to just accept what was happening. The next few hours were a waiting game. I was forced to lie there and wait for my sweet baby boy to enter this world, knowing that his lungs were not strong enough for him to stay in it. At this point it was around 5:00 pm and Rob had not eaten all day. I forced him to go to the cafeteria. When he returned my dad was with him. As he approached my bed I let out my first tears up to this point, yet I still managed to maintain my composure. Rob had let him know what was going on. Being a Dr. he talked with the nurses and Dr. who had been taking care of me and made sure they were doing everything in their power to help me.

We sat in the room in silence for hours. Every so often someone would say a few words but it was mostly just somber. We knew what was coming for sweet baby boy A. After a long while my dad wanted to leave us to be alone. I was grateful that he had come but I was also grateful that he knew we needed time alone to process and grieve. Rob’s car was still at the other hospital so he took him to grab it and I asked Rob to get our little puppy Gemma and take her to his mother’s. He returned after what seemed like an eternity. When he was gone I had begun to feel the pressure they told me I would feel when I was about to give birth to my sweet boy. I was nervous and had not said anything to anyone because I did not want to give birth without Rob by my side. I told Rob when he returned and he told me to call the nurse right away. She came in with the Dr. and they checked me and felt that he was already coming out of the birth canal. I was forced to push and finally he was here. I heard the Dr. say she couldn’t feel a pulse, but this was no surprise to me. I couldn’t see him but I heard them say “sweet perfect baby”. Finally they asked if I would like to hold him. All I could do was nod. Feeling your baby and seeing ultrasounds is a whole different experience from seeing them in the flesh. He was absolutely perfect. Tiny little hands and feet, perfect little face and nose. All I could do was stare and hold him. The love I felt and feel for him is nothing you can describe. You hear parents say stuff like that all the time but it truly is an unearthly feeling. As Rob held our baby he said, “It’s weird how you can get so attached to something that you haven’t seen yet.” It’s true. We had not met them but we were already so attached to our baby boys.

The Dr. checked me again after the first delivery and told me that she could feel and see another fluid sac. Great. It is what I was expecting but you can’t help but have that hope float over you that maybe you will at least be able to keep one of your boys. They laid me completely flat and now it was just more waiting. Prospects were grim but we were still determined to do all in our power to save baby boy B. After a nearly sleepless night we awoke to more waiting. My dad came back and was able to see our first baby. Jacque arrived after he left and was also able to see our little angel. They ordered an ultra sound and when the tech finally arrived it was more bad news. Baby boy B had no heartbeat. The contractions from labor had been too much for his tiny fragile body to handle. The Dr. asked me if I would like to wait awhile or be induced right away. Rob and I decided it was best to just do it right away. They induced me and it was literally moments before I felt the familiar birth pains and pressures I had felt the first time. Our Dr. was in the OR but I was already feeling him coming and the nurse seemed a little frantic calling people and asking for helping hands. Finally the Dr. arrived and baby boy B was already half way here. We were able to hold him again and again he was absolutely perfect. It is hard to see a baby that looks so perfect on the outside. You wonder why couldn’t he live, because you can’t see all his delicate fragile organs on the inside that just weren’t strong enough for him to survive.

My sister Audrey arrived shortly after the second birth and her and Jacque were able to see the babies when they brought them back together. They placed them in a tiny basket cuddling together with two tiny teddy bears. They had tiny little hats on their sweet heads and they looked absolutely heavenly. It breaks my heart knowing that I will not get to hold or snuggle them again in this life. The only thing that can give you comfort at a time like this is knowing that they are in Heaven waiting for us to return to them. I’m glad to know that they didn’t have to experience pain or the hardships of this life and that they were just so perfect that Heavenly Father brought them right back up to live with Him.

The night and days after the deliveries have been the hardest for me. I completely broke down after speaking with my mom on the phone. The only thing that keeps me going through the day is staying busy and pretending that life is going on normally. It’s the constant reminders of their absence that slam me back to reality. I miss everything about them. I think about the times I complained about the little pregnancy aches and pains and it makes me mad. I would take back anything in a second if it meant having them here with me now. I miss my growing stomach. I hate the flat empty squishy nothingness it is now. I hate not worrying about what I eat or drink. I hate being able to sleep however I want without being out of breath. It’s a sickening reminder that they are gone anytime I realize it is just my body I am worrying about now. The thought of being pregnant again someday worries me. I still ache for children but knowing that it will not be them makes me cry. I try not to think about these things because I know having an eternal perspective is what is truly important. I WILL be able to see them and hold them and raise them and love them again. Rob and I WILL be and are their parents. You never imagine that you will have to go through something like this in your life. I never thought I would have to make arrangements for my baby boys to be buried. I never thought I would have to look at caskets and headstones and burial plots. Nothing can prepare you for something like this in your life. I just hope I can continue to keep my eternal perspective and that my testimony in God and His plan can keep me centered when those hard times overcome me.

I want to thank everyone who has helped us through this emotional time in our lives. We have felt all of your thoughts and prayers with us. We appreciate the food, flowers, and words and thoughts in our behalf. I want to especially thank Jacque my sweet mother-in-law for helping with all the burial arrangements, these are just things that Rob and I don’t have the energy to worry or think about right now and we are so grateful for her handling them. It is a humbling thing to feel the shower of love all of you have shown to us. I am most grateful for Rob in my life at this time. The thought of going through this without him is terrifying. He has been my rock and my angel. He holds me each day and helps to comfort me when I feel like I just can’t handle it. I hope that I can do for him even half of what he has done for me. He is the only man that I could spend an eternity with and I am so grateful for my decision to marry him. It was truly the best thing I have ever done in my life.
8 Weeks.
18 Weeks.


Baby Boy A
Baby Boy B

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