"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Levi's Story: Part 4

Read Part 1, 2, and 3 right here.

A couple hours later, I started to wake up. Everything was blurry, and I remember being back in the room where I had spent the entire night. Logan was sitting in the chair on one side of me, and a blonde woman (the day shift nurse, come to find out) was standing on the other side of the bed. After my eyes were open for a second, everything that had happened that night came back to me, and I closed my eyes again. I didn’t want to wake up and think about how my son was gone…the son I never got to meet. The anesthesia was still lingering in my system, so I let myself fall back asleep.

When I finally woke up for good, Logan and the nurse (I'll call her Jackie) were still looking at me as if they had been waiting for me to wake up. I realized I was now wearing a nasal cannula for oxygen as well as a pulse oximeter to measure my oxygen saturation. My catheter was still in and so was the IV. It felt a bit surreal to be hooked up to everything like that, since I had never been hospitalized before. My oxygen level was fine, so it didn’t take me long to take off the oxygen and pulse oximeter (I know, nurses are the worst patients). Logan’s parents, Michael, Lindsey, and Max all came in the room to see how I was doing.

I’m not sure how long it was after I woke up, but Jackie explained that we could hold Levi’s body if we wanted. There was no doubt in our mind that we wanted to see our son. As the nurse left the room to get Levi, I had all these thoughts going through my head. What was he going to look like? Would I be freaked out? Could I handle it? I knew what happened to a body once a person died, especially after a few hours, but I didn’t know what to expect with my own son’s body.

Everyone decided that Logan and I should have some time to ourselves, so they left us alone when Jackie returned with Levi. She handed him to me, wrapped up in a blanket with a cap on his head. Logan was next to me as I held my son’s body and cried. He looked like he was sleeping, and I wanted more than anything for him to just wake up, as if everything was normal. It didn’t seem real – a few hours ago I was 5 months pregnant, and now I was holding my dead son.

After Logan held Levi, I composed myself enough so our family could come back in. We took turns holding him for awhile, and Lindsey took some pictures (Thankfully I always have my camera in my purse...this was before everyone had smartphones). I was holding Levi, and Logan was next to me. It was our first (and only) family picture. I wanted to smile, and I tried to, but I just couldn’t. I remember thinking about how it wasn’t supposed to be like this – delivering a stillborn baby and taking a picture where you didn’t feel like smiling. In my head, I pictured us having a normal birth with a healthy baby in our arms. I wanted a happy family picture. But that, of course, wasn’t going to happen.

One of the hospital’s chaplains came in to say some encouraging words. She was very kind and even came back later on to offer Logan and I some advice to protect our marriage in the future. We truly appreciated it.

We let the nurse take Levi’s body away after a little while. We informed her about my parents coming, so she said she could bring his body back when they arrived. It took a couple more hours until my parents got there, so Logan brought me something to eat, and Logan’s parents brought me some new clothes.

Dr. H stopped by to see how we were doing, and he explained how he thought I had a placental abruption, due to the huge blood clot he found under the placenta. I was instructed not to do much of anything for 3 weeks, including working. Dr. H said my body would recover more quickly than my mind, which is completely true. He explained the possible causes for the abruption (including an incompetent cervix, imagine that) and said he wanted me to see the high-risk OB/GYN.

It was a lot of information to take in, but Dr. H took his time and answered all of our questions. He also said to wait about 6 months to try to conceive again. That freaked me out, because I really didn’t want to wait that long – and neither did Logan. We were supposed to have a baby in 4 months, and now we were supposed to wait 6 months to even try to get pregnant again? I asked Dr. H if it would be a bad thing to get pregnant before 6 months had passed. Since he could tell we didn’t like the idea of waiting that long, he said to wait at least 3 months, because my uterus needs time to recover. That made me feel a little bit better. He knew my parents were on their way, so he told us to visit for awhile and that he’d be back before dinner to discharge me.

My parents got to the hospital after lunch sometime – I don’t think I had ever been so glad to see them. They both hugged me, and my mom and I tearfully said how we had never expected things to end like this. Once I made it to the second trimester, we both had breathed a sigh of relief in a sense since we knew the chances of miscarrying after that was much lower. But here we were.

After a minute, I asked my parents, “Do you want to see him?” They did, of course, so we had the nurse bring us Levi’s body again. It was somewhat easier this time, but I still was just wishing he’d wake up and be a normal little baby. We looked at all of his little limbs and body parts, and pointed out whom he took after. We decided his nose, chin, and thighs were from me, while his arms and hands were from Logan. Levi really was a beautiful baby, despite not being completely matured. Logan’s mom even told us, “At least we know y’all make beautiful babies.” We only wished we could have seen him at full-term.

Dr. H came back to the room just before 6:00 p.m. to give me my prescriptions and reiterate everything from before. He also explained things again for my parents to hear. We didn’t waste any time leaving, because Logan and I were both ready to go home. Logan was going to stop on the way home to get my prescriptions filled, so I rode with my parents to our house. Jackie wheeled me to the parking garage and waited until my dad drove up. We expressed our gratitude to Jackie for everything, and she said how she hoped we’d be back next year - in better circumstances, of course. [Funny story - Jackie was actually my nurse when I had my cerclage done during my pregnancy with Landon...almost 2 years later.]

As soon as I climbed in the backseat and we drove off, it suddenly hit me that I was no longer pregnant. I wasn’t bringing home a baby boy. Levi wasn’t with me anymore. The tears came as we rode home in silence. I was thankful that it was dark outside so that nobody could see me crying and also that nobody was in a talkative mood. I didn’t want to talk. As soon as we got home, I took a shower and cried even more. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. I kept wishing I’d just wake up from a very long and terrible dream. But I didn’t, because it was all very real.

One more! To be continued

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