Iâ€™ve always wanted to be a mother. Nothing has appealed to me
Iâ€™ve always wanted to be a mother. Nothing has appealed to me more than being the soccer mom who always had dinner on the table each night. It might not sound like a big time goal to some people, but it felt like the perfect place for me to be.
When pregnancy didnâ€™t just happen as I thought that it would I began to worry that dream would escape me all together. Before much time passed, I went to a fertility expert. I had every test imaginable â€“ from general blood work to having a catheter put into my uterus â€“ causing severe contractions that lasted for more than 48 hours. Every test done came back normal. Why I wasnâ€™t conceiving wasnâ€™t clear. Lonnie had been tested and he was fine. In fact, according to my specialist there was no cause at all. Yet years went by and nothing happened.
For a very long time, I was a little bitter about it. I seen so many cases of child neglect and abuse and thought to myself â€“ Why on earth do rotten people have children so easily?
Why do babies suffer because of their parents? Wouldnâ€™t it make much more sense if those people suffered infertility? How unfair is it that perfect, healthy little babies get tossed away like garbage â€“ sometimes with the garbage even â€“ and I canâ€™t even have one to love.
It even got to the point that I was jealous of pregnant women. Even worse, I began to hate being around children at all. It wasnâ€™t a dislike for themâ€¦it was being mad as hell that I couldnâ€™t have one of my own.
It took me a very long tine, but eventually I simply accepted the fact that I wouldnâ€™t be blessed with a child. I even became fairly comfortable with the idea. It seemed there was nothing I could do about it and I made the decision that I had to quit allowing it to consume my life.
I have a great marriage. My husband is fantastic. He stands by me through thick and thin and loves me beyond reason. We get along wonderfully and he treats me like Iâ€™m the best thing thatâ€™s ever happened to him. People laugh at me and say Iâ€™m lying when I tell them we simply donâ€™t argue, but the fact isâ€¦itâ€™s the truth.
When he was sent to Iraq for an 18 month tour it was pretty tough. He was shot while there and already scared he wouldnâ€™t return I was then terrified. Luckily, he came home without permanent damage and we fell back into our normal routine pretty easily. I felt blessed to have my marriage and life back to normal.
After being home for close to three months, I had a cycle that was off by a bit. Iâ€™d been taking diet pills for over a year and thought just to be sure I should probably do a pregnancy test before having my refill on my prescription. It was just kind of a peace of mind thingâ€¦I knew it would be negative.
I took the test, looked at it assuming it was negative and darn near threw it into the trash before realizingâ€¦OMG! Itâ€™s positive. After 7 years, it was positive!!!!
I was so excited that I shut my shop down for a few minutes to run to Wal-Mart for several more tests. The whole time I kept telling myself, â€œThe test was wrongâ€¦donâ€™t get your hopes up.â€ But after peeing on one stick after anotherâ€¦including a couple digital onesâ€¦I finally realized that the first test hadnâ€™t been inaccurate and I was; in fact, pregnant.
I was shaking and crying and just deliriously happy. I could barely talk on the phone to tell Lonnie or my sister and mom the good news. Everyone was simply hysterically thrilled.
Immediately I start keeping a journal (I picked it up with the tests). I wrote down every symptom, every thought, and anything else I could think of that would be a nice memory of the pregnancy.
I suppose I had this silly thought that one day when my baby was having babies they might like to read it.
I scheduled a doctorâ€™s visit for the very next day.
The pregnancy went smoothly. I had very little morning sickness. In fact, I can narrow it down to three times total. All of which were filled with horrific sickness that lasted half an hour or so, but other than that it was all picture perfect. My weight gain was right on target. Every ultrasound showed the baby was growing perfectly. I was just so happy that everything was going great.
Our third ultrasound told us we were having a baby girl and I went into pink mode immediately. She had to have everything perfect. This child was already ridiculously spoiled and didnâ€™t even know it yet.
We joked that she had enough clothes that she could wear a different outfit everyday until she was 3 and never wear the same thing twice. Sadly, it was probably not too far from the truth.
I was having so much fun shopping for her and getting things ready that I just couldnâ€™t contain myself. Luckily, I owned a baby boutique and finding the perfect things werenâ€™t so hard.
I would go to one clothing show after another and book lines of clothing with Libby in mind. It was loads of fun.
But then something changed. I became worried. I wasnâ€™t sick. I felt fine physically, but I had this feeling something wasnâ€™t just as it should have been. Perhaps it was intuition, I donâ€™t know.
I kept telling my OBGYN and he kept telling me that I was a first time mother and that being paranoid was very normal, but that everything was exactly as it should be and I shouldnâ€™t worry. Of course, I continued to worry.
A bit later on, I started having this strange feeling of something being lodged in my throat. It was difficult to swallow and the feeling wouldnâ€™t go away. I complained of it to my doctor and he kept telling me there was no reason to think it was pregnancy related and that I was fine. I think he actually thought I was becoming so overly paranoid that I was developing these symptoms on a mental level.
Eventually, the discomfort became so intense one night I went to the Emergency Room at the hospital here. It was close to midnight so I went on my own. Lonnie was out of town for some training and I was sure my mom was in bed by that time. I figured there was no point in waking themâ€¦besides if something was serious I could call and let them know.
The ER doctor couldnâ€™t find anything lodged in my throat, but ran some tests and it came back that my potassium levels were extremely low and that if they werenâ€™t brought back up immediately it was a real threat to me. My blood pressure which is normally on the low side was through the roof. Also, my body was severely dehydrated. He decided to admit me. For about four days I was in the hospital on several different IVs to lower my blood pressure, raise my potassium levels, and alleviate the dehydration. Finally, with my blood pressure still high, I was sent home and told I was to be on complete and total bed rest until further notice.
My blood pressure eventually started to come down some, but was still high.
My appointments with my doctor were increased to every two weeks.
Up until I started feeling a bit strange my weight gain had been right on track. I had gained about 15 pounds, which was perfect for where I was at in my pregnancy. Suddenly I began to gain large amounts of weight in short spans of time and started swelling. My hands and feel swelled to the point that they no longer even looked real.
My doctor suspected preeclampsia and tested me for that on each visit. The way that preeclampsia is detected is by higher than normal deposits of protein being found in your urine. The first several tests showed only small trace amounts. But the swelling and weight gain continued until I got up to a whopping 226 pounds. Weighing in at nearly 95 pounds more than I normally did, the doctor tested me for the PIH (preeclampsia) again. My levels were more than triple the normal. He explained to me that he wasnâ€™t a high risk specialist and that he wanted to refer me to the doctors at another hospital and they would deliver my baby. I went home from my appointment that Wednesday and waited for them to call me for a scheduled appointment.
Thursday night I went to bed totally exhausted. I thought to myself that I should get up and get the phone in case I slept late in the morning and someone called for an appointment. But I didnâ€™t. I was just so tired that I went off to sleep instead.
I didnâ€™t wake up until almost 10 am the next morning. There were two messages on my phone from the people at the hospital telling me that there was a cancellation and if I could call them back before 11am they could see me that day. Immediately, I called them back and rushed to get ready. Lonnie was off work that day and weâ€™d both slept in so I woke him up and he joined me in my rush to get everything together. We basically jumped into the shower, threw some clothes on, grabbed my paper work and darted out the door. In all the rush I forgot to take my blood pressure medication. By the time that I remembered we were already 15 minutes from home. If we turned around, weâ€™d never make the appointment.
I was quite sick from not eating the night before so we stopped to grab some breakfast thru the drive-thru. As we were pulling out, this car nearly hit us and gave me quite a scare along with an instant headache.
Moments later between towns I felt this immense pain in my abdomen. A few moments later I felt this â€˜popâ€™ in my stomach. I literally watched my stomach swell as if I was a balloon being pumped full of helium. I demanded Lonnie stop the car and I went to the restroom at a service station to check for bleeding. Heâ€™s frantic and worried beyond all measure and pacing back and forth outside the ladies room. Inside, I recall sitting down and going in and out of consciousness while some lady is speaking Spanish on her cell phone in the next stall. Iâ€™m not sure how much time passed before I managed to get up and walk outside the bathroom. I literally met Lonnie coming in after me. He had to carry me to the car because I could no longer stand.
We rushed to the ER at the hospital. I was wheeled in and taken to labor and delivery registration. I sat there in immense pain in a wheel chair for 45 minutes waiting to be seenâ€¦because the printer at registration was having issues I waited. Mind you, at this point Libby was already gone. I knew that. I had read anything and everything about pregnancy since learning that I was pregnant. So I knew what had happened. I had an abruption and the placenta separated. Nothing could be done. But the frustration I felt and still feel because of being treated this way was/is just beyond my understanding. If they had seen me immediately nothing could have been done to save her, but at this point and time they had no idea what was wrong. If it was a situation where they could have done something within 15 minutes it would have been completely their fault that we lost herâ€¦all because of a printer malfunction.
Finally, I was taken back and the nurses did an ultrasound. There she was on the screen with no heartbeat. She was gone. Like I said, it was something I already knew, but the confirmation was just too much. I broke down.
The doctor came in and looked at the ultrasound as well. In a very matter of fact fashion he says, â€œYouâ€™re baby is dead. Weâ€™ll schedule a C-Section in a couple hours to remove it.â€ He then turned around and walked out of the room.
By this time Lonnie had called my mom and she was at the hospital. She didnâ€™t realize the baby was dead so she starts praying and asking God to help Libby to be ok. I just let her finish her prayer and then said, â€œSheâ€™s gone. Sheâ€™s not going to be ok. Weâ€™ve lost her.â€ Everyone was in tears.
When the doctor came back mom asked when the C-Section would be and what risks were we looking at. He said that the worse case scenario was that I would hemorrhage and even though there was like a 1% chance of that happening, if I did they had no blood supply for me, but that he was 99% sure that wouldnâ€™t happen. He said he thought that I would be just fine there. She asked if there was any risk moving me somewhere that would have a blood supply if I needed it. When he said there was no risk Lonnie and mom both said my staying there was unthinkable. So I was rushed from there to another via ambulance.
The difference between hospitals was night and dayâ€¦the moment I got to the new hospital they determined that I had already hemorrhaged intensely and needed a transfusion immediately. My condition was critical and a C-Section was impossible because cutting on me would mean more blood loss. I had already lost so much blood that it was determined Iâ€™d never survive surgery.
I was also on the verge of seizures because my blood pressure was so high. In my hospital room the lights were dimmed to almost complete darkness and everyone had to whisper. I wasnâ€™t sure why at the time, but was later told it was to keep me from having convulsions or seizures.
Moments after being at the hospital I was on more IV medication than I had veins. There were lines ran every which way. I had a complete transfusion right off the start, I was taking magnesium to help with seizures, I was taking morphine for pain control, I had potassium because my levels had bottomed out again, I had numerous blood pressure meds, I also was on many infection meds and there were so many others than I can remember. All in all I had 19 IV bags at one time.
Because they werenâ€™t sure if I would be forced into emergency surgery by my condition or not I wasnâ€™t allowed to eat or have any fluids. The meds I was on had forced everything that was on my stomach up and I was exhausted from the pain â€“ exhaustion = starvation.
To not increase my blood pressure in a massive way, I was slowly put into labor. My water was broken and I was given both pills and an IV of meds that would induce heavier contractions.
For two days I was both in labor and in and out of consciousness.
I recall numerous people surrounding me in the room, but I donâ€™t recall any particular people other than Lonnie, Mom, Donnie, and Jamie. The others people that were there were other family members that I never recall specifically. I just recall whispers in the room and being watched by several people.
I kept having a recurring visual or dream in which I felt suspended face down over a table. I would drift up and then down. On this white table lay a white pillow. The pillow represented my breathing. From up high I would drift down towards the pillow and have to make the decision to either pick it up or leave it. Either choice was as easy as the other. Sometimes I would pick it up and other times I couldnâ€™t be bothered. It was just so effortless to not breathe.
Later, I learned my breathing had stopped several times and my O2 levels dipped down into the 70â€™s. Anything less than 90 is dangerous. My mom would speak to me and though I donâ€™t recall it she says when she did I would be alert enough to remember to breathe.
The afternoon of the 29th my doctor decided I would simply have to deliver. The baby had been gone for 2 days and waiting any longer wouldnâ€™t be possible.
The one and only blessing that I could see out of this was I was told after the baby was born I would get to see her, hold her and spend some time with her. I knew I couldnâ€™t keep her. I knew she would never be home with us. I knew her nursery would remain without her. I knew her clothes would never be worn by her. I knew my baby was dead, but I also knew having her just for a little while in my arms would make all of this worthwhile. Thatâ€™s what kept me going.
I was given my first epidural with no pain relief at all. My second helped none either. Eventually it was obvious that Iâ€™d simply deliver without pain control. My induction was increased as much as possible and soon I was asked to push.
There were three episodes that lasted for about an hour each of pushing. Between I rested for fifteen to thirty minutes before trying again. I was able to move her from my stomach down into my lower abdomen, but no further. She was breeched sideways and there was no way to turn her or deliver her.
I would stop breathing and pass out. I eventually lost all consciousness and the doctor had to stop attempting to deliver her.
I woke up half alert, half understanding and being rushed into the operating room.
The internal bleeding had gotten even worse and I needed more transfusions. My family was told that it didnâ€™t look good and it would be wise to call other family members in to say their good-byes.
Two additional surgeons were called in to assist along with some specialty nurses.
In the OR I was sedated and given a local. It didnâ€™t affect me correctly. I could still feel pain, but was paralyzed and completely unable to move. Putting me completely under was a real danger and something they really did not want to do. I recall the surgeons debating and saying as weak as I was that I would never wake up from being totally out. They would pinch me in various places seeing what I could and couldnâ€™t feel and always I could feel it. The bruises from that have just now went away. In the end, they had no choice but to completely put me under.
If you know anyone that works in the medical profession with patients they think are unconscious then you should tell them to watch what is said always. Some people do hear while unconscious. I did.
I felt no pain, was unable to speak, and unable to move, but I did hear. I didnâ€™t realize that being taken in the OR what they would have to do. I knew they simply could not cut on me because of the internal blood loss Iâ€™d already suffered. What I did think was theyâ€™d be able to go inside vaginally and remove the baby â€“ turn her more aggressively than they could when I was aware. That isnâ€™t what happened at all.
When the doctors attempted to remove the baby, my pelvis was so small that she could not come out. Since they could not cut on me and she was already gone they made the decision to cut her instead. I heard them talking about what they were going to have to do and I heard the procedure. I could not move to stop them. I could not speak to protest it. A nurse, Jodi, says I had tears involuntarily running from my eyes at times. I suppose all I could do was cry.
Two separate times I had the feeling of being slowly lifted off the table and then violently tossed back down. Later I learned it was explained by my heart stopping twice and being shocked back. I had technically died for over a minute twice.
After the procedure, everyone was told they would not be able to see the baby as there was nothing recognizable of a baby left. But that the decision came down to losing me or doing the procedure as they did with a baby that was already dead. Personally, Iâ€™d rather my baby been left in tact.
The nurse, Jodi, told me that she had lots of dark hair just like her mommy and daddy. She also had a sweet, round little face. I know she was beautiful. You could see that in her ultrasounds.
I thought initially that I had been given 2 blood transfusions in the OR, but found out recently that it was more than 5 within an hour. Apparently, I was given as much blood as fast as they could pump it in.
My family was told Iâ€™d be sedated for three days with a ventilator to breathe for me as my body was too weak to do anything. They wanted me to rest completely.
When I woke up, I was in ICU. I had a ventilator in my throat and a tube in my nose. I was still on several IVs, but canâ€™t tell you what or why. The three days everyone was told it would take for me to wake up was less than 24 hours. I began breathing on my own even under sedation and they were forced to remove the ventilator.
I should stop to recognize my family. They were wonderful. My mom refused to eat until I was able to. I didnâ€™t know that at the time or else Iâ€™d been worried sick about her. She said she just couldnâ€™t knowing that I had been so long without food. Jamie took a couple weeks off work to be at the hospital all but one night â€“ which was after I was out of ICU and in a normal room. She spent a week taking care of me after I came home. Lonnie went home once long enough to grab clean clothes and shower. He held my hand and was there for the entire thing. Once I was home he attended to every need I had. Heâ€™s a wonderful husband and just a really good person. I was never alone and they were always right there. Donnie and mom were at the hospital constantly until I was stable. They never left. After being stable, Donnie finally left about 3 days before I came home to take care of Tyler and Cassie who had been at my auntâ€™s house up until then. I have a fantastic family and I canâ€™t say enough how grateful I am to have them.
I spent a couple of nights in ICU before I was placed in the maternity ward again. The maternity ward was really just too much. I heard babies crying constantly. Every time I was wheeled to do a test in another part of the hospital I was forced to go by the nursery where my baby should have been.
Within a couple of days I was demanding to go home. My blood pressure was still too high to be released with the doctorâ€™s consent and they threw guilt at me by saying my going home could cause me to have a stroke or a heart attack and then my family would have to take care of me for the rest of my life. Reluctantly, I stayed for another two days. But was moved to a different part of the hospital away from the babies and other mothers.
All in all, I was at the hospital for a week. My recovery was much faster than anyone anticipated and I lived. I should be grateful that I did, but the truth is Iâ€™m not. Itâ€™s hard to be grateful when your child has died. Itâ€™s hard to be thankful when an entire lifetime of dreams and hopes is taken from you. Itâ€™s impossible to be either when you leave the hospital knowing your child is somewhere cold and in bits.
I felt as if I was abandoning her when I left without her. I felt like she didnâ€™t understand and I was a horrible person and a horrible mother. As irrational as that is, I still feel that way.
Another week passed before we were able to bring her from the hospital for her services. We decided a small private service would be best. At the funeral home we spent an hour sitting beside the tiniest coffin youâ€™ve ever seen. It should never be necessary to have a coffin so small. It was white with silver handles on the outside. There was an emblem on the top that was round that said, â€œLoved and Cherished.â€ Of course, it was a closed casket.
She was buried in our family cemetery. We chose a lot large enough for our entire little family. That way I can be with her one day along with her daddy and other family. Weâ€™ve decorated with butterflies, a bird house, a hummingbird feeder, wind chimes and an angel that illuminates at night. I like the idea of it never being completely dark there. The wind chimes keep it from being completely silent and the hummingbirds are always about with activity. I couldnâ€™t stand complete stillness there. I have a bench against the fence in her little corner where I sit and talk to her. I try to make her understand how loved she is and how much I wanted her home with me.
Her monument has been ordered, but not yet placed. It has her name and the dates on it. Liberty â€œLibbyâ€ Madison Spears June 29th 2008. At the bottom, it says â€œOur sleeping Angelâ€. Off to the side of her name is an etched butterfly. For some reason, butterflies make me think of her.
Iâ€™m a rational thinking person. Everything I believe is based on facts. So itâ€™s very difficult to wrap my head around why this could happen. I understand I didnâ€™t choose to get sick and I certainly didnâ€™t choose to lose Libby, but I feel such guilt towards myself that it did happen. I feel that Iâ€™ve abandoned her. I even feel like Iâ€™m betraying her by wanting another child. It all makes no sense â€“ I know â€“ but its how I feel. Sometimes itâ€™s hard to separate the way you feel from the reality of what you know the truth to be.
Itâ€™s so hard to have nothing of her. I never held her-all babies feel wonderful held against you. Thereâ€™s no feeling in the world to measure it by, but holding your own must be even more special. I never rocked her. I never kissed her. I never got to tell her how loved and wanted she was. I never got to tell her how sorry I was she wouldnâ€™t come home with us. I never saw her. She deserves so much more than that. She deserved my love and attention. I feel such guilt for not being able to give her those things.
Now I'm at a point where my blood pressure is SLOWLY returning to normal and want to try again. I'm terrified I'll not be able to conceive again and I'm horrible scared the outcome will be the same if I do.
Ethan will be turning 3 at the end of this month (October). The month of October always brings up some scary memories and emotions for me... I never thought I would have a difficult pregnancy or labor. After all...