That was a long, long night. Michael had to go home to be with our son. I was in pre-term labor so they had to get it stopped because it was too soon for me to deliver. The medicine was horrible, and I couldn’t sleep. Hospitals are very lonely places in the middle of the night. The darkness is constantly interrupted by a nurse coming in to take vitals. There are the IV’s, and more meds. Because my water had broken, they had to monitor me for infection, so they were constantly taking my temperature. If that had started to go south, they would have to take the baby. I knew deep down in my heart that this was not going to have a good end. Realistically how much longer was I going to be able to carry this baby ?? They were trying to give me hope by saying that things were moving faster now because the baby knew that there was not much time left. So the lungs were developing more quickly along with other things.
Monday morning arrived and they put me down in the post partum section of the OB ward. That’s where all the mother’s who had already delivered their babies were. I at least was put in a private room thanks to my husband who demanded that, so I would not have to see a baby with their mom 24/7. Later that morning they took me up for an ultrasound. The technician who was performing the ultrasound could not get the head in the picture. Finally a lot of doctor’s came in to try and get an accurate image. I remember there were at least 5 doctors in the room. That should’ve been my first red flag that there was something really wrong. But remember, keep it simple. I’m 24 years old, 1 + 1 = 2. Nothing else could possibly go wrong. I already had an ultrasound in the 1st trimester and it was okay, and I didn’t have a miscarriage. So everything was going to be fine. Well it was not going to be fine.
About mid-afternoon a doctor came into my room. He was a young looking resident. This was a teaching hospital so there were a lot of young interns/residents. I guess he picked the short straw, because I had never seen him before. He wasn’t my OB. He got the task of telling me the grim news. He came into my room and looked at me and told me, “We are taking you off the medicine that stopped your labor. Your baby has no chance of survival so we are going to let you go back into labor and deliver. The baby would be born alive but would probably only live a short time. You should probably get your husband back here,” and he left the room. OMG what just happened, who was that and what the hell did he mean when he said my baby was going to die!!! I called Michael up at work right away and told him what happened. He said, “I’m there.” and he hung up the phone. Now keep in mind this is 1984, so there really are no cell phones or computer internets, FB you get the picture. Looking back on the maternity ward it seems like it was the ice age. So much has changed.
He got there and he got the doctor’s to talk to him about what just happened. Then he came in with the doctor’s and told me that the baby had a birth defect, Anencephaly a form of spinabfida. The baby never was able to form a scull and did not have a functioning brain. There is no chance for the baby to survive. The light in the room got so bright and everything just turned into white noise. Take it back, stop saying those words, it isn’t true. Please just make this stop, who do I bargain with to change the outcome. What do I have to do, OMG. Michael make them go away. This can’t be happening.
But it was and I was going to have to go through this to get past it. I was going to have to deliver my baby and bury my baby all in the same week. How does someone do this ?? I didn’t know whether it was a boy or a girl. I had a boys name picked out because I didn’t want a girl. All I kept thinking was please don’t let this be a girl. I thought that would be my punishment for not wanting a girl. The boys name we had picked out was Sean Patrick. I couldn’t even think about that now. Now all I could focus on was delivering this baby and getting through this.
They said I would probably go right back into labor as soon as they stopped the med because I was in full on labor when I came in on Sunday. Michael was with me and was not leaving my side. So the waiting game begins. I am not allowed to eat because they don’t know when I’m going to deliver. They made Michael sleep in a chair and wouldn’t even give him a blanket because technically he wasn’t even suppose to be here. Visiting hours were over., WTF. He wasn’t leaving. I didn’t sleep very well because the bed was constantly wet. I guess even though your water breaks, you still produce amniotic fluid. So it just kept coming out, and they just kept changing me and my bed.
Tuesday morning comes. I’m still not in labor. It had been 2 days since this started. I was just numb and I wanted this to be over. I was afraid of not making it through this. What would happen to my little one at home. We had never been apart. He must be thinking where is my mom. I miss you, Michael Jr. and I really need to hold you. But I couldn’t think about him, all I could do was get through this. Back down to Labor & Delivery…
They had me walking around the ward, hoping that would get labor going. There were happy looks from those who didn’t really know what the situation was, so I would just return the smile. Then there were the sad looks, from those who knew what the outcome was. I would just look back at them and say, “I’m fine, don’t worry.” I couldn’t stand those looks. Still not in labor.
Tuesday night comes and they decide to put me on pitosin. That is an artificial hormone to get labor started. That was hard, because it’s just like bam your in full on labor right away unlike a natural labor which builds and allows you to get into it. So they would have to come in and turn it down, then labor would stop and then they would come back in and turn it up and then bam labor again. You get the picture. It was not a good night. On top of that my OB said no epidural because the risk was too great and the outcome would be the same. She said I was going to have to deliver the baby on my own. She did give me morphine which was better than nothing.
Labor finally started and it seemed as if this nightmare was coming to an end. I really didn’t want to deliver because then the baby would be gone and I didn’t know how I was going to deal with that. They kept asking me if I wanted to hold the baby after he/she was born. I didn’t know how to answer them, so I just told them to let me wait and I’ll see how it goes.
Finally the time has come and I am taken into the delivery room. Remember it is 1984, and you didn’t do everything in the same room like you do now. Very sterile, cold environment to have a baby in. It’s the middle of the night, so of course my OB isn’t there. Delivering my baby is someone I don’t know, some young resident doctor who I pray knows what he is doing. The baby being so small, only like 30 weeks, and having no skull bones to guide it down the birth canal was not coming down smoothly. Finally after a lot of maneuvering from the doctor, he was born. Sean Patrick was here. I heard him cry. It was the tiniest little cry but I will never forget that cry. That would be the only thing I ever had to hold onto. I remember till this day, his tiny little cry.
Everyone was running around the delivery room, doing God only knows what. They were coming up to me saying, “Do you want to hold him?” over and over again. I looked up at Michael. He had on his hospital mask so all I could see were his eyes. They were filled with tears and he was shaking his head back and forth, NO. Tears just started flowing down the side of my face and I said, “No, I can’t. I’m sorry,” and they took him away.
Michael said, “I’m going to be with him and make sure they christen him. I’ll stay with him and hold his hand while he continues on his journey. I’ll tell him that you loved him. You need to rest now,” and he was gone. This is why he is and always will be my person. He loves me and knows how to do the heavy lifting. It was Wednesday, March 21, 1984, Sean Patrick’s birthday.