Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oliver's Story - Part Two

So, it's Tuesday night and Juha and I are hanging out in our hospital room watching the tiny television. We have a room with two beds and Juha was permitted to stay with me the entire time instead of having to get a hotel room. The nurses tell us that the NICU at home is going to open up on Friday and we'll get to go home. We were so excited about being back with our family. The nurse came in to monitor the heart beat and found it easily. Oliver's heart was beating faster than normal...but no one seemed concerned.

The next day was the worst day of my life.

I woke up and didn't feel very well. I had a bad feeling. I was anxious for the nurses to put the monitor on me but it took a couple of hours after waking before they did. Juha was out of the room when they came in and searched for the heartbeat. When they didn't find it they said Oliver was probably hiding and they would send me down for an ultrasound. I was so damn scared at that moment. Juha came back and we were quickly wheeled down for an ultrasound.

I will never forget the woman's face as she scanned my belly for signs of life. I kept asking her "do you see the heartbeat" and she replied, "We'll have to ask the doctor about that." I knew in that moment that our little boy was gone. We were brought back to our room and left alone for a few minutes before a nurse came in to break the news to us. Our world collapsed then. I could feel my heart breaking as we held eachother sobbing. I'm sure an animal like sound escaped my lips, I certainly screamed in my head.

That day is a blur in my mind of calling our families, doctors, nurses and chaplins coming in to offer words of comfort. Must say at that point they fell on deaf ears. I felt the beginnings of labour within a few hours and several hours later I was once again strapped to the plywood to begin the journey home so I could give birth in Thunder Bay. No nightmare I've ever had can hold a candle to that experience. It took three and a half hours from hospital to hospital (ambulance, air, ambulance) I had contractions every five minutes the entire time and my fever had begun but it was nothing compared to my heart.

I was pretty sick by the time we were back in Thunder Bay. I will not go into my hellish labour except to say it lasted for hours, my fever was up past 105 degrees and yes, I did have an epidural. I came pretty close to death myself that night.

When Oliver was finally born - he was beautiful. He was 4.5 pounds and perfect from head to toe. He died because I developed an ecoli infection that killed him and nearly killed me too. He was healthy, he was a fighter but unfortunately he had no chance against the infection.

So many women in the same situation don't have answers for why their babies were taken from them. I do, but unfortunately I don't find much comfort in that fact. It has left me with guilt, as unrational as it may be, I feel guilt that my body killed him. And of course I have so many what-ifs. What if they had never stopped labour the first time? What if they had let Ollie be born premature? What if I had demanded that they allowed the labour to continue? What if Ollie could have been born before the infection settled in my body. Would I have a tiny little boy in my arms right now? Of course we will never know.

I do know that I was lucky enough to hold an angel that morning. An Angel from heaven sent to me for a brief whisper of a time before he was called back to God.

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