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Sunday, October 4, 2009


We sat in the waiting area outside The Family Place for about 30 minutes. We cried some more while we sat in that waiting room. We called our fathers to share the news, and made a few other necessary phone calls. When we finally went in around 1:00, it took everything I had to walk through the doors, because doing so took us one step closer to the end. I was quickly shuffled to the scale (I had lost another pound since the week before) and then shuffled into room #3, where we had been for both of our previous visits to L&D. I was somewhat disappointed to be in this room, as it has no windows, but found out later that they use it for ‘loss’ deliveries in an attempt to provide a calm environment without a lot unnecessary stimulation or distraction. While we were waiting for our midwife to come in, the nursing staff tried to start my I.V. but my veins uncharacteristically uncooperative. Someone from the I.V. team came in and had just as much trouble. It was almost 3:00 before I had a good I.V. established; between that process and having labs drawn, I had been stuck 7 times. :-( I made contact with a friend of ours who had experienced a stillbirth almost 3 years ago. Talking to her early in the very early hours of this process was one of the best things I could have done, and I will be eternally grateful for the continued support that she has offered us from the very beginning.

Susan came in around 2:00 to check my cervix – 2 cm dilated and about 70% effaced. She asked what our thoughts were for induction. Our original plan had been a natural, unmedicated birthing process, but the fact that we were no longer dealing with a live birth changed things substantially. Jeff and I had discussed induction options before she came in, and we had pretty much decided on Pitocin and an epidural if I wanted it for pain. She agreed that, given the current circumstances, this was probably the best option. The Pitocin was started around 3:00p.m. and increased every 30 to 60 minutes. The next several hours were pretty surreal. We had switched into ‘business’ mode and there was very little crying. We discussed Gracie’s long term arrangements and realized that we were clueless about what we needed to do and that we were not financially prepared to bury anyone. About half an hour later our nurse brought us a packet of information about dealing with grief and baby death, as well as some information for two area funeral homes that offer low-cost or no-cost stillborn and infant services, and told us that they could take care of whatever phone calls were necessary to get things started. Shortly after this I got pretty antsy for about an hour. I’m guessing that this was the fast-forward version of my pusty-putsy phase since I got up and started tidying my belongings.

My sister arrived from Baltimore around 5:00. When I had called her earlier, I was doing so to fill her in; I hadn’t really expected her to make the trip to the hospital for a stillbirth, but I am so glad she did. It provided an inexplicable sense of relief. We continued to increase the Pitocin over the next several hours, and overall things were pretty uneventful. The Pitocin was definitely working; my contractions were getting steadily stronger, but they weren’t terribly uncomfortable. I had more pain from the gall bladder than I did from the contractions. Some time between 8:30 and 9:00 Susan came back in to check my cervix – about 5 cm. dilated. I asked about pain relief for the gall bladder pain. She offered up some morphine, and I happily accepted. Life was good for about an hour after I got the morphine, then things started to pick up again. My contractions were much stronger than they had been pre-Morphine – lasting 2-4 minutes, with generally only 10-20 seconds between the end of one and the beginning of the next. I spent about an hour laboring in the bathtub, during which time I got a second dose of morphine and the Pitocin was turned off, as the constant and stabbing nature of the contractions was becoming overwhelming and exhausting. Around 1130 p.m. I got an epidural (somewhere between 8 and 9 cm.). The next hour was pretty uneventful, and then I started to feel quite a bit of pelvic pressure. Susan checked me around 1:00 a.m. and told me that it was time to push. Susan left to get some supplies, and Jeff went out to call our parents. The pushing process stared around 1:15 a.m.

Click here to read about the moment that we met our daughter, as well as the hours that followed.   

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