Monthly Archives: May 2013

Alice’s Birth Story


To read part 1 of Alice’s story, click here.

Around noon I was started on induction medication. A few hours later I was 3cm dilated and ready for an IV. The nurse was able to draw blood off the IV tube to use for my blood tests (a truly awesome thing since I have a needle phobia.) Since there was no concern for the health of my baby, I was able to be given anxiety medication. This was a small bit of good news on a day filled with bad.

Due to this anxiety medication (it was good stuff guys) I don’t remember all of the next couple days, and I remember things out of order. Not being able to remember the waiting and the devastation I felt that day is a small mercy. I got through everything as it happened and I didn’t have the mental capacity to be anxious or worried about what was coming next.

My amazing friend Mary joined us at the hospital that afternoon and provided a lot of distraction for us both (and snacks too!) She was absolutely heartbroken for us and after Jason called her to let her know that Alice had passed away, she came over right away. She is the type of person that can’t just sit and do nothing, when she could be doing something to help, and I’m so so glad she was there for us.

After my IV was in I was able to get medication through it instead of having to take it orally. I also only needed to drink because my mouth was dry, as the IV was keeping me hydrated (that was really nice after having to drink water like a fish my entire pregnancy.) Soon, my contractions were painful enough that I thought it was time to ask for an epidural. This was part of my birth plan all along, it just depended on when I asked for it.

Getting the epidural was something I was nervous about all along, and it wasn’t any fun. I don’t remember having any contractions while having it put in, but I was crying and shaking a lot. The anesthesiologist wasn’t the most patient guy ever (the only not awesome experience we had with the staff the whole time) and I remember just wishing that it was over before it started. He didn’t like my crying either because it made me shake… I understand how that would make his job more difficult but I couldn’t help it!

After flight delays and traveling all day, Jason’s parents arrived at the hospital. They joined Mary and our friend Kelly in the waiting room. I don’t remember when they got there, or much about the night at all, but they were there and I know it was especially good for Jason to be able to hug them during such a difficult time. (Remember, I had anxiety meds, so I was basically doing fiiiiine.)

Perhaps before the epidural I was given pitocin through my IV as well. I was progressing ok and soon felt that I could sleep. We told Mary and Kelly to go home since the staff didn’t think I would be giving birth anytime soon. I wanted my friends to be able to sleep a bit. Waiting around is exhausting on top of all the emotions we were all going through. Jason and I both laid down and slept for about an hour and a half. At some point I remember feeling incredibly cold. Jason said that was a scary time for him because I wouldn’t stop shaking. The nurse piled blankets on top of me and I just kept shaking. She said it was common with IV fluids and that it sometimes caused a drop in body temperature.

Since I had an epidural and couldn’t walk I needed to have a catheter. I soon woke up feeling a lot of pressure and I told the nurse that my catheter hurt. She said to turn onto my side to see if it relieved some of the discomfort. I turned and still felt the pressure. She took it out and that didn’t help either. She told me that it shouldn’t be hurting any more and checked me to be sure. She then said that I was fully dilated and that on my next contraction I should push. Jason was awake and texted our families to tell them that I was starting to push. This was at 3:55am.

The nurse had me laying on my side and Jason holding my right leg up. She showed him how to hold it and then said she had to go get some things and that she would be right back. Very shortly after she left I pushed one more time and felt the baby crowning and her head come out. Jason told me “her head is out!” I wanted to respond and say “I know! I can feel it!” but another contraction came almost right away and I pushed her the rest of the way out. The nurse came in just then and Jason let go of me and the nurse cleaned her up and swaddled her. My baby girl was born and the only people in the room were Jason and I. (Since then we’ve thought that perhaps we should get a discount for having done the hardest part on our own! ;)) Alice Christine Piette was born at 4:01am on April 10, 2013. (I pushed for only 6 minutes… how’s that for efficient?!)

Jason came around the bed and hugged me. We had all day to prepare ourselves for the worst. We knew that our little girl would not be alive when she was born and so we were able to be very proud in that moment. We got through labor. We did it. Together we made a baby and brought her into the world.

The doctor then came in and Jason joked with her by asking her “where were you?!” She missed the main event! :) The nurse handed me Alice and I was able to hold and see my sweet baby girl for the first time. She had soft, dark hair and Jason thinks she had my nose. She was absolutely beautiful and looked very peaceful, just like she was sleeping. Jason and I held her and spent time with her while the doctor checked me out and finished the delivery process. I delivered the placenta (there were no knots or clots found in the cord, and nothing abnormal about the placenta) and got stitched and cleaned up. Jason’s parents and Mary then came in and were able to hold Alice as well.

04_aliceWe were able to stay at the hospital with her for as long as we wanted. We took pictures, and had a photographer come in and take photos as well (she was a volunteer through an amazing organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, who organizes volunteer photographers to take photos of your stillborn baby.) I thought that seeing Alice and holding her would be the hardest thing I would ever do, but Jason and I both would never trade that time we had with her for the world. We were able to see and hold her and say goodbye. It was also extremely difficult, but it was incredibly important to us as well. We now have photos and memories of her, and that is so so special to us.

10_aliceWe were discharged from the hospital around noon. I remember watching the nurse take my little girl out of the room and remembering thinking that that would be the last time I would ever see her, and that I was the most exhausted I have ever felt in my life. We went home then, with an empty car seat in the car and pain in our hearts.

(All photos in this post were taken by Brianna of b2 photography, who is a volunteer photographer with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.)

The Day Our Lives Changed

“Has she been kicking today?” Jason asked as he did nearly every day since I started to feel her kick.

I thought about it and responded, “she hasn’t been too active, but she was kicking this morning a bit. No worries.”

Later that night I was soaking in the tub when I realized that I actually hadn’t felt her kick in a while. She typically moved around a bunch when I was relaxing, and the tub was one of my favorite places to relax while I was pregnant. After drying off and getting into bed she still hadn’t moved. It was late and I was getting nervous but told myself that I needed to sleep and that I was likely over-reacting.

When Jason’s alarm went off early the next morning I told him not to freak out, but that I was worried that I hadn’t felt her kick all night. He got me a glass of orange juice and I laid back down and waited for her to get a bit of a sugar rush and start kicking. But nothing happened.

We both decided it was best to call my doctor. While waiting to hear back we got in the car and drove to the hospital. The doctor called us on the way there and told us to meet her at labor and delivery and that I could get checked out.

Fast forward about an hour… I’m laying in triage and Jason is holding my hand. The doctor has the ultrasound hooked up and I can see our sweet baby girl on the monitor. She sweeps the wand back and forth, and back and forth. I hold my breath. I know something is wrong. She was always so active. She kept me awake at night kicking and rolling and punching me from within.

“What I’m doing is looking for the heartbeat…” the doctor says.

“And it’s not there,” I respond.

“No, it isn’t.”

At exactly 38 weeks pregnant we have just learned that our baby has died. I cry because I know it’s what I should do, but I still don’t fully believe what’s just happened. Her life is over before it ever began. One of my first thoughts was that this is the hardest thing we will ever have to go through in our lives, and that nothing will ever be the same.

I turned to Jason as the nurse wiped off my big belly and he hugged me and we cried. I remember saying “our little girl” and it prompted more tears. I wanted a little girl so badly and the day we found out we both cried happy tears. Everything was so perfect. Until this day.

After crying for a bit we both turn to the doctor.

“This sucks,” I tell her.

“It does. It really really does,” she responds.

“What do we do now? What are the next steps?” I ask. I already want this day to be over. This is easily the worst day of my life.

After feeling absolutely shocked that my perfect pregnancy, my perfect baby girl, were both gone, I was then thrown into one of the next stages of grief almost immediately: anger. I still needed to deliver my baby girl. She still needed to be born, even though she would not be breathing. It all seemed very cruel, that I still needed to go through this painful process, and in the end my baby would still be dead. We cried some more, we asked about options, we asked what the doctor thought could have gone wrong, and we prepared ourselves for the next steps of this painful process.

I asked the doctor if this was anything I did. I was responsible for caring for my little girl, I was her life support, and now her life was over. She assured me there was nothing that could have been done. Although extremely unlikely at full term, these things happen and the majority of people never find out what caused it. It could have been a chromosomal defect (which I tested negative for earlier in my pregnancy) or a knot or clot in the umbilical cord, or an infection, or a number of other reasons. Since then we have received many (many!) different test results from both me and my baby girl, none showing any abnormal results. We are still waiting for autopsy results.

Next, we needed to call our families. We were given time in triage to make calls while the nurses got our room ready. I called my Mom and told her the worst news I could have delivered. We cried together and talked about what we would need to do next. Jason called his family and they decided they would come visit right away. Jason made a few more calls to let our friends in Minnesota know, and my best friend in Philadelphia. Many more tears were shed every time we had to say the words “we lost the baby.”

Read Alice’s Birth Story.

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Hi. I'm Sam. I'm glad you're here. This blog of mine is a place for me to write about whatever I'd like... maybe you'll be interested in what I decide to put here. That would be awesome, wouldn't it? :)