Monday, April 27, 2009


Dear Benjamin,

It has been raining and storming here for the last few days. It fits my mood, but your brother Alex says it's because the angels are teaching you how to bowl. It's strange how much I miss you, I never knew how much I could miss someone I never saw until it was too late. I miss playing with the doppler trying to find your heartbeat and you kicking it...I think just to tease me. I tried everything I could to keep you. All I could think about was how to buy your more time to grow. Even when the doctors gave up hope, I didn't. I didn't believe that God would really take you from us after allowing us 19 weeks with you. 19 weeks to dream and plan. August 20th was to be your delivery date. Your brothers start school about a week after that. I thought what a perfect time to get to know my new baby. Now, my arms will be holding schoolbooks instead. This experience has reawoken my desire to go to school. I want to be the kind of wonderful nurse that took care of me in the hospital when it felt like my world was ending. I want you to be smiling down on me on my Graduation Day. Then I will know that I did not lose you in vain. I feel very empty without you doing kickboxing at 3 am. My belly is not round and full like it was 9 days ago, and that hurts so bad. My body waits for your kicks, but they don't come. If I could tell you only one thing, it would be this: You were so loved and wanted, by all of us! We are all grieving the loss of a son, and a little brother, so long awaited. I love you, my angel.


PS It cleared up here for a few hours today and the sky was so blue. I imagined that you were looking down on us from Heaven, I could almost feel you.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My beautiful boy

Dear Benjamin,

Before we knew you were a boy, before we knew how you would change our lives, you already had a big impact on us. Daddy and I were so happy to find out that we were adding a new addition to our family of 5. Your brothers Cris, Tony and Alex were so happy. Tony actually cried when he found out you were coming. Time seemed to creep by, we waited for each ultrasound, every doctor's appointment.

When I was around 11 weeks, I started having complications. The doctors kept reassuring us that everything was fine, and we believed them. I was put on bedrest, then taken off, then put back on. It was a trying time for us all, but we managed. Your brothers tried to help as much as possible, bringing me cold water, and keeping me company. When things took a turn for the worse, and the doctors stopped giving us hope, we still kept our faith that things were going to turn out ok.

On April 17, life changed forever. We lost you, to umbilical cord prolapse caused by Premature Rupture of Membranes/Chronic Placental Abruption. I was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where the doctor confirmed our worst fears, you had passed away. I was calm, I think mostly because I was in shock. My body kept waiting to feel your kicks, to prove them wrong. On April 18 you were taken from my body, but not from my heart. After you were taken, we had you blessed and baptized and then brought to us. We said our final goodbyes on Sunday April 19, after the sedatives the doctors gave me had worn off. I marveled at your perfect little body, and thanked God for the time that I had you with me. When the nurse wheeled you away, I felt my heart breaking.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

The beginning..and end

I had a Dr's appointment the day after I PROM'd and was told there was no amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. I was devastated, as I never suspected my membranes had broken. I had had very heaving bleeding since 11 weeks and apparently the fluid was mixed with so much blood it wasn't possible to tell. The doctors suspect that I PROM'd the day before my appointment because of a huge gush of blood I had, which soaked through two pads.My doctors did not give me any hope that my baby would survive. They did not give me any instructions of what to do when I got home, except call them if I developed a fever or went into labor which they said would happen within a week.

I came home and immediately started searching the internet for options. By the grace of God, I found a support group for women with Premature Rupture of Membranes. I read the stories, ok I admit, mostly just the positive ones. I was inspired and encouraged by the stories I read and was convinced that I could have a positive outcome too. I joined the group and put myself on bedrest and increased my fluid intake. I read support group emails on my cell phone, I didn't have a laptop. Responding or sending emails from the cell is very hard, so I settled on just reading their words.

On Friday 4/9, I remember that I had read somewhere that IV fluids can be helpful in reaccumulating amniotic fluid, I called my dr and slightly stretched the truth about some stomach issues I was having. The nurse thought that IV hydration was a great idea, unfortunately, the doctor did not. She refused to allow me to come in. My husband and I visited a local Emergency Room later that night and I received 2 liters of fluid. They also did an ultrasound (at my request) and we found that the fluid level had increased from 0 to 3.96cm. I had not had any leaking of fluid, which was so encouraging.

Tuesday 4/14 we had an ultrasound appointment and the fluid had increased to 4.5 cm. The baby was looking great and the heartbeat was a strong 163 beats per minute. We were so encouraged!

Wednesday 4/15 morning I started bleeding profusely, I was soaking pads every 15 minutes and having cramps. I called the doctors office and was sent to the Labor and Delivery Department of the hospital (which was an hour away from home). I was told they had no rooms available and put in a waiting area. They never inquired into how much I was bleeding, or how much pain I had. We sat there for 1/2 hour before my mom arrived and raised hell (sorry). I was immediately put into a room (funny how it magically was available!) The nurse and the residents (it's a teaching hospital) were awful to me. They kept telling me that my baby was going to be deformed, that I should terminate the pregnancy then and there.

I requested an ultrasound which a resident performed all the while saying "I'm not seeing a heartbeat" he repeated that like 6 times and I kept telling him I could feel the baby moving. He finally begrudgingly said "oh there's a heartbeat" and got up and walked out of the room. By this time my bleeding had slowed, but the pain was still pretty bad. The resident came back in the room and said "well you have two options, I can keep you here and do nothing for you, or I can send you home" I told him go get my discharge papers ready, I'm getting dressed.

On Thursday 4/16 I felt pretty good, until about 7 pm. The bleeding started again, and so did the pains. I had diarrhea and attributed the pain to that. It didn't feel like uterine pain, as it was in my lower right side only. I fell asleep that night praying to God that if he was going to take my baby, for him to please do it, as we had gone through 8 weeks of thinking we were going to lose the baby already and my mental state was not really good.

At 3 am on Friday 4/17 morning I woke up to go to the bathroom and I felt better, but I also felt like something was different. I remember the last thing I thought before I fell back to sleep was that I didn't feel pregnant anymore.

At 6:45 am I got up to use the bathroom again and when I wiped I felt something. I wiped again and still felt it. I reached back with my hand and felt, it was the umbilical cord. It felt cold, and I knew that this meant the worst. I started hyperventilating. My mom lives with us, and she was still home, so I sent my older boys downstairs to get her. I called my dr's office and waited for a call back...I had to call twice to get someone to call me back. In the meantime, I called my husband and told him to get home as fast as possible.

When the doctor finally called me back, she advised me to come to the hospital right away, when I told her it was rush hour and it would probably take me 3 hours to get there, she advised me to go to the nearest hospital, by ambulance. Once my husband got home, we called 911 and within 5 minutes the paramedics arrived. That was the first time I have ever been in an ambulance.

Their procedure called for pressure on the pubic bone to try and take pressure off of the cord, it was very strange to have a stranger with their hand up my "nether regions" for about a 1/2 hour. When we arrived at the hospital, we went right to Labor and Delivery (a different hospital than where I was Weds.)

The nurses were great from the moment I arrived. The doctor on call that took care of me was caring, compassionate and very human from the start. She performed an ultrasound and told me that she was very sorry, but that my baby had passed away. She told me that since I was not having any contractions and my cervix was not dilated at all, that she would start giving me Pitocin to induce labor. I have had three c-sections with my older sons, so there was significant risk in laboring, but I wanted to at least try.

I received pitocin for 24 hours and never dilated at all. The doctor could not understand how the cord had even come out since I was not dilated even a little

On Saturday 4/18 I asked the doctor to please assemble her surgery team so we could perform the c-section. I was in excruciating pain, more than I ever had been in, in my life. The anesthesiologist came to see me and informed me that I would be asleep for the surgery and I said that I preferred to have a spinal and be awake. She said ok, since I had already had spinals 3 other times. I was in the OR within an hour of making my decision to have the surgery.

I told the nurses and my doctors that I wanted to see my baby and wanted to have a priest baptize and bless the baby. The surgery started and it was so quiet. No one talked, I could only hear the heart monitor (mine) and the clink of surgical instruments. Once they took the baby out, the priest came in and asked if the baby had a name.

I told him that I didn't know what the baby was, and he said it was a boy. I cried and told him Benjamin. He blessed and baptized Benjamin, then left. I was disappointed, because I wanted to be present, but was glad that it was done, as it was very important to me. Benjamin Joseph weighed a mere 9 ounces, and was 9 inches long.

Anatomically he was perfect, which was a huge relief to me, after all of the warnings of deformation from the doctors.I was given a sedative after the surgery and spent the whole day in a drug induced stupor. I was not able to see Benjamin until the next day. He was beautiful to me, and I marveled at how perfect he was. I kept him with me until Sunday afternoon, just having him in the room was comforting somehow. The priest came back and performed the blessing over, as I really felt that I needed it as part of my closure.

The staff at the hospital was absolutely amazing. I thank God that I ended up at that hospital instead of the hospital I was originally going to deliver at.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Four children

When I got pregnant I felt like I was carrying a precious gift from God. I felt extremely blessed to be given another child. I was so careful right from the beginning, eating right, taking vitamins, cutting down on caffeine. When I started having problems, I held strong believing that God would help us. I did everything the doctors said and tried to stay strong during all of the ups and downs. I dreamt often of what life would be like with four children, I couldn't wait! My dreams have been shattered. I never imagined that we would have four sons, but one would be an angel.

I love you Benjamin and I miss you so.


Monday, April 20, 2009

How do you say goodbye, before you've said hello?

To My Angel Benjamin,

From the moment I knew of your existence, you brought me such joy! The first time I heard your little heartbeat, it made me cry. You were our dream come true...a miracle. I felt like you were fragile, but over and over you showed us how strong you were. I know that the fight got to be too much, you were just a wee little guy, 9 ounces and 9 inches long. I will always dream of you, and what your life would have been like had you been given time here on Earth with us. It hurts me that God had other plans and now instead of holding you in my arms, I have to be content with holding you in my heart.