I have been avoiding sharing the rest of the story of Koen's delivery. Initially I thought telling the story via decisions would help me to organize my thoughts, but the truth is nothing was organized that day.
Right after the ultrasound my doctor told us that we may never know why. They were going to try to get us answers and blood work was ordered right away. They took every color vile of blood on their cart. I sat there in shock during this process. I couldn't believe how quickly we had gotten to this point. Even in my worst case scenario that day I never envisioned this.
Now my labor was in full swing. The same thing had happened with Hackett. Once my contractions started, they came quick. I was asking for meds to help with the pain. I didn't want to feel what was happening to me. I was already feeling so much pain emotionally that I was unsure how much physical pain I could handle. In order to start pain medication I needed my IV in. My veins can be a challenge. My nurse tried twice and was unsuccessful. She went to get another nurse and after the third try I just stared at the wall and cried. Nothing was going to be easy that day - not even the IV that I so desperately needed. I can look back now and see that the staff was feeling the emotion of the situation and only had a small window of time between my contractions, but at the time I laid there and felt like screaming in pure frustration. In the end the anesthesiologist was called in and on the sixth attempt my IV was finally in. Both my hands were bruised for weeks, a physical reminder of all the pain I had felt that day.
Kevin had called our family at this point and was texting others. Prayers were beginning to go up on our behalf. I didn't want to watch TV or talk much. I did a lot of staring out the window. I had to hold myself together if I was going to get through the day. I was not strong enough to pray, but could feel HIs presence. Even in the horrible sadness and heartbreak I had a certain amount of unexplainable peace that made it possible to endure the delivery room.
I am not used to being such a downer. I prefer to bring sunshine, a hug, and a good laugh to the table. It feels bizarre to me to continue to share my sadness. I pray that I will work through my feelings and fill in the missing pieces to Koen's story. I pray that this blog will shift from my heartbreak to one of hope. I pray very hard for that hope and even in my sorrow I see glimmers of it.
Today was a better day. Even during my difficult day yesterday, I tried to rise above. I allow myself moments to feel and grieve, but life goes on. I still have to get up, make meals, do the shopping, take Hackett to swim lessons, clean the house, do laundry, and be a good mommy. I have lost time with one of my sons and I don't want to look back and feel like I lost time with Hackett too. I don't want Hackett to live under a dark cloud with me. My faith in my almighty God, the love and support of so many of you, and Hackett's beautiful face are pulling me through. I really am okay. I have my moments, but I am okay. I am trying to balance my grief, my thoughts, my mommy role to Hackett, the loss of my mommy role to Koen, normal day life, and even my happiness. It isn't easy and feels awkward at times. But I am okay. The skies are grey, but once in a while I see sun peeking through.
I'm back and I feel uneasy about writing today. I have so much whirling in my head, I don't know where to begin. I am overwhelmed I am struggling. I am praying.
I relive the day of Koen's birth on a daily basis. As I have been getting ready to share the rest of the story I am struggling. It's hard, it's so hard. Hard to share, hard to put into words, hard to face the reality. I am not ready to face the delivery room quite yet, but I am getting closer. One specific memory of my delivery I play over and over again. It is a memory that I will forever cherish. I am ready to share that.
On a day when our world was crashing in, we still were able to see God's hand. Many things went right on a day that was so wrong. Dr T, the doctor I had come to love and trust, was on call. Once he arrived at the hospital, he never left, he was going to see us through from beginning to end. Torrey, the nurse assigned to me when I arrived that morning, was such a blessing. She stood by my side with her tear stained cheeks and walked me through many of the hard decisions that day. The shift change was at 7 and Koen had not yet arrived. I kept asking her, "when do you leave?". She assured me she would make sure I had the best. A little after 7 that night Torrey walked in with my new nurse, Cindy. It was apparent that both had been crying. They were grieving for Koen and I was so thankful. They cared, they acknowledged Koen, they felt for my loss. I am eternally grateful for my doctor and those two nurses. Quitely I pray that I will have that same group of people by my side in the future and instead tears of sorrow, it will be tears of joy.
Cindy held my hand during delivery. Another nurse was brought in to assist my doctor during that time. Cindy was simply there for me. In a conversation prior to pushing we told her about Hackett and his curly hair. During my pregnancy Kevin and I would dream about what Koen would look like. One of our biggest wonders was would he have curly hair? We shared this with Cindy and she was unsure if we would get our answer to that question. My narrow pelvis made delivery a challenge, even though Koen was a little guy. I had to push for a while. At the beginning I felt strong, and I wanted to be done with this nightmare. As time progressed it became more difficult, both physically and emotionally. My strong pushes were turning into tearful ones. When Koen was crowning and I was nearing so close to the end, my sweet nurse Cindy gave me the memory that I will cherish. In part because it felt like something that would be said during a delivery where the outcome would have been different. Through the hair over the side of my face, she got right up to my ear, and whispered "he does have hair and he's beautiful". I don't know if I actually smiled, but I felt happy - even if was for a fleeting instant. It was enough for me to continue on with horror and pain.
At the hospital where I delivered Koen they play a lullabye over the hospital speaker every time a baby is born. When Hackett and I attended his big brother class we had the joy of hearing that sweet music. No lullabye was ever played during my 27 hours at the hospital, but two babies were born that night. In another room down the hall another baby was born on May 27, 2013, and there was another grieving mother.
When the funeral home came to pick up Koen, they picked up another precious baby. We were given options about what could be done with Koen. We could choose to take on the responsibility financially to bury Koen or a local funeral home would take him and bury him for us. If we chose the latter option, which was referred to as as Babyland, Koen would be buried properly, but we would not be present and would not know his location. We chose to bury Koen ourselves., My heart's desire was to have him near us. The funeral home representative was a little confused when he picked up Koen and he referenced Koen going to Babyland before we corrected him. Hours later when I was unable to sleep I called for my nurse. I was worried that somehow these two precious babies would be mixed up. I wanted to know that it would truly be Koen buried between me and Kev. My nurse explained that both babies had on identity bracelets and reassured me that we would get our Koen, She also told me the other baby was much tinier than Koen and that it was the one going to Babyland - hence the confusion. My heart broke and continues to bleed for this other mother.
We were blessed to have a funeral service for Koen with loved ones surrounding us. Kevin was able to carry Koen right to his gravesite and lay him to rest. I get to go and visit Koen, water his flowers, kiss the ground, talk, pray, and cry. We are not alone in this heartache, so many lose the babies they love during these 9 months. My hope is that we can somehow help those who aren't able to bury their babies around the corner from their house. I don't know what this will entail or look like, but it has been on my heart for weeks. Today I turned my blog into an actual website. http://www.celebratethesadness.org now exists. I pray that one day we can assist other grieving mothers (and their families) to Celebrate the Sadness.
I am Jackie.