January, 22, 2015.
Tomorrow is my due date. A day that I should be, according to the calendar, delivering my sweet boys. I should be carrying them, feeling them, listening to them, delivering them, hearing them, holding them, ........ feeding them.
Tomorrow, I will not doing any of the above. Instead, I'm holding onto fading memories, bottles of guilt, an anxious heart, and lots of walls that I'm trying to tear down.
Tomorrow, I have already delivered my boys, and I've already let them go.
I am reading from my journal, reviewing what I wrote. I wrote this entry a week after having the boys. I'm looking at the shaky hand writing, and trying to remember the woman who wrote it. I feel so distant from her. From that day.
There are many experiences that we go through in life, and this is one I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. The pain cuts so deep. The hole in my heart is so empty. I feel incomplete, lost, like I'm missing a huge part of myself.
The nightmare began with a dream.
I dreamt that Grady was doing summersaults in my stomach. That he was twisting and turning, sticking his butt out, which made my stomach huge and then little again. I must have been holding my stomach because it felt so real.
I woke up.
It was real.
My stomach was rising and getting tight, and then flat and loose.
Contractions. And very close.
I grabbed my phone and started timing them. 2:09 AM, 2:12 AM, 2:13 AM
"Nick, honey, I think I'm having contractions."
We sat there for a few minutes until I confirmed that yes, they were, and they were so close.
We scrambled around the room trying to figure out the best plan. Cohban was sprawled out on our floor and Maddie was sound to sleep in her bed. I called Shan, Mimi, Shan..... nothing.
So we got dressed, and as each minute passed, the contractions became more painful. Nick told me to head to the car and to wait for him.
I made Maddie milk first and yelled the diaper bag list to him. "We need diapers, wipes, etc."
In the car, I managed to call my Dr. only to hear her ask me, "How far along are you?"
"I'm so sorry......" "Go to FL Hospital."
"Go to Labor and Delivery- 2nd floor."
"Okay thank you....."
Nick was taking forever inside.(bless him....) I honked the horn a few times and Coh kept asking a thousand questions. I just kept breathing- hard.
"I can't go through this again."
Nick finally got to the car. He realized how painful and close my contractions were so he asked if we should call 911. I said no just get me there. He asked if we should go to Winter Park Hospital, and I said no, get me to FL Hospital... I need my Dr.
z88.3 was on.
"There's hope in front of me. There's a light, I still see it. There's a hand still holding me, even when I don't believe it. I might be down but I'm not dead. There's better days still up ahead. Even after all I've seen. There's hope in front of me."
I turned it up and said, "Oh this is a good one." Through the deep breathing and gush of tears, I sang. I begged. I cried. I prayed.
"I can't go through this again."
I yelled at Nick to speed. It felt like a lifetime to get there.
We made it.
At the valet they didn't seem eager to help. They looked confused as I asked for a wheelchair. Nick unloaded the kids.
I asked if we could have help with someone pushing Maddie and someone to push me.
They began to call transport.
It was taking forever, and I knew there wasn't much time.
"Can Coh push Maddie and you push me?"
"Let's go!" -Nick
Coh grabbed Maddie's stroller and ran. He looked so old in that very moment. My boy became a man. Helping his Daddy in time of need. We kept yelling how great he was doing. For some reason, I kept trying to tell Nick where to go, but I was wrong every time.
"Just go.. don't mind me."
We got there and explained what was going on. They got me into a room. The first one on the right.
They began asking Nick my history, and his story was completely off. Between contractions, I caught them up on everything.
"You are not allowed to exam me- BREATHE- Can we please get an ultrasound?- BREATHE- Can I please have something for pain? -BREATHE- How do we know if he's head down? -BREATHE-
"God please stay with me. Please stay with me. Don't let me go through this. Please God." I remember yelling this over and over again
"He's with you, you're calling the right name." Said the Nurse has she held my hand.
"Please don't make me feel this. This isn't fair."
"We just called for an ultrasound, we need that STAT." Nurse on the phone.
Mimi came. She cried. She said she was so sorry. Everyone scrambled. I begged not to feel it.
Mimi decided to get the kids out of there.
The nurse started my IV to try to stop it......
"It's too late. There's no stopping it." I said.
Nick came in and held my hand. He had been in the hall with the kids.
I begged again for an epidural, but they need an ultrasound to confirm they were head down, and that this was definitely labor.
It was labor. A mom knows. This mom knew.
Ultrasound came and made me confirm my dates. She said Grady was measuring 21w5days.
"January 22nd. I'm 22 weeks."
"Can you please just try? I know 24 weeks is viability but please try?"
They called NICU.
Next thing a huge burst exploded.
"Is it too late?" asked Nick.
"Yes." said the nurse.
I began to push. I took deep breaths and pushed. I cried. I looked up and it was silent except me.
The ultrasound tech was still watching everything through her scanner. Nick held my hand. Three nurses just stood there in shock.
"Do you all just stand there?!"
And there he was...
They picked him up and asked if they could place him on my chest.
"Of course, anything to help..."
Grady laid on my chest. Everyone stared. He was so little. He was so warm.
"Where is my husband?"
"He's in the hall. He just needs some time."
Grady arched his back and moved his legs. I began to scream. "He's moving!!"
I thought I had already lost him.
There was hope.
They grabbed him and checked his heart rate.
He was 151 inside me.
"Is it okay if I take a picture of him?" (Why did I care what they thought?)
The NICU explained that his eyes never opened. That there was nothing they could do. That his little parts were not strong enough.
She was sorry.
"Okay." (Guilt number 1939472397- why didn't I fight harder?)
The nurse held him again. She nervously asked if she could lay him on me again to help him.
I said yes.
Maybe it was my adrenaline or even SHOCK, or that by that time my Dr. had arrived and was encouraging me to start pushing again, but I focused so much on getting Ryder out. Guilt 65465468464651351654646846561321687- top of the list guilt...... I handed Grady over to the nurse so that I could push. I wanted to sit up and get a better grip. I handed him over. I handed him over. Kill me now... I handed him over. I know in my mind that I could only do what I knew to do in that moment of time... and I know that God and GRADY view this moment a lot differently than I, but if I knew what I know now... that would not have been my move. But I can't stay stuck in that moment.....
My Dr. asked to up my Pitocin. I rolled my eyes and asked why, knowing it would cause me pain. She said I needed contractions to start again to deliver Ryder. She said my placenta was coming next.
"Is it safe to deliver a placenta before the other baby?"
I can't remember her answer.
Next thing I knew she said we needed to get to the OR asap. She said I was bleeding too much.
"Where is my husband?"
"He's taking some time. This can be really hard on the fathers."
"Can he come with me?"
They rolled me to OR. I was scared. Shaking.
"Will you accept a blood transfusion if you need one?"
"Yes of course."
"Can you sign this and this?"
"I can barely see or sign."
"Just put something on the paper."
I woke up shaking. I was so cold.
"Your husband said you shook with anesthesia before."
I heard Dr. Dunn talking. I can't remember completely exactly what she was saying.
I just remember seeing the fear of death in her eyes.
"Please don't let me die."
"You're not going to die." Then she stared deep into Nick's eyes......
"I know but I have the babies at home. Please, please don't let me die. They need their mom."
I remember her talking.... just can't remember all she was saying. "If you decide to have a blood transfusion, I as a physician do not do them, but I can get you a Dr. that does."
"There are so many risks. You could get HIV, AIDS, not every system is perfect when testing the blood."
Somewhere in the conversation, we agreed not to do it.
The sweet nurse told us that she didn't know if the Dr. was a Jehovah's Witness, but she thought we needed a second opinion.
I couldn't stop shaking, and I felt so close to death at that moment in time.....
I told Nick to play music for me. I chose "Oceans." He played it over and over and over again. I prayed that God take over my body. That he stay with me. Next I asked Nick to play "Something Beautiful." My body calmed.. and I stabled.
Dear Grady Dean,
My heart swells every time I see or hear your name. Our time together was short, too short, but probably the most meaningful time I’ve spent with a person. It’s amazing that someone so small could make a person feel so complete.
When we first met your tiny fingers on your right hand caressed your sweet face. I remember looking for your fingernails because I saw them during our surgery and I remember thinking how amazing God was for creating something so perfect.
At 3:49 AM on September 19th, 2014, you entered this world, and left us too soon. I wish I could go back and hold you longer. I feel like our time was so limited and rushed, and I’d give anything to hold you again.
You’re my little fighter. I want you to know I’m proud of you for holding on for as long as you did. You held on for THREE hours. Buddy, you're so awesome!! I want you to know that I’m so sorry for not holding you longer. I want you to know that I wanted to take any pain you had away, and that although I can't have you here...I’m happy that you’re in Heaven with our sweet Lord.
He created you so perfectly. You looked just like Cohban, and I remember smiling because of that. Your skin was so soft, and so perfect. Your nose was totally your sister & brother’s. You were beautiful, you were mine.
Words will never be able to express how much I love you, and how much I miss you. I will be forever grateful for our time together, and I will always look forward to our meeting again.
Promise me that you’ll look over your brother and sister for me. You’ll always be our angel…. You’ll always be in my heart. I love you.
Dear Ryder Dylan,
My active baby. The one that I first felt, my big guy, my trouble maker. I close my eyes and I see you on Christmas morning. You’re probably around 3 years old, and you’re smiling so big at our table. I see you Grady, Cohban, and Maddie. My heart is full.
During our surgery, God gave me this Christmas morning with you. I saw you so clearly. You were so happy.
I thank Him all the time for this special moment with you.
You revealed your genders to me way before I expected to know, but thank you. That precious moment that was kept a secret between you, me, and God was so special to me. Instantly I knew you were my Ryder. No other name fit you perfectly.
You too fought hard for all of us, and I like to think that God called you home because he needed you there sooner.
September 7th was not easy for me. You looked so peaceful as you laid there, and now I know you were at peace.
You being our big guy, ended up being our little one, but you were just as beautiful as your twin brother, and I love you more than words could express.
I pray that you and your brother are enjoying Heaven, playing and smiling together. Maybe you just needed your brother with you, and God needed you both.
Through all the hurt, I do know that I can thank Him for at least allowing me to have 22 weeks with you boys, and an eternity as your mother.
I love you both so much, and I’ll keep you in my heart forever, until we meet again. Miss you both.
Always and Forever,