The Odd Wife

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Today was my due date. It seems hard to believe that I might have been having a baby today instead of going about my day.

Christian was born on August 28, 2004 at 18 weeks. Had it been 2 weeks later, he could have been saved. He was an unexpected gift, we had tried to have a second child for years with no success and had given up. But we had also not bothered with precautions since another child would have been welcomed. Unfortunately, he was more than unexpected - his timing was not good. I found out I was pregnant 6 days before I found out about EH's relationship. When I first learned of the pregnancy, I thought it would bring us back together when we had drifted apart in the months prior. We were both shocked by the baby. There were so many times I wished I wasn't pregnant in those days. I was expecting to leave my husband and couldn't imagine being a single, working mother, pregnant, with no financial or emotional support. It has been suggested that I "got my wish". But only EH and I will ever know how much I wanted Christian. I was heartbroken, stressed, terrified, sick, full of hormones and very unhappy...but I wanted that baby in my arms. My office actually gave me a baby doll when they learned I was pregnant to hold and cuddle while I waited for the baby to come.

PROM, or premature rupture of the membranes occurs without clear warning or cause. I was leaving work on a Friday afternoon and my water broke. We drove straight to the ER and I was admitted immediately. The ultrasound showed a massive rupture which drained all of the fluid. We asked repeatedly what caused this and we were told that stress was the likely culprit. It's true that this is only a best guess. The truth is, not much is known about the causes of PROM.

The photos above are not of Christian. He was born deceased and no one was taking pictures. But I did have the opportunity to see him and this is the best representation of his size/appearace. The baby in these pictures is "the world's baby and was 8.6 ounces at birth. Christian was 8.8 ounces...a little large for his stage of development which leads us to wonder if he was actually 19 weeks.

Developmentally, head to bottom, Christian was approximately 5 1/2 inches long (about the length of a large sweet potato). His arms and legs were in the right proportions to each other and the rest of his body now and he was able to flex his arms and legs — movements that I was starting to notice more and more. His blood vessels would have been visible through his skin (and I actually recall seeing this and describing him as translucent) and his ears were in position and stood out from his head. Myelin (a protective covering) was beginning to form around his nerves, a process that would have continued for a year after he was born. His genitals are noticeable, letting us know he was indeed a little boy. The hair on his scalp was sprouting, athough I couldn't see it. He was born during a crucial time for sensory development: his brain was designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch.

I was alone in my room when he was actually born, after hours of labor. I was heavily sedated with Demerol and kept waking in the middle of the night screaming in which point they would dose me with more Demerol. I had sent EH home to sleep, he was exhausted and had not left my side. We knew we were losing him from the start. The nurses and doctors made it clear that he could not be saved...but that he might be born alive.

His lungs were not developed enough to breath on his own. My greatest fear was that he might be born alive and I would watch him die. At 6:50 am, I woke and felt a sensation that suggested he was out. I was so afraid to move or pull the sheets back because I had no idea what I might see. I buzzed for the nurse and said "I think it's out" (we had no idea if he was a boy or girl yet). The nurses came in, looked and told me the child had been born. I asked if he was alive and they told me he was not. I asked if he was a boy or girl and they peeked and said "boy".

Then I asked to see him and they all froze. They asked if I was sure and I was. And so they sat me up and I looked. He was turned, so I saw his feet first. Tiny toes, tiny foot. Then his leg - long and thin and translucent. Then his face, all tiny and wrinkled. The Demerol either kicked in or they dosed me again, because the next thing I knew, I was down again and dizzy and 'out of it'. I managed to call EH and he arrived minutes later. Christian had been taken away and although they asked, EH chose not to look. He had no idea what he might see and was more worried about me. (Though I was already knocked out again).

This weekend we're going to make a memorial stone ... like a stepping stone. We have no grave to visit and I want something tangible to remember he was real.

I miss you, little man. It would have been wonderful to know you.

Posted by Red :: 11:20 AM :: |
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