Monday, March 16, 2009

the miracle of life

i apologize it's taken me so long to come back and tell the story of our son's birth and death. we have been quite busy these past couple of weeks. every time i wanted to sit down and start writing i was too afraid to go back there to those feelings. i know it's going to take me a few times to tell the whole story so i will break it up into different posts.

here i go...with trembling fingers and sweaty palms...

on january 6 i stayed home from work. i wasn't feeling good and had some cramps i thought were braxton hicks contractions. the day before i had them too. i googled pre-term labor signs. there was no pattern. nothing i could time. ok, i thought...these are braxton hicks for sure. ken came home from work and i told him i wasn't sure these braxton hicks contractions were normal. it was the day of epiphany here in greece so i knew my greek doctor was not at the clinic. we decided to call our base doctor who is a family practice doctor and has delivered several babies. he told me to drink a glass of cold water, lay down for 45 mintues, and monitor if my contractions were getting any stronger. if i had more than 3-4 i should go to the clinic. before i laid down, i went to the bathroom and noticed a little blood. i told ken we had to go to the clinic right then.

i remember crying out, i can't have this baby tonight!! i'm only 28 weeks. it's too early.

we called the clinic to tell them we were on our way. the contractions were closer together and getting more painful. oh no, Lord, please don't let me have this baby tonight. it's not time for matthew phillip to be born.

we arrived a little after 8 p.m. the mid-wife hooked me up to the monitor and the baby's heartbeat was normal at an average of 151 (so much for the theory of 140+ means it's a girl!) when i felt a contraction i would ask her, is that a contraction? is this normal? she would kind of nod, not revealing much, and told me the doctor was on his way. i had moments of feeling scared, but i also had quite a few moments of peace during the time before the doctor arrived.

the doctor arrived about 9:45 and i vividly remember the look of concern on his face. he asked me how long i had pains and i told him i thought i was having braxton hicks contractions since yesterday late afternoon. i told him they were not regular and up until a few hours ago, they weren't very strong. certainly nothing i would equate to labor pains. he asked why i didn't call him the day before and an overwhelming feeling of fear and guilt came over me. he did an exam and then ordered the nurse to bring me down to get an ultrasound. the doctor had a look of disappointment and defeat on his face and said i was dilated 3 cms and he couldn't stop the labor. he said matthew was breech and that i would be having a c-section very soon. i cried out to ken and said i couldn't have the baby because it was too early. i was trembling and scared. they wheeled me back up to the exam room for surgery prep. i told ken he had to call the base doctor and get him to talk to my doctor.

Lord, this isn't happening. make them stop the labor so my baby boy will be ok.

ken came back with the doctor and he told me that the base doctor was in agreement. they couldn't try to stop the labor because it would be a danger to me and the baby. i was too far dilated. the doctor told me he would be putting me under for the c-section. then he introduced me to a woman who was the neonatal specialist. my doctor explained to us that as soon as matthew was born she would be accompanying him in the ambulance to heraklion (about 2.5 hours away) where there was a nicu. i told ken to call my mom and let her know what was going on. the nurse wheeled me down the hall and i remember ken being there and then he wasn't. everything happened so fast. i didn't tell him i love him. i didn't say i'll see you in a little while.

in the operating room was the neonatal specialist, my doctor, and 2 anastesiologists. i was so scared. i told the doctor i didn't get to tell ken i loved him and if anything happened to me...

he pointed to a camera in the corner of the room where i could see ken standing in the hall.

the tall anastesiologist stood over me and said in a minute he would put a mask on me and everything was going to be ok. then someone said something and he laughed. at that exact moment, i stopped being afraid. i thought if he could laugh in this very scary situation, everything was going to be ok. i wasn't going to die. and neither was my baby. i asked my doctor if i could see matthew when he was born (not knowing if this was possible since he was putting me under.)

i awoke in a groggy state to my doctor smiling from ear to ear. "look cortney, here's your baby." i distinctly remember the change in my doctor. the look of worry was gone from his face. i remember seeing matthew's sweet little face in the incubator, but it is a very foggy memory. i didn't know it would be my only memory of seeing him alive...


Joy said...

I don't know what to "comment". My eyes are blurry with tears and my heart is heavy. I do appreciate you letting us journey with you through this difficult time.

Mountains, snow and sweet little toes said...

Cortney, thank you for sharing this incredible yet difficult journey with us! I so appreciate your honesty in your struggles with "why" yet you still hold on to God's goodness and His perfect plan. We continue to pray for you guys!

Lynnette Kraft said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story.