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I know there is no easy way to prepare for a loss, whether it's at 6 weeks or 36 weeks, it can be very painful. I feel compelled to share with you my journey in hopes that it may help some one else faced with the many difficult decisions we had to make this week. Just having a little time to plan made all the difference in the world.
2/6/07 Tuesday....we were given the dreaded confirmation of our worst fears. Our little baby had no kidneys...renal agenesis. This is a condition that is "incompatable with life". In other words our baby would not survive outside of me. Keith and I were faced with the decision of what to do. Knowing that this would be a possibility we had done a little research and knew what our options were. We could deliver or have a D&E (dilation and evacutation). Because of all of the hurt we had already been going through we were leaning towards the D&E simply because it seemed like the easiest way out. The less painful approach. We wouldn't have to come face to face with our baby and feel the guilt. It was also a quicker physical recovery. We went home that day. My mom and MIL were at the house and we told them the aweful news. I really didn't want to see anyone, so DH told them both that we needed some privacy to talk about things and prepare for things, but would promise to keep them updated. They were very understanding and respectful. Keith called a clinic that day about the D&E. They wouldn't be able to get us in until next week, it would cost nearly $2000 and the clinic was 2 hours away (it's a 3-4 day process). So we discussed our options of delivery and decided we could go that route. Keith made all of the arrangements with the Dr. We would go in Thursday to the office at 8:30 and 3:30 for the laminaria placement, then to the hospital Friday at 5am for the delivery.
2/7/07 Wednesday....Today's objective was to make arrangements for our baby after the delivery. To do this, we called Chaplain services at the hospital. I had SEVERAL questions about what to expect. I wrote them all down for Keith to ask. (note:I didn't have to make 1 phone call, I wrote all of my questions down for Keith and he would call and talk to everyone) They recommended a local funeral home that they worked with frequently. They also asked us about a doing a baptism, which we absolutely wanted. Next Keith called the funeral home. We decided to do a cremation. They only had one urn for infants there, so we decided to looked up urns online. We found a wooden box with an engravable brass plate...very simple. Then we weren't sure what to engrave on it because we weren't sure if it was a boy or girl or when he'd be born. So, we sat down and together wrote an epithet to be engraved "Sleep well my angel, for love will bring us together again." Keith and I also spent a lot of time talking about what we wanted at the hospital. I can't believe how, in one day, I went from not wanting to face my baby to I can't imagine him living for only a minute in someone else's arms. I decided I had to see him and hold him. We also decided to stick with the names we had originally picked out rather than saving those names for another baby. We decided we didn't want family there, since our time was going to be very short, we wanted to take that time for ourselves and not be distracted by everyone's emotions. (keep in mind that we knew for 2 weeks that something was wrong, so we were pretty emotionally tapped)
2/8/07 Thursday...... At 8:30 we arrived at the perinatal Dr. We were to start the dilation process. What they do is place laminaria sticks into the cervix. They absorb fluid and expand slowly opening the cervix. First round went ok. They got one stick in. It was a little crampy, but no worse than a period. I went home made a list of stuff to pack in our bag and took a nap. Keith woke me up around 2. We had to sign some papers at the funeral home, so we were going to have to do that on the way to the Dr.'s office. I wasn't too thrilled about having to go do that, but I knew it had to be done. The guy we spoke to was great...very pleasant and knew just what say and what not to say. Back at the Dr.'s he took the one stick out and replaced it with 3!!! OUCH!!! This was the beginning of the pain. He also gave us a prescription for 1 cytotec, which I was to take in the morning to start the contractions. I went home that night, packed my bag and went to bed. I couldn't eat, my stomach was so sick with grief.
2/9/07 Friday....Well, they had changed our check in to 7:30 so that we could have the same nurse all day long. She was GREAT! She was very impressed by the amount of things we got done. We had called the funeral home, called chaplain services and worked out all of the details of our delivery. We decided we did want to see and hold the baby, but after he was all cleaned up and the Dr. had finished her thing. We found out that the hospital puts together a memory box with footprints, clothes he wore, a teddy bear he held, pictures and other little memories with footprints and prayers on them. We did bring our camera, just incase. We weren't sure we wanted to take any pics. We decided we wanted the baby baptized whether or not he survived the delivery. The nurse asked if we wanted to be contacted by one of the perinatal loss counselors and we decided we did. When the time came that evening, everything went so smoothly. Exactly how we wanted it. It gave us a sense of peace that we had done the right thing. We had time to think about it and make the right decisions for us and I don't regret any of it.
Here is a link to a website that helped me tremendously in planning everything. It's geared more to cases of PROM (premature rupture of membranes, which is originally what I thought was the problem), but it gave us a grasp on things. I highly recommed, if you find yourself in this situation, to ask for a few days to plan. I know that in many situations you don't have control over when you deliver, but don't be afraid to ask your Dr. for a little time. http://www.kanalen.org/prom/prom_loss.php?p=2
If you're reading this because you are going through a similar situation, please PM me.
Beth ~ I had no idea you went through all this & to be sharing it so soon after the birth of your son, Lukas, well...that makes you that much stronger. Thank you for sharing how you have dealt w/ your loss.