Trigger Warning : Emotional post, Baby loss, (a note to my Mom- don’t read this at work)
It’s 1:36 am. Usually when I’m awake at this time it’s because i get caught up in editing. And while i was editing tonight, it’s not what’s kept me up.
Last year on this date at 9am, i went in for another routine check up for our twins at Boston Maternal Fetal Medicine’s Methuen office at Holy Family Hospital. I was scheduled for an ultra sound & then a non stress test. I never made it to the non stress test. Cohen was considered Baby A & Charlotte was considered Baby B. We started with Baby A per the usual. I was chatting with the tech about the twins & how i was feeling, about our baby shower etc… When she got to baby B something was wrong, but she played it off like she needed to check on the last ultrasound. I still have my texts to Paul from that day. I knew something was wrong.
In walks my doctor, into the same exact room that on February 18, 2016 they told me my son had no heartbeat. He skimmed the screen & said, “i am so sorry stephanie.”
I was in such disbelief, in shock, there was NO WAY this could be happening again. The worst news a mother could ever receive, i was receiving for the second time. I am sorry, but what in the fuck?! I had to make that phone call to my husband at work TWICE. I have to bury another baby. My worst nightmare, a reality, again. A year later and it still doesn’t seem real. I think parts of me were still so numb from losing Caleb and now after Charlotte, forget about it.
I don’t talk in detail too much about what happened and maybe i probably should be speaking to someone, but I’m hoping for now i can find a sliver of relief writing here. It’ll probably be a blog post / diary entry / ramble & rant session. I briefly discussed this last November, but here I am at 2am…
I was brought to another room to wait for Paul. Linda, the best nurse in the world (see previous post) sat with me. She would not leave my side until Paul arrived. My doctor said he could get to the hospital at noon so we had waited. It was time to make the decision to induce or let Cohen continue to grow. I knew my anxiety couldn’t handle attempting to carry Cohen to term. We also had to decide where we were going to deliver. I was 33 weeks and 4 days. The hospital i was at was equipped to deliver babies after 34 weeks. There was a chance that if i delivered at Holy Family that due to Cohen’s prematurity, he would be transferred to Boston & i would be stuck recovering in Methuen. We could not take that chance. I got my first dose of steroids for Cohen’s little lungs.
We drove straight to Brigham & Women’s hospital. Think about for one second having to leave the hospital knowing your baby is inside of you with no heartbeat. That pain is like no other.
With Caleb we were able to immediately induce & have the physical process of labor over in a few hours. I had my nurse Linda & my midwife Ruth the entire day.
This was so different. I had to be hooked up to a heart rate monitor for Cohen the entire time. With Caleb they could give me a medicine to speed up the induction, but this time they couldn’t because it would risk Cohen. We were in a teaching hospital so there were teams of people I needed to explain our history to, over & over again.
I needed two doses of steroids before i could be induced. One dose every 24 hours. I received one Tuesday at 1pm so Thursday was induction day. Who has gotten a balloon induction?? Don’t friggan do it. It was THE WORST physical pain I’ve ever experienced during any labor, even Lucas’s 9lb 2oz self didn’t hurt as much as whatever this doctor was trying to do with a balloon (insert eye roll)
The resident anesthesiologist came in and gave me an epidural. Talk about anxiety….I had some weird sensations in my legs when i had the epidural to deliver Caleb so I was already super nervous. Thankfully he was informative and efficient! A few minutes later though i had an usual (for me) reaction to the epidural. I was insanely dizzy and light headed and knew something was seriously wrong. I said to the nurse i don’t know what’s happening, but something is not right. I remember she yelled for another nurse, she laid my bed down, & put oxygen on me. I remember looking over at Paul & he looked so terrified. Apparently my blood pressure had dropped to 60/40.
Linda showed up not too long after that, thank God for that woman!
Cohen came first at 2:43pm. Hearing his little cry after losing Caleb & knowing we weren’t bringing home Charlotte was a relief like no other. I just remember sobbing. They let me kiss my sweet boy & took him right to the NICU. I then had to deliver our baby girl. She was transverse (laying horizontally) so they needed to turn her first. 9 minutes after her brother, Charlotte came. She was beautiful. We spent some time with her, memorizing her. We took lots of photos and once my epidural had worn off for the most part, the nurse wheeled Charlotte & Paul wheeled me to the NICU to get a photo of our twins side by side. We went in the patient / employee elevator. I’ll never forget the feeling i had being wheeled down the hallway next to a crib, covered by a blanket. Ugh.
We got to the NICU and learned that Cohen had been intubated. We took a few photos & then spent a few more minutes with Charlotte. It’s a special kind of hell to hand over your baby to a nurse, knowing you’ll never ever see them again. and there we were doing it for the second time.
The next couple days were critical for Cohen. His bilirubin was high & we needed to get him breathing room hair. At one point he had a collapsed lung. We could only check his temperature and change his diaper through the arm holes and that was every 4 hours. I couldn’t hold my baby until day 49 hours after i delivered him. Let me tell you about that moment. It was almost like the moment you hear your baby’s first cry after two losses. My God did i ugly cry. It was 30 minutes i had longed for.
AND then i was discharged.
That’s when the battle of balance started. If Cohen was my first child i would not have left his side. I would have taken advantage of the small love seat in his room & the family’s room with the fridge, the laundry room, the showers. But he wasn’t my first child. I had Lucas at home & he needed me too. Plus we needed to make arrangements for Charlotte’s services. Leaving Cohen at the hospital ESPECIALLY after losing Charlotte was so incredibly difficult. Cohen’s nurse was so sweet though. Each day we went in she had a “surprise” for us. The first day after my discharge it was he could have more skin to skin time. The second day was that he no longer needed CPAP. On the third day, we arrived after meeting the funeral home. She had transfer paperwork to move him closer to home ready & waiting on the counter for us to sign.
He spent the next 29 days at Holy Family Hospital. I drove the 90 minutes round trip each day waiting for the day he could come home.
My little 5lb preemie is now 25lbs! I’m so thankful he is happy, healthy & thriving. But with every milestone he reaches is a milestone his sister is not. The feeling is indescribable.
We’re still struggling to help Lucas understand. A couple times a week he catches me off guard with questions about his siblings. He has so many questions, but still cannot understand at the age of 4. It’s devastating. We initially told him Charlotte didn’t come home cause she was too sick. Little did we realize 9 months later he would say “mama if Cohen gets sick, will he die?” Oh my heart broke into a thousand pieces. “Noooo Baby, Cohen’s not going to die” Ughh, still i well up whenever i think about him having that fear. Another time he asked when Caleb & Charlotte could come home. Or he’ll just randomly say something like “Caleb & Charlotte died, right mama” Last week we went to the cemetery, Paul, Lucas, Cohen & I all sat down & we tried to explain to him as best we can that they just didn’t finish growing.
Some women get super bitter after their loss, i refuse to be one of those women. BUT with that being said i find myself triggered sometimes.
Women smoking while pregnant drives me bat shit crazy. I smoked until the day i found out i was pregnant with Lucas, i do not want to hear it is hard or it’s better for the baby to not quit. Save it. You’re blessed to be carrying a baby, appreciate that blessing and care for that child. It’s your job. Also, It sounds silly, and i know no one means harm by it but when someone says “OMG, Cohen is your twin!” I get it, he looks like me, but he’s Charlotte’s twin, not mine.
I anticipate the next couple days to be similar to tonight so I apologize in advance. I feel like I am in the early 2000’s posting to livejournal.
I am working on starting some kind of charity in honor of these babies, hopefully that’ll be my next blog post <3